Natural parenting = happy babies AND happy parents

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We’ve always followed the babies’ schedule, never let them cry it out, and now? We have two happy, healthy individuals…..who go to sleep by themselves when you put them down. Of course, ‘by themselves’ includes a muslin to suck on for The Boy, and a Bunny to cuddle for The Girl.

Am I gloating? You bet your sweet ass.

So many people were pushing the idea of crying it out on us. Said they’d ‘never learn’ if we cuddled them. I was like, ‘Yeah, they’ll never learn that they can’t depend on us, they’ll never learn that we won’t come when they need us.’ As for never learning to go to sleep? Pah.

Not only that, but they are on a stellar a-1 routine. Not one invented by us or any experts, but created by the babies themselves. And, oddly, it’s the ‘schedule’ that I think many parents want to get their kids on.

The nice thing is, though, because we’ve never rigidly adhered to a schedule and rather let our days be guided by their own rhythms, both Snort and Coconut are really adaptable babies.

I am happy for this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to write my nanowrimo schtuff while they are sleeping so I don’t have to do it tonight. My SPD has been very, very bad for the past two weeks, and I think getting an early night’s sleep can’t be a bad thing. The blood is also flying, so I’m hoping my immobility and dependency on codeine to get through the day with minimal crying (on my part) will soon lessen.

Thank you, universe, for my amazing babies. And thank you for supporting me in trusting my instincts with my kids. Ironically, by making our house child-led in terms of routines, sleeping, etc we have ended up with a bizarre dream schedule that we didn’t have to fight nature to achieve.

Hippy parenting, what ho.

(No, I never knew I would be like this before I had kids. I swear.)

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14 Responses to “Natural parenting = happy babies AND happy parents”

  1. Amanda Says:

    It’s like people telling me that my son would never sleep on his own because we co-sleep/slept. HA!! Very shortly after his second birthday I set up a single bed for him. I didn’t expect him to like it much and honestly thought it would take months of gentle persuasion to have him sleeping in his own bed. No! He just went to bed and that was it. That’s his bed now and he loves it. Although, if I’m particularly tired or he is ill I will take him into bed with me sometimes because it’s just nice to have cuddles.

    Obviously I never did CIO either and am very much against it.

    Oh and don’t forget the ‘babywearing will make a mama’s boy’ comments… *sigh*

  2. Jehefinner Says:

    Ditto. My girls found their own rhythm, were never left to cry, and slept with us until they felt ready to sleep alone. We have happy, independent, confident children. Ya boo sucks Ezzo/Gina Ford etc.

  3. alissa Says:

    I knew cio wasn’t the onky option! But what about the babies that this method doesn’t work on? And if cio doesn’t work either? Is there another way? My kid needs that.

    • existere Says:

      I haven’t really described a ‘method,’ or what we have done to get to the point where we are now. Happy to chat with you, Alissa – maybe send a fb message?

      I’d say to follow your instincts and realise that the vast majority of kids don’t sleep through the night in their first year, or even longer. That nap schedules change a lot, especially around the one year mark – and we had rough times then!! I think a lot of it is trial and error and seeing what works for you.

      We did months of babywearing to sleep. Then cuddling to sleep. At this point, we sing the same song for every sleep, and if they are restless a hand on a tummy/back will help. Sometimes they need a cuddle, sometimes they need nothing. We just follow their cues…

      Good luck!!

  4. saralema Says:

    I think this is just further proof that, as the parent, you have to put some level of trust in your instinct of what is right for YOUR family no matter what others tell you. That’s the biggest lesson I have learned as a parent- what works for me and what I believe may not be what works for another or mesh with their beliefs- and that’s okay.

  5. Katie B. Says:

    yay!!

    Here’s hoping it lasts. šŸ˜‰

    I’m sorry the SPD has flared up again. šŸ˜¦

  6. Theresa Says:

    Thanks for this. I too have had lots of encouragement to let my baby cry-it-out. Now that’s he’s 8 months and still not sleeping through the night, and my friends’ sleep-trained babies are, I’ve been starting to lose faith in it. I never ever want to let him scream, but when you’re so exhausted, it’s easy to entertain the thought. I also see that lots of AP kids don’t sleep through the night for a long time, which is discouraging.

    I’m happy to hear that your kids have figured it out. It gives me hope! šŸ™‚ Even if I have to wait a while yet.

    • existere Says:

      I think sleep training isn’t superb – though I have also been so tired that I have considered it. Research shows that sleep trained babies wake as often as non-sleep trained ones, but don’t bother asking for attention. At eight months, I wouldn’t expect a baby to be sleeping through ….though you know the technical definition is going five hours in a row at some period through the night? Expecting a kid to go 7-7 this young is unrealistic, I think.

      I think you guys need to do whatever results in everyone being as happy as they can be with sleep. Like co-sleeping, etc etc – whatever works. Mine are VERY used to a lullaby I sing, so as soon as they hear it they actually gather up the things they sleep with and come over to me!

      Our sleep on the couch, though. Day and night. Nothing is perfect, but this works for us, for now.

  7. tia Says:

    i want more info on this method. how did you decide to do this? since the baby will be in daycare, i’m worried that they’ll let her CIO…

    • existere Says:

      Tia, what you don’t seem to realise is that YOU are her parent, and YOU will be paying them to look after her. You give them instructions, they need to follow them. If they aren’t willing to do so, you find another provider!!

      We didn’t let them CIO since all research shows this actually damages baby brains – permanently. There are lots of books you can read – No Cry Sleep Solution is one. But really, you shouldn’t be doing ANY sort of sleep training – gentle or not – for months. Newborns need to eat and sleep on demand.

  8. The Barreness Says:

    Congrats – it could be really tempting with twins to try to establish a routine just to have some semblance of order especially in the early days. I know I did (and do) get stressed occasionally when she doesn’t want to sleep or eat when I think she should. But then again there is a degree of freedom I feel when I finally relax, and say to myself, “If she wanted to eat/sleep she would – and if she doesn’t and she’s happy, all’s good”. This has been a very hard lesson for a Type A like me to learn! Thanks for paving the way.

    • existere Says:

      Thank YOU!

      I always thought I would HAVE to have a routine from day one – I’ve not met one twin mum who just ‘goes with the flow,’ though they must be out there somewhere?!?!

      As you say, all my stress has come from me wanting them to sleep when I think they should…and then it goes away when I calm down and relax. We DID have a rough period when C only needed one nap and S still needed two and everything was haywire, but even that sorted itself out.

      Things tend to get sorted much quicker when I follow their lead, as opposed to trying to make them follow mine.

  9. Megs Says:

    Just wondering — is your lullaby a camp song? :o) Mmm I want to linger, mmm a little longer….

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