There's not much I don't love about being a mother - I'm a cynical and snide lady so it's almost painful to say something that incredibly joyful but there it is. But I have my doubts ... big time doubts. I'm fairly convinced I'm doing almost everything wrong with my baby even while I'm enjoying every minute of it. Days like today it slaps me in the face and I start feeling panicky that I'm not giving Ben every possible benefit I could be giving him. I realise every baby and every parent are completely different and the midwives, doctors and nurses have all reassured me that it's pretty difficult to ruin a perfectly good baby but I still have visions of Ben 25 years down the track in therapy blaming the fact that I didn't give him any structure for all of his problems in life. Remind me to delete this blog before he's old enough to print it out and use it against me!
We co-sleep with the boy. I love the phrase "co-sleep" because it makes it sound so dignified instead of "we let him sleep with us because it's easier." We don't subscribe to the attachment parenting way of things and because there's no philosophy to why he's in our bed, I feel guilty letting him be there. I have no idea if it will make him happier, healthier, more awesome or whatever the hippies say it will do. It gives me a backache and we only started it because it was too hard for me to get up and feed him after my c-section, then we realised how convenient it was and saved us a lot of time and headaches. Every so often I start getting panicky because maybe we're creating a clingy, creepy child with no independence. I don't want that so I start researching (how did parents parent before Google?) how to get boy wonder into his own bed or if it's too late at almost 6 months for him to be a well-adjusted child? Maybe we've broken him already.
I will guiltily admit that I also breastfeed him to sleep and let him feed whenever during the night - he doesn't actually wake up at all, just roots around in his sleep until he finds my boob then settles back down. With this method (yes, let's call it a method not laziness) he has been sleeping happily throughout the night for a long time. We are all fairly happy with this but I have a motto to live by - If it ain't broke, break it. So I can't be happy with the fact that we're all happy. I have to worry about the implications of him feeding to sleep every time. Does that mean he'll have to eat a full meal before he can get to sleep when he grows up? I've never met someone with that sort of problem so I really hope I'm not such a bad mother that my poor son ends up in medical/parenting journals for his bizarre eating and sleeping habits. Feeding him to sleep seems to be the most natural, wonderful, effective thing on earth so WHAT AM I DOING TO THE BOY???
In my research, it seems that I'm not teaching him how to settle himself and I'm providing him a prop that is going to be hard to remove in the future. I'm going to attempt to change these habits a bit but if it seems unnatural, I will be right back to schlepping my boy to bed after a full belly of milk. And I will not let him cry it out on his own - no offense to anyone who has done this, honestly. To each his/her own but I hate the thought of trying to teach my son to just deal with it because Mommy ain't coming to bail you out. I will always bail him out (again, remind me to delete this so he can't print it out if he ends up arrested for some heinous crime).
I attempted a bit of the Baby Whisperer technique today for one of Ben's naps - patting his back and ssshhhh'ing loudly. I scared the bejeezus out of him once and then he just found it amusing the other times (see photo) so obviously I'm about as soothing as a shark attack. After several pick up/put down attempts where he continued to laugh at me, I just fed him and he was happily sound asleep in bed by himself in 5 minutes.
I'm going to try him in his own crib tonight. Why? I have no idea - just want to try it. So I'll be sleeping in the big Catnapper recliner in his room and lucky Marcel will have the bed to himself. This is going to be a disaster but hopefully a haha disaster not a boohoo disaster. Will keep you posted.