Positive thinking

Dot writes: I’ve just been to meet a very nice little three-month-old baby girl, whom I last saw as a bump. She was charming, making cute little noises and trying to roll over, and it was good to see her parents again, but I’ve come away feeling rather grubby because I was talking Hugh down. As readers who can be bothered with all this parental navel-gazing will know, we are trying to make changes in our sleep situation, and I was talking about this. The three-month-old sleeps through the night. So I found myself listing all the things that good babies are supposed to do sleep-wise and that Hugh doesn’t do – sleep in his cot; sleep in his own room; go to sleep easily (except in a moving car or buggy, which is not an option at night); sleep for more than a few hours (maximum) at a time. Which makes the situation sound pretty awful, and doubtless makes us sound like useless parents. But I need to emphasise what Hugh does do: love us and want to be with us; only wake very briefly when in our bed, and without needing to cry; let us get enough sleep, if not on our own and with some small interrruptions; feed well and gain weight; pass milestones, play happily and explore the world. He is not an unhappy baby. He is big, beautiful, and healthy. And we are not unhappy parents. We adore our baby and have plenty of energy to play with and care for him. So what’s the problem?

Well, the last few nights haven’t been so great, which is partly to do with the heat. It would be nice to have our bed to ourselves and to be able to put Hugh to bed and do something else for a bit. In the end he is going to have to sleep alone and we need to teach him to do that; plus I do worry that he gets overtired sometimes. But one factor that’s more important than it should be, for me though not for Ken, is my anticipation of other people’s perception that things are going badly for us and that we’re bad parents. I imagine friends – dear friends – who would never be rude enough to criticize aloud, silently thinking ‘they didn’t take the advice I gave them, and look at the result’. I really need to get rid of this, because it’s no help at all. What counts is that we have a routine that works so that no-one ends up frazzled.

Still, I think we’ll carry on with the Dad Power experiment for the moment.

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6 thoughts on “Positive thinking

  1. Belle Inconnue

    I know plenty of people whose kids are over the age of 2 who still breastfeed and sleep with their children in the bed. I don’t think it matters if you are happy.

    My sister’s kids had trouble sleeping and she used the controlled crying method after previously being a hippy Mum. after 4 days her son was sleeping beautifully, and I don’t think it was that painful an experience.

    I guess it depends what you want, but if you want him to go to sleep by himself then this may be a good method to try.

  2. Dot

    Ironically, after three nights of Ken putting Hugh to bed I feel rather behind on sleep, because I’ve been staying up later than normal – and because I’m always half listening for Hugh’s cries, worried I won’t hear him when he’s not in our room! At the moment we are still bringing him into our bed when he wakes after a few hours in the cot. We’re not trying to transform his habits utterly all at once.

    It may well be that we end up trying ‘controlled crying’. One of my yoga mum friends ended up going that way with her baby, who had started to wake hourly after being transferred to his own room. It worked, and he doesn’t seem especially broken or stunted by the experience. But I hate to hear Hugh cry. He is such a sweet, cuddly, trusting little thing. He hates it when we go away but is utterly fearless about e.g. wriggling on the changing mat and risking falling off and landing on his head. He seems to feel that so long as we’re there no harm can come to him, which is frightening but very touching.

  3. Great Uncle David

    I think the best advice for coping with restive infants is the emergency oxygen instructions on aircraft safety briefings. Attend to yourself first, then the child.

    Hugh’s greatest need is for relaxed and contented parents who’ve had adequate sleep and time out.

  4. When you visited Fernando recommended we give our children sleeping pills so they could stay at home while we went out to dinner. So, whatever you do, don’t leave Hugh with Fernando!

  5. sarahmstewart

    @ Jeremy – you’ve really made me laugh – thanks for that 🙂

    @Dot I STILL compare my parenting with others & my kids are 18 & 20! In the end, do what you’ve got to do – whatever works for you is the best thing to do.

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