- If you feed your baby formula you're guaranteeing them health problems for life.
- If you breastfeed past a year, you're just plain weird and have an unhealthy emotional relationship with your child.
- Put your newborn in a baby jail...er, crib...and you're clearly a detached parent.
- Sure, you can co-sleep with your baby...if you want that spoiled kid to still be sleeping there 13 years later.
- Vaccinations don't work, cause autism, and are only required because of a vast government/pharmaceutical company conspiracy.
- If you don't vaccinate your child, you must not care at all about public health, and you must want your kid to die of measles.
I know, this is really helpful stuff, and I should write a parenting manual or something. And I'm not even done yet.
We haven't talked yet about whether or not you should let your child cry it out. This is one of the most controversial mommy message board topics. After all, doesn't everybody know that if you don't pick up your baby every time they cry, they'll have lifelong trust issues and probably some sort of larynx injury? And that if your baby doesn't cry it out, they'll be keeping the sleep disorder clinics in business in 30 years?
With Chickie, I was pretty firmly in the attachment parenting camp. I didn't ever require her to cry herself to sleep unless she was in my arms or in the carseat. I spent many, many hours helping her fall asleep; and she learned to fall asleep independently about the time Zoodle was born.
She is usually happy and well-adjusted, and I am thankful for all the cuddles I had with her. But I knew my schedule and my sanity couldn't survive if Zoodle required that much help with sleeping.
At first, he went down for naps and nighttime easily...but then he hit the four-month mark, and it started getting more difficult. Over the last couple of months, I gradually noticed a couple of things. One, I seemed to be actually keeping my little guy awake by trying to "help" him fall asleep. He's very social. Two, at times when he was crying for a few minutes while I was dealing with Ana or another task, he often went to sleep very easily once I re-entered his room.
So within the last week or two, I've started doing something I really didn't think I would ever consider. I've been consciously and purposefully letting Zoodle cry. Our going-to-bed routine doesn't fit perfectly with any of the experts, but it works for both of us.
I put Zoodle down and sing a song to him. When I leave the room, he usually starts crying. I let him get a little crying out of his system for about two minutes. I re-enter the room, replace his binky, and rub his back for a couple of minutes. I leave again, and if I need to repeat the process I do. I usually enter the room one to three times after initially putting him down, and then he's asleep. The whole process generally takes three to ten minutes. He's happier because he's sleeping more, and I'm happier because I am still helping him get to sleep, but it doesn't take half the day.
One of the things I'm learning with our second child is that a lot of parenting isn't about finding the perfect philosophy; it's about just plain figuring out what works. That may mean I'll never be one of those all-knowing message board moms, but it also means I'm a generally happy mom with generally happy kids. And that is a wonderful feeling.
(Yep, that's my breastfed, vaccinated baby who sleeps sometimes in his Pack-n-Play and sometimes in our bed, whose mama doesn't feel like talking politics on her blog, and who will probably end up just as neurotic as the rest of us.)