Saturday, December 3, 2011

follow up: My kid is sleeping in a crib with a tent on it.

So its the next day and I've been digging deeper and thinking more.  While perhaps in my post it may have seemed like my decision was driven by my own need for sleep.  The primary drive was based on her behavior.  Let me describe the picture to you:

  • She doesn't want to eat.  Instead she only wants snacky foods including popcorn, gummy vitamins, juice, tortillas, etc.  Then her behavior tanks because she needs protein but refuses to eat it.
  • Then all she wants to do is nurse.
  • She is very difficult to get into a rythm because she often sleeps badly if at all for several hours a night during which time I am also not sleeping.  She then sleeps in till 8 or 9 which makes her nap later than is ideal.
  • When she takes a later nap she doesn't want to go to bed.
  • She often wakes up in a state of needy, clingy, unhappy, miserable both from nap and in the morning.
  • She often spends a good amount of time crying at bedtime.
  • She has several meltdowns a day which include hitting, yelling, and complete noncooperation

My criticism of Attachment Parenting is not the information about infant physiology and psychology as seen here (thank you Sheila), such as infants needing closeness to their mothers and crying for extended periods of time being harmful, but the lack of information of how to appropriately transition your child at developmentally driven stages.  Neither is there information regarding signs of developmental stages.  For example it is true that an infant (very young) should probably not cry it out nor sleep alone.  But where is the information about when that changes?

Where's the info about how to balance baby lead nursing with sanity?  I'm a huge advocate for baby led nursing in the early days, but when is it appropriate developmentally to begin a rythm?   Where's the information relevant to our current state of insular family units who don't have live in aunties and grandmothers?  Where's the dialogue about how not to be a martyr parent?

I see AP as an incomplete model.  While it offers some excellent observations and unique perspectives, it is really only one generation in.  Its not tried and true, well tested and modified for use.

The big problem I have with parenting in the US is that most of our practices fluctuate so much rather than being grounded in community, experience, multigenerational communication and mentorship.  We instead listen to the person who got a degree and wrote a book based on their own observation and experience.

Then we talk about it theoretically and then we try to do it and believe me if I believed that Ami's behavior was better when she slept with me I'd sacrifice the next years of sleep to do it.  But its not working.

A big influence on my parenting recently is an article by a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher.  I really started to get the breathing in and breathing out thing.  So for me that has been the answer, the balancing point for attachment and independence.

Before I got this I felt like I was failing at both.  Neither was I present enough for her nor was I getting the tasks done that I wanted to do.

So my current plan:
  • No snacks or vitamins or juice.  Real food only.
  • Regular bedtime and naptime.
  • Quality time together (breathing in) before and after sleep.
  • Sleep in the crib (breathing out)
  • Eating meals and snacks together (breathing in)
So my experience so far...She's eating again and she woke up this morning happy and independent after quietly waiting in her crib till she heard me stirring.  When she heard me she called me and I brought her in the bed for a few minutes of cuddle.  Then she asked for water and we started our day without nursing which is a huge deal because only a few weeks ago she wanted to nurse 12 or more times in 24 hours.

Just now I put her in the crib for a nap.  She cried for one minute.  Then she calmly asked to come out. Now she is cuddling her dolly.  I expect her to be asleep in the next few minutes.

Thank you for all your comments and blessings friends and family.


  1. She pulled her blanket over her and is sleeping with her head on the pillow. Sigh.

  2. Sorry you're having a hard time, mama. Seems like everyone w children this age is re-evaluating sleep situations. Not a smooth, easy process generally.

    I agree that articles on AP can leave out the struggles of the attachment and independence process. I guess I read a number of blog posts, though, with bloggers and commenters that are presenting their honest open experiences. I think that's how I've created community -- online. I feel the same void you do in my day to day life, however. I think that's why I wanted to create A Living Family, to have a community that could speak and live honestly about the struggles and the joys of the parenting journey. Perhaps I should speak more openly on the blog about my own hardships -- what do you think?

    I appreciate that you are speaking your journey. The silent struggle is the hardest. You seem to have hit on some key ideas (food vs. snacks and such). I hope you continue to find that your relationship with Ami (and sleeping situation) has these aha moments where you figure out one more thing to try......before you pull out the last of your hair.

    HUGS, mama.

    p.s. Was that sleep article from that gentle sleep post?
    I remember the breathing in/out (did I get that from you?) but can't remember where the other one came from.

  3. @Sheila
    Peaceful Parenting has a whole list of articles about AP and sleep. I think its a great and pretty comprehensive resource.

    Yes on the breathing one. I put links to both in the post.

    I personally like it when folks share about the hard stuff on their blogs. I have a personal tendency to go into teach others so I don't have to face my own stuff mode. Those days seem to be waning and I'm coming to value more the vulnerability of honesty and connection vs being a resource to others.
    Love to you too.

  4. Hey Janelle, love to hear the honesty, it really encourages me as a parent. I noticed that before kids it was so easy to judge other parents and even when I became a parent you see other people look at you like they could do a better job. Why is it that parent hood could feel so lonely some times. I love the idea of community and connection. It got me thinking of wanting to find a mentor for my boy's. Someone that could take them out to the park and maybe a ball game as they get older and could be a close positive mentor in their life.