A NOTE FROM A MOM
with Carey Yaruss Sanders
Releasing the Guilt: A Mother’s Struggle With Sleep Training
I am a mostly crunchy mom. I had my baby at home in the bathtub surrounded by my husband, 2 midwives, my doula, and my dog. I breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of my daughter’s life, and continue to nurse while we introduce solids through baby-led weaning. I wear my daughter in a ring sling, wrap, or carrier daily, and use a stroller only once in a blue moon when it’s too hot to babywear. I cloth diaper, cloth wipe, and make my own wipe solution. I eat and feed mainly organic, healthy, homemade foods. I diffuse essential oils in my home. I bedshared with my baby for the first 12 weeks. I took her to work with me until she was 5 months old, and then ultimately was pushed out of my job, which was a mixed blessing because it meant I got to stay home with her. I use a blend of attachment parenting and RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) styles of raising my baby, and have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t want to follow these methods. I sing and read to my daughter every day. I am a good mom.
I was *that* mom. I was the mom who would never let my baby cry. I was the mom who would wake up to nurse my baby every hour instead of letting her cry for a few minutes to see if she could get herself back to sleep. I was the mom who would pull over while driving so that I could console her if she was upset. If I was on the highway where I couldn’t safely pull over, I would usually cry right along with her. I would hope for stand still traffic jams so that I could get out to soothe her. If she was in her crib and started to cry in the middle of the night or for a nap, 30 seconds was pretty much all I’d let it go for. I would immediately go to her, scoop her up, cuddle her, soothe her, rock her, and nurse her until she was okay. If she was sad and I was supposed to go out for some mommy time, I would skip plans to stay with her. It almost became a game that I had to consistently win. ‘How fast can I make the crying stop?’ and ‘What can I do to make sure it never starts?'.
At 6 months old when people started asking me about our sleep, and I explained that we were still waking to nurse every 2 hours or so, they would tell me it was time to sleep train her, to stop nursing overnight, to stop living my life like a sleep deprived zombie. My reaction to that suggestion was always the same. i would quickly say that I could never do that. I could never allow my child to cry. She needs me and that's normal and natural and good. That's the way it's supposed to be. My job is to go to her. She needs me and I made sure she always knew that mama would be there whenever she called for me. I could absolutely handle being tired. I said she wold eventually learn to sleep on her own, and I truly believed that.
I was "that" mom. The mom who said I would never do CIO (Cry It Out). When
anyone would bring it up, I would get a visceral reaction from just the thought, and
MOMMY'S TIME OUT