Thursday, November 5, 2009

Marsupial Mama


My baby was screaming and in the darkness, I stumbled over toys on the floor to get to him in his crib. I scooped him up and wiped his tears. We snuggled as he nursed and I lulled him back to sleep. "This feels right" I thought to myself as I looked at the clock. It was 4 am and I felt peaceful as I looked down at my sweet boy whose breath was heavy between whimpers. I'm a sucker.

Rewind to 12 hours earlier. I am sitting in the pediatrician's office for Koen's 6 month check up. "It's time to let him cry it out." our Dr. announced. Just like that, as if it was just part of what she says to a mother of a 6 month old. "His tummy shouldn't need any milk in the middle of the night anymore." she continued "Feed him at 9 pm then close the door and don't come back in until the morning. You'll have three hard nights and then he'll sleep through the night."

Uhhhh....I'm just not a hard ass mama. Not me, no, I'm more like a Koala. If I came equipped with a pouch, my baby would be nestled in there all of the time. To my credit, I did let him cry for a bit. It just didn't seem natural to me. Every instinct in my bones told me to go save my crying baby and pull him into bed with me (taking all SIDS precautions, of course!) We slept curled into one another until the sun came up.

We had a follow up visit a few days later with the pediatrician. Koen had been a constant snot factory. After a full check up, it turned out that he was suffering from a double ear infection. No wonder the sweet boy was crying out for me in the night. My intuition had been right on.

There are so many voices out there telling moms to detach from their babies and not answer their cries. I'm sure that it works for many families or it wouldn't be so popular. In my home though, my baby is swooped up and in my heart, it just feels natural to lavish my baby with as much love as possible. He can complain about it on a therapist's couch one day if he needs to.

For now, I'm learning to trust me Marsupial ways.

23 comments:

singedwingangel said...

I agree whole heartedly. Although I could not nurse if my children cried I was there. I cannot stand to allow a baby to cry ANY baby not just mine it rips my heart out...

That One Mom said...

A crying baby is the worst heartbreaker. You'd need major ear plugs to allow them to cry it out.

Lesley said...

I was bad...I woke up with my son till almost 9 months....I don't know...I'm under the rule that you know when it's time for your child.....good for your mamas instinct though!

Michelle said...

I've always said, Trust your instincts. You know your child better than anyone else. Glad you trusted yours!

Mich

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

The bottom line...do what works for you!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

It would be so much easier with a pouch!
Of course I say this even though all my children were angels and slept through the night by 3 months old. If they wake up now - Mommy is there or the big kids know how to come climb in Mommy's bed.

Amanda {My Life Badly Written} said...

At 4 months Bugs was waking in the night for his dummy then having a party in his cot before getting over tired and not being able to self settle. With Hubby being away I was not getting any sleep and neither was my 4 year old. One cranky over tired mum is not good. I attended a sleep works program at my local child development centre that talked through the problems and showed a video of the 'crying out' method. I was in tears just watching it but then saw how the next night the baby in the video settled himself.

I waited till my Hubby was home then made him and my 4 year old sleep in our room and I went and slept in my sons room. I put Bugs to sleep that night the same way but when he woke didn't give him his dummy. He cried for 3 1/2 hours before falling asleep with me going into him every 10 minutes confidently telling him that everything was OK but not picking him up. The next day he was grumpy and horse from the crying and I felt really really bad. That night Hubby and I swapped. The next day I asked Hubby how he went and he had slept through the night. And has slept through the night ever since. Now he self settles so I just put him in his cot give him a kiss goodnight and walk out the door. If he ever does cry out I know that there is actually a problem.

It was hard, but it was worth it for us as a family. However, I totally agree that this is NOT for everyone and it is a really hard thing to do and really heart breaking. You DO have to listen to your insticts and every child (thank goodness) is different! And as Lee says you have to do what works for you regardless of what ANYONE says.

I love the Koala reference specially as I am an Aussie!!!

Daffy said...

I support you 100%. I'm not a cry it out momma... just not in me and I wouldn't have hubs support for a cry it out method anyway. I did a post on this on my private blog all about our girl...

I'm a rockin' momma...we rock at bed time, at 2am....whenever. Girl is 14 months and every once in awhile I think maybe it would be nice to have her sleep through the night but that thought comes and goes as quickly as a breath. I just cherish every single second I get with her. She sleeps about 10 1/2 hours now and naps well during the day. Forget all those 'experts'! Only YOU know whats best for you and the baby!

Danielle said...

I am the same way. I try to do the Love and Logic concept, but sometime I just want to hold her close and never let her go.

Alicia said...

i'm a true believer in mama knows best....not that i don't heed doctors advice, but sometimes we just KNOW, ya know? and i'm the same way!! presley had HORRID colic and she slept ON MY CHEST for the first 6 months....every night...it was the only way she would sleep...i can't do the whole crying it out thing...it breaks my heart...but you my dear are an awesome mama!! love you and your sweet little boys!

blueviolet said...

I think we all have to do whatever feels right to us, so you're doing the right thing!

MJ said...

I have been known to look at the doctor and say, what did you do with your children in XYZ situation?? That normally shuts them up!

Go with your gut, and I say you will never be wrong!
MJ
Dirty Little Confessions

kys said...

I never wanted the younger one to cry because I didn't want his brother up, too.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Not having any children of my own I'm not the great expert on this, but instinct tells you that a baby cries for SOMETHING! They can't tell you where it hurts, or if they hurt.
Do babies have nightmares? I've always wondered about that!

Erin M. said...

I have twins, so for me it was do or die. I couldn't get up with both of them all night long. I needed (and still do need) my sleep every night.

So I'm the big, bad cry-it-out mama. But it's true. It works. ANd I find that I am a better mom when I'm well rested, and my babies were happier when they weren't up in the night. Those 3-4 days were rough, but after that it was like "Who knew life could be this easy & this good?"

That being said, I agree that every mom has to do what is best for her. I just know that for me, I couldn't keep waking up in the night. I think it's wonderful that you are able to and that it all works so well!

Beth said...

I think you listen to the advice, and then you do what feels right to you. Good for you for following your instincts! We eventually did the crying out thing, but it wasn't at 6 months, that's for sure. AND, I would put on the headphones or take a shower to block out the cries. Hubby never quite understood why I would burst into tears when the babies were crying. Hang in there. Cheers!

Theta Mom said...

I say what works for YOU who cares what worked for anyone else. Trust your instincts. :)

I Wonder Wye said...

Don't have kids but seems heartless to let them cry -- they are too young at that age to be manipulative and spoiled, right?

2 Toddlers and Me said...

It does really suck to listen to a baby cry it out. Glad you had good instincts and I hope Koen's feeling better soon.

Reluctant Housewife said...

I never did the 'let them cry it out' thing with either of my boys.

They both sleep through the night just fine now. (but then they're 5 and 7 so I guess it would be really bad if they didn't) :). What are they people who tell moms to let their babies cry worried is going to happen?

Lee's right - there's no one right way to raise a kid - do what works for you.

Erin said...

the SAME thing happened to me and mine... double ear infections at 9 months! I have tried the cry it out thing, and it SUCKS!!! I tried when she was 1 year old, and it helped a little. She is almost 2 and I still go to her in the middle of the night. I cherish that time, when everything is still, and it is just me and her. Call me a sucker if you want, but they grow up so quickly. I want to savor everything that is her. Even the nonsleepers start sleeping through the night when they are weaned from the boob. Enjoy it mamma, from one sucker to another!

Allyson said...

i am right there with ya. when marshall was an infant i REFUSED to let him cry it out. i have cut the cord a little bit now that he's 2 and a half. it only took one time of making him cry for 5 minutes and he hasn't done it since....well, not counting the times he was sick or teething. those don't count :)

The Crazy Baby Mama said...

dr. ferber can take his satanic method and shove it up his ass. hard.

m hated sleeping in her cage -- i mean, crib -- so we brought her into bed with us.