I have read a lot of articles for and against the cry-it-out (CIO) method for sleep training. Along with several articles about why we shouldn't sleep train kids at all. It's one of those thoroughly and hotly debated subjects in the never ending "Mommy Wars".
Most recently I read and shared this article discussing a study that says letting a baby CIO isn't harmful to their development. Last night, a friend of mine posted this article that claims just the opposite. Now, to be fair to the second article, I couldn't make myself read the whole thing. I got through about half of it, but the author's clear condescension to anyone who would even attempt to sleep train a baby, much less use the CIO method, was just too much for me to stomach. If you have to bold things, italicize things, and underline so much to try and make your point, I can't take you too seriously. I need you to be mostly unbiased in presenting facts, not supposedly debunking someone else's facts with your opinions.
So, let me explain why I am a support of the CIO method, and what CIO means to me. With Connor, we used a progressive CIO timeline (shown below) that I found on Pinterest.
We have a bedtime routine: diaper change, brush teeth, read a book, *kiss* "Goodnight, I/we love you" and down he went. As the chart shows, he would fuss or cry for the allotted amount of time, then we would go and "reset" him: pick him up, comfort him, wait til he claimed down, *kiss* "Goodnight, we love you" and back down. The first night wasn't great, it took about an hour for him to fall asleep, but that was the worst of it. The second night, we only reset him 3 (or maybe 4) times, and by the third night, he was going to sleep without a problem.
This version of CIO (also known as the Ferber method, or Ferberizing) worked wonderfully for us, and I always recommend it to moms who are having trouble getting their babies to self-soothe, as long as they are comfortable with it. I have not and will not ever encourage someone to do something they aren't comfortable with, especially when it comes to parenting. No one knows your child better than you do. We felt comfortable Ferberizing Connor, and it worked out well for us. He has been sleeping, mostly without problem, on his own, in his own room, since he was 4 months old.
Here's the thing, mommy wars are stupid. There's no other way to put that. As long as you are doing what you think is best for your child, why should I care if you baby wear or use a stroller? Formula or exclusively breastfeed? Ferberize or bedshare? These are just a few examples of the countless different parenting styles and choices that we see on a daily basis. You take care of your kid, and I'll take care of mine and we can all just hope we don't raise a bunch of ignorant, selfish assholes. Deal?
I've been reading a lot of articles lately about how other moms handle adding a second child to the mix, especially those articles when the first child is 2, or nearly 2. I have talked to every mom I know who added a second while their first was about Connor's age. Bonus points if they had a c-section and can provide insight and tips on how to heal while balancing a toddler and newborn. So far, all I've learned is that you can't really prepare for it. "It's a big adjustment." Not exactly the comfort I was looking for.
A lot of the articles I've read express the mom's fear that she can't possibly love another child as much as she loves the first. I honestly don't have that fear. I know I will love Kylar just as much as Connor because I can already feel that love growing with every kick, flip, and turn. Not to mention, I feel my heart get a little bigger with each niece and nephew, so how could it not grow with the birth of my second son?
My biggest fear is that Connor will feel slighted, watching the baby get all of my attention while Connor has to wait and do more by himself. His a very independent kid, in the he likes to do things by himself, but he wants you there and watching the whole time. I'm hoping to be able to wear Kylar most of the time, and free myself up to give Connor as much attention as possible, but that will ultimately depend on Kylar being content in my wrap.
I won't be able to pick Connor up for at least a couple weeks. The first week will be OK, because hubby will be home and he can take point with Connor while I focus on Kylar, but after that? I know we have lots of family who would love to help, but (let's be honest) I hate needing help and will want to do as much as I possibly can by myself. Plus, I don't want Connor to feel like he isn't important to me anymore by having someone else come and take care of him every day.
Maybe he wouldn't feel that way. Maybe Connor would be thrilled to have company, Mema, Grandma, aunts or uncles to play with every day, but that can't be our norm and I want to keep things as normal as possible for him. Normally, it's just he and I until daddy gets home. Not being able to pick him up with be hard, but he loves climbing, so I think I can get him to do a lot of "getting up" on things solo.
I just don't want him to be sad or feel replaced.
I was recently asked what my favorite part was about being a mom. That is a very hard question to answer. Harder than I would have thought. How do you decide what is the best part of the most rewarding experience of your life? I'm can't pick one, singular moment, so I decided to make a list of my top 5, although they aren't in any particular order. Enjoy!
1. Unprovoked affection. I love the moments when Connor comes up to me, on his own, and gives me a kiss, or hug, or when we're napping together and he rolls over, takes his pacifier out, kisses me, and rolls back to sleep. The times when he offers affection freely and of his own accord.
2. Problem solving. Watching Connor (literally and metaphorically) back himself into a corner and then see him work his way out of it is so impressive and amazing. He loves to do things, adventure and explore, to the point that it often makes me nervous, but he usually does so carefully and he learns so much about himself, his abilities, and how things work. It's fantastic to watch. Seriously.
3. Human interaction. Connor loves everyone. He sits and waves to every person he sees, yells hi and bye (regardless of if the person he's talking to is even aware that he's talking to them). He loves greeting people, until they notice him. Then he gets super shy, hides his face and gives them sidelong glances. Funniest thing ever. He loves people, as long as they don't respond. Silly boy.
4. Bonding with Dad. I cannot express how much I love just sitting back and watching Connor play with his dad. Tackling, climbing, jumping, throwing (all those rough boy activities). He loves his daddy so much and it's beyond clear that his daddy loves him just as much. They are so freaking cute together. I could watch them all day.
5. Learning to communicate. He's only a year and a half (20 months to be specific), but he's ability to communicate what he wants and needs amazes me. He's not great with words, although he is improving everyday. He works very hard to get his point across, pointing, pulling you to where he wants to be, and he has no problem repeating himself a hundred times until you understand. He's finally figuring out the proper time to say "no" to things. For several months, he would say no to anything, but then freak out if you didn't give him something.
EX: Me: Do you want some juice?
Me: *put juice away*
C: *freaks the f*ck out*
Communication is key, kiddo.
I can't wait to see what new Mom Moments I will fall in love with once his brother arrives. (That's right, I said brother.)
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community