Friday, January 23, 2009

My Mom Opinion and Advice

I am going to just state my personal opinion here. I am not saying that anyone is wrong for what they chose to do or they should change what works for them, but I have been a mom for 25 years and a pediatric nurse for 27 years and this is what has influenced my opinions. I have woman ask me all the time, so I thought I would write it down.
When it comes to babies there are of course many many ways to do things. I personally feel that babies need schedules. I think they like routine just like many of us do. Certain times for naps, bedtimes and feedings. I have never been a fan of "feed on demand" because there are many babies who simply get gas and are crying because they have a tummy ache, or they just want to suck (which calms them down) but they don't want to eat. When you eat hourly then you do not take in enough (because your stomach isn't completely empty) and you are hungry again in another hour. If you can wait 3-4 hours then they will get the intake to keep them satisfied for another 3-4 hours. I know there is a difference with breast and formula as breast does not hold them as long. Plus as mom you do not get any breaks. You still need to find some time for yourself as a new mom. That is point one for me.
Point two is sleeping with your baby. I personally am against it. I know many people love it and that is fine for them. But if anyone would ask my advice, this is what I would tell them. Babies need to learn to sleep on their own. They have a natural sleep and waking period during the night. If they wake up and are comforted by mom or fed every time (not talking about the first couple months on feeding during the night) or rocked back to sleep...then they do not learn to put themselves back to sleep...which they will if they can be left alone to do so. I do not agree with family sleeping beds. I strongly believe that a husband and wife need their time in their bed alone. That is a special place in a marriage and to bring children into that domain I personally believe is not healthy for the marriage.
I have seen many (mainly husbands) very upset that they can not get their wives to let the children sleep in their own beds and they want their wives back to themselves.
I get calls when I work at the pediatrician office all the time with mothers who can't break their child from sleeping in their bed, or sleeping through the night. Ladies let me tell you that letting a 4 or 5 month old "cry it out" for a couple of nights to break a habit is much easier than dealing with a 2 or 3 year old.
Case in point. My 2nd son Boy 2. I nursed him for the first couple of months. He had many problems with it and when I changed to formula he did great. But at 3 1/2 months he might go one night 8 hours and then the next want to eat in 3 hours. My first son slept through the night by 2 months. I talked to my pediatrician and he told me this. Babies have natural sleep and waking periods. If every time Boy 2 wakes up and fusses you go in and feed him then that is how he is going to want to be put back to sleep. It is much nicer to go to sleep with your mom holding you and drinking then it is to put yourself back to sleep. He told me to let him cry it out. He said to pick a weekend where both of us could be home and help. He said when he starts crying to go in and peek in the door. Don't let him know you are there. Just make sure he is ok, no foot caught in the crib side rail or dirty diaper. Don't talk to him or pick him up. Then go back to bed and let him cry. Check on him every 10 minutes.
So we did this. The first night he cried for an hour and half. It was hard, but I knew it was something that was best for all of us. The 2nd night was 45 minutes and the 3rd night was about 10 minutes. After that, he slept through the night. No more bottles, I got a good night sleep and so did my now ex husband. Honest!
I hear woman on the phones telling me that their 15 month old is still up 1 or 2 times through the night and they are just exhausted. They are not getting the sleep they need, they are irritable during the day and it is affecting their everyday life and their marriage. Kids are tough ladies. They are not going to be deprived or feel less loved if they learn to go back to sleep on their own and sleep in their own beds. You are not a bad mom to want your baby in their own bed and to sleep through the night.
Going through a divorce myself I have learned that the marriage is very important to work on continuously and not to be taken for granted. I was married for almost 20 years and up until the last 3 I had no idea our marriage was in trouble. (That's a whole different story). It is not because I had our 4 boys in bed with us because I never did. If they came in with a bad dream I would walk them back to their bed or when they got a little older they would just stand at my bedside then I would fill their heads with funny visions of pink elephants in dresses and if they were seeing a monster I would tell them to picture put a yellow dress on it. Now give it eyelashes...etc. Then I would say a prayer at the end of our "think of this instead" talk and ask the Lord to help them have sweet dreams. There were very few times that they had to come in a second time. Storms were the same. On the occasion that storms were very severe they may be able to climb into our bed for a few minutes or if it was going to be an all night kind of storm, then I did let them bring a pillow and blanket in and lay on the floor to sleep. I can not sleep with a child in my bed. They roll around and I am always conscience of them being there.
Point 3 is this:
Pacifiers and bottles. I have no problem with them but I feel there is a time these things need to be broken. I do not like to see a 2 year old walking around with a pacifier in their mouth or drinking from a bottle. There is no need for it. I do believe in pacifiers. All 4 of my boys used them. But some babies will refuse pacifiers and like to suck on their thumbs. others will not take either. To have a baby crying and giving them a see them start to suck and their whole bodies just relax. It is something that is a comfort to them. I took the kids pacifiers away when they were just about a year old. My youngest was the latest and I wasn't as worried about breaking him right at 1 year old. I used a brand called Mam at the time. There was a mini mam and the regular mam. I don't even know if they are still around. But it was a flatter pacifier. We were in the car and Boy 4 was in his car seat. My other boys told me he had his whole pacifier in his mouth. I turned around and he did. He was 13 months old and he had taken the pacifier and turned it sideways and had the whole thing in his mouth. It scared me to death. He was starting to choke on it. I stopped the car and got it out of his mouth (I don't really think he could have swallowed, but at the time it seems like it). That is how I broke him. I got home and collected all of them and threw them away. I am sure that we had some crying at bedtime and naps for a couple of days, but it wasn't bad enough that I remember it like I did Boy 2's "crying it out" at 3 1/2 months old.
I think the reason I am even posting this is because these are a few things that I deal with all the time at the Dr. office. I hear woman who are exhausted and tired and husbands who are upset they have 3 kids in their bed and their wife has added on an extra part to their bed for the new 4th baby. He wants his marriage back.
I am not trying to say that the woman who do these things are wrong. I am not trying to say that if it works for you and you and your husband are happy that you should stop. This is just my opinion and my advice if anyone wants it. I am not asking any of you to change anything that works for you. (no blasting me please)

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