8.14.2009

Midnight Mommying, Nightime Nuturing.

You don't cease being a parent just because the sun sets--so, why would you want to act like you do?

Parenting is a 24 hour job. Your child needs you during the daytime, so you go to him. Your child needs you at nighttime, so you go to him, right? You would think so, but there are more books out there on sleep training then I can shake a stick at and I think it's darn right scary.

I posted a heated rant on one of the most controversial of those sleep methods, Babywise, a few weeks ago and it sparked commenter debate mostly in my favor. But, still I feel unease at the quantity of literature, mothers and even complete strangers who try to convince me to practice crying it out methods.

This is why reading Danielle's post on Attachment Parenting's blog today called, "Adventures in Nighttime Parenting" really struck a chord with me. Choosing to be a mom who does not believe in crying it out, can be a isolating decision. And, hearing mom after mom tout their child's healthy independence as a result of their successful sleep training just doesn't sit well with me.

The needs of your child don't dissipate with the setting sun--they still may find themselves uncomfortable in a dirty or wet diaper, they still might have grumbling bellies, they possibly could be enduring pain from teething or experiencing moments of loneliness. Allowing a child to cry them self to sleep and throughout the night is essentially the equivalent to taking the night off as a parent. If you wouldn't let them cry for these reasons during the day, then why would you at night?

Danielle and the 12 commenters on her blog have given me the gift of confidence in the fact that I am not alone on those long dark nights of sleeplessness--those nights of constant nursing, fussing, fidgeting and waking. I find comfort in knowing that there are other mothers facing the same challenges at night as I am and responding in the same way--being there no matter what.

Some nights I feel desperate. Some days I feel exhausted. But, the most important thing for me to remember is that these first years are fleeting. Noah will one day, when he's ready, sleep on his own in his own way and on his own terms. I look forward to looking back at these long, weary, foggy nights of little sleep with no regrets. I find peace in knowing that my son never cried for me in the night when I did not appear--that when he reached for me I was there.

These moments in our dark moonlit room are special. Time briefly pauses long enough for me to watch him grow, feel his breath against my breast and know that he is comforted by my nearness.

My role of mommy continues even with the setting sun. And, with a little nighttime help from daddy, I know that I can make it, albeit sleepily, to see it set and rise again.

3 comments:

Rosanna =) said...

Amen!

I read online somewhere the other day and something really resonated with me. Why would I want to teach my child that I will be there for him only during the day time but don't bother mommy at night?!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this in the dark when Henry woke up screeching with joy at 4:30. He learned to flip over with confidence yesterday and he seems to be working on it in his sleep too. I tried to play dead for a moment, but he was so happy, cooing, patting my face...it hurt to be awake, but I also felt incredibly blessed to be there for him in this moment of excitement and accomplishment. We played and snuggled for a while and then I told him it was nighttime and I was going to help him go back to sleep. A sweet, short moment in a long life...surely it's worth some missed zzz's.

Sometimes I do feel crazy when I hear from my friends who put their baby down at 6:30 and never hear a peep until the morning, but it always helps me to think about life from Henry's perspective, the newness, the strangeness, how comforting it must be to have mom and dad only a touch away.

I know we all do what we feel is right by our kid, and this is what resonates in my heart. Whatever our choices, I hope that all parents can feel that way.

Carrie

m a m a :: m i l i e u said...

What a beautiful comment, Carrie. Thank you.

I especially love "it always helps me to think about life from Henry's perspective, the newness, the strangeness, how comforting it must be to have mom and dad only a touch away."

Henry is a very lucky and loved beautiful boy. We are so luck to be your friends.

xo

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