I feel like I'm posting on here all the time, but I find it so helpful to have some sort of AP community. I've loved AP - had so much joy in parenting and feel that, most of the time, it's pretty smooth for us. But all the constant questions about "is she sleeping through the night?" and "here's what you can do to get her to sleep through the night" are wearing me out. I can answer the questions fine ("she's sleeping fine for her age" she gets up every 3 hours, which I don't love, but I never thought much about it - since she's only 4.5 mo - until everyone started talking about it like it was crazy), but i'd just like to hear something else about parenting from people. My one AP irl friend said that it's too bad people don't ask "how are you enjoying your baby?" more often. Added to that, my closest friend here is doing babywise with her baby, and we've started talking about it since it was the elephant in the room, and even though we've talked pretty respectfully about our differences, I don't feel like I explained AP very well, and I do feel implicitly criticized for being an indulgent and unhealthy parent. I don't know that she actually thinks that, but the two methods DO implicitly critique each other, and she's felt secretly criticized, too, which is no fun, but probably true to an extent. So I just feel down down down. Usually I can stand strong in my beliefs about AP, and I so enjoy our happy, contented baby, but I find myself feeling yucky and distracted lately and would love some encouragement from some moms who have been AP themselves - esp. if you've done it for a while and are happy a few years down the road! I'm not in danger of giving it up - I really believe in it - but I feel uncertain today and I want to be recentered in the joy of mothering my baby the way we've chosen.
Just needing some fellow AP encouragement
Enjoy your baby!
I just came from a weekend spent with my parents.
- "How can you get anything done if you're holding the baby all the time?"
- "She isn't going to learn how to crawl if you never put her down."
- "Just let her cry. After a few days, she'll sleep through the night on her own."
She's in the sling for naps; otherwise, she's on the floor. Do they think she's really not going to learn how to crawl? She is a human, after all.
I have a lot of AP support from my husband, which I've found to be SO helpful. And MDC!
Hang in there! Stick to your gut. You're doing the right thing.
One thing I am learning as I go, which is not always easy, is to stand firm and be proud ~or at least confident and firm~ when I present my parenting to others (like when they ask about sleep or why I don't use a stroller). I have learned not to bring up the subject of sleep and I know who I can complain to when my son isn't sleeping well (AP friends and here). You just have to pick and choose who you voluntarily share what with. And learn to trust yourself and be clear when others ask. I am also rather short in my answers and just sort of move on to the next topic.
"Is he sleeping well?"
" Eh, not always, but that's actually natural since he's going through so much developmentally and I can roll with it. Yeah, he's learning to walk and getting three teeth! Man, they sure do grow up fast!!"
As for your good friend who isn't doing it the AP way....that's tricky. I started a thread on exactly that topic in the TAO forum, as I am never sure how to proceed when you're already close with someone. Here it is, there were some interesting answers as to what other people do when that comes up. At least in that discussion, it seemed like most people are able to manage to stay friends and it doesn't come between them.
I find with such friends I avoid specific topics when we disagree, and that seems to work. But I have my limits. I have one good friend whom I am drifting away from, and one reason is she is SUCH a different parent than I am, and it's sometimes hard to witness the things going on with her kids and just sit there like I think it's okay, implicitly agreeing, kwim? But it's also a symptom of us just being very, very different people and at some point our paths were bound to diverge.
It sounds like you and your friend were able to respectfully acknowledge each other and move on. I would leave it at that and not bring up the topic of baby sleep with her anymore. Soon enough, it won't even be a topic anymore anyhow once your kids are older!
I can tell you this - my daughter is 7 years old now and we did all the same AP stuff with her, cosleeping, extended nursing, gentle discipline, etc. It's funny, for her first almost 3 yrs, she was on top of me all the time, didn't want to go to anyone else, somewhat shy, took a while to size up a room, that sort of thing.
At the time I just *knew* that it was the right thing to do to take care of her the way she needed to be taken care of. I had tons of friends - "you have to just put her out there - she'll be ok." Why won't she run and play in the park right away? She's still sleeping with you? Just let me hold her, it's ok if she's crying.
Let me tell you she is the BEST-adjusted 7 year old I know. She is totally fearless, can run into a group of totally new kids and have a blast. She's incredibly independent and adventurous. As a toddler, she had way fewer tantrums and meltdowns than my friends who did not do AP,
I think it's because when she needed me, I was there for her. And even now - we still cosleep occasionally - lay with her to go to bed - in my mind, it's a nice way to fall asleep with someone beside you. Why should she be deprived of it, when I like it myself?
I'll tell you one more anecdote - we were at a park a few blocks away from a birthday party when she was about 3 or 4 and she lost her balloon. I watched her as she watched it float away and she just crumpled into a litlte ball of the saddest little girl ever, it just broke her heart, for whatever reason that day. A friend said to me, "oh yeah - well, that's the way it goes."
I walked up to DD and said, "Do you want me to walk back to the party and get you another balloon?" Wiping her tears from her eyes she said yes. My friend was like, "don't waste your time!" It took me about 15 mintues or so, but when I came back the look on her face was just priceless. It was a real loss for her, and the fact that I took it seriously and did everythign I could to make it better showed her the respect and love that she needed and deserved.
Anyway - that's a longwinded way of saying that it WILL pay off!
It does get easier as time goes by and you see the payoffs.
My ds just turned 6 and of course he isn't perfect but he is very mature (according to anyone who gets to know him- his teacher just told us this) and so intelligent (his reading was tested a year ago and he was at a grade 3 level, that's the highest the test went).
My dd is 3.5 and it's a tough age, and she's an intense age but she is maturing quickly and all of a sudden is becoming a pleasure to be around. She still doesn't sttn, dh goes to her when she gets up and cuddles her back to sleep. We know she will grow out of this eventually but meeting her needs is important to us as well as letting her know that she's never alone, she doesn't have to be scared, mom & dad are always ALWAYS going to be there when she needs us.
My best advice to you is not to argue or defend your position... if it's working for you that's all that matters. If someone asks a question about your baby's sleep or whatever, it really isn't their business. Smile & nod, say "yes" change the subject, look at your baby, how beautiful she is, how much she loves you and know that you are doing the right thing by her and that is the important thing!
My dd is eleven and I also have a babe so I can tell you...yes it is worth it. My dd and I have a very close relationship and I know AP has a lot to do with it. Our society is all about independence and getting the baby away from you as soon as possible. People truly believe that after a baby is past a few weeks old that they need to start living without you..like ok baby, you're a month old now...time to start making those college plans lol....but seriously I think it's sad. What's the rush? And don't even get me started on Babywise...that is so trashy it makes me sick, especially how they twist things to say that God would want you to do things that way. They will wean and sleep thru the night when they are ready, there is no rush. You know your baby best and you are a great mommy.
You have a happy, contented baby. Really, that right there is its own reward. I have a newborn, and iif he settles into a 3 hour night sleep cycle, that would be great. I also have a 7 yo, and she didn't sleep thru the night until she was 4. Even after she nightweaned at 3, she had to get up to use the potty at least once. So do many adults!
Hi Momma! I also struggle with friends, family and neighbors making comments about my AP parenting. Of course, not everyone knows it has a "label" (AP), but think at 8 months my baby should be more ready to go to others and be without me, ect. ect. I try to think that their comments are based on them trying to be helpful and not judging how I parent. They see me overwhelmed at times and frustrated that I just would like a shower on my own, a few minutes to clean, or simply a minute to get a drink of water without little hands in my glass. They try to offer advice or offer to take care of her for a while, *even if she is crying*. I respectfully decline. Again, I think they are just trying to help. So, of course, I *try* not to act overwhelmed and frustrated, and try to act like I have it all under control so they don't feel the need to say or do anything. That is difficult sometimes. I'm sure every mom has their moments (several times a day?) when APing is overwhelming.
Here is a site I found that helps me feel better about AP. There are some articles on Babywise too. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleep-training-review-of-research.html
AP is completely worth it. Keep doing what you know in your heart is best and you, your babe and your family will be better for it. It is harder with the first babe as everyone loves to give you advise (with the second child, there is much less advise) but I don't know how to avoid that. Be confident in your choice, defend it when you can and avoid it when you are just too tired to deal with it anymore.
As was said in the pp, I have the most well-adjusted, mature, independent, smart, sweet and loving six year old. We are very close, closer than I ever remember being with my own mom. She knows that she is respected and gives respect in return. As a babe, we coslept, exclusively breastfed, took all her naps in a sling, etc. Not all of AP is easy but I sure think it is easier than "training" a baby to do anything.
I do know what you mean though about all the questions on sleep. I now have dd2 (3.5 months) and the constant question I get everyday from someone is "how is she sleeping?" - really?? With dd1, it drove me crazy and I used to feel it was some way for the questioner to judge me and my parentling skills by how well we slept. But now, I honestly think they say it because they do not know what else to say. They want to engage you and and the baby (babies are magnets) and perhaps strike up a conversation that allows them to have some sort of prolonged contact with the baby. So I tell them that I usually get up a couple times a night and they night and we agree that is good. Then I divert the conversation to something else.
Thank you!! You all are wonderful. I feel so much better and reaffirmed in what we're doing. It does feel right, and we do feel so close to and in sync with her. And I know what you mean bird_verde - I think people are just trying to strike up a conversation/show empathy for sleepless nights. It's just not where I want my focus, but I will try to just see it as a conversation opener so people get a chance to be around this life-giving babe.
Our girl is only 10 months so I'm not much further down the track than you. On the sleeping question, I agree it's mainly a parental bonding question. Sleep loss is the thing which unites most parents :-) My response to "is she sleeping through the night?" is usually "Nah, but she's breastfed so I don't expect her to." The declaration of normality seems to work as I've never had anyone suggest that she should be.
I'm sure there is a big dose of personality and a healthy dash of blessing in the mix but our AP/CC'ed baby is the happiest, most secure, laid back little person. I've been very fortunate not to have many negative comments or questions but AP/CC has been/is *totally* worthwhile for us.