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Help me make this life altering decision!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

DD is just about 12 months old. She is a mix of all the kinds of baby temperaments. I can't pigeon hold her to just one (easy, shy, spirited). She is extreeeemely attached to Mama. As of the last month, she hates when Daddy comes near her because it usually means we will be separated. She breaks his heart every day. This is especially pronounced at bedtime. We used to take turns putting her down at night, and now she wails as though I've dumped her in a garbage can alone if I leave her in bed with Daddy.


Here's the thing, I have been studying to become a birth doula, and took the workshop in February. I would really like to continue pursuing this, but I've had to put it on hold since her behavior changed. She refuses to take the bottle anymore. She refuses to take the binki, too, and slaps it away with great disdain and a loud "NO!" even in the wee hours of the morning. She also began to pacify on my breast recently and we went through hell trying to get her to stop doing that. No she nurses every hour on the hour at night.


I read the No Cry Sleep Solution and the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers. I refuse to use CIO, but it's weird for me to be considering any kind of sleep training at all. We are very pro attachment parenting, and knew that when we made the decision to co-sleep, we were committing to see it through for many years. Now that I want to be a doula, I am wondering if there is ANY way to get her in a crib in her own room and night weaned! I feel shame admitting it, but that's how badly I want to be a doula, and I just don't know how I could possibly be gone for 24+ hours and have her be okay.


Is it too late? Should I just drop the idea of becoming a doula for the next few years (forfeiting the $1000+ I spent on the doula workshop -- class + travel and lodging, and have to take it over again?)


Or should I go for it, just attempting to do 3 births in the next few years to get my certification, but knowing that those 3 nights would be absolute hell for both DD and DH?


OR, should I sleep train her, get her in her own crib, her own room, and try to lessen the amount she eats at night, and stop the sucking to sleep association so that other people can help put her down?


This is really killing me. I just don't know what to do. I admit that I fear if I don't pursue doulahood now, I won't do it in a few years and I will have just failed at finishing yet another thing I started.


How do I make this decision? Any advice on getting the most extremely attached, sensitive, semi-high needs toddler to accept these changes? Could trying to sleep train her be more harm than good?!?!


I need totally honest, opinionated, straight up, truth...


Thank you so much for your time.



post #2 of 21

I hate to discourage any woman from following her dreams but it might be a bad idea at this age. Sounds like baby really needs you at this stage in her life for whatever reason. Soon your little will want more of her own independence and you can have a little of your own.

post #3 of 21
I would do it. I wouldn't sleep train or anything (I might nightwean...if overall I was done with nursing at night). they will work it out. It's important for them to learn to deal with stuff like this and it's important for you to follow your dream.

When I clicked on the post it brought me to the PP's response and I assumed you were asking to go off for 3 months or something!

She'll be fine. It'll be good for them smile.gif
post #4 of 21

I agree.  She won't be at this same stage for the next three years!  She and Daddy will figure it out for the 3 nights that you will need to realize your dream. 


If you give it up, you will resent her, and you don't want that!


Perhaps night-weaning is a good idea, since it seems like there is already a bit of tension and frustration.  Check out kellymom and the mama advice here on MDC.

post #5 of 21

she probably won't even be in this stage for another 3 weeks, let alone 3 years! when dd was 12 months old, we went to stay at a hotel with her grandparents while her daddy was running a marathon. she would let NO ONE but me hold her, barely would even let others be in the room without wanting to be in my arms, freaked out so easily about anything happening too fast or that she didn't like. total little barnacle. fast forward one month (not even... more like 3 weeks) and my parents came to visit us and suddenly they were the cats pajamas. i even got to go in the hot tub in the pool at their hotel because little miss barnacle was so happy to be in grandma's arms, she didn't even care that i was at the other end of the room. and she loved the pool, whereas 3 weeks prior she was crying when i even went near it... and i was able to leave her in a room with my friend at the library this morning for 20 min while i dealt with some stuff... and she didn't even notice i'd gone.


please don't worry too much. it seems like such an impossibility right now, but she will probably be over this very clingy stage before you can blink your eyes, and even if she's not, i think it's important that you get to follow some of your passions too. she might not like it at the moment, but she will be okay!

post #6 of 21
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post She won't be at this same stage for the next three years! 

So you have to attend three births in the next few years?! Your DD will surely change and be over this in that time. I would just do it. I also agree that your DH will find his way, and even if it takes a couple of rough nights, I don;t believe that will cause any real damage. My DS is kind of the same way about not letting anyone else put him down. I decided to go back to work one evening a week, and worried a lot about it. But guess what? It's been a couple months and DH can now get DS down no problem! There were a few harsh experiences at first and I felt terrible about that at the time, but it's not like he was being abandoned to CIO or anything.....his loving papa was right there with him the whole time. I guess DS finally got used to his dad. So will your DD.

post #7 of 21

A lot of times, as parents, we have to put stuff in our life on hold for the sake of our children. My own goal is to become a doula and lactation consultant as well. But I don't want to think about doing it until I am done having children, and they are older, so that I can feel safe being out of the house at all hours and leaving them with their father or alone (much later on!)


However, I agree that your daughter might be fine in two years, so if you've weighed the pros and cons and are really ready for this, then I am sure you can find a way to make it work.

post #8 of 21

I guess I thought you were saying you would be gone routinely for an extended period...if that was the case I would still stand be my first post but if it is just a few times here and there, etc., I would say go for it. It probably would be good for her to be 'forced' to take attention and care from daddy, especially if it is on occasion.

post #9 of 21

In addition to what everyone else has said, I would encourage you to give DD and Daddy more time together, little by little, throughout the day. Even if it starts at a minute at a time, over the next few weeks you can increase it every day and help them to bond and snuggle.


We just had this issue with E and naptime. She was used to nursing down and everyone else was tired of the arrangement... so we pushed her a bit, and made sure she was full of milk and I put her down for her morning nap. The first morning was horrible, she cried in my arms for 40 minutes, slept for 40 minutes and that was it. The next day she cried for ten minutes, and slept for an hour! The next day she cried for 30 minutes and slept for 75 minutes.  The naps are up and down, some days it takes ten minutes of happy snuggling and she goes to sleep, other days it's crying and very loud fussing for quite a while... But naps are like that for H as well, so it's not who it is, just how she goes to sleep.  Now I know that I can put her to bed if I need to, and she knows how to go to sleep without the nipple in her mouth.  


Work toward what you want and you'll get there. Just keep talking to your husband and work on it together, I'm sure you can find something that will work for all three of you!

post #10 of 21

I think you should go for it. What enriches your life enriches your daughter's life.


Think about all you will be giving her in the future: the outside interests you will have, how much happier you will be, the stories and lessons you learn during your days, what you can teach her about herself or do for her when she is pregnant with your grandchildren... all of these things are so very important.


Those three nights will be OK. She might just surprise you! And this clingyness is probably a phase that will go away sooner than you expect

post #11 of 21

My guess is that this is a phase that will pass shortly.  All of my babes have gone through this usually between 12-18 months. I think that if you just wait another few months, you will be able to easily meet the needs of both your babies and yours.



post #12 of 21

You know, your DH loves his baby girl, and given the opportunity to figure it out and make it work (especially since you are both pro-attachment parenting - my response may be different if he was all about CIO and corporal punishment), they will thrive together.


I would suggest though, that you try to start giving him time with her NOW rather than waiting until you have to go to a birth and it lasts 2 days.  Go to the local coffee shop and read the paper or a good book for 45 minutes a few times a week.  The first few times may be tough for both of them, but if your DH is loving and patient it will get better fast.  Also encourage him to be super involved just in general - changing dipes, maybe showering with her, or giving her baths, feeding her (if she's doing solids), playing games, reading to her, etc.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Can I just say, WOW, thank you all so much for your responses!!


I really needed some touchstones here; I was feeling floaty and all over the place about what is right and wrong and all the shoulds and coulds and what ifs. I ended up calling a good friend of mine, who introduced me to the attachment parenting philosophy while I was pregnant. I told her everything and she reminded me of all the reasons why keeping DD attached is the best thing for everyone. Her thoughts re-sparked my passion for why we are co-sleeping and responding well to her needs, and it really helped me realize that maybe if I just give DD all the Mama she could ever ask for, she will become so full on me that she will start reaching for her Daddy again (because there was a time when they really were nuts about each other).

It's so great to hear from some of you that you believe this could just be a developmental phase. I needed to hear that because I feared it would only get worse if I didn't do something now.


Fear is the mind killer, isn't it?!


I'm going to go ahead and take steps toward finding my first client, and aim for July. Then see how it goes, and move on from there. If you guys don't think 3 nights (total, spread out over a few years) of possible agony for both DD and DH is the worst thing in the world, then maybe I can learn to live with it too. And hopefully it won't be so bad after all.


( s i g h )


okay now I can breathe.

Thanks again you guys.

post #14 of 21

Originally Posted by october View Post


maybe if I just give DD all the Mama she could ever ask for, she will become so full on me that she will start reaching for her Daddy again



What a sweet way to describe your commitment to AP! It is how I feel as well. As overwhelming, and yes, frustrating, it sometimes is to be the only one who can calm Cecilia down right now, I would feel like I was not honoring my parenting commitment by denying my girl that comfort. She needs Mama right now, so Mama it will be. When she's a little older and not so deeply in the throes of separation anxiety, maybe Papa will do, too. smile.gif

post #15 of 21

Definitely take the training S L O W L Y!! She needs you right now... you're right its a commitment, but the time you spend attached now,well it means a solid, centered, confident little one later! ... My little guy DS1 was slow to catch onto Dad... we joked that it was no milk... but they are so close now! And I am so impressed by DH and how he just gave love and never resented my little guy not being into daddy AT ALL, it was awesome how he just was like there, and waiting, and always so loving, but with no demands.... I still marvel 'cuz it broke my heart to watch him be rejected! You guys will do great, and some time Dad will be just EVERYTHING!! and you will be like wow, and love it all even more.

Edited by skyewriter - 3/24/11 at 8:21pm
post #16 of 21
Originally Posted by skyewriter View Post
And I am so impressed by DH and how he just gave love and never resented my little guy not being into daddy AT ALL, it was awesome how he just was like there, and waiting, and always so loving, but with no demands.... I still marvel 'cuz it broke my heart to watch him be rejected! You guys will do great, and some time Dad will be just EVERYTHING!! and you will be like wow, and love it all even more.

This is my husband, too, and I am so glad to hear his patience paid off for yours!

post #17 of 21

12 months is a classic age for separation anxiety to start.  It's probably that, and it won't last for ever, but it might be a little while.  You might google "separation anxiety" to get an idea of how long it could last.  They get over it when they learn about object permanence - taht you still exist when she can't see you - so playing peek-a-boo can help, but that will take a while too.  Good luck!

post #18 of 21
  1. My DD got over that stage for the most part around 15 m/o She actually began insisting she cuddle with daddy to go to sleep
  2. I would not sleep train or NW but I would set limits with her at night.
  3. I don't think 3 days will kill her, but since they are 24hr days you will have to pump and I am sure she will succumb to the bottle...however you better be prepared that she will probably be endlessly clingy for a few days after and DH will go through hell so you might want to help him relieve some tension!



IDK what happened or why those numbers are there



post #19 of 21

I will toss out the idea that if you were not in the house, your DD would be much happier going to your DH. Both my children went through the "mommy mommy mommy" stage, and would push away my DH, but if I went out and they were alone with him, why, what cheerful little daddy's kids they suddenly became! Your DD may prefer you right now, but if you weren't available, she would fall quickly back on her bond with her dad--and be none the worse for wear, I assure you.


I often advise moms to encourage their partners to take the kids out by themselves around this age--it helps them develop their own ways of relating to each other and communicating with each other if they can't fall back on you to "solve" every issue. An hour or two at the park, at the mall, or just plain out and about with Daddy gives them both confidence to rely on each other.

post #20 of 21

Can her father try giving her a cup since she won't take a bottle?

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