could babywearing & co-sleeping cause baby to not be comfortable with other caretakers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD2 (now 5 months) has strong opinions about who she is happy being held by, and how long she will allow various different friends and relatives to hold her before she starts to cry. My poor MIL, with whom DD often gets fussy with sooner than with others, has suggested to me many times that this is because DP and I wore her a great deal in her early months and slept snuggled with her -- that she literally became more "attached" to my/our smells/sounds/motion/whatever. (As a newborn the only way she would sleep at night was snuggled, and from months 2-4, being worn was the only way we could get her to take good naps, despite a lot of experimentation.)

I keep saying I don't think these things are the cause of the current challenges having her be held or cared for by other caretakers. But might she be right?
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#2 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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My DD is a lot like this, and I do the same things you do, however I do feel it's pretty normal to behave this way.  Right about when my DD turned 4 months, she started to really realize when someone that was not me was holding her.  She even gets cranky sometimes with her daddy.  How often does she see your MIL?  When we go to my MIL's house to visit (at least once a week), I hold DD in my lap with MIL talking to her until DD seems very warmed up to her, then MIL can hold her for a good bit until she gets fussy.  However when dropping DD off at MIL's house for date night, we find it works best if I drop DD in MIL's arms and take off as quickly as possible.


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#3 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 04:21 PM
 
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Well the whole point of attachment parenting is that babies are strongly attached to their main caregiver because that is healthy for them. Babywearing and co-sleeping help to foster that attachment. So yes, I think your MIL is probably right ( although most babies will show a strong mother preference at certain developmental stages regardless of parenting style). Where it sounds like I would differ from your MIL is that I don't perceive this as a problem. It is a normal, healthy part of child development and should, IMO, be honored as much as possible.

I'm sure it is hard for MIL as she loves her granddaughter and wants to cuddle her but it won't last forever. Is your LO happy to interact with MIL from the safely of your lap? Maybe you could go out of your way to encourage that sort of play.
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#4 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our challenge is that not allowing herself to be held by my MIL didn't start at some "developmentally typical" stage -- it began when she was a newborn, just a week or two old. She sees her once a week, when MIL comes to our house to care for DD1. (She would like to be caring for both children, but DD2 generally won't last with her for more than 15 minutes at a time.)

DD2 is very different from DD1 in this way -- DD1 was perfectly happy to be held and cared for by a wide variety of people, and was since I work part-time and when she was a baby, I cobbled together childcare from many relatives and neighbors. On the other hand, nearly from birth, DD2 has protested strongly when she's held by people other than her parents. She's gradually broadened her "acceptable" category, so that by 3-5 months she's often been willing to be held by friends and relatives she's never met before, even for long periods of time. But MIL, who she sees frequently and is held by regularly, continues to be in the category of people she won't tolerate for long. MIL thinks this is because I wore DD2 more hours per day than I wore DD1, and because when she was little she slept closer to me in bed (I co-slept with DD1, too, but not "snuggled").

DD2 is perfectly willing to sit in my lap and look at MIL. We do that for a long time every week. But it doesn't seem to be helping her be ready to be cared for by MIL. I guess we all thought that after doing that every week for almost 6 months, we'd have made more progress.

And it's a problem because I do work, and I do need childcare, and MIL is our primary childcare provider, and DD2 has a harder time with her than with most people, and MIL blames me. greensad.gif
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#5 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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In that case it sounds to me more like a personality thing with DD2. Not sure what you do about it but I certainly don't think it's your fault. Sorry I don't have any useful advice :-(

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#6 of 14 Old 06-09-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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I do believe your daughters would behave the same way if you parented them any other way. I am familiar with three other children who were worn, co slept and breastfed and they all handle being seperated from their mothers differently. One couldn't bare to be without her mother. My three yr old has never had a problem being away from me. I too have a five month old and he is just starting to prefer me to others and definitely familiar faces to strangers. Mine are both boys and we do all of the cosleeping,wearing,nursing etc. I feel my second son has more of a n "I want my mommy" attitude than my first. I truly believe it is their nature and that our parenting style sets them up to trust us and know they are supported so they can be free and unafraid to explore their world. Wondering if your MIL wears strong perfumes or a certain scent baby may not like, or is she not 'comfortable' -maybe wears jewelry or unsoft clothing?
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#7 of 14 Old 06-10-2012, 05:12 AM
 
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When my dd was around 4-7 months, she was very clingy and attached to me. She would fuss a lot if I left her with my mother or sister, and my family always said it was because I wear her too much and co-sleep with her. Now she is almost 12 months old, and is comfortable with all familiar faces of my family. I could easily leave her with them for 3 hours. We still babywear and co-sleep. Maybe it's just a stage? 


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#8 of 14 Old 06-10-2012, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by girlspn View Post

Now she is almost 12 months old, and is comfortable with all familiar faces of my family. I could easily leave her with them for 3 hours. We still babywear and co-sleep. Maybe it's just a stage? 

I hope you're right that it's a stage! Hearing that it changed by around 12 months offers hope -- most others who had a similar challenge (I posted a related thread on a slightly different topic) said it wasn't until age 2 or beyond. Although if it's "just a stage," it's been her entire life so far, birth to 5 1/2 months!

I don't think MIL wears any strong perfumes or scents, and I don't think it's an uncomfortable jewelry/clothing issue, either.

Are there people who co-sleep and babywear a lot whose babies are still happy to be cared for by others?
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#9 of 14 Old 06-10-2012, 07:49 PM
 
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We cosleep and BF and DS (10 months) would strongly prefer I rock him to sleep in his mei tai every night (a routine we're gently trying to change, so DP can help put him to sleep, but that's a whole different story). While we use a stroller for really long walks, we prefer to wear him around the house and when we're out and about.

And DS can't get enough of other people. I took him to a bunch of parties on our local election night in may and he was reaching out of my arms to any person who interacted with him. He was content being held by strangers (to him; I knew them and stayed with him while others held him). Today, at my little brother's graduation party, he was clingy for the first hour or so (but had just woken up) then spent the next SIX hours basically socializing with my extended family (whom he's met once or twice--we flew in for this). He checked in with me pretty regularly but was happy to play with aunts and uncles and grandparents.

That's just his personality. He's always been super social and independent. He has yet to bat an eye or get remotely upset when I drop him at school in the morning.

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#10 of 14 Old 06-10-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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Oh, I was going to ask--have you let MIL hold/watch DD2 while you leave the room or house? It's possible that if you aren't a nearby option, DD2 will quickly adapt to the familiar option she does have, MIL. DP has a MUCH harder time putting DS to bed if I'm in the next room. But if I run an errand, it's a piece of cake.

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#11 of 14 Old 06-10-2012, 09:07 PM
 
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It sounds to me like this is more about your DD's personality than the way she is parented. Everyone is different and adapts to situations differently. Would your MIL be open to using one of DD's favorite carriers to wear her?


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#12 of 14 Old 06-11-2012, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had to leave for work once since DD2 was born, when she was 4 months old. (I'm lucky enough to work from home, but would normally have many more "out of the house" work days in August and September, assuming we have a childcare situation that will work for her by then.)

The day I left for work, I had to be gone for 3 hours, in the evening. We set up MIL up to wear DD most of the time I was away, thinking she'd sleep. Instead, it seems she cried nearly the whole 3 hours -- cry, fall asleep, wake up, cry some more, repeat. MIL was proud that "she didn't cry the whole time!" but it turns out when I asked clarifying questions that pretty much the only time she wasn't crying was when she was asleep. Oh dear.

We could certainly experiment more with shorter errands where I "disappear" and then re-appear in 15 minutes or an hour. But given the experiences so far, it doesn't seem like the data suggest that would help.

@AmyPDX, I highly recommend the pick-up/put-down technique taught in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems -- it helped both my kids learn to go to sleep in their cribs without being worn/nursed to sleep. I used it at 5-6 months in both cases and it was amazing. You can and should, of course, modify it so it feels right for you. The theory is similar to Ferber (babies can learn skills to be able to fall asleep), but it's MUCH gentler because you never leave the room, you pick the baby up when she cries, etc.
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#13 of 14 Old 06-11-2012, 09:00 AM
 
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@indigosky - that's essentially what we're doing, but without picking him up. Just lying next to him on his floor bed and patting his back until he's asleep. First night took DP 25 minutes, with him crying for the first ten. Second night was no cry, asleep in about 7 minutes! I tried it third night and after a little wrestling to get him to lie down (which he protested a bit), he was asleep in less than ten without crying. It's like magic! The issue before was he would resist lying down, and we took that as a sign he wasn't sleepy. Really, he needs us to lay him down repeatedly until he doesn't get back up (rolling to lean against me is okay, sitting up and crawling off is not). I had to lay him down about ten times before he let out a sigh and settled in.

Sorry to sidetrack the thread...

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#14 of 14 Old 06-11-2012, 12:06 PM
 
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I don't think it's the babywearing/co-sleeping that does it. We've parented all five of our children pretty much the same way; some of them have been ok with other people taking care of them as babies and some of them haven't.


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