I can't imagine even thinking that a six month old should be sleeping through the night let alone learning to self-soothe. I agree with everyone-- trust your gut and you're doing a great job!
Many older kids still need to be comforted at bedtime long after they've weaned so of course a baby does! Mine are 4 and 6 and need books, songs, basically a "routine" that calms them down and makes them feel secure.
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
For the first two months of his life, my LO woke up every 30-45 minutes for the first two to three hours of a sleep cycle (sometimes more!), to nurse, get a diaper change, stare at us, cry for whatever reason, or just generally adjust to having all of his systems come online as part of "Life Outside Of Mom." I slept by physically sitting upright in my bed, pillows under my elbows, LO wrapped in a blanket and cradled in my arms, and I am 99.98% certain I would have murdered anyone who told me NOT to do it, because it was the only way he, my husband, and myself got ANY sleep.
We still cosleep, and my now 16-month old son is somewhat slow to settle - but he also doesn't have screaming fits, anxiety about bed, or wake up a million times a night. It's just way more fun to stay up and play than it is to sleep. But - once he's out, he's OUT. I credit trusting my instincts on how to help him feel secure early on...give yourself the same credit! Your ped sees your child for a few minutes every few months. You see your child every minute of every day, and you best know what to do for your child. As long as what you're doing works for you and your LO, tell your doctor to can it with the parenting tips - or else, let him know when you need a babysitter and see if he's available, since he knows so much about kids!
Anyone here have any tips about how to (nicely or 'firmly') tell a doctor/nurse to butt out? There's one RN at our current office I'd love to tell to STFU...our ped is super-supportive of us, so I don't understand how this RN is employed with her. University facility, I guess...can't pick all your staff.
Another way to reply is just to keep saying that "Dr. Jones recommended to do such and such, so I'm going to follow his advice." "I would feel uncomfortable going against my doctor's advice since I trust him." Etc.
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DD Seraphina born at home on 2/21/2012!"Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."
I love the phrase "self-soothe" (just to inject another viewpoint). One of my girls can pop her thumb in her mouth and snuggle up and comfort herself in a way that works for her. It doesn't mean I don't nurse her, and it doesn't mean that I don't go to her and try to comfort her, but I think it is amazing that she has the skills to calm down her own upsets, while in someone's arms, or those few times when it's not possible, like when I am dealing with her sister, or when we're driving. I wish her sister had the same skills, and hope that as she gets more verbal we can get her there (they used to each suck one of A's thumbs, but that faded out by about nine months) But none of this was something we taught, it all emerged (we just did our best to encourage it...rocking her with that hand free, etc.)
When I get advice that doesn't resonate with me, especially from a doctor or family friend, I say thank you, use any bit that might feel right, and ignore all the rest. Thank you doesn't mean that I'm going to use the advice. Or, if they insist, "Thanks, but we don't want to mess with something that's working for all of us right now."
The concept of self-soothing is lovely. It's the current USE of it that's ugly. Self-soothing is something learned by the self. It's not taught; it can't be taught. I can't be taught to be a self-taught concert flautist. To be self-taught, I have to teach it to myself! Learning it on my own, in my own time. Same with the idea of children self-soothing.
People also forget about the ING part of self-soothing. It's a process. A long process. One that can't be rushed; if it's rushed, then it's being forced, and it's not something coming from within.
A baby starting the long process of SELF-soothING is a normal baby. As long as we realized it's a loooooong process. I, myself, only worked it out the past couple years, and I'm 42! I can finally fall asleep fairly quickly and without talking to someone as I fall to sleep. (started in a family bed then rudely moved to a room with my brother when our dad threatened mom with custody battles over "sleeping with" mom...then promptly let his second family sleep in his bed for *literal* decades...so not being able to wind myself down isn't because someone was there with me! quite the opposite unless I had a nightmare or leg ache) It's a process! :)
Thanks ladies. I love getting all the encouragement. Sometimes it feels so yucky when my baby still needs lots of help falling asleep, then wakes 45 mins into bedtime and needs help falling back asleep. It just feel like my entire evening is devoted to getting her to fall asleep/stay asleep and how I WISH she would fall asleep easily and I could enjoy some free time with my hubby. Oh well. I know she'll grow out of it eventually. I used to just let her lie on me and nurse through her naps - it was the only way to get her to nap a decent length - and I don't need to do that anymore. And you know what, I kinda miss it. At the time I was worried I was doing the "wrong" thing - making her too dependent on me for sleep. But I don't regret it now. So maybe in a year or so I'll look back on my nights devoted to getting her to stay asleep with fond memories.
Someone commented and said their son would take a long time to fall asleep as a babe, but now he falls asleep and is out like a log. I hope my dd gets there. :-)
At any rate, thank you fellow mamas.