Monday, October 30, 2006

Bedtime here at our house, part 1 (a few words about babies and bedtime)

We just put all our little ones to bed, and as I rocked Sophie in her room, I thought about how many times I've gone through the nighttime ritual since I became a mom. Carter is well past his fifth birthday, so it has been at least 1900 times!

When Carter was first born, I was very unsure about how bedtime should work. I had heard all the stories about babies and then young children who would not sleep for years, and was a little scared that might happen to me. A very kind young mother in our church told me about Babywise, and I followed the prescribed schedule in a rather strict manner. Carter did sleep through the night by his third month, took great naps, and seemed to love his bed (after the first few weeks of scheduling, that is).

Since we were following Babywise principles pretty closely, there was not much rocking at bed time. I did spend a good bit of time rocking Carter, but we usually rocked while I nursed him or during 'wake/play' time. When it was time for bed, it was cuddling while I held him next to the bed and then I would put him in bed and that was the end of that (after the first couple of weeks or so, he would go right to sleep or entertain himself until he fell asleep- he literally loved going to bed).

I was happy with this arrangement, and Carter seemed to be happy as well. I didn't spend a lot of time in bed time rituals- I was afraid that I would create a 'crutch' for him. I have changed a bit since then!

As the years go by, and two more children have been added to our family, I have learned that very few rules are quite so 'hard and fast'- and there are few guarantees. Rocking a baby before bed does not have to create a 'crutch'. But being able to place your baby in his crib knowing that he will most likely go to sleep and sleep until morning is a beautiful thing. Now I do both, but more about that in a later post!

Next post: Here comes Josh- how bed time changed with Baby #2!


TulipGirl said...

We BW'd our first. And second with modifications. More modifications and less BW with the third. And tossed BW out the window by the fourth!

I found that the good in Babywise (emphasizing importance of the husband/wife relationship, etc) was good. But so much of the materials used fear as motivations to have parents embrace a very particular style and "philosophy." And like you pointed out with the sleep-crutch example, a lot of the fear-based persuasion was just not necessary.

Grace and peace,

TulipGirl said...

". . .a lot of the fear-based persuasion was just not necessary."

Oh--not just unnecessary, but I don't think it is good for parents (especially first-time parents) have so much fear-motivation.

Tami said...

Thank you for your comments! I think you are right, tulipgirl- fear should never be our motivation as parents, but this is something we must constantly be on guard against.