Monday, February 21, 2011

Cry and you cry alone?

My husband and I talked last night about how to put Peter to bed. Or rather, I talked and he reminded me that he and science still both support me. We do not put Peter down and leave him to cry it out. This isn't to say he doesn't cry during bedtime, but he doesn't cry alone. I nurse him and sing lullabies and snuggle with him until he is quiet and relaxed, then ease him into his bassinet next to our bed. Once down, he sometimes fusses for a few minutes, but if he starts to escalate rather than his "I'm tired but I don't want to sleep" cry, I pick him up and start all over again.
A lot of people think I'm crazy and spending far more time than is necessary. Nights when it takes more than an hour to get him down, I start to wonder if they're right. I try to just put him down and let him cry, but he is miserable and I know all he wants is to be held and feel safe. I have to pick him up. In the end, my litmus test for parenting decisions is, "Am I doing this because it is best for him or because it is convenient for me?" If I left him to cry himself to sleep, it would definitely be a case of my convenience. The counter-arguments about teaching him independence and self-soothing just seem like excuses. I don't know any teenagers that need to be rocked to sleep, so I am confident he will figure it out.
Nights like tonight, when we started putting him down at 7:00 and he is wide awake (and very happy) at 8:30 make me question myself. Thankfully, my husband and son are always willing to give me an emphatic answer.

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