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May 18, 2012 / tlsomm

The Hard Work is Starting to Pay Off

If you are friends with any moms on Facebook, it’s likely you’ve come across many comments and debates over a recent Time Magazine feature story.  It directly asks the reader if they are “Mom Enough” and follows with thoughts on the attachment parenting style.

I haven’t read the article, but early on in my mom career I identified strongly with the attachment parenting style.  As described by Attachment Parenting International (API), “The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.”

I listen to my daughter and do my best to attend her needs, whether morning, noon, or night.  She certainly tested my reserves of patience when it came to sleeping.  As a tired infant, she was rocked and bounced at times up to an hour before sleep commenced, and then might only nap for an hour.  Day after day, week after week, I grew weary of it all, but persisted.  Advice abounds to allow the child to “teach herself” to fall asleep by leaving them in a crib.  My daughter was never one to lie patiently and stare at the ceiling until her eyelids closed into sweet slumber.  Oh no.  Putting my child to bed was WORK.

As she grew older, she fell asleep with only nursing and that lasted well into her first year.  What worked in our house was to scrap the crib altogether and lay a twin mattress on the floor.  The two of us would snuggle while I nursed her.  After she fell asleep, I’d creep away silently.  The whole process took roughly 30 minutes and was very Mama focused.  Obviously I’m the only one that can nurse her, so it was my responsibility to put her to bed.  Dad would sub in on occasion, but she certainly preferred me.

By about 20 months, I was done with nursing and so I needed a new technique.  We purchased a nice glider/rocking chair which got the job done, but still could take 30 minutes before she fell asleep.

She has been increasingly progressing at getting herself to sleep.  My triumph moment has come.  All the work in helping her relax, calm herself down, and fall asleep has paid off.  Now, at 27 months, she really doesn’t need me.  I can lay her in her bed, put the blanket on her, give her a kiss and walk away.  She snuggles up and is out within minutes.  One time, I pretended to nap on the couch and she said, “no mama!” and marched off to her room (implying that is NOT where we nap!).  10 minutes later I checked and she was snuggled up asleep.

Yes, it may seem like a long journey and a lot of work for something as easy as falling asleep, but I feel a heavy investment early on will yield huge rewards for a confident, loving, empathetic young girl.

On another note, I’d like to give a nod to a fellow blogger over at Sleeping Should Be Easy, who details the lessons learned while being a Mom.  I immediately identified with the title and found many wonderful posts.

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