Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Biting my Tongue

For the past few months Easton and I have been going to a baby play group every Tuesday afternoon. The program is a drop-in play time for babies 0-1 that’s run by our local school district’s Early Childhood program. There are a handful of moms and babies that are there each week but there are also typically 2-3 new moms each time. We all sit around and chat while we play with our babies in a big room filled with toys. I’m not usually one for situations that require forced conversation with strangers (I’m so not an extrovert) but it’s pretty relaxed and low-key and there are usually only 4-6 moms at a time so I kind of like it.

Yesterday’s session was a little different. There were 11 moms with babies in the room this time, which was the biggest group I’ve seen so far. At any given time there were at least 4 different conversations going at once. I spent some of the time talking with the two moms that are there every week and chatted with some new faces but, as usual, much of the time was spent wrangling Easton. While I was occupied with him, I happened to overhear a few moms near me talking about getting their kids to sleep and the conversation made my blood boil.

Now, I’m clearly no expert on getting babies to sleep. Far from it, in fact. My 10 month old has not slept a stretch over 3 hours in the past 8 months and still has never spent an entire night in his crib. But I have some very strong opinions when it comes to parenting. I know how I want to care for my child (when it comes to most topics, there are still some that I’m unsure of) and while I truly don’t judge other moms for having different ideas, I get irritated when I hear them put down my style of parenting.

Back to those two moms. One woman said that her 5 month old son still doesn’t fall asleep on his own and she’s trying to start sleep training. Mom #2, who had a 6 month old, went on to tell her exactly how she should go about that in a way that implied that her way was the only “right” way. She told Mom #1 that she had implemented the program when her son was 3-4 months old and he became a good sleeper almost right away. She instructed her to put the baby down in his crib and leave him to cry… for up to an hour. The second day, she was to put him down and let him cry… for up to TWO hours.

Now I’m the first to admit I do not like the cry it out method at all. That being said, I know that it works well for some moms to put their babies down and let them cry for increasingly longer periods. However, I have NEVER heard someone suggest leaving their baby, at just 3 months old, to cry alone in his crib for 2 hours. Ugh.

I’m not one to jump into conversations and offer my opinions when they aren’t asked, so I didn’t. But boy did I want to. I just couldn’t fathom giving out that kind of advice and then criticizing mothers who choose not to let their babies cry it out. Maybe using that technique would be the solution to getting to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, but there’s no way I could listen to Easton’s heartbreaking cries and do nothing for so long. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think I’ll stick with bags under my eyes for now.

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