We spend a lot of time as moms being critical. Critical of ourselves, critical of other moms, critical of people who are critical of us...let's take a moment and reflect on something we do right.
For me, I am willing to admit that I probably got an easy baby. Especially when it comes to sleeping. He began sleeping 5-6 hour stretches right around 6 weeks and it steadily went longer from there. I can count on one hand the nights I have been up more than 4 times a night, and this is from a child who got nothing but breastmilk his first 4 or 5 months. Sure, there are regressions when he's sick or teething, but they only last a night or two and he's right back to normal.
Now, while I lucked out with this kid who likes to sleep as much as a teenager, I am also willing to say that some of that "luck" is because my husband and I worked so hard the first few months of our sons life. The first year, really. I don't have any great secrets or think I have the key to parenting: trust me, I've had my shares of parental FAIL. But this post is about doing it right and giving myself credit for that.
We never had to Ferberize or use Cry it Out, although we did set a rule once he hit a few months old that we would let him fuss for a few minutes to see if he would settle himself back down. I knew if he got to full-blown crying I could go rescue him and stick him on the boob, but we found that most of the time he made a few peeps and whimpers and then fell back asleep. Trust me, as a mom, it took my dear husband putting a hand on my arm many nights and saying "just let him go a few minutes and see what happens". And sometimes, it was me and my mom instinct telling him "I know that's a hungry cry...let me go!"
We kept the bedtime routine consistent, and introduce changes gradually and with little fanfare (such as the very popular teeth-brushing part of the evening's festivities). Over time, following our son's cues has given us a bedtime routine that works for everyone. Where we use to rock and hold and love, we now turn on the fan together and turn off the light. It's bittersweet, those last moments where I can smell his lingering baby smell as he's struggling to get away, reaching and looking towards his crib the way I look at my bed after a long day.
But it's certainly a happy moment when I close the door and know he will be just fine.