Ummm…I’ll probably answer you.
So sorry, I forgot who I was talking to for a minute!
The older kids are engaged in some rainy day fun.
The little kids are sleeping. And I’ve already cleaned the kitchen, started dinner, and straightened the living room. There is a looming pile of laundry staring me right in the face, but it’s rude to stare, so I’m just gonna ignore it until it goes away.
Any chance that will actually work?
I was reading through my e-mail (some new, mostly old) and I realized, one: I’m really bad at answering my email. And two, y’all ask some pretty good questions.
By the way, if you’ve written me and I haven’t responded, I’m sorry. I am truly sorry, cause that’s just rude.
Here are some that I thought were worth answering out-loud…
Were you able to nurse Baby Bear right away, or did the postpartum trauma keep that from happening?
I was able to try and nurse him right away. When I started to lose blood I had to pass him off so that I wouldn’t drop him. The good news is that he was never admitted to the hospital (he was just there as my guest) so he wasn’t given formula. He had to wait a couple of hours to eat, but when he finally got the chance he took to it immediately.
How has a fifth child changed the dynamics of your home?
I actually have a whole post in the works about this one. The short answer: He hasn’t, at least not by much. I swear the house runs much more smoothly now that he’s born. It was the last stretch of pregnancy that was the hardest. Baby Bear is an amazingly good baby, but I’m going to take a tiny bit of credit for that as a laid back mom.
You’ve mentioned Baby Wise before. Is that what you did with all of your kids?
I know that Baby Wise is controversial, so this might be a looong apologetic answer. Since I wear Baby Bear while cooking dinner, walking, cleaning, etc. I probably don’t seem like someone who would be on board with the Baby Wise system. But let me tell you where I found it helpful.
If you’ve never parented multiples, you might just need to take a non-judgmental step back on this one. Trying to care for multiple infants on demand could really do you in, and a crazy mama isn’t what’s best for anyone. Basically, Baby Wise taught me that it’s alright to let a baby cry. A crying baby does not equal an incompetent mom. I really have to thank the authors for teaching me that.
My older set was Baby Wised pretty much by the book. They were completely doted on during their awake and feeding times. But bed time was bed time…no monkey business. My mom wasn’t thrilled that I would never let her rock them to sleep, but I think she saw how happy and healthy they were. And there was no patting a baby’s bottom and then crawling out of the room so as not to undo a half hour of work. I think everyone appreciated that!
The consistent schedule meant that my girls always ate, burped, pooped and even peed on time. No kidding. This means that they went to bed full and dry, with no good reason not to drift off to sleep.
Does that mean they always drifted off peacefully? No way. I’m not cold-hearted, and there’s nothing I love more than holding and cuddling my children. But one of my hardest jobs, in my opinion, is to teach them that the world does not revolve around them. I believe that this training begins, to a very minor extent, at birth.
With the second set I was also strict about the awake and feeding aspects of the schedule. But we were living with a family member who didn’t appreciate my letting them cry it out, and for the most part, I deferred. As a result, their sleep patterns have never been as reliable, and even at two years old, they still fuss when it’s time for a nap.
The experience of raising a singleton has been so vastly different, and I have parented Baby Bear a little differently as a result. He is held even more often, because it really is possible for me to carry him everywhere. And I decided to feed him on demand for the first three weeks (and still do from time-to-time). But sleep wise, I still cuddle him halfway to sleepy town and then put him into his bed to drift the rest of the way there. And because he doesn’t have another infant egging him on, he rarely cries at all.
As with all my children, I usually refuse to pick up a screaming child (unless I suspect discomfort or neglect of some kind). I will nuzzle them, coo at them, rub their heads, etc. but until the crying tapers I will refrain from scooping them up. It might sound harsh, but it’s worked well for us.
I’m no expert, unless you prefer advice from the school of hard knocks, but I can tell you that perfect strangers comment on how loving and friendly our children are. Personally, I think that Baby Wise has gotten a bad rap because the concept of crying it out tends to attract a certain kind of parent. But, if paired with maternal instincts and the Holy Spirit, I really don’t think there are any bad parenting methods. We all have to raise our own children as He directs us.
I guess I’m only answering three questions today. Everyone is waking up and it’s time to get back to cuddling!