Posts Tagged ‘sleep training

I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.


I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.


The dream: Ashelyn sleeps in the crib from 9PM to 9AM.

The reality: Ashelyn sleeps with me. She has a penchant for nighttime snacking and is up 2-3 times … I think. I don’t keep count or check the time anymore, because I only half wake up. Bedtime is around 10-11PM and she’s up anywhere from 9-11AM.

This is progress because Ashelyn used to keep herself awake till 2AM. And because she nurses right back to sleep, instead of waking up OH HAI CAN WE PLAY NOW? at 5AM. And because she’s content to sleep beside me, not on me like the early weeks (although sometimes there is cuddling).


The dream: Ashelyn naps for 1-2 hours at a time, in her crib. Twice a day. Regular enough to maintain a loose schedule; not so tied to it that a departure would throw her off.

The reality: Ashelyn generally takes two naps a day, one in late morning or early afternoon and one in late afternoon or early evening. She seems to nap in half-hour increments – either half an hour, or an hour, or an hour and a half. She naps in the spare bed in the spare room. We usually hold her for naps when we aren’t at home. If the timing is right, she naps in her carseat while we’re on the road. I’m trying to avoid “dream feed” naps – where she breastfeeds to sleep but continues to suck – because (aside from reducing me to a human binky) I’m never sure if they count.

This is huge progress! I worked hard to get here. We’re seeing some semblance of predictability, and Ashelyn can nap by herself, as opposed to on our shoulders every time. I get breaks! It’s glorious!


The dream: Ashelyn self-soothes.

The reality: HA! In the evening, breastfeeding usually settles her down for the night. For naps, I lie down with her, read: force her to lie down with me. Otherwise she will not lie still, which means she will clamber about and keep herself awake forever. FOREVER. Ashelyn hates lying still, even for diaper changes. It’s clearly the worst conceivable thing in the known universe. So she’ll fuss – sometimes more, sometimes less – but gradually she nods off. And then I extricate myself and quietly leave.

This is progress because just a short while ago I feared Ashelyn was incapable of falling asleep from a horizontal position (unless she was on the boob). She would only fall asleep on my shoulder, and only when I walked her around for half an hour. (You see why I succumbed to dream-feed naps.) I finally put my foot down and cut the walking requirement. I replaced it with rocking in the glider. Not ideal, but at least my body got a break! Eventually I cut the rocking and took her to bed awake. Both transitions were met with fierce resistance, of course; there were days it took two hours to get Ashelyn to nap for twenty minutes. Seemed a waste of time and energy, but I pick my battles and this one was worth fighting. Now, I can expect the naps to be longer than the nodding-offs, so those pains have paid a huge dividend. Hallelujah!


So, baby steps. We’re still some distance from utopia, but at least things are heading in the right direction.