Okay, I’m not sure, but it’s possible I’ve already ruined my child.
A few months ago you probably remember me posting about Charlie getting fussy with Chief. This has mostly improved. She doesn’t instantly fuss when he comes home and he can really get her giggles going. Sometimes she just wants me but we figure that’s normal because I am with her constantly.
However, at night I am the only one Charlie wants, and it may be a problem. Just to give you an idea of our evenings, here’s how it goes:
At around 7:00 give or take we get started with bath time. We take turns with this and she enjoys it equally with both of us (maybe more with Chief honestly). Then we get her out and the crying starts-she really loves the tub and never wants to leave. She gets diapered and lotioned and dried off and stuff. Then I take her into our room (where she still sleeps) and put her in her sleepsuit. She cries through all of this. Then I lay down with her and nurse her. She either falls asleep or gets really sleepy. Either way I put her in the pack n play and she 99% of the time does fine for a while.
Since the four month regression it’s hard to tell what comes next. Sometimes she’s up and crying in 45 minutes. Sometimes it’s 6 hours. More often it falls in the middle, and she wakes up around 11:00 ish. Tonight it was 9:45. She didn’t wake up straight up crying. She fussed in her pack n play for about ten minutes off and on. We carefully watched. Then when she started to cry Chief went back there. He tried for about 20 minutes of holding and walking and shushing, but she sobbed the whole time.
This is very typical. I know because we’ve tried a lot. She sobs until I can’t take it anymore and I come back and nurse her back down. We are not CIO people, and we don’t like this. We feel like even though she’s being held, it’s still a form of CIO. I’m not criticizing CIO, but it doesn’t feel right for us.
Tonight after I got her back down I talked with Chief. We both think this stems back to a few decisions we made early on:
1. When I got breastfeeding going when she was a week old, the LC told us to try and withhold bottles until she was at least a month old. But even at this point I didn’t give her one because I was afraid she would stop breastfeeding. She didn’t take a bottle really until 12 weeks when she started staying with my cousin once a week-but that’s all it was, once a week. And it was a battle most of the time. Now my cousin has a full time job and so she stays with chief one afternoon a week while I go to the firm, and she flat out won’t take a bottle. She basically goes on a hunger strike until we’re back together. It’s only a few hours at a time so it’s not harming her, but it would be easier on everyone if she would just take even a few ounces from a bottle.
2. I decided not to go back to work (with my husband of course-it was a joint decision), so now she spends 97% of her time with me (I did actually calculate it) every week and my husband is only present for probably 40% (I didn’t take the time to calculate that). They are only alone for 3% of her time. This is probably a problem.
3. When I decided not to go back I felt like I needed to prove that it was going to make Chief’s life so much easier by taking care of her any time she woke up in the night. So now for the past four months she’s only been taken care of in the night wake ups by me, and that is what she wants always.
All of these choices that I made early on I believe are leading to the situation now. What this means is that basically I can never go anywhere at night. Not until she’s weaned at least. That’s what it feels like now.
I’ve done some research and there are two schools of thought:
- Attachment parenting says that if I let her cry when Chief holds her it will lead to negative associations with Chief, which we do not want, and that we should always let her be with me when that’s what she wants.
- Conventional approaches say that if we keep trying eventually it will get better, but we can’t give in, meaning Chief has to tough it out and hold her through the sobbing. And I’m not just talking some tears, I’m talking full out sobbing, running out of breath, choking and spluttering.
We really don’t ascribe to one type of parenting, but we do feel like we’ve ended up leaning towards attachment styles inadvertently, just because it’s what has felt right. I talked to Chief tonight and just straight up asked him what he wants to do. He said he doesn’t want to let her cry in his arms for more than five minutes or so. I agreed. We both feel like past that point, the heavy crying is doing more harm than good. But this means that we really can’t go out at night until she’s weaned or we find some other way to resolve this. She’ll be five months old next week and we have still not been away from her for an evening. Neither of us is just hankering to get out, but we’re only five months in and that could change. And probably we need to be doing more to take care of our husband-wife relationship than we are.
I’m hopeful that when we start solids at 6 months I can let him take the lead on putting the food in front of her and helping her (although we’re doing BLW and it highly encourages independent eating-meaning not a lot of help from parents) so that when she starts to realize that food is nourishment, she’ll realize that her dad can help too.
I’m also thinking maybe I should try giving her a bottle once during the day so she gets used to it, and then maybe Chief could try at night. We tried a while back having him give her one at night before bed and it led to hardcore tears. So i think we need to lead up to it.
Does anyone have any advice? I’m a bit at a loss. Not letting our baby cry is what feels right, but I also don’t want to permanently stunt her relationship with her dad. Or my relationship with her dad. So I’m tapping into the hive for help.