My firstborn baby was spirited, to put it mildly. Nursing at least every two hours around the clock (or every 45 minutes), PASSIONATE about expressing his opinion, not needing much sleep, wanting constant touch. As a new parent hearing so many different ideas about how to parent I was drowning in uncertainty – let him cry it out, people said. Start him on solids at 4 months, the breast isn’t enough. He should NEVER sleep in your bed, he’ll be there until he’s 10. But so much of it just felt wrong to me, and I was torn between listening to the loud voices around me and trusting my instinct that said this little boy needed more from me than any parenting tips I was hearing.
Then my big sister gave me a copy of The Fussy Baby Book. I admit the title bothered me, though it certainly fit the situation. Then I started reading – and reading, and reading, because THIS WAS MY CHILD! But instead of saying I should discipline him or stop nursing him or let him cry it out this book was saying WEAR your baby, keep him close, nurse him when he needs it, co-sleep if that helps you feel better rested (it did!) Unlike many of the other parenting books, this wasn’t being written by a doctor with maybe one or two kids – this was being written by a doctor and nurse BUT they were parents to eight kids (including some spirited kids) and that gives them WAY more credibility in my book. They had lived the exhaustion, they knew my pain! They also knew that babies need respect, deserve compassion, and keeping them close helps them feel safe and comfortable in the world so that then they WANT to go explore!
And for the record, that co-sleeping, high needs baby is now 12 years old and he hasn’t slept in our bed for over a decade. He left our bed when he (and we) were ready.
All that to say – these books changed my life. I truly thought my firstborn was going to be an only child because I thought I was a failure. I thought I was going to ruin my child, and I had no confidence in myself because what I felt was right (nursing, co-sleeping, baby wearing) I was being criticized for… their book helped me have the confidence to trust myself. That changed everything. Continue reading