Anna is 14 months old today. Just two nights ago, she reached a milestone that is hugely important to me - going to sleep on her own. I know all moms have different beliefs about sleep patterns for babies, and whatever works for you is great.
Me - I can't handle the "cry it out" method. If the child is too young to understand what I expect of them, i.e. "lie still and go to sleep", I just cannot justify leaving them to cry themselves to sleep. Sure, they will learn what those words mean simply by experience, but I just don't have the stomach for it.
"Crying it out" has also been linked to lower IQ's and less emotional stability, although truth be told, I put very little stock into most studies having to do with babies and children. It's definitely bad for MY emotional stability.
Besides, because I always breastfeed well past the first birthday, our babies are used to falling asleep "at the table", so to speak. So it was never an issue of it being difficult or time-consuming to get the baby down to sleep - they would fall asleep during nursing before nap time and bedtime, at which point I would move them to bed. Not a big deal.
But still, there comes a point (especially once I am pregnant again) when breastfeeding can become more of a chore than I want it to be. It's the point when it's starts zapping what little energy I have left at the end of the day (or before a much-needed power nap for my pregnant self), while energizing the baby and giving him/her a "second wind".
Thankfully, that's usually the age when they are also old enough to understand those precious words: "lie still and go to sleep". With each of our kids, it has been at a different age - some as early as 9 months, some as late as 14.
With Anna, I have been trying here and there for a couple of months, but whenever I laid her down in bed she would either just keep getting up and playing around, or wailing desperately. Not the mad type of wail (I have no sympathy for that), but the "why did you forsake me alone in the dark" type wail. She was just still a baby.
Two nights ago, the switch finally flipped. As I laid her down on her Dad's pillow (currently the preferred parent), I told her to lie still and close her eyes, and not take her head off the pillow. I could see her little mind computing what I said, and then it was like a lightbulb came on. She snuggled down, chatted to herself for a couple of minutes, and then fell asleep without once having left her cozy little spot. The same happened during nap time and bedtime the next two days, leading me to think she is officially to the "big kid" stage.
Having been through this a few times now, I must say I always look forward to the next few months of having all "easy" kids and no baby, giving me time to relax a little and get ready for the whirlwind that always comes with having a newborn in the house. Motherhood is a constant change from harder phases to easier ones and back, and this is definitely always one of those easier times for me.
Also, please pray for Isaac. Every single year at the beginning of February, he develops allergy-induced asthma. There must be something in bloom this time of year that triggers it, and the fact that we have not had rain in at least 3 months is not helping. Currently, he cannot even go near the front or back door, much less set foot outside. For him, this is especially hard. I have been treating him with a whole host of natural remedies, and he also has an inhaler for when things get really bad. Thankfully he has not had to use that since the day before yesterday, when the herbs finally started to take effect. His siblings have been fantastic about taking over Isaac's share of the chores, as well as giving him company and taking his mind off being stuck indoors all day. It has been looking like rain the last couple of days, and if it actually came, it would make him better overnight. Please pray for rain. I'm asking a lot, I know, this IS Phoenix.
In other news, my laptop had to go in on warranty yet again, as the bottom row of letters has gone out. Not sure how long the repair will take, but until I get it back, I likely will not be able to upload pictures because that would require me to learn how to do that from our Mac desktop.
So much for life becoming easier without a "baby" in the house... :)