August 27, 2009,
M.C. asks from Omaha, NE on August 23, 2009
Is My Mom Spoiling My Daughter?
I'm fortunate enough to have my Mother watching my Daughter while my husband and I are working and going to school weeknights. It's been a blessing and a curse lately. Each night when I get home from my classes, I find her sleeping in her pack and play. Amazing, I know. But from what I've watched recently, my Mother lulls her to sleep by lullabies, and cuddles in the evenings.
My daughter is 7 months old, and I'd been told by the pediatrician since - well forever - that we should start placing her in her crib when she's drowsy so she can learn to fall asleep on her own. He's also said she should be able to sleep through the night without a night bottle. (Thoughts, ladies?)
In any case, my angel who HAD been going to bed, by HERSELF, in her crib at 8:30 has turned into a monster. She no longer will fall asleep in her crib. I have tried, SEVERAL times And once, or twice, the cry it out method in attempts to have her fall asleep, only for my Mother to pick her up and cuddle her to sleep. My daughter no longer sleeps through the night without a nighttime bottle. Since my Mother, also, has been feeding her nighttime bottles twice a night. Ladies, am I wrong to go by what the pedatrician thinks? Or should I be grateful for my Mother's help and change my ways? Suggestions?
E.S. answers from Madison on August 24, 2009
I had some of the same thoughts when my daughter was a baby. We rocked her to sleep until she was maybe 18 months. We kept trying occasionally to put her down awake, when she was ready for it she went to sleep on her own. Until then we never had to deal with nights of guilt and crying. I asked my boss about it, he has three kids, his response was that they aren't going to let you rock them to sleep at 13, enjoy it while you can.
A.H. answers from Omaha on August 24, 2009
I am sorry that I have no ideas for you but if you find out how to stop it then please let me know. I have a 18 month old that has to be rocked to sleep every night and the bad part is that I can not rock him. Oh and the other bad thing is that my mother in law lives with us and can't stand to hear him cry so he gets away with almost everything when grandma is home. I would love to hear what people have to say to you. Oh my son does go down for a nap on his own though.
S.M. answers from Eau Claire on August 24, 2009
I personally am going to come down on the other side from what most of the other mothers have said, but thats my personal opinion. You need to make a decision based on what is best for you and your family.
I did co-sleeping with my son till he was eighteen months old and I really enjoyed it. I feel that children need to be loved and comforted at that young of an age. You might try reading some of Dr. Sears books on parenting and co-sleeping just to get an idea of whether any of his ideas would work for you or if you would even be interested at all.
I do understand that the 2 different ways of being put to sleep are putting you in a tough position, but if your mom is watching your daughter for free, you might want to be forgiving, or even try to combine her style and your style in some way to give the child a regular routine. Such as, rocking and cuddles for 15 minutes, then into bed.
Once again, I switched my son to his own bed at 18 months and have had pretty much no problem with him going to sleep on his own since. Sure, it was a tough week teaching him that he had to stay in his own bed, but it wasn't that bad. After getting used to going to sleep on his little mattress on the floor in my room (maybe you'd use the pack n play), with me not in the room after books and songs were done, I was able to switch him to his own bed and room with no problem at all when he was 2 1/2. He never tries to sneak into bed in the night or anything like that.
He goes to sleep on his own, stays in bed, sleeps all night, and the switch was never that big of a deal. A comforted, reassured child is usually a confident, happy, self assured child later. He is very independent and outgoing. Being cuddled to sleep did not stop him from switching to his own bed or make him a clingy "Mama's boy".
I guess my point is, once again, you need to do what works best for YOU, depending on your schedule and beliefs in parenting, but maybe you can figure out some happy medium with your mother. Changing over later to going to sleep on their own is not too hard, in my opinion.
Just wanted to add a different perspective, Good luck!
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J.L. answers from Minneapolis on August 24, 2009
Guidelines are merely that...guidelines. All parents eventually realize no two children develop the same, and their needs are all different. Your baby needs lots of cuddling, and if she's growing, will need those extra feedings. She may also be getting close to teething, and often babies need both cuddling and feedings to deal with that phase.
I personally think the cry it out method is bit much for babies. Once they're mobile, they naturally begin to ween themselves from nightfeedings and desiring to be held all the time. It's just the law of nature. Enjoy this time while you can. It's not spoiling. It's just a phase that will end too quickly in hindsight.
I think what may be the real issue here is unresolved feelings about leaving your child while you pursue career and school.
Unfortunately, for those of us who must work or choose to work, we then need to find someone we trust to proxy for us while we can't be with baby. While this is rational and a necessity, this reasoning totally flies in the face of maternal instinct and how mother's are wired. We're designed to "want" to be with our babies, and with this we're driven to be concerned with every aspect of our child's upbringing. This is the "rub" when it comes to career. You have to give up some of your "mamma-perks" if career is important. I suspect the underlying issue here is you're feeling a little threatend by the bond that has developed between Grandma and your daughter.
Reality is, they now have a routine that works. The baby trusts and knows grandma. They have bonded. Perhaps when you get home, there isn't a set routine, and it makes the baby agitated. Babies this young are slaves to routine. If she gets use to the pack n' play, that's where she'll want to sleep all the time. If you can't recreate this at home, she'll probably feel off kilter. This doesn't mean she's spoiled.
Your concerns are natural and understandable. And while a slight hint of "jealousy" might be at play here, I'm certain this is not be in the forefront of your mind as to what may be the real issue behind your question.
I know I've been there, when I worked and my mom helped out. I suspect, every experienced mom knows you can't really "spoil" a baby. And every mom knows deep down inside, they don't want to share the spotlight with anyone else when it comes to the affections of their children.
I say thank your mom profusely because she sounds wonderful. It's truly a blessing you have someone who loves your daughter that much, who is able to be there for the both of you. But on the same hand, I say be honest with yourself about what's really going on here.
Don't let jealously bubble only to rear its ugly head somewhere down the line, where you could hurt your mom's feelings and lose a great day care provider.
Give yourself the ability to confront those feelings. Do not feel guilty. It's natural to want your daughter to yourself. When you do have time with your daughter, make every moment a gem. Lastly, do something kind and special for mom. And if it doesn't ruffle your feathers too much, try using her methods at home.
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E.B. answers from Duluth on August 24, 2009
This is a tough one, and one you should probably think about hard, because it could alter your relationship with mom. My MIL swears by rocking kids to sleep. She loves it. The kids love it. We hated it. Our kids have never been good sleepers, and it's very hard to get them to put themselves to sleep. So...is she spoiling the baby? Probably so. BUT--this is what I know from daycare: children learn what to put up with. My first son did not learn to put himself to sleep without snuggling until about 2 1/2. The only reason he learned that "soon" was because I finally realized his daycare got him down for a nap with no fuss--no book, no snuggling, no nothing, just "this is what we do after lunch" and some quiet music. If THEY could do it, WE could do it. My mother in law says that she has always liked snuggling children and would rather snuggle her children than make them fall asleep on their own...she raised four of her own, and snuggled them all, and they all slept on their own by late toddlerhood. So--your pediatrician is correct...but so is your mom. There is nothing wrong with what she is doing, other than that it creates problems for you. YOU have to decide whether those problems are worth it--but first, IMO, I'd see whether you can set up one set of rules for grandma and one set of rules for mom and dad (does she sleep in different places--pack-n-play vs crib?--at different places? That might help.
Oh--and when my MIL saw how looooooonnnng and trying our nights were, she reluctantly agreed to put our #2 down and let him fuss--for a little while. She doesn't like it, and we don't either, but she does see how hard it was to get him to sleep on his own.
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B.M. answers from Raleigh on August 23, 2009
My thoughts...you can't spoil a baby. There are some kids who just stop sleeping through the night no matter what you did or didn't do. I personally nursed/rocked my kids to sleep all the time, and I have some great sleepers now (well, the 9 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old, the 2 month old sleeps with me.) Some babies just need some extra comfort...and pediatricians still give old school advice. They do not know it all. Most still rely on advice given 30 years ago.
The best part of being a mom, is that you make the rules. Your ped can say whatever they want, and you do not HAVE to take their advice...just nod and smile. When they ask you what you have been doing, just tell them you do what works for you...and change the subject.
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J.C. answers from Minneapolis on August 23, 2009
Any habit that kids develop can be changed with a little work. Pediatricians and parents are so concerned about having to break a habit that they are afraid of doing what makes their lives easier at the time. I rocked my baby to sleep and I also broke her of that habit at about 12 months with a little work.
I am sure your mom loves rocking your baby to sleep, and holding her in her arms. It is probably the biggest reason she agrees to take care of your child the majority of the day. She is not abusing your child, she is loving your child and taking great care of her so you can go to work and school and not worry about your daughter. I say until you are the only one putting your child to bed, you let the person you trust to watch your child, put your baby to sleep in a way that works for her.
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M.K. answers from Sheboygan on August 24, 2009
Have you explained to your mom your current concerns? I don't think she is "spoiling" your baby, but has created new habits. Try explaining the routine you used to use that WORKED for you and how her new routine is not working and why. Being appreciative of family (or any other) help does not mean that you should have to follow "Their" routine--she is YOUR child. Hope that helps.
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M.H. answers from Rapid City on August 24, 2009
Normally, I say to ignore what your doctor says about parenting issues (medical issues, of course you should pay attention). In this case, I'd agree with your pediatrician. Your mom isn't spoiling your daughter, but she is creating some sleep habits that are making everyone miserable. There isn't anything wrong with cuddling your baby to sleep sometimes (it's one of the perks of being a parent) but if it's causing problems, it needs to stop. Talking to grandma about it probably won't be fun, but I think it needs to be done.
I have one child who night weaned very early, and another who still wakes up to eat at 14 months old. Sometimes they go through a growth spurt that makes them wake up and need to eat too. I'm thinking this may have been a temporary need that has become a habit. Try offering her a bottle of water when she night wakes, and she might just decide it isn't worth waking up for.
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T.B. answers from Rochester on August 24, 2009
Why should YOU have to change your ways? This is the exact reason your doctor to you what he did. You need to talk to your mother to keep from losing your mind. It is not fair to you and she needs to consider at least a compromise.