I identify with attachment parenting. With Lola it came more natural than it did with Brody but she also sort of forced it on me. She is my “high needs” child. She constantly likes touching, even in her sleep. Most nights Lola would fall asleep with someone holding her little hands. Even at her fussiest, you hold her little fingers and she calms right down.
We bed shared a lot during the first 10 months. Co-sleeping comes naturally to us and we like having her in bed. However, month after month of sleepless nights, it was apparent something had to change. Lola was a horrible sleeper. We tried a bassinet next to our bed, in bed with us, in a crib in our room… she was still having restless nights. Waking up every 1-2 hours the whole entire night wasn’t working for us or her.
With an attachment parenting mindset your first thought are what can I do to make her feel more secure in her sleep. We tired so many things. Nothing worked. Frequent feedings, close cuddles… nothing was working. At the first sign of fussing we rushed to her aid, trying to comfort her. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. If it did work it was like putting a band-aid on it, she was still up an hour later. It was so frustrating. My husband and I were walking zombies. Lola was crabby during the day.
An idea came to us that goes against traditional attachment parenting. Maybe we should try moving her into her own room. Across the whole house. Hmmmmmm. How could that work? Attachment parenting had always worked for us. Skeptical, we moved her crib into the spare room. That was all we moved as I was sure this couldn’t be the right answer. Almost all good parenting choices we have made moved towards attachment parenting, not away.
What do you know, the first night we moved her into her own room she slept from 8p-8a, waking up once for a feeding at 3am. She woke up happy, giggling and excited to see us. It almost scared me and I figured it was a fluke. The next night she slept well, and the next, and the next.
Was it my snoring, or my husband’s teeth grinding that kept her from having a good night’s sleep? Was it that every time I sensed she was about to fuss we immediately tried to help her and not let her self settle? I’m not talking about the kind of cry-it-out self soothing. I’m talking about the 5 seconds it takes her to realize she can put her pacifier in her month or change sleep positions.
When it came to Lola’s sleep it turned out that moving away from stereotypical attachment parenting sleep practices worked. This goes to show even if you identify with a certain type of parenting it’s okay to pick and choose what works for you. Had I continued to be stubborn and have the mindset that everything attachment parenting was the right choice for our family we’d still be having sleepless nights.
Cheers to restful nights and thinking outside the attachment parenting box.