The last couple of weeks with Jeshuah have been, well, rather exhausting. The is mostly due to the lack of sleep I have had because of the late nights of wonderful Olympic games. But I have also spent the last two weeks, staying mostly at home to help orient Jeshuah to a decent schedule and work on sleep training. This has given me a lot of time to think. I realized that we have chosen three very specific courses of parenthood that are much more difficult in the short run, but will be worth it in the end (or, so I’m told:-).
The first method of parenting is following the techniques found in the On Becoming Babywise books. This approach encourages routine and consistency, teaching Baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on his own (without the aid of sleep props such as swing, paci, being held all the time, or cosleeping.
Short Term Losses: having to listen to Baby cry himself to sleep, working on keeping a schedule and consistency, keeping Baby awake during and after feeding (instead of nursing to sleep), lack of sleep (because you may be letting baby cry it out instead of just putting his paci in or nursing him even though he isn’t hungry).
Long term Gains: Baby can be placed in any bed anywhere and fall asleep on his own (even without crying!). If baby is startled awake or comes out of a cleep cycle, Baby can return to sleep by himself. Baby sleeps through the night between 6-10 weeks old. Baby is well-rested and happy because he is getting enough sleep, enough to eat, and he knows what to expect from day to day.
Our next parenting decision that is making things more difficult in the short run is cloth diapering. While I have detailed on this blog that it really isn’t that much more difficult, it has required more thought and effort than disposables.
Short term losses: Cleaning up messy diapers, more loads of laundry, and extra research due to the fact that Baby is an extremely “heavy wetter” and keeps soaking through every layer I’ve tried.
Long term gains: WAY more economical, thousands of less diapers in landfills, and no diaper rash.
The last thing we have chosen to do that most people think is crazy is EC. That stands for Elimination Communication, and is better understood as infant potty training. The idea is that not only are babies aware of their needs in this area, but they are capable of holding it and responding to cues in order to use the toilet instead of relying on diapers.
Short term losses: Requires extra time to learn babies cues as to when he has to eliminate, take baby to toilet, and teach baby sign language in order for him to let you know he needs to go. Can be messy when you miss them! Lots of weird looks and comments from unbelievers.
Long term gains: Lack of diaper rash, constipation, and potty trained by 8-12 months of age (and no, I’m not even kidding you).
I knew when I got into this that I was taking a lot on to myself. But I believe that all these things are not only good, but they will all be worth it in the end. I don’t mind the “extra work” on this end when my baby goes down for every nap without a peep, and takes 2-3 hour naps despite vacuum cleaners, loud laughter, and doorbells ringing. I rejoice when I get a nearly full night of sleep with a 6 week old and there are people with 1 1/2 year olds still not sleeping through the night. I cheer when my little one poos in the toilet and I have one less diaper to clean. I breathe a sigh of relief when I don’t have to find an extra $50 a month for more diapers.
When I am weary of the short term losses, I remind myself of all the long term gains. It will be worth it in the end.
And in the meantime, I am beginning to see that work pay off, and I sure am enjoying this little bundle of joy!