“If you’re always holding her while she naps, you’re going to spoil her.”
A lot of people are shocked that we hold Hope for her two daily naps, including the painter who worked in our house this week and innocently made the above comment. Mere hours before he said that, Hope’s developmental pediatrician made a similar comment, although her concern surrounded behavioral issues and the association Hope has between being held/fed with falling asleep. She encouraged us, when we’re ready, to start putting Hope into her bed when she is drowsy but not yet sleeping.
So after putting Hope to bed later that night, while I was washing bottles in the kitchen and my husband was breaking down moving boxes in the garage, she woke up crying. I could see in the monitor that she was safe, though my mommy heart struggled, wondering whether she was scared or lonely. I decided that if she were still crying when I was done with the bottles, I’d get her.
Twenty minutes passed, and Hope’s cries were growing louder and more desperate, so I went into her room, and she immediately quieted her screams. I put on her Classic Pooh mobile and began rubbing her tummy to soothe her, when I was suddenly sick. My heart fluttered in my chest, and my eyes welled with tears. In that moment I felt like such an idiot.
My baby is here, alive, in our house, free of lines and leads, and I’m not picking her up…why???
Five months ago, I’d have done anything to scoop my baby girl out of her hospital bed. Once she was extubated, we were able to hold her with the help of a nurse, but it was such an ordeal getting Hope safely out of bed that we didn’t do it often, which hurt. It hurt a lot.
So did this flashback to leaning over her bed, knowing exactly how I would care for her if left to my own devices but feeling confused and helpless—then, because I just wanted to leave the hospital with a healthy baby, and now, because I don’t want to perpetuate poor sleeping habits in my child.
Would I like for Hope to know how to put herself to sleep so that I can get more done around the house during the day? Sure, and we’ll get there, not only for our sake, but hers. But we learned the hard way to be grateful to be able to comfort our crying baby in our arms, and we have no intention of ever letting go.
For now, a compromise: