Unexpected developments

Before my son was born, I had plans about how to take care of him and raise him.
Few of them stood up to reality.

I’ve read some ardent arguments written by serious zealots who insist that
children must sleep in the parents’ bed until the age of five. They state this
as a matter of irrefutable theology, though from what I could tell, their main
point was that families in Jesus’ day typically had one bed for the parents
and small children while older children slept on the floor. Since I don’t walk
down dusty roads in sandals and speak Aramaic, I didn’t see why I should follow
that particular custom either. Whenever people fervently insist on a particular
religious practice that has no biblical
foundation,
I unconsciously tend to do exactly the opposite. While Tater was still gestating,
I silently decided he would never sleep in our bed for more than a couple of
hours, and then only if he were recovering from a nightmare or something.

So far, our baby has not slept a full night out of our bed. Even in the hospital,
he spent at least half of every night in bed with his mama. There’s no deep
reason for this—we just hate the thought of him waking up and feeling alone.
We tried to put him in the crib on his first night at home. I couldn’t stand
not being able to monitor his breathing, so I kept getting up and checking
him, which usually woke him. It’s just easier having him next to me. It makes
feeding easier too. Eventually (maybe when he’s six months old or so), I’ll
calm down about his breathing
and he’ll understand that just because he can’t
see
us
doesn’t
mean
we’re
not
around.
At that
point,
we’ll
put him in the crib to sleep.

Before the birth, we also decided not to give him any formula. Breast milk
is what God intended babies to eat, and no artificial concoction has come close
to duplicating it. Trouble is, it took him a while to figure out how to get
milk from a breast. He lost a pound in his first two days of life. From what
I understand, that’s not unusual, but it’s also a little much.We had to break
down and give him a bottle, which made the process of learning to breastfeed
even more difficult. A lactation consultant told us that the key factor for
success in breastfeeding is the mother’s determination, and my wife epitomizes
determination, so Tater soon learned how to avail himself of the good stuff.
His appetite outstripped the natural milk production, however, so we still
give him a bottle or two per day. (Our bottles have slow-flow nipples, which
supposedly makes the back-and-forth less confusing for the baby.) I actually
like the fact that I get to feed him sometimes. It’s a good bonding experience
for
us.

Another thing we planned never to do was give our baby a pacifier. We had
heard that early pacifier use can hinder dental development. Plus, it looks
kind of silly and our baby needs to look cool. It turns out that the sucking
motion is very calming for a baby. Since all he had to suck on was a breast
and a bottle, he ended up eating more than his stomach could hold and so spat
up a lot. Not to mention that all the feedings were making my wife horribly
sore. We found a soft, odd-shaped pacifier that claimed to be dentally sound
for newborns.
When
we
know he’s
had enough
to
eat and
that
his
diaper
is clean, if he’s fussy and tired, all he needs is the pacifier to relax him
a little so he can sleep. We figure it’s better to give him a dentally sound
pacifier than to have him start sucking his thumb.We can eventually discontinue
the pacifier; a thumb is more difficult to take away.

So another thing my baby has (re)taught me is that research and intentions
often don’t stand up to reality.


On his one-month birthday, I sat my son up on the couch and he stayed sitting,
perfectly content. Yesterday, he rolled from his belly to his back on a flat
surface all by himself. We donated his cord-blood in the hospital for
research in treating genetic diseases, but now I’m worried that they’re going
to use the umbilical cord stem cells to clone super-babies.

12 thoughts on “Unexpected developments

  1. Our sons have never slept in our bed. I just don’t think it is healthy as a rule. I understand why some parents feel it is best, but that is more about them and not the baby. We don’t live in huts and tents in the wild anymore. We also have heaters now and no impending threat of a wild animal attacking us in our beds. So for me the arguments aren’t really ‘apples and apples’ for kids sleeping with you. It’s not necessary. Of course I love my children and shower them with love, but when it is time to sleep they go to their beds. It’s is better for everyone when we all sleep better.

  2. I loved having our son sleep with us. He’s never been cuddly (takes after his mother), and I’m a physically affectionate kind of guy, so it was great being able to snuggle with him while he slept. Of course, nothing beats a Daddy Nap, with a child sleeping on your chest.

    It was harder to sleep well when he was a baby, though. I always knew he was in the bed, and I didn’t want to hurt him, so I slept more lightly than usual.

  3. My little guy slept with me a few nights early on when we were still figuring out a schedule. My dh was on night shift then, which made it very tempting to allow my Bump to sleep with me all night. But, I persisted with putting him in his crib merely for my own sanity and rest. I would however take him into bed about 5 Am for his feeding and just let him go back to sleep there.

    We had a similar experience with breastfeeding, except had to use other apparatus, which I won’t get into. It took 3 weeks for him to finally figure it all out. Along the way he had formula and I continued to use it in bottle for my convenience. It’s something that no man will ever understand, but pumping gets old after a while – especially when other than pumping you have a little one attached to you every two hours.

    We were also with you with the pacifier. Bump got one on day two home from the hospital. Strangely enough, he disowned it when he was four months old without any prompting from us.

    So to sum it up, you’re a typical parent. You’re doing well. And little Tater will grow and proper, you’ll make sure of that. Good job Mr. and Mrs. Happy!!

  4. I had no philosophical position on whether babies should or should not sleep in the parents’ bed. My husband did not particularly like them in bed. But I was usually too tired and chilly to get up and put them back after I got them for a feeding. So when my husband woke up and realized they were there, he would put them back. It worked for me. They all grew to be secure sleepers, and none of them sleeps with us anymore. I was very lenient after bad dreams, because I can remember my own traumas as a child.

    My kids would never take a pacifier. How I wished they would! And they would not take a bottle either. It was me or nothing. I think it does help a father bond if he can feed the baby once in awhile. When my poor husband tried to bottle feed, they would just get horribly mad at him, and scream and scream for the real thing. I’m sure it hurt his feelings. He begged me not to leave him alone with them for more that two hours. You have an exceptionally nice baby. Sensible flexibility is a hallmark of good parenting.

  5. I never put either of my kids in the bed with us. I have a friend who did and he was five before she got him out. Talk about putting a damper on the sex life!

    My son was big when he was born too, so I know what you’re talking about about how much he eats. What I did to help was to put the passy in during burping so that he would be comforted but not eating. Once the milk hit his stomach he would be more satisfied. I was one of those “no passy” parents too but I quickly changed my mind after three nights of no sleep.

  6. I cannot even count the things we recanted with out three children. Most of which were claimed before any of them were born. Who know what they heck they’re saying before they have the children? Gives you a nice perspective on never saying never, and maintaining flexiblility. And on God’s keen sense of humor.

  7. In Australia, they call the pacifier a “dummy”. My daughters, who are all grown, were breastfed, and I could never get them to take the pacifier. There were times I wished they would have!

  8. Wow! What a pleasant surprise to find your site. I’m starting a site dedicated to relationship issues. It can be found at http://www.lovethatlasts.blogspot.com This is separate from my Believe N God site. I’d love to add a link to your site on my new blog. Let me know if that is a problem. I love reading what you and wife have to say.

    Blessings,

  9. I loved getting to bottle feed my kids. It was a nice bonding experience.
    Don’t forget, Mrs. Happy can pump, that way even if you have to bottle-feed, Tater is still getting Nature’s Own.
    All of my kids used a pacifier for awhile, but they all outgrew it pretty quick.
    I think that may have something to do with the childs insecurity. If the baby feels insecure, he may need a pacifier longer.
    But if he has a nice, loving, nurturing home that he feels safe and secure in – he won’t need the pacifier as long as other children.
    Now the thumb sucking thing I’m not so sure on. My 4 year old still sucks her thumb and it drives me nuts!! She doesn’t do it all the time,
    only if she’s bored or tired and snuggling with her Mr. Lion. But come on kid! You’re 4 years old and in pre-school! Knock it off already!

  10. I’d be worried about rolling over and smothering the kid. But I don’t have kids. And I’m a fat b@&#^d. ;-) Like people said, I guess things change when it becomes a reality so who knows what I’d do if I’m ever a parent.

    That picture is cute, but also looks like a little miniature Curt-clone. He has this look of being smarter than me which is unsettling. :)

  11. Curt, I can totally relate to “breaking all the rules.” Twice now. Though I did learn some things the first time around. It’s just that every baby is so different. I was brokenhearted that I had to supplement my first one (but I learned from that that I needed to feed on demand, rather than scheduled, for the next one, and that worked pretty well). Frustrated neither she nor her sister would take a pacifier. They’re all thumbs and fingers. As for the bed thing, my second wouldn’t even sleep except in my arms for the first month. But I do agree that getting them in their own bed (we had her cradle and then crib right next to our bed) is essential early on if you want them to acclimate to it. At 6 months, they can be pretty set in their ways, surprisingly enough! :)