We get letters… here’s another one, from a Canadian Mom who is worried about the ramification of co-sleeping with her young son…
I live in Quebec, Canada and am a proud mother of a 7 month old son. I am not quite sure whether my son is high need. He is certainly not fussy, but he used to nurse hours and hours for the first few months after he was born. He could drink for four hours in a row quite easily and once drank for 15 hours straight. It was not only comfort sucking because he did swallow all the time.
He also cannot sleep alone. He wakes up very regularly (up to once every 10min during naps and somewhat less but still often at night) to check if someone’s there. If he’s alone, he starts crying immediately, if someone’s there, he falls asleep again. So I started co-sleeping mostly out of fatigue.
Here in Quebec they warn us not to co-sleep, and when I tell people they tell me the usual stuff, like it spoils my son and I risk his life etc. Actually since the time I started to co-sleep he has doubled the time he sleeps – he slept only 8hrs for the first month of his life, and since the time we have started co-sleeping and never leave him alone, he manages to sleep 15hrs! Since I never got anything done in the household because I need to lie down with my son every time he sleeps (I really do enjoy napping with him – but our household looks dreadful!) I started carrying him, which allows me to do much much more than before, and my husband does the rest when he has time. I am breastfeeding and my son loves it.
I have become an ap parent because my son required me to. Due to this parenting style, my son is a very sociable and friendly child. He likes people and people love him. People tell us all the time how friendly and balanced our baby is. He is extremely curious and active, and less afraid of strangers than many other babies his age. He actually likes people a lot. He never cries and when he does we are really upset because it happens so rarely. He cries maybe 5 minutes total per week.
I think that my parenting style is good for him.
Apart from hurting, the only moment he cries is when he wakes up and no-one’s in the room. My son is very very attached to me (much less so with my husband) and I guess that is somewhat normal for a breastfed baby. He always looks out for me and when I am there everything’s fine. When he spends time alone with his dad, it is hardly ever for more than an hour (my husband doesn’t know what to do with him for this long, so he takes him for walks (stroller not the sling) or plays, but never more than an hour.
My paid maternity leave will be over when my son will be 54 weeks old, and I will need to either go back to my previous job (up to 11hours absence per day but I will try to negotiate with them to work part-time) or work from home. Either way my son will need to go to daycare and I do not feel good about it! He is much less sensitive now than he was before, but I fail to see how I will be able to place him and go back to work. I am so attached to my little baby that I have never left him yet, except for maybe half an hour or so to go to the supermarket.
My family is in Europe, and my husband’s family works. Everyone in this province sends their kids to daycare (full-time) after a year and it seems that the kids can manage, but it seems to cruel to me! I would like to continue breastfeeding him part-time even after he’s entered daycare.
I don’t know anyone who has a baby like me – I mean a baby who doesn’t sleep alone, wakes up frequently to drink (3-12 times a night, at random) and is so attached to his mother. In addition, being so physically close to him all the time, I easily get nervous when I am not close to him. If he is in another room with my sister or friend, I am getting nervous if I cannot hear or see him for 15min or more. I do not think that I have made my son what he is. I think he was born with these needs and they will only go away if we respond.
Is there anyone out there who has a baby with high needs and has had to place them? Has anyone experienced this kind of situation? We desperately need advice…
Btw if I don’t go back to work we’d be able to survive but we would be really poor. Moreover, if I don’t go back to work we will not receive any financial support from the government if I have another baby. Yet I want my son to have a brother/sister soon because he is such a social person who loves to have people around!
I’m tired just reading this message and imagining the never-ending nighttime checks by a baby to see if you’re there. I remember having this sort of experience when my teen daughter was little, where she’d fall asleep and as soon as I even rolled over she’d pop up, fully alert, trying to figure out where I had gone. Ugh. Tiring.
So, fabulous GoFatherhood readers, d’ya have any advice for this mom?