In the Dear Mom Working household I want to believe we have tried pretty darn close to everything with my first. Since Holden was my first and I was single, I definitely spent a lot of time with cuddles and co sleeping. Realizing I would again want intimacy in my life and someone may actually want to be with a single mom we had to stop this terror of a trend. Initially, Holden had a hard time in the the crib in his own bedroom, which was understandable he was almost six months before I had even attempted the transition.
If you are a nursing mom you can probably relate to the fact it is easy to flop a boob out and not only is your baby happy, but so are you, ahhh sleep. If we move into the crib I have to get my butt up, walk to a room across the house and find somewhere to sit or lay in the kids room and pray to not fall sleep in whatever weird position and place you decided to nurse. There were nights I crawled into the crib, BAH, I know EXTREMES! At 9 months I started making the transition to formula because Holden was walking already. Crawling up me, tenting his booty in the air and dancing while nursing. Things got too weird for me.
After a successful doctors appointment our pediatrician recommended, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I am going to be honest. I have only ever got through half this book, 3 times! All three times reading halfway through I took something new, Myla (#3) is only 2 months now so I may try to read in full one more time, HA! At about 11 months I had realized I was not only doing Holden a disservice, but I was EXHAUSTED. We cried it out for about a week and to my surprise HOLY CATS, he was a good sleeper.
Here's what I know, the transitions ARE HARD for moms and children. Here is something to consider, so many times we as mother's hold our children back because WE are not ready. This is not about you, it is about your child. WE put limitations on our children's development. When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. To ensure your child gets what they need YOU have to make the decision for them at a young age. I now know this was a ME thing with Holden and again, it was HARD. To make this transition there will be tears. Mom tears. Baby tears. Tears. The stronger you are the tears shouldn't last longer than a week.
There have been several articles written about, your tot being a little angel at the playground, at nursery school, and at his grandparents’ house, but he’s a howling, whirling dervish at home. This can be applied to traditional behavioral issues after visits to dad's house. Why do we have to deal with these behaviors while dad proclaims he has an angel? Answer: He’s completely secure in your affection, so he knows he can let it all hang out in your presence. There are a lot of emotions behind co parenting transitions for children and you may be the punching bag when your child returns.
When my son was about 16 months old we faced some pretty sever night issues after he returned home from his dad's house. Holden would wake up screaming, kicking, hitting, and crying, completely unable to be consoled. I held him tight, rocked him, tried to tell him things would be alright, but at his age he had no words to explain what he was going through. This is where flashbacks start for me. I was around 7 years old when my parents divorced. I remember being at 7 so lost and confused. I had no idea what was going on. I remember the same, waking up crawling into my dad's bed bawling, fighting, screaming for several hours. Though I had so much heartache, I have fought with my inner child to find what that feeling was. Sadness? Anger? I am not entirely sure. I can say I know I just needed my dad (my primary caregiver) in the moment. So this is what I have provided Holden those nights. This lead to behaviors at daycare and an inability to gain composure and develop cognitively for the entire week after his return.
Shortly after these extreme behaviors started I removed Holden's overnights from his dad. Just after that we started a custody battle which my attorney was able to prolong a bit for Holden to get a little older. Still seeing his dad every other weekend, but no overnights. This seemed to help greatly. It was about a year before we moved into one overnight for a month and then ended our custody agreement at every other weekend with overnights. Thankfully we only dealt with a few issues in the night a year later after the custody situation had ended. About a month after we came to a custody agreement. Holden's dad took a job out of state and only see's Holden one weekend a month with overnights. We still deal with behaviors after dad's house during the day, some weekends are worse than others, but that is for another blog.
Home is where your child feel safe. You are where your child feels safe. The loss or attenuation of important relationships may cause depression or anxiety, particularly in the first two years, when children lack the cognitive and communication skills that enable them to cope with loss. Offer your child some grace. Support your child when he or she comes home, but maintain structure.