As a mom of three boys, I thought I knew a few things about babies, breastfeeding, feeding and sleep schedules. I was wrong!!! Here are a few things I've learned since baby boy # 3...
1. If a baby is crying... it's for a reason! My job as a Mommy is to find out what that is... not to train him not to cry! Don't let people guilt you into thinking that you must make your baby "cry it out" to teach them to sleep. You will not spoil your precious baby by meeting his most basic needs. Many babies in foreign orphanages no longer cry. This is not because they are feeling loved or having all of their needs met. They no longer cry because they know no one will come when they cry. I want my children to know that they are loved and that it is my joy to meet their needs.
2. There is no such thing as "colic". However, food sensitivities/allergies and reflux are very real things with very real solutions. Since I have cut out dairy, soy, peanuts, wheat and eggs from my diet, my "colicky" baby is now the happiest baby ever and consistently sleeps 10-12 hours straight at night... some nights even 13-14 hours!! My once fussy baby happily puts himself to sleep and awakes as a sweet talkative baby in his crib.
3. Throw the Baby Wise and scheduling books out of the window!! One thing my husband and I have learned, is that the foods I'm eating and giving to my exclusively breastfed baby are much greater factors that affect sleep, rather than feeding and sleep schedules. When baby boy #3 came around, I didn't have time to monitor or schedule feedings or nap times. Due to lack of time to plan, as well as his sensitive tummy, I basically threw out all of the book's teachings and fed him whenever he wanted (On Demand) and put him down for naps when he seemed tired. He is not spoiled and is my best sleeper! Feeding your baby on a schedule isn't always the best for every baby! My baby is only awake from 8am to 7pm and needs to get all of his daily nutrition in that 11 hour time frame. If I only fed him every 3-4 hours, he could not possibly get all of the calories and nutrition he needs to grow. By the way, my 5 month old is over 17 lbs, in the 90% with height and weight, and wears 9 and 12 month clothing!
4. Introducing solid foods will not help your baby sleep through the night!! Our pediatrician has told us numerous times, babies' main source of nutrition in their first year is breast milk. Introducing other foods is more about practicing to learn how to eat. If you fill your baby up with solids, he may not have room for the best food... breastmilk. Also, families with a history of food allergies, IBS, and other tummy problems should definitely wait until after baby is 6 months, as to not cause further and future tummy problems.
5. This life is not my own!! I have been bought with a price, by the blood of Christ. If I am to display this selfless love to my children, I can not live for my own pleasures everyday in front of them. This food lover and passionate cook is learning a lot about discipline and self control, as I choose to sacrifice eating dairy, beef, soy, peanuts, eggs, wheat, caffeine/chocolate and tomatoes (we have 12 tomato plants in our backyard) for the health of my baby. My desire for certain foods is not more important than the health of my baby.
6. PRAY!!! We ask the Lord each night to give our boys (and us) a good night's sleep. We seek the Lord for wisdom in raising our boys. He is our Creator, Savior, and the ultimate Wise Counsel.