Before I had my baby boys, I always thought that I would get my babies on a good schedule, that I would teach them how to self-console and how to fall asleep on their own, without needing to be rocked.
Yeah, none of that really happened. They are in a sort of routine rather than a set schedule. They sometimes just want to be held. They want to be rocked to sleep at night.
Some people may disagree with me on a lot of stuff I'm about to talk about. Sorry about that, but it's not black and white type of issues. It's different for everybody, and this is how we have decided to raise our boys.
Let's talk about scheduling. After the boys were born, especially for the first few months, everything was chaos. They ate ALL the time (or that's what it felt like, at least). They wouldn't sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time (normal newborn sleeping patterns), and they didn't always sleep/wake at the same times during the day. They eventually got a little better, once they started sleeping through the night, but still their nap times and feeding times were still pretty unpredictable. Once I returned to work, I got asked soooo many times..."oh so you probably have them on a really good schedule now right?"
This pissed me off so much.
No, they were not on a good schedule. They never sleep a consistent amount of time (sometimes it's a 15 minute nap, and sometimes its an hour and half nap). They sometimes want to eat before the "3-hour" mark. And then I would start getting upset about it. If everyone keeps assuming that I have them on a set schedule, then I must not be doing something right. Why aren't they consistent? What else can I do? (breastfeeding hormones did NOT help with this...I got way more upset than I should have, multiple times.)
Then, I got over it. Screw it. I don't care anymore. They can eat when they want, and they can sleep whenever and however long they want to. I mean, think about it. What if people tried to put us on a set schedule? Do you want to only be able to eat on the hour every 3 hours? What if you got hungry in between feeding times? What if you don't need a 2 hour morning nap? Why should you have to take one, if you are perfectly happy playing with your brother? I know that some people need to have a schedule. It helps them get through the day, and have control over things. But it would drive me crazy. So why should I subject my babies to something that I wouldn't do myself? So no, my babies are not on a "schedule". They wake up at slightly different times each morning, and nap and eat throughout the day whenever they act hungry or sleepy. Wake up, eat, play, nap and repeat, until bedtime. That's our "routine", but the times differ everyday (except bedtime-that's pretty consistently at 630/700-unless they've had a super late nap).
My rule of thumb was always "Once they hit 6 months, then it is ok to let them cry-it-out a little bit, to learn how to fall asleep on their own." Yeah, that one didn't last either. We tried once or twice to let them cry it out to go to sleep on their own, and neither of us could stand it. It wasn't 10 minutes before we gave in, ran to our boys, scooped them up and hugged them tight. From then on, we decided that the crying-it-out method just wasn't going to work for us. If they need to be rocked to sleep each night, I will rock them. I love rocking them to sleep, and I'll continue to do so until they don't want any part of it any more. It's not inconvenient. Some people have said, "but if they wake up in the middle of the night, they will notice that they are not being rocked, and they won't go back to sleep.". Well, that hasn't been a problem for us. Maybe it would be different if it was, but it's not. So I'll continue to rock my littles to sleep.
If my babies want to be held, I will hold them. They crave the closeness and the comfort, and I'm not going to withhold it. Some people may say "But if you hold them, they are just manipulating you and you're spoiling them. They need to learn to self-console and/or entertain themselves." Really? My less-than-a-year-old-twins are manipulative? Um no. There will come a day where they won't want to be held or cuddled, so I'm going to enjoy their desire for closeness while it is still here. I am just trying to put myself in their shoes...You're in a warm place where you're never hungry, nothing is loud or scary, you're not overstimulated, you can sleep comfortably at any time, and you know everything about your surroundings (smells, sounds etc). Then, someone takes you out of that warm place, put you in a huge new world, where you know nothing. You're scared. So of course you want to be closest to the voice, the heartbeat, the smell and the touch of the person who gave you the warm comfort place you were first in. If my babies need and want to be close to me and/or Jeremy, it's ok. We'll gladly hold them tight.
So that is my thoughts on spoiling children. And it may be completely different with future children, and maybe not. But this is what works for us now, and what we'll continue to do.
I don't believe in rigid scheduling or spoiling babies.
That is all!
I'd also love a vote!