You Asked, I Answer (Part V)

Here are 3 more questions you asked…and my answers.

mary parenthood phibian You Asked, I Answer (Part V)Mary asks: Have any tips on dealing with separation anxiety in an attached baby? It’s not that I want to leave my child with strangers, but it would be nice if her grandparents could hold her once in a while…

sleeping baby on my chest You Asked, I Answer (Part V)Um. Not really. Because…we don’t really leave our baby. Ever. She goes with me everywhere. To church. To parties. To parks. Everywhere. If you see me, you’ll probably see her. On my hip. Leaning against my chest. Or in a carrier.

We actually just recently began leaving her for a few hours here and there with my in-laws (she’s 11-months-old). She didn’t cry or whimper even a smidge…and that’s because she knows them very, very well.

I have found that the more ACTIVELY involved a person is in my baby’s life, the more she responds positively to them (that’s obvious, I know). And by actively involved, I don’t mean once a week/month.

After all, I often think to myself: Would *I* want to be passed around, hugged, and kissed by strangers and acquaintances (even if they go by “grandpa” and “grandma”)? No, I would not.

Although I don’t have any fantastic advice to share, I do have a bit of encouragement. It gets easier as you child gets older. My 3-year-old, for example, has a much better grasp of relationships and time…and can more easily slide into play with relatives that she hasn’t seen in a little while.

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staci three strait people You Asked, I Answer (Part V)Staci asks: Tell me how you get your girls to sleep!! I beg of you! I’m curious to find out the magical way to get babies to sleep through the night!

Ready for the magic formula? Pat your baby’s tummy. Sing Hush Bye Baby 3 times, while standing on one foot. Done. Just kidding!

Before I answer, I have to clarify some terms first. In our house, “sleeping through the night” simply means that everyone in our house is getting a full night’s rest. This happens almost every night in our house…except when Tim and I stay up waaaayyyy too late (which we are guilty of).

We have never followed any sleep books and we don’t support the cry-it-out method.

What we do is this:

  • I breastfeed our 11-month-old often throughout the night (for the second half of the night – from about 2am onward, I sleep with her and thus I pretty much nurse in my sleep).
  • We have intentionally created sleep environments in all bedrooms to accommodate a parent. It’s hard to have a baby that is sick or wants to snuggle at night…and then to have to lean over the crib to pat their backs or kiss their cheeks. Exhausting, if you ask me. It’s much better just to crawl into bed beside them. For us, anyway.

the no cry sleep solution You Asked, I Answer (Part V)One resource that I would recommend is The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley. She shares a whole slew of ideas for a variety of different situations.

I also highly recommend this excellent post by PhD in Parenting – Gentle Baby and Toddler Sleep Tips.

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marcela beatty You Asked, I Answer (Part V)Marcela asks: Tell me, what do you do when you are feeling down? What are some ways you handle stress?

I run. I talk to my husband. I pray. I make lists. And then I talk to my husband again.

YOUR TURN: Do YOU have any separation anxiety tips to share with Mary? Do YOU know any magical secrets for getting babies to sleep? How do YOU handle stress?

  • http://www.colorado-mama.blogspot.com Tiffany

    In regards to separation anxiety I have learned that the parents feel it more than the kiddos. When ever the kids are going to be in a new situation, such as a new babysitter. We all go over there before hand and hang out awhile. While I am there I leave the room for a minute or two but come back quickly. When it is time for the big day, I try to stay for a bit and play and then it is important to tell the kids bye and that you are leaving (don’t sneak out). Then leave, if you hang around outside the door or the house you will notice that they kids quickly settle down. It is also a sign of a good babysitter if they kids settle down quickly.

  • http://www.theyagerfamily.blogspot.com chelsea

    I’ve been so lucky that my kids sleep easily through the night, and have since very young ages… well before 6 months, for both. Nothing I did right or wrong here – just good luck!

    Stress – I have a lot of it. When I get stressed, I try to find the root of it and do what I can about each piece. For example, job stress (as in, will I have one next year?), I’m trying to find the truth about the budget issues and being a part of meetings and committees where I can be “in the know” and find out what I can do to help. For financial stress, I crunch the numbers. I find ignoring issues makes them SO much worse. This can be true for marriage stress too (we all have it from time to time, right? RIGHT?!?!). Getting to the root of the problem and figuring out the bottom line truths really helps. Ignoring it or assuming the worst is what kills me.
    And, my gut instinct when I’m stressed is to eat. Chocolate and carbs, mostly. I try to curb that by running instead. Ha ha if I find a chocolate sandwich I can eat WHILE running, watch out world!

  • http://www.retrogirl.net/ RetroGirl

    I wish I could be disciplined enough to use my treadmill everytime I feel stressed. Usually I rely on music to destress…and if I’m weak I eat! (Shame on me!) I love Chelsea’s quip about a chocolate sandwich to eat while running!

    You are inspiring! Thanks for being so frank and sharing so much with all of us!

  • Angie from Angies Freebies

    Hi there, I just came across your site and will add you to my fav. I really like your q & a section. Playing online is my biggest stress reliever wether I am working on my blog or talking to my friends I literally escape into another world. My hubby calls it my “other life”. Anyways, I will be back!!

  • Rena

    Destressing – playing loud and bangy piano music for a few minutes and then the soft soothy stuff works every time. However, when babies are asleep, I journal out frustrations. If I can write it away, I almost give the stress someplace else to go, and I end up writing about the root and not the excess of the stress. Odd, yes, helpful, definitely!

  • http://www.mamanash.com/ Jenny N.

    Stephanie-
    Just wanted to say I SO enjoyed your “Ask Me Anything” theme! Do it again soon, yes?

  • http://bighairbetty.blogspot.com Sara Greco

    Yes, thank you for these answers! It has been “fun” getting to know you MORE!

    Most of my kids have been pretty “clingy” and my 5 1/2 yr old still has those tendencies (especially with strangers, but not other family members). And, while it can be an “inconvenience” at times, to give in to that child seems to be far more important than that class or time away or whatever it may be. Because, doesn’t the time go by WAY TOO fast? I keep hearing mothers of older children say that and sometimes I get scared that I’ll get to that point and realize that I didn’t hold my baby enough or play enough games with the toddler or just listen to my little one who needs me! You seem to be in tune with this Stephanie, as many of your posts relate these sentiments.

    I like to shop (or window shop) when I am stressed! Just be sure to save receipts to be able to return something that just doesn’t work when you are in a “sound” mind!

  • Pot Luck Mama

    We co-slept with our son for nearly a year. When we finally kicked him out of our bed (for the first half of the night only…he’s 3 now and still comes into our bed in the middle of the night…we love it:)) we read the no cry sleep solution. There were some nice nuggets I was able to pull from there that made sense for our family. I highly recommend it for ideas at the very least.

  • http://www.musesofmegret.com Megret

    I don’t have any set answers — we went through separation anxiety with both children — though both had it worse at different times/ages. I didn’t leave our children much since I am a stay-at-home-mom, but they did always cry when we dropped them off at church nursery. We made sure we had “positive drop offs” with more familiar folks (my parents, my in-laws) as “practice” and eventually they learned how to deal with 1-2 hours’ separation better, even with those they didn’t recognize as much.

    A sound machine was always our best friend — either a sound machine itself, or a humidifier, or a fan. Our kids still sleep with a fan in their rooms. A nightlight, too, is a plus — I’ll admit — I had one in my room till I was in middle school! :)

    Music helps me unwind — either loud rock that i can dance to, or passionate classical that I can “dream” with. I also find yoga to be one of my top stress relievers.
    How do YOU handle stress?

  • http://www.jinxyisms.com/ Christy

    All of our family lives in California and we live in Montana. Our daughter is very very attached to us (me specifically). Lily lets no one but her Daddy or me hold her. We are going to visit all these well meaning loving strangers in a couple of months and I have a feeling Lily will be living in a carrier most of the time to help her feel secure.

    Lily goes everywhere with me too and the other day I went to a friends house to grab something that she had borrowed and was done with and I left Lily home with Daddy since I was only going to be gone for about 10 minutes and well he’s daddy. When my friend opened her door she looked at me like I was missing a limb and said “Where’s Lily? I’ve never seen you without her since before she was born.” We got a good laugh, but its the truth, and we love it.

    We are considering homeschooling, it will just really depend on Lily (and future unnamed kids).

    Lily has a pack n play in our bedroom that she sleeps in briefly most nights, but she mostly sleeps snuggled right next to me and again we love that and wouldn’t have it any other way.