Monday, July 19, 2010

Reason #719 Why I Am a Bad Mother

I am a bad mother. Today, the reason for that is: I just put my baby down for a nap. On his stomach.

Before you go all it's-back-to-bed-lady-don't-you-know-anything-about-infant-care on me, I need to state my case. I never would have done this in the early weeks and months, obviously. But H has been rolling onto his stomach since 12 weeks, so after getting over the initial anxiety of it, I have become accustomed to watching him roll over immediately after I put him down in his crib. His favorite sleeping position is belly down, butt in the air. The pediatrician told me that we can't keep vigil over his crib all night, so once they can move around like this you really can't do anything to stop them. So after a couple of nights of keeping vigil over his crib all night (oh, doctor, you underestimate my anxious powers) once we transitioned him out of the bassinet, where he'd been held back from rolling by a sleep positioner, I finally accepted that I couldn't do anything to stop it. H officially became a belly sleeper.

For the past few nights since we got back from our first mini-vacation with baby in tow (more on this later), he's been all out of whack, and putting him down to sleep has been a knock-down-drag-out ordeal (the parents being the ones knocked down and dragged out, natch). He's been so upset when we put him down on his back that he can't even muster the wherewithal to roll over as he normally does. So I? Rolled him over for him. And he was out like a light.

I know he normally sleeps like this and the pediatrician has given us the green light to let it happen. Putting him down on his belly intentionally still does give me pause, which I suppose is a proof point to the success of the back-to-bed campaign. This message is drilled. But I'd like to see the leaders of this campaign to come to my house, witness my poor tired baby screaming his head off then instantly calm down when I put him on his belly, and not do the exact same thing.

Incidentally, though I hope it read ironically, I feel I should add the following disclaimer: I don't actually believe that I'm a bad mother. I'm not even explicitly looking for comments that exclaim, "You're not a bad mother!", though they are always welcome. I actually know I'm a pretty good mother -- in fact, I've never felt so confident about anything in my life. Oh, I make a ton of mistakes, all the time, and some days I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, as clueless and nonplussed as if someone handed me a scalpel, put me in an OR and asked me to perform lifesaving brain surgery. But for every mistake I've made, I've done something right. I get up every day and try my best to keep him fed and happy. I give him crazy love. All you have to do is turn on the local evening news to realize that, sadly, that's a lot better than the BS that far too many babies in this world must accept as mothering.

We do the best we can. We consult the experts, but in the end, in the final translation from the latest parenting advice book to the day-in-day-out of real-life parenting, we make the best decisions we can for our babies in the moment. That is all we can do.

8 comments:

Frenchie said...

You're not a bad mother!! (See, I said it anyway). Haha. Even though you know you're a great mom it's still nice to hear, right? Hope you're getting some good sleep.

Camille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Camille said...

Love this post. I'm finally accepting that I suck at a lot of things when it comes to parenting, but at the end of the day I really do the best that I can and love my baby more than life itself. And you're not a bad mother!

Liana said...

Last night our three week old was wide awake, so we decided to give him his first try at his little play mat. He doesn't really focus on or interact with anything yet, so we didn't expect him to care about it and sure enough, he didn't. So I decided to flip him over and give him his first official shot at tummy time. You know what he did? He went straight to sleep, spread out and super comfy (just like his mommy!). I suspect as soon as our guy can roll over, it will be no more back-to-bed for him. It doesn't make either of us bad mommies, it just means our kids know what they like.

anofferingoflove said...

hell, im just impressed you can put your babe down to sleep in his crib and he sleeps! when i lay my girl down, she wakes up immediately and starts screaming hysterically! sigh...

Ashley said...

As soon as we knew Kinz had good head control and could roll...we started putting her on her belly. My SIL puts all her babies on their bellies from the start...she says they sleep better..and they do. I was nervous at first but we have an angel monitor so it made me a little less nervous. We just have to leave it in God's hands..and know that we are NOT bad mommies;)

Roccie said...

Oh law have mercy, do I hear you on this one.

My girl slept in her car seat for the first 3 months. How is that for bad parenting??

Jamie said...

I don't know if I ever officially admitted this on my blog or not, but Skeeter has slept on his stomach since he was about two weeks old. My choices were 1. Stay up all night listening to baby scream bloody murder or 2. Stay up all night holding vigil over the crib making sure baby kept breathing while sleeping soundly on stomach.

I thought the answer was obvious?!?!

 
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