Example #1: You might have read my post about my unintended bedsharing. For six months, having my daughter sleep in our bed worked great for us. I didn't know how often she was nursing at night because I barely woke up, and no one had to get out of bed, so everyone got more sleep. It was great! But then, it stopped working for us. Suddenly, my six month old wanted an all night buffet of all-you-can-drink milk, and neither of us were getting much sleep. Meanwhile, my husband expressed dissatisfaction with being kicked by a squirmy baby instead of cuddling with his wife. We decided to make a change. First, we transitioned her back to the long-abandoned co-sleeper, and then to her own room. Luckily, she was ready for the change so it was a pretty seamless transition (don't hate me!).
Example #2: My son learned to climb out of the cosleeper and refused to stay in our shared bed. Since my office is in our bedroom, babyproofing the bedroom was not a good solution for us. That's when we put the floor bed in his room, which we later replaced with a twin bed. Everyone was happier after we made that change, even though I would have loved to have had him in our room later.
Example #3: No matter what we did, we could not help our son get a good night's sleep. We tried everything. More on that in a minute.
Well what do you do when what you're doing isn't working? How do you decide what and how to change?
First of all, trust your instincts. They might tell you what to do. Try what feels right.
Second, ask trusted friends or family members for advice. Before you are too far on the parenting journey, you probably already know who NOT to ask for advice. (If you don't have friends who are supportive of your parenting journey, my classes can help you meet people who will be!).
Third, when you've exhausted all advice, know when to turn to an expert. Read a book. Go to a mentored support group. Or ask your pediatrician for resources.
Back to example #3. I knew something was off about my son's sleep. I've read a lot of sleep books and talked to a lot of parents about sleep. I knew about typical sleep struggles. That didn't fit what was going on with my baby. My instincts told me something was up. We were already discovering developmental delays, so it seemed like sleep was part of a bigger picture. Our pediatrician agreed, and my son started physical therapy. His physical therapist had a lot of experience with kids who have sensory processing disorder and was able to suggest strategies that fit my son's needs even before he received any official label. We were trying to do all the traditional techniques to calm a baby and get them ready to go to sleep, but they weren't working for us. So we changed what we were doing, and our lives improved dramatically!
In my first post, I talked about how I had to trust my instincts when breastfeeding wasn't working for us. We made the changes we needed, and life got better.
Is something not working well for you and your family right now? How can I help you find the right change for you?