What is this 'rod' that I'm creating?

(41 Posts)
Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 09:22:34

My ds is 6mo. I co sleep, bf and he goes to sleep in my sling (for dog walks, and before I transfer him to his cot for naps and the evening) I pick him up when he cries etc etc Several older people have said I'm creating a rod for my own back and I probably am, but what is the worst that can happen? At the moment he only takes 10 minutes to go to sleep, we all get a good night sleep and everyone is happy.

Can someone who has also done the cosleeping, bf to sleep and sling thing tell me what happens? I know he will get heavy, but surely it doesnt happen overnight and as he grows, my technique will evolve too?

I know i take the path of least resistance, so what happens in the long run and why is it so bad?

Thankyou

Saski Wed 10-Apr-13 09:30:06

I slept with my youngest until he was 13 months old, and basically BF'd through the night. In hindsight, that seems like madness but it was easiest at the time and also, I knew he was my last.

Weirdly, he was easily transferred into a crib - but not by me. I was going back to work and our nanny got him in while I was away on business for 3 nights. She slept next to the crib. He never looked back, he liked his crib.

Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 09:40:28

Thanks Saski - Thats reassuring, I know no two babies are the same but I hear it can be done! Thanks for the reply. I dont intend to be a soft touch all his life, but he seems so little to ignore right now . .

TheDegglyDonkey Wed 10-Apr-13 09:40:31

I'm the wrong person to post here, as I still co-sleep, bf etc my 2 yo.
He generally sleeps well, he's happy, confident, I still pick him up and cuddle him when he cries.
He still goes in his sling occasionally, and he (and I!) loves it.
I can only compare him to my other dc, but so far (and I know different personalities come into the equation), he is the happiest and easiest of all mine.

If it feels right, then chances are it is right..

Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 09:45:50

It does feel right!

BR44 Wed 10-Apr-13 09:47:46

Thank God for rods, I say. Sounds to me like you're doing what works and you have a happy, sleep-fulfilled family.

I BF my DS to sleep until he was just over 2. I then decided to stop BF as I was pregnant with DC2 and the time felt right. I was beside myself with worry about what a nightmare bedtimes were sure to become because of the almighty rod of my own evil creation.

For a week leading up to stopping I talked him through what was going to happen and on the first night without milk I gave him a big hug, put him in his cot and stood there speechless as he just, well, rolled around a bit, muttered to himself and then WENT TO SLEEP. This was the first time he had ever put himself to sleep and it was just, well, fine. The way I see it now, I stuck with my instincts for two years and as a result he was quite happy and confident about bedtime generally. Therefore the removal of milk was in no way such a big deal to him as it was to me.

As you say, these things are incremental. You may call it the path of least resistance but I think it sounds like you know your child and are effectively responding to his needs and not obsessing that he needs to be able to function without your input and presence.

Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 09:48:47

It does feel right!

I bf/rocked my DS and DD to sleep and at 2 and 4 they are great sleepers now. Go down by themselves no problem, and have done since DS was about 2 and DD 1. In fact, DS started sleeping by himself the week his last tooth came through so there may have been a link there.

Our methods did indeed evolve as you suggest and we gently moved in stages to them both settling in their cots when it seemed time. DD was a lot quicker than DS but then she likes to be on her own in bed anyway.

So my case study of two might reassure you that it will all work out ok! Though I appreciate there is also an element of luck involved.

I once read on here someone's response to the rod for your own back thing - something along the lines of 'this rod is the only thing keeping me upright at the moment'. I really wanted someone to trot out the line so that I could have used this response!

BertieBotts Wed 10-Apr-13 10:07:36

What happens in the long run... er, they do stuff by themselves when they are ready. smile Why is it a problem - it isn't! grin

DS stopped feeding to sleep at 10 months
Stopped night feeds at about 2
Stopped co sleeping at 2.2
Slept through at 2.4
Stopped needing me with him to fall asleep at around 3.10
Stopped breastfeeding at 4.4
Grew out of the sling physically quite long after he was confident at walking (and stopped napping in it at around the time he stopped having naps in the day)
I stopped going to him as soon as he cried when he was able to come to me. If he can't come to me I would still go to him - why wouldn't you?

I didn't push him to any of these things, other than the natural separation which happened - when he got heavy I was less likely to carry him, when I sensed he was OK being left at night I started to make excuses like "Mummy just needs the toilet" or just explain "I need to hang the washing up but I'll check on you later" and once he was less reliant on breastfeeding I was quicker to say "No, not right now".

Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 10:08:46

The Deggly Donkey and BR44 - such positive stories, will show this thread to my dp, just to reassure him (although he is happy with how its going)

I wonder if there are parents that DO regret doing it this way, and if there isnt, why is there so much stigma?

Where does this whole 'rod' for your back come from?

Thumbtack Wed 10-Apr-13 10:10:35

Heehee! I love you all, what a relief!

BertieBotts Wed 10-Apr-13 10:15:05

Because apparently needing to sit in your child's room for 5 minutes while they fall asleep at the age of 4 is a terrible burden. Or they might <gasp> come into your bed for a morning cuddle at the age of 5.

I don't see a problem with letting them grow out of needing these kinds of things when they're ready but some people seem to think if they're still doing it by a certain age it's terrible. I don't really understand why! They're not going to do it forever.

mummytime Wed 10-Apr-13 10:18:07

The sling will have to go when it is causing you pain or he doesn't want it anymore.

He won't be co-sleeping when he is 18!

I didn't co-sleep much as my children wrecked my sleep. I also had a lot of back pain, so got rid of the sling earlier, but my children also loved their buggy and watching the world.

The stigma is "because whatever you do as a parent is judged/wrong according to someone".
Do what works for you.

DuttyWine Wed 10-Apr-13 10:20:44

As an avid collector of back rods myself, i say keep on keeping on! I cuddle 15 month old to sleep downstairs in his sleeping bag and carry him up to his cot every night. He sleeps through so I don't care and he still has a bottle of milk instead of sippy cup. Do whatever makes it easy and enjoyable.

rrreow Wed 10-Apr-13 13:54:35

Tell them to take their rods and stick them up their <censored>

I co-slept, fed to sleep, picked up etc. For ages it all felt good and natural and then gradually you feel like certain things don't work anymore, and at that point you change them. I actually really enjoyed DSs first year and didn't find it nearly as hard as all the scare stories led me to believe and I think a big part of that was being baby- and instinct-led.

Fed to sleep until about 8-10 months (honestly don't remember exactly)
Co-slept until 12 months (at which point he started fiddling/moving too much so we didn't get enough sleep anymore, so it had to change)
Picked up until forever! He's 23m and in his own room now, but sometimes when he wakes up in the night he's just really upset and a good cuddle sorts him out.

Look! No rods!

plummyjam Wed 10-Apr-13 14:48:18

By deciding to have a baby you've already created the biggest rod for your own back in life. I say do whatever's easiest and gets everyone the most sleep. Children evolve continuously from birth, our job is just to adapt to their needs as much as we can whilst carrying on with life.

I think a lot of frustration and disappointment results from trying too hard to get children to adapt to our needs too much.

DOI co-sleeping, BF to sleep, sling wearer grin

matana Wed 10-Apr-13 15:04:16

I broke every rule in the book, but you just know when your DC is ready to move on to the next stage. I only co-slept until 12 weeks, but rocked, fed, drove, slinged, walked etc my DS to sleep whenever he needed it. He needed me less and less as he got older, but at 2.5yo still goes to sleep sucking his teddy's label. I don't believe in all that rod for your back stuff and believe i have the strong bond with my DS that i do today because i responded to his changing needs. The only time he wakes now is when he's ill and he's been a pretty reliable 12 hours a night sleeper since 7 months old. Older people will tell you to dip dummies in brandy, leave the baby to cry, move them into their own room from day one, wean them at 3 months and so on. Sounds like you're doing fine to me. It's only a problem when you think it's a problem.

Emjay85 Wed 10-Apr-13 15:57:51

The older generation have a different perspective on babies and children. My partners grandma told me I had made a rod for my own back once for demand feeding her when she was a baby. Apparently in 'their' day they would make the baby wait 4 hours between feeds- even if that mean the baby screams for a good hour cos it's hungry.
Ignore these comments, do what you think is best, your baby will let you know when it's time to move onto the next stage xxx

fairylightsinthespring Wed 10-Apr-13 16:15:43

I don't think it is just a generational thing. I am very different to the other posters on here and have never co-slept, fed to sleep (except when tiny) and only used a sling for a short while. My two are fine, as am I, as are you and your little one. I really think it has a lot to do with the individual parent. If there was only one right way we'd all be doing it, but whatever approaches or methods you take, you will find someone doing it differently and some are more vocal than others in their opposition. Some may feel that my approach has been overly distant or to balanced in favour of my needs rather than the DCs, others may feel your approach is too balanced the other way, causing you to have to make "sacrifices" - but if you are happy to do things the way you are, then fine.There are always transition points, however you do things and they may be easy or hard regardless of the methods used.

QTPie Wed 10-Apr-13 16:36:35

Do what you want and then adapt when you want/need to: your baby your choice. You may need patience to train your DC out of various things, but we all need patience to adapt their routines at some point.

QT

ppeatfruit Wed 10-Apr-13 16:39:53

Its weird IMHO that humans are the only creatures who are supposed to sleep apart from their offspring (you don't see kittens still riding on their mother cats' back when they're adults).

It's healthier because cot death don't usually occur when you have the baby in your room and its natural to feed the baby on demand (they've got small stomachs FGS).

I've got 3 well balanced independent and secure adult DCs by "making a rod for my own back" hmm

snowmummy Wed 10-Apr-13 17:01:50

I didn't co-sleep etc but I see nothing wrong with it if it works for your family. 'Older' people, in my opinion, have trouble seeing that thinking changes, that what they did and how they parented is not necessarily the only way to do things. In short, they are stuck in their ways and unaccepting of new ways.

I never understand rods either.

so what if the child feels comfortable with you and in your space?

why is it so important to get rid of the children anyway?

We still sleep with DD at 16 months, and it's not a problem to us.
the HV made a BIG deal of it at our 1year check up and I don't know why. It wasn't bothering her, so why was it so important? confused

I co slept until Ds was 11mo (he's 13 months now). Mil was insistent that I was creating a rod for my own back etc. etc. and I always said I'll move him when I think he's ready - not when i'm ready. Well, I did. The first night he slept for 12 hours in his own room. Now he has about 13 every night. We have no crying, no drama and he wakes smiling. In 8 weeks he's woken once and was asleep again within 10 minutes.

Surely every baby has different needs? You just wait until you think the time is right to make changes smile

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 10-Apr-13 17:08:40

YOur child, your choice surely.

I personally would rather have walked on hot coals than do all he co-sleeping extended breastfeeding that I read about on here, but if it works for you and your family, good for you.

TreeLuLa Wed 10-Apr-13 17:09:19

No rods here.

Our rule has always been "The most sleep for the most people"

Our DTs were bf and co-slept on and off during the first 3 years. Now at 3 1/2 they happily stay in their own beds but come in for lovely cuddles in the morning grin

Jergens Wed 10-Apr-13 21:24:33

OP you seem to have it all sussed! Happy baby and happy parents - sounds good to me.
I took a similar approach with DD1 (2.5 years) and she's a great sleeper. Trying something similar with DS but he likes a cot and doesn't feed to sleep! He's happy too though. Different strokes and all... smile

waterrat Wed 10-Apr-13 21:44:54

okay well if you genuinely want a variety of thoughts - I completely agree you are doing the right thing for you and your baby - however .....I did the cosleeping/ bf all night long - until it completely destroyed me! well, that is over dramatic, but it got too much for me - at which point I stopped, did various sleep training methods (nothing mean, but I did reduce the night feeds, put him in his own room, spent hours sitting patting him back to sleep/ didn't always go in the moment he cried...)

I was literally on the edge of sanity with ds clamped to my boob all night long, unable to fall asleep without it, waking several times a night at 7 months - I know many on here will say that is normal - I can only say that I couldn't cope!

I do think people are very rude to tell you what to do with your baby - but it is true that it can be very exhausting cosleeping if the baby wakes a lot and feeds a lot.

Someone once told me - its only a problem if its a problem for you - and once it is, you can change it quickly. very wise. babies are quick learners - if you do have sleep problems - you can fix them when they appear if you put the time and energy into it.

lola88 Wed 10-Apr-13 22:15:16

When you are a mother you make a rod for other people to beat you with! Everyone has an opinion and it's usually the oposite of what you are doing for example my sister co sleeps and she is told she needs to stop it or DN will never be out of her bed will be needy and clingy, DS sleeps in his own room and has since 10 weeks and i'm told he will feel abandoned and insecure or the best one 'left out because mummy and daddy get to be together and he's left all alone and unwanted'

When people point out what i'm doing wrong i point out i think they do it wrong

rowtunda Wed 10-Apr-13 23:23:04

People talk about Rods for backs because every baby and mother is different and lots of people can't get there heads round different parenting styles and what suits one, baby or mum or family really wouldn't someone else.I ebf for 13 months but didn't co sleep or use sling - it just wouldn't work for me and my son. If I had used it it would have driven me insane,i like my space in bed! (as does DS!) but then I have a friend who co sleeps who can't understand why you would want to get out of bed to feed at night.

I do think she is creating a rod for her back because the baby can't go to sleep on its own and has to be in a sling to sleep but I am only basing that on my experience and my son where I know we both like having a bit of space and teaching him to self settle was such a key skill which has made us all happier and more rested.

I'm sure my friend thinks I'm mad for the way that I parent also. The fact of the matter is we are all trying our best and do what suits us and our babies - someone will always be judging you whatever you choose to do. Mumsnet in particular is very judgey whatever your parenting style!

So the short answer is - take no bloody notice (as long as you, baby and DH are happy!)

Disappearing Wed 10-Apr-13 23:36:05

I concur, these rods are no problem.

I let my children take the lead on feeding, sleeping, co-sleeping, etc. etc. At 3yo and 7yo, their need for my constant physical presence has long gone.

This has had benefits all ways, everyone is happy. They're happy to sleep alone, self settle etc. as they've had me for months/years right by them, and equally I'm happy to let them go, as I've also had my fill of toddler snuggles.

LittleEdie Wed 10-Apr-13 23:40:42

It's fine. I did all that too. DD is now 5 and gradually grew out of it all. The only negative was my occasional worry that I was 'creating a rod for my own back' grin

rockinhippy Thu 11-Apr-13 00:03:08

I've got a very confident, bright & extremely independent 10yr old by making a rod for my back too - she was an early talker & at 18 months old when we finally decided to try moving her into her own room she turned round & said "good mummy, I want to sleep by myself, you & daddy are noisy" shock & we never looked back

So in short - IME that rod is all bollocks grin

ppeatfruit Thu 11-Apr-13 09:16:07

It's definitely what suits your DCs and family but I have noticed more than a few threads talking about upset\screaming toddlers not wanting the light off in their rooms etc.

IMO to be flexible is important DCs go through stages of being insecure and as someone upthread said then why not comfort them by having them in your bed or a little bed in your room for a bit?

Thumbtack Thu 11-Apr-13 10:13:26

I agree with you ppeatfruit about the animal instinct thing - He is happier and secure when im near so why try and force him to be on his own? It doesnt seem natural . . However i also agree that what works for the individual family is best, and this works for us. Im really glad to hear that its not a 'recipe for disaster' later down the line. I also appreciate the post from waterat saying she did have to deal with some problems when they arose, and thats what i'll do, but its not what i'd consider a 'rod'??

I think the rod thing may come from people having visions of BF/co-sleeping/baby-wearing mothers still doing all these things when the child 'really should be sleeping in his own bed' etc.

Honestly, if it's working for you and your family, continue doing it. You fix something that ain't broke!

My LO is 11.5 months now, and we still co-sleep sometimes (we did it a lot when he was younger), particually if he is teething, or just wants to cuddle to sleep. I never fed him to sleep on purpose, if he fell asleep, that was a bonus! I still carry him in the sling on a daily basis - nothing better for soothing a hungry big baby before his dinner than by strapping him to your back so he can see you making his dinner! I will always pick him up if he needs it, always comfort him when he cries.

It has been shown in studies that babies that co-sleep or are carried in a sling are often more independent as they grow older, because they have a constant reassurance that if they need a parent, they are there. They know they can stray a little further from the nest, because the know mum will always be there when they get back smile

FuelledByChocolate Thu 11-Apr-13 10:36:36

Ds3 is 22 months.

I bf, co-slept, used a sling, never let him cry etc

He is a very happy, funny, confident little boy. I adore him. He decided by himself to stop bf on his first birthday, I was pregnant with ds4 at this point so although I was sad it was a good thing too.

Sleep, however, is a bloody nightmare. He's been in his own bed and room for 2 months now, and takes about 45 minutes of cuddling to go to sleep, and only sleeps for 2 hours at a time, I have to go back I to his bed each time to get him to go off again, and then crawl out of his room trying not to wake him. He screams for ages when he wakes up, waking the baby. He screams if he catches me trying to sneak out of his room.

Eventually about 3am I give up and bring him in with me, and he sleeps fine. Until he realises there is a "baba" in the bed to prod and poke. Its exhausting.

And yet, here I am with my 10 week old doing the exact same thing over again! I did the same with my older children too, ds1 was similar to ds3 but not as bad, ds2 was fine so I think its pot luck really.

makingitin2012 Fri 12-Apr-13 00:13:55

My two boys are 5 and 1 and I have always partly co-slept and always picked up / cuddled when cried. I can understand the views that sometimes you just need your own space and I would say, from experience, that you probably don't feel that yet - but as they get older, that is the 'rod' - my five year old would fall asleep happily with me at early evening as a one year old, but far later as a four year old, for example! But, whilst I understand that view, I wouldn't change a thing. I always feel genuinely sad when I hear the view 'don't cuddle on demand' or 'don't cuddle to get them to sleep', for example, I have always thought (and still do) they're only kids for 2 minutes, enjoy every minute that you can! I dread the day that mine are too old to want to fall asleep with me!

Startail Fri 12-Apr-13 00:29:46

Rods are as flexible as you and your DS choose to make them.

A child who co-sleeps can stay in my bed a child who wants to co-fidget is gently but firmly introduced to the bed side crib.

Likewise DD2 could BF to sleep 5 or 6/7 nights for many many years, but only because she'd let me go swimming, to WI and PTA as well.

At 12 DH will still read to her, so long as it's only sometimes.

Parenting is a matter of compromise on Both sides.

gloucestergirl Fri 12-Apr-13 22:25:59

Ignore the rod thing, people who say this forget that children change as they grow up! Just because your baby needs something when they are a couple of months old doesn't mean that they are going need it when they 18 or even a few months older.

I am a first-time mum and tried to follow the advice of the baby books with my fairly "needy" baby. DD sounds like your's and needed to fall asleep in the carrier, sleep on me at night, wouldn't transfer to the cot, etc. So I tried all the techniques thinking that it was the best for her. But she got so upset that I gave up and forgot the "advice" (bossiness more like) and just did what made her happy and felt right.

As she has gotten older she has become more comfortable without us. She doesn't need to be feed to sleep any longer, she came out of the carrier at about 6 months, she started to fall asleep by herself in the cot at about 10 months (admittedly that needed a bit of work). But it has all pretty much happened naturally in its own time. Now I look back and am grateful for all those cuddles and so happy that DD is such an affectionate baby. If that is my rod then hooray!

badguider Fri 12-Apr-13 22:35:42

It's a rod when you find yourself in a pattern you don't want to be in. And then it takes patience and perseverance to change that pattern.
If you're lucky your child will change as they grow and you won't find yourself in a pattern you don't want to be in.
Things are working well for you but people DO find themselves with children who won't sleep without a nipple in their mouth or who take hours (literally) to shush to sleep or who won't eat or drink for their father or any other carer. It's not their fault and I don't subscribe to the "rod" theory but not every child grows out of (or into) every behaviour when you'd like them to.

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