The last post on aware baby experiment had ended with ” Time will tell if we got this one right”. So, it is only natural for us revisit this topic every 6 months atleast.
We have now been practicing the aware baby parenting model without fail for about 25 weeks. There are a few books that truly change the course of one’s life and certainly, The Aware baby (http://www.awareparenting.com/)by Aletha Solter falls into that category. Babies dont come with a user’s manual and if there was one close enough to being one, it is this book.
DS was still on supplements when we started with the practice – in about 4 weeks time, we were fully out of any supplements. DS, had gotten into a very predictable routine – his was a three hour cycle, he would be active for about 2 hours, then give signs of fatigue when his first outbursts would start, cry out for anywhere from 5min- 20min. and then sleep off for the next 30-45 min. This keeps happenning to this day except from 9pm-5am he sleeps through all three hours, waking up exactly every three hours for a feed.
The true value of practicing aware parenting lies in the bonding experience. When this tiny soul is stressed out and wants to release it (if anyone listens to us from outside, they would think a massacre is going on!), that he finds this unconditionally open arms to fall into and cry his heart out – what a relief it must be for him and what an honor and privilege it is for us to be worthy of his trust and just BE when he needs us the most.
By the time he was about 3 months, he had cried for about 250 hours! Wonder how stressful that birthing experience and adjusting to this new environment must have been. And then, slowly the cry out time shortened dramatically – from about 1 hard cry a day for sure (lasting atleast 40 min) to about 1 hard cry every few days to now, a hard cry once a week or so.
Also, as he would be crying himself out and slowly slipping into his sleep, DS would suck his thumb on and off. When he starts sucking his thumb, he would be suppressing his emotional outburst, while he would be in either one of our arms, as we patiently and compassionately, listen him out. Then he would spontaneously, remove his thumb and give out a cry. This would go on and eventually stop when he would decide to go sleep by suppressing his emotions by sucking his thumb and sleep off.
But now, as of a few days after his 6th month, he has stopped sucking his thumb fully. As we bring aware attention to him, he fully opens up and cries it all out and when done, falls off asleep. With no other sleep aids or pacifiers, he is off to sleep without any other external help and is now totally out of his thumb sucking habit altogether.
In the meanwhile, his personality has truly opened up and embraced the openness provided to him. He explores freely with no restrictions but minimal supervision to ensure his safety. We let him struggle with the challenges that come about his way and are gladly surprised to see him come up with solutions to surmount them – be it an obstacle he cannot get over or a toy/object he cannot put into his mouth or lift up.
It is a regular complement to hear people tell us that he is one of the happiest and cheerful babies they have seen. The nurse at our doctor’s office, in fact, made it explicit when she said that she is not saying it out of courtesy but out of experience from handling many babies everyday. One of the staff working at the hospital wanted to know if he is this way at home too and wondered what made him so cheerful.
When DS still was in his mother’s womb, we were taking classes for baby wearing and one of the babies, an eight month old boy, had such an outgoing and cheerful personality that we were wondering what would it take for our little one to be this way. We now think, while there might be a natural component to personality, the nurturing part, when done the aware parenting way might be the key.