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Parenting On The Fly

by Liz Braden (follow)
Motherhood - The most challenging and yet the most rewarding "job" you'll ever do...
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Things happen, and we need to be able to adapt to meet their needs.

Most of us went into parenthood with some very set ideas on how we were going to raise our children. Most of us learned very quickly that those ideas don’t always work in reality, and sometimes we find ourselves adapting on the fly.


Little C is teething. He has been teething for a few months now, but yesterday I found his first little roofer – front bottom right. Little white thing just starting to peep through. He has been highly unsettled for a few days which is highly unusual for him, so we were beginning to suspect that he had finished the “shuffling” and was now ready to teethe in earnest. Yep, we were right!

Last night was a restless one as a result. Lots of reassurance, a lot of cuddles, and a couple of doses of baby panadol through the night, plus a 4am feed (which he hasn’t needed for quite a few months now), and it looked like we were winning. Until my heater stopped working because the outside unit froze over, and it got incredibly cold inside.

Little C started whimpering in his sleep around 5:30am. I went in to check on him and found him shivering. I put an extra blanket on him and made soothing noises but he continued to toss and turn and shiver and whimper, and I realised that I was going to have to change my ideas on the fly.

Despite my opposition to co-sleeping, I realised that it was the best option I had to keep him safe and well because he is too small to generate enough heat to warm up on his own. I am well versed on the dangers of co-sleeping, but hypothermia is even riskier. So I took Little C to bed with me.

And then, because I’m pregnant and my bladder likes to remind me of this fact, I made my second against-my-beliefs decision; my bed is warm, his is cold, so I supported him with pillows and left him unattended in the middle of my bed to go to the loo. When I came back he was sprawled on his back, happy as a lamb, and doing the deep slow breathing that every parent likes to see in their sleeping child. He had warmed up and was out of danger. Thankfully, my heater had also chosen to kick back in at this point, and I was able to put him back in his cot.

Will I start co-sleeping because of no harm coming to him this time? No. I still oppose it. That said, sometimes we need to do what we need to do in our to keep our little ones safe, and sometimes that means doing things that we’re not comfortable with. This was a once-off in response to a need. This is parenting on the fly. This is okay, and it’s also part of the deal. Things happen, and we need to be able to adapt to meet their needs.

Note: This article is not intended to criticise parents who co-sleep. Each family must make their own decision about what is right for them.

Read Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

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