When and How Do We Stop
When and How Do We Stop
As postpartum doulas, families ask us all the time, “When and how do we stop __________”? You can fill in the blank with rocking them to sleep, nursing them to sleep, singing them to sleep, giving them a bottle, letting them sleep in our room, etc.
As parents we all want the change to be painless for our children and ourselves.
For some families that means taking as much time as needed to transition, for others it means they draw their line hard and fast.
So the answer to when and how starts with who and what.
Who you, your partner, and your children are and of course what you want for your family; what are your goals. Once we know this we can help you find solutions!
Here are some questions to help you find an approach that works for you and your family!
Find which of these sounds most like you and go with it, but keep in mind your baby/toddler/child may be the opposite of you. You’ll need to find a balance, after all it needs to be what is best for the family unit, but making it best for baby may mean smoother for all!
Do you normally try things expecting quick results and move on to something new fairly quickly if what you tried didn’t work the first time? Are you direct or blunt? Do you normally trust your gut or intuition?
Yes! Then my suggestions would be to trust your gut, try several things and see what seems to get better results than others. Once you’ve narrowed your options down the real work begins. It will require patience, sensitivity, and consistency for a set time. If after a set time no progress is being made move on to the next thing your gut tells you may work.
Do you find yourself asking friends or people within your social circle what works for them? When you succeed do you love to shout it from the roof tops and want recognition?
Yes! Then my suggestions are to do some research by way of socializing with friends about what worked for them and just get started. Stay focused on the results you want to see. Keep with one way for a given time and seek support of your closest friends to hold you accountable.
Do you look to your significant other for their acceptance or for new ideas? Do you prefer your partner make most of decisions regarding places to go eat or a paint color for the house? Do you value friendships and stability?
Yes! Then I would suggest making a list of the ways this transition will benefit your family. Then with your partner’s suggestions follow their lead and follow through. Be the kind, compassionate person you are, but remain steady. If what you’re doing isn’t working after a given time seek guidance from your partner again.
Do you value systems? Are you analytical and seek out facts and evidence? Do you find you are skeptical of things more times than not?
Yes! Then you’ve probably already sought out your options and compiled a detailed list to help you reach your goals. If you haven’t already, list them in order of which you would like to try each one. The list could include the idea or concept, the number of times each week/day you want to try said idea, and the duration for which you will try each. Step out of your comfort zone and be prepared to change plans quickly when plan A and B aren’t getting it. Your plan C is to think quickly. You may need to delegate. Make your lists easy for others to understand so they can help you implement the ideas. You will need to let go of some responsibility and allow others to step up.
Ultimately my suggestion to a wider audience would be to stop when your heart or gut tells you it’s time! Re-direction, positive reinforcement, and consistency are usually the key to change.
That can mean stopping when your child makes it clear they are ready or you are sure you are ready. There are several approaches. You could do it all at once and go cold turkey or take it nice and slow through the transition.
I think the best way to go about it is to trust yourself as a parent and do what feels right for your family. There will, without a doubt, come a time when your baby just won’t “need” you to _____________ anymore.