First, let me give you some background information.
- I nursed Heidi for 10 1/2 months until I no longer made milk due to pregnancy with Piper. Piper nursed for 14 months.
- Despite Heidi breastfeeding for most of the first year of her life, she started sleeping through the night before she was 2 months old. At the time, it never occurred to me for her to sleep with me because she slept all night in her crib. Prior to that, she had been sleeping with me off and on because I realized that when she slept with me, she slept for longer periods of time.
- On the other hand, Piper literally slept with me for more than a year. Even though she would start out the night in her crib, I was often too lazy to even attempt to put her back in because of how tired I was. When she cried, I'd simply pick her up, nurse her and go back to sleep with her next to me. She started sleeping through the night somewhere around her first birthday and by 15 months of age, she was sleeping in a twin bed with a bed rail. (I'm still reasonably pleased with myself for figuring out that after all that time sleeping in a bed, it was only understandable that she would prefer a bed to a crib.)
- I semi-discovered babywearing while Heidi was tiny, but I did not invest in a high quality carrier. It was some sling type thing that served a small purpose, but it wasn't my favorite. When I got pregnant with Piper, I knew I would need one so I could give myself the advantage of having two hands pushing a shopping cart or just around the house. I invested in a Connecta and never looked back. I wore Piper almost all the time, especially after we first moved here and she couldn't walk with us to the canal yet. Eventually, I started wearing Heidi in the Connecta as well, but she was already well into toddler-hood by the time that happened.
Why is all of this important?
Well, when I looked at this question, I began to look at the differences I see between Heidi and Piper and relate them to their different upbringings. Yes, I am fully aware that they are two different people and any difference between them could simply be due to that fact, but I know that 'nature' cannot account for 100% of a person's traits. It is with those eyes that I look at Heidi and Piper and see differences that I feel I could have changed.
- Since before Heidi was a year old, she has utilized a blanket to fall asleep. She also requests a blanket whenever she is crying, even if I'm holding her. My one saving grace is that it's never the same blanket, but the idea that my comfort alone is not enough for her sometimes is disheartening. Piper has no need for trinkets of any kind.
- I have noticed a general sense of insecurity in Heidi that I do not see in Piper. It's hard for me to describe, especially without you knowing her or having ever been in her presence so you'll just have to trust me. I see this insecurity in her throughout the day, manifesting in her whines and cries for various things. Again, I know this certainly could be age-related, but when I see such a vast difference in Piper, I feel it's something more.
I hate to think that I might have wronged one of my children in some way that will affect how she is in the future. I know that I cannot blame myself for not knowing the benefits of something like co-sleeping until well into Piper's first year, but I can't help but wonder if Heidi would have been different had I breastfed her for at least her entire first year, worn her often and had her sleep with me for as long as she wanted.
I don't know how to fix this.
My one glimmer of hope is that Heidi has now started waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our bed with us. Then she'll sleep as usual until the morning, but at least she's getting a new chance to feel the comfort and stability of the family bed. Plus, I do wear her from time to time, occasionally at home and when carts for two children are unavailable.
This is the big question: What can I do to turn this around?
Have you done things differently with multiple children? Did you notice a difference between them?