Help for my sister - her baby is messing up her marriage and her life. - FamilyEducation
Help for my sister - her baby is messing up her marriage and her life.
07/09/2013 at 11:10 AM

Hi. I need some advice for my older sister. She had a baby almost a year ago, my nephew, Davis. She is a very good mom … very attentive and loving. The problem is, Davis is very dependent on her. He doesn't sleep in his crib. He has to sleep with her every night. Her husband can't sleep with them in the bed because Davis wakes up multiple times and must be cuddled and played with until he falls back to sleep. My sister is exhausted, but whenever she tries to put Davis to bed in his crib he cries and she can't stand that so she puts him into the bed with her. He is almost one and sleeps 3 to 4 hours at night, so he is still not sleeping through the night. He doesn't nap very well during the day either because he needs to be with my sister in order to sleep. He will fall asleep in her arms and when she puts him down he wakes right back up a few minutes later. The only way he sleeps is if he is directly on her.

Davis also can't be anywhere away from her. Recently, my sister's husband complained that they couldn't do anything without Davis being right in the center of things. My sister took a trip to Orlando recently … a trip that normally takes an hour. It ended up taking 6 because Davis was in his car seat in the back seat and my sister was driving. He was flipping out crying and screaming because she wasn't right next to him. Normally when she takes him places, someone has to sit right beside him in the backseat, so when this didn't happen, he went bananas and she kept having to stop the car for him and play with him.

My sister is terrified of letting Davis cry or feel uncomforable in any way. She is always with him. The moment he begins to wimper, she is right there. She says she must do this in order to establish trust with him. I do see that Davis is very attached to her and they seem to have a very close relationship. But I am worried about the strain this is putting on my sister's marriage and on her life - she is so exhausted all the time and can't do anything without Davis. She has never left Davis with anyone and is very distrustful of other people watching him. She won't even let others hold him for very long for fear they may drop him or hurt him.

I do not have children, so I am wondering if this is good parenting. I've always wanted kids, but I do not think I could do what my sister does. I like to have some "me time" once in awhile … something she never gets since Davis arrived. I also am wondering if I should say something to her about my concerns.

Any advice is appreciated.