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Is co-sleeping the right thing?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,

 

I am new to this sight and this is my first question.....here goes!

 

I am a stay at home dad and my wife and I are practicing a parenting style much different than our parents, which can be a struggle. We cloth diaper, breastfeed, my wife co-sleeps, etc. My only concern is co-sleeping, everything we read on this subject makes us feel like it's the right thing to do. Although I have noticed that my 4 month old daughter is becoming less independent, contrary to the studies we have read. It is a helluva fight to get her to nap, she cries if I am not within her sight, and she wants to be held more now than she used to.

 

I am now struggling with chores throughout the day, and when my wife is home in the evening I am mentally spent. I don't want to clean or cook.....things are progressively getting worse.

 

We don't like the idea of letting her "cry it out," but even the pediatrician suggested it.....as well as the many scoldings we've received from our parents and all of their friends. Are we doing the right thing?

 

Thoughts?

post #2 of 36

My thoughts:

 

  • 4 month olds are not independent and should not be. They have good reason to feel insecure if they don't have a parent in sight. Americans (I'm just assuming you are one, maybe not) have a very odd emphasis on independence for babies that doesn't line up with reality. This is reassurance for you that there is absolutely nothing wrong when your 4 month old is not independent and needs you.
  • Babies like to be held a lot orngbiggrin.gif All part of the care of a baby. It goes too quick, actually!
  • All the same, you do not need to be a martyr. It's gotta work for everyone.
  • Most of us on this forum have learned not to share our struggles with critical people. It's too bad because there really shouldn't be a need to pretend everything is peachy keen, but when people are black and white they will not see your gray.

 

And my ideas:

 

  • Some babies like to be "worn" in a soft carrier while parents do chores, and often will sleep in security. If this solution works for both baby and parent, it's a big win. It doesn't work for every pair though.
  • Some parents get a pack-n-play or other portable crib, and have the baby sleep downstairs while they do chores.
  • Some babies nap better if mom or dad lays down with them on the bed, then quietly gets up when baby is asleep. This is what worked for us. We had bed rails to prevent baby from rolling off.
  • Some babies drop a nap. It happens.
  • If baby drops a nap, parents can still get things done. I recommend the book Unplugged Play http://www.amazon.com/Unplugged-Play-Batteries-Plugs-Pure/dp/0761143904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334156913&sr=8-1 which has lots of good ideas for engaging babies and children, often with absolutely minimal effort on your part. One idea from the book is to have one cabinet in the kitchen full of kitchenware that is safe for baby (a little older than yours, though - sitting up) to play with. You can put a mat down and baby knows that cabinet is all theirs. You don't fill it with toys, you put real stuff you actually use in it, but stuff they can play with, like pots and pans and lids and measuring cups and funnels and so on. So when you're doing the dishes or cooking  or whatever, baby goes to town. Just one of many ideas in the book.

 

You know I think I lost the thread of the problem. Are you talking about naps or are you saying that baby wakes often during the night and you don't get enough sleep or... ?

 

post #3 of 36

my husband is also a stay at home dad. we have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. the previous poster has some things I'd re-iterate.

 

Babywear. It is the ONLY way I get anything done. Alot of men like soft structured carriers like an ergo or a boba. (not trying to be sexist, but guys seem to like buckles and the gender-neutrality is appealing)

 

With our first, our progression went like this:

 

newborn to 4-5ish months - started the night in the co-sleeper (arm's reach), came to bed and stayed in bed after first wake-up feed.

 

4 months - 10 months - full time co-sleeping. with bed rails.

 

10 months - started the night in the crib, in a separate room. came to bed with us when we were ready to sleep

 

12-14 months started the night in the crib, came to bed IF he woke up (many nights he slept through by this point)

 

we had a month where we reverted to full time co-sleeping because my supply tanked due to a new pregnancy . . . then it dried up completely and he night weaned

 

14-22 months - started the night in his room, came bed with us when he woke up around 4 a.m.

 

I had baby #2 when he was 22 months old. He has not been back in our bed ONCE since his sister was born - his choice.

 

For naps: we lay down with a baby for naps, until or unless they just crash. In that case, hooray!

 

With my youngest baby -who is now 6 months old - we have co-slept full time since day one. I have no idea when she'll be in her own bed. I am not really in a rush for it, I love the time to cuddle at night. But she is a mover in her sleep already, and I am sure will not be comfortable to sleep with as a toddler (neither was her brother) it's why we have a king sized bed :)

 

4 months old is a hard sleep age, further more, your baby hasn't any idea of object permanence yet, or really of time, so when you leave her to CIO (if you were to) she doesn't understand that you are nearby. She only knows HERE and NOT HERE, and obviously prefers you HERE. She also doesn't understand "I'll be back in a minute"  she just knows you are gone.

 

A great book, if you are willing to spend some time studying your family and the sleep dynamics, is the "no cry sleep solution" - it is co-sleeping friendly! and also has lots of options should you choose to not co-sleep too.

post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the support......I have tried the moby wrap which only works with mom. I will have to try one of the other brands that were mentioned. 

post #5 of 36

My husband used the Ergo sometimes. It can be used in a front carry and a back carry position. (They say a side carry is possible but it doesn't seem straightforward to me at all). You'd probably try the front carry at first, though it's not as convenient with chores. After you've gained confidence, a back carry would involve a little practice and the use of a bed or a couch (or a second person) to get set up. It's quite possible to become proficient in the back carry by yourself, but it does take a bit of practice. I personally like the buckles; you adjust it to fit you and the baby and then it's just snap and go.

 

DD loved it and felt very safe in it.

post #6 of 36

My husband will wear our son in an Ergo carrier sometimes so that he will nap; lately, he hasn't been napping well and seems to need extra security. I use the Ergo for the baby's naps, too, and it really helps me get things done around the house. I don't feel so confined to one place. 

post #7 of 36

 We have a 4 month old and are co-sleeping with her as well.  She has been hard to get down for naps as well- it might just be a developmental thing and not an effect of co-sleeping.  Not sure if you've heard of the 4 month sleep regression, but a few weeks before she turned 4 months old dd starting freaking out when we would try to get her to sleep.  I did some internet research and posted on here about it and I really think it was just how the sleep regression manifested itself in her.  She seems to be doing better getting to sleep now, so it seems to have been a phase.  Just wanted to give you food for thought regarding naps.....

post #8 of 36
Independence is not something to look for in a 4-month-old. In fact, she'll eventually get into a period of separation anxiety, no matter how or where she sleeps or how you parent, and she will be difficult to leave anywhere away from you for a long, long time. When she's 2 or 3 years old or so, you might start to see a bit of independence.

The more aware she is and the more thought she puts into things, and the more she starts to realize that she can to some extent control her environment, the more demands she will place on you. This is more about intelligence than dependence.

I agree with trying to find a carrier she and you both like. Also, when she's older and can sit up, you might find things start to get a little easier. When they can sit and reach things, it gets a bit easier, and the older they get after that the more they can start to entertain themselves from time to time. Depeding on temperament, though - some babies and toddlers (and children and adults for that matter) entertain themselves better than others.
post #9 of 36

I just want to reiterate what others said about independence. It's not something to expect from a four month old. (If you really stop to think about it, the whole "independent baby" thing is weird. Babies are utterly dependent on us, for food, clothing, warmth, safety, nurturing, etc. An indepdent four month old is an impossibility.)

 

I also recommend trying some different carriers, and see if one works better for you. Wearing baby can make a big difference.

 

There's one other thing that I didn't see anyone mention, though. You need to find something that works for all of you, for sure. But...being tired and not being on top of the chores are just parts of having a baby in the house. Obviously, you don't want to end up living in a pit or so sleep deprived that you're a danger on the road or whatever. But, part of coping with this particular stage comes in accepting it for what it is. Parents with a four month old are usually tired, and usually not where they want to be, in terms of housekeeping. Heck - my youngest is almost three, and we're just starting to come out of living in chaos (LOTS of other factors there, though).


Hang in there.

post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 

Maybe I shouldn't have used the term "independent," what I am trying to say is that she used to be able to lay on her play mat and be happy. Now she doesn't like to be put down (or held for that matter), she is becoming more high needs than when she was 2 months. I used to read to her and play guitar for her.....she loved it, now she is fussy most of the time. When I put her down so that I can get the book or guitar she is crying instantly (not always, but often). She just seems more unhappy than she used to be.

 

I don't think co-sleeping is the cause, and my heart tells me that her sleeping with mom is best. However, is it possible that responding to her every whimper throughout the day is contributing to her being more needy.

 

Just a thought.....I truly am trying to do what's best for her.

 

Also, does the web-site have a guide where I can learn all of the acronyms i.e. DD, DS, DDC, etc.

post #11 of 36

I was just thinking to myself today that my baby seems to cry more now then he did when he was younger (he's nearly 5mo).  I really do think it's developmental.  They are becoming much more aware at this time and start to have an opinion about what they want to be doing.  They also seem to be more vocal about it.  I noticed that my ds seems to want to be upright more often now then before.  He seems really happy when I hold him sitting up then when I lay him down.  I have just started putting him in an excersaucer when I need to quickly get something done and he is much happier.  So ya...I would say more of a phase then co-sleeping (which we also do).  

Here is a reference to some of the acronyms used on the site: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/2080/what-does-ds-and-dd-mean-acronyms-abbreviations-and-emoticons

post #12 of 36
Quote:

Originally Posted by MrMom1 View Post

 

However, is it possible that responding to her every whimper throughout the day is contributing to her being more needy.



Not to pick on words, but not more needy - her needs won't change. But more demanding? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I think that different families can have different levels of responsiveness that still all fall under good parenting. As long as you respond to her NEEDS, you can also just follow your instinct about responding to her wants. She will benefit from learning to entertain herself over time. I seriously doubt you are neglecting her, just based on the fact that you are researching parenting alone. I think she will need to be in sight of you at all times while awake, though, but if you're carrying laundry and she starts fussing, I don't think you need to put everything down and run right to her every single time. Is that what you're talking about? Yes, you can just tell her "awwww, baby wants something? Daddy'll be riiiiiight there" or whatever and not have a heart attack, lol.

 

Acronyms: here's one list:

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1138701/acronyms

 

DD = daughter (literally, "dear daughter")

post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 

I think I will chalk it up to just a phase! She also likes to stand or sit as opposed to lying down.....she sometimes likes the Bumbo too. Thanks for the help everyone.

 

Also note to self.....never use the "I" word (independent), I could sense the distaste for that type of language. It won't happen again :)

post #14 of 36

In my experience, they go through many phases with sleep, play, and everything else.  My DD was hard to predict at 4 months.

 

But I also think there is too much pressure from some groups/books/websites/family to do things a certain way, whether it's crunchy, CIO or whatever. I've come to find that when I just trust my instincts and find what works for us we are all happiest. It's usually a blend of different parenting styles and cultures. Co-sleeping wasn't working for us. I worked with my DD to get her to be able to sleep in her bassinet, and slowly we worked on her sleep patterns and the way she fell asleep. I never let her cry, but I trusted that she could change just a little in order to find something that worked for all of us. We gradually tried new things and I didn't feel guilty if something caused a whimper. If you feel like co-sleeping is working, just try to tune out what others think about it or fears about long term issues. I'm not saying I have any answers to your situation, just wanted to say that I feel much more able to  be a good parent and a good spouse when we work on things like this. Babies can adapt in small ways. We raise them differently in every household and every country, and the end results tend to be pretty similar in the grand scheme of things.   And in instances when they can't, they usually outgrow it before you know it. I bet things will be pretty different for you by 6 months.

post #15 of 36

I also wanted to add that with this baby (my second), I completely lowered my expectations of what can get done when I am home with him.  With my first, I was always stressed out about the house being clean, etc.  This time, I have my husband watch the baby and my older son on Sunday and I get all of the housework done for the week.  That way, my main focus for the rest of the week is the baby.  That's not to say that I'm not doing things throughout the week (laundry, dishes), but they aren't major things that HAVE to get done that day.  It helps a lot with my stress level.  :)  

post #16 of 36

When my dd was a baby, she was incredibly clingy. I could not do dishes because I could not put her down, even nearby. (I only had a ring sling, which isn't great for doing chores. I should have experimented with other forms of slings.) She was sweet and wonderful, but high needs. She is now almost 11 and very independent and adventurous, yet still loving and connected. Around 5 is when I realized the independent spirit was kicking in.

post #17 of 36

my baby is 6 months old and she needs to be busy much of the time. people have laughed when i say she gets bored, but it is true! we have to do many different things with her through the day. also, once she learned that sitting and standing are fun, no more laying down to play! do you have an exersaucer-type toy?(she sits in it and there are toys on it).

post #18 of 36

By forming a secure attachment now, in the baby stage, the reasoning is that as they grow, they will be secure children and will be wonderfully independent adults.  It isn't so much attachement parenting right now = non fussy baby.  Or that giving into every cry or whimper is causing her to be needy.  Rather, babies cry and need our attention and our help.  Some parents see that as a bad thing that needs to be fixed (so they do so by ignoring their childs needs -- with CIO or with other methods) and then their kids suffer down the line.  They don't feel like they can trust their parents.

By fostering a great relationship now, you can reap the benefits of a wonderfully well adjusted adult down the line.

 

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting/7-benefits-ap

 

Especially #4 on that site.

 

I think cosleeping is a wonderful way to encourage and support breastfeeding and bonding with baby, and promote a strong attachment to mom/dad.

post #19 of 36

Four months is around the time my daughter got more...assertive about what she wanted :) Like others have said, she wanted to sit or stand up with my support, didn't want to lay on her back anymore, didn't sleep as much, and it's almost as if she needed to figure out what she wanted to do since she wasn't eating and sleeping all. the. time.

When I need to get things done (and she'll be six months in a few days) I rotate her between the carrier, the bumbo seat, the exersaucer, a blanket on the floor, the high chair in the kitchen with me...she does get bored pretty quick, but the change of scenery and staying close to me keeps her pretty entertained. Sometimes I just throw my expectations out the window though and we go for a walk. She got happier when she could sit up on her own, and I think she'll be even happier when she starts crawling here in a bit...she's just ready to DO more :)

post #20 of 36

I read an awesome blog post recently about parenting philosophies and how it seems as though the 'magic formula' is simply the fact that parents CARE! That being said, from my own experience, I chose a different method than many of these posts, and wanted my daughter to begin gaining her independence immediately - gradually, of course, but she did exit my body giving her a huge push of independence right there - so I stopped co-sleeping relatively early with her.  Much of my philosophy was that I wanted to create a 'parenting philosophy' for myself that would work for a second and third child - and realistically, a second and third child need to be a bit more independent because they can't have your attention 100% all the time.  I didn't ignore my daughter, but I wanted her to be ok by herself too - and she was, and is still.  If you are wanting a child who is ok by themselves - I personally would suggest leaving them by themselves, and letting them cry (you're the parent - you know they're ok).  I don't think either philosophy is 'wrong' here - it really just depends on what you are willing to do, and what you want to accomplish.  Good luck!

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