My DS is 4 mths. At first, he was a champion sleeper. After dealing with sleep issues with my first DS, who didn't start sleeping all night until he was over 3, having a baby that seemed to love to nap (albeit in his wrap carrier), and only woke 2-3 times a night to quietly nurse and go back to sleep was a dream. DS2 would even go to sleep at the same time as DS1 (nursing on DS1's bed while I read books and sang my older one to sleep) and then stay in our bed alone for an hour or 2 while I had some time to myself or with DH. It seemed too good to be true....and I think it was. For the last couple of weeks, after I nurse DS2 to sleep like I always have, and then transfer him to our bed, he is awake within 20-30 mins, and he won't go back to sleep without nursing. I have tried bouncing/rocking him to sleep initially instead of lying on the bed and nursing, with the same result. I have laid in bed with him until I'm sure he's out cold (limp limbed, steady breathing).....and still he wakes up. Every 20 minutes. And won't stay asleep unless I'm there with him. This is fine in some respects; I;'m getting a lot of reading done and catching up on some sleep, but there are some nights when I would like to hang out with my hubby for more than 10 mins, or get some housework done, or just be me without a baby stuck to my breast. He has also started nursing a lot more during the night-about 5-6 times. After having such a challenging sleeper the first time around, I am really wondering if it is my fault, and I am making my babies "bad" sleepers by wearing them for naps, nursing them to sleep, etc. I am really worried about the strain another bad sleeper will put on my relationship with DH, as it was no picnic with DS1 and the fight between DH and I over CIO was a huge issue of contention. Any thoughts/advice???
Am I making my baby a "bad" sleeper??
oh jeez...well i am not even close to being anything near an expert...but what comes to mind when i read your post is the 4 month sleep regression! it's a doozie for many babies but it doesn't last forever. if i were you, i'd keep doing things the way you have up until now (keep placing him in your bed and leaving after you put him down for the night) and he may soon go back to sleeping longer by himself there. it might just be a phase and maybe if you anticipate that he'll need you in 10 minute so you just decide "why even try leaving?" and you go to bed with him right from the get-go every night...he won't complain about that! and then THAT's the new normal. makes sense?
just my thoughts. gooooood luck!
No, you're not making your babies bad sleepers....you are fulfilling their needs wonderfully.
Kathryn Dettwyler states "normal, healthy, breastfeeding, co-sleeping children do not sleep through the night until 3-4 years of age'. So your kids are very normal!
Babies and children in non-western cultures are not expected to sleep alone, but due to western culture, home design, lifestyles, we often expect our children to sleep alone. They just were not designed to do that though. For most of human evolution, a baby or young child alone was open to predators and that instinct is still there (monsters in the closet, noises in the night, baby who wakes the moment you leave the bed and so on). I think we just have to accomodate their needs until they are older and stronger and more comfortable. Sometimes it is also just easier to go with the flow. One set up that I found helpful during my son's infancy was nursing him to sleep on the floor while watching television with my husband before bedtime. As long as I stayed nearby I was able to get up once he unlatched. I didn't go far but I could sit closer to my husband, perhaps eat, talk softly.
He could still hear me, smell me and so on.Then we went to bed I carried him up with us. Good luck mom, I'm sure you figure a solution out. Kudos to you for meeting baby's needs.
Edited by Asiago - 9/23/12 at 2:48pm
By wearing your son for naps and always nursing or rocking him to sleep you have trained him to sleep (or not sleep) the way he does. It sounds like the sleep situation you have now is exhausting you and causing stress in your home and marriage. Part of fufilling your children's needs includes providing a stable, healthy, animosity-free home environment for them to thrive in. Everyone needs sleep. You and your husband will be better parents if you are having your own needs met - whether that means uninterupted sleep or occasional quality time alone together. Eventually your son will have to learn to sleep without you nursing and/or rocking and/or wearing him. There is no shame in teaching him how to do that now instead of waiting a few years. Whatever hybrid parenting style you choose, it will be easier if you and your husband approach it together.
My DH and I have read and discussed many books and parenting styles together. CIO is not the only other option. I encourage you to do some open-minded research and try something that 'rings true' for you.
For some perspective here is a description of our night parenting routine:
Sometime around 8:00 I feed our 2month old son what we laughingly call his dinner. If he's alert and happy we hang out and play with him. When he starts looking tired and fussy we get him ready for bed. One of us gives him a chance to pee over the sink, then dresses him in a sleeper and night diaper. We lay him in his crib, in our room, kiss him goodnight, and walk away. At this point he is wide-eyed awake, calm, relaxed, and looking around. We go back downstairs to enjoy a bowl of ice cream and a TED talk or two, or socialize if we have guests over. By the time we go to bed DS is sound asleep. Occasionally he sleeps through the night, but he usually wakes once or twice. If he fusses, one of us will get up, turn on the nightlight, and sooth him by touching his head, talking to him, and sometimes give him a pacifier. Once he's calm, but awake (usually 30s to 2min), we go back to bed. At 8:00 in the morning he is usually awake and happy, looking around. If so, I get him up, potty him, and feed him. If he's still sleeping, I let him wake on his own, but I go ahead and open the curtains and resume regular daytime noises.
The books we liked best were 'Bringing Up Bebe' by Pamela Druckerman, 'The New Basics' by Michael Cohen, and a sleep training book by Suzy Giordano, though that last one was way too hyper-scheduled for our laid-back approach to life, it did have some great tips.
Hope that helps!