Here's our situation: my daughter slept in an Arm's Reach Cosleeper attached to our bed until she was almost 5 months. We all slept pretty well for most of that time -- it used to be so easy to lift her into bed, nurse lying down, and put her back in the cosleeper. She'd usually wake 3-4 times at most, and give us a 5-6 hour stretch every night from 7pm - after midnight or so. (We were also swaddling her until she was about 4 months old, which may have contributed to the longer sleep.)
At about 5 months, we transitioned her to her crib, first for naps, then for nighttime. Since then, she has spent at least part of every night in our bed, at first because I would just be too tired to put her back in her crib after nursing (we started as those "accidental" cosleepers), but at this point she and I both usually sleep better when she's in bed with us. I love the cuddles and having her right there beside me.
I had hoped that we could achieve the best of both worlds: a private, adults-only bedroom in the evening (where we can even have the lights on! and read before bed again! and not stumble around fumbling for our pajamas in the dark, trying not to wake the baby!), and then a cuddly baby to nurse and wake up with in the morning. For a while it seemed like we were on the path to success: after a rough first week of crib transition, then some teething and various other sleep debacles, she was sometimes giving us a nice long stretch in the evening again, easily going back to sleep in the crib if she woke before we wanted her in our bed, and contentedly sleeping in our bed later on in the night.
But more recently, she's been up as often as every half hour or so in her crib, needing to be rocked or nursed back to sleep at every tiniest sleep cycle change. And then there have been a few times when she just wouldn't stay asleep in the crib at all, and I ended up having to get ready for bed while my husband rocked her because the only thing she'd accept was sleeping in our bed. Sometimes there's a clear reason for the poor sleep: a cold, teething pain, etc. But I also wonder if she's just starting to prefer sleeping with me so much that she now won't accept anything less. (She's 7 months, which seems early for separation anxiety, but she has just started crawling, so who knows... that could be part of it.)
So, my questions, for those of you who've tried the crib-then-cosleeping pairing:
Does your little one seem to prefer cosleeping to the point where they stop accepting their crib? Do you have any advice for how to handle this? I really don't want to give up cosleeping entirely, but I also don't feel comfortable letting her sleep in our bed unsupervised, so nursing her in our bed and sneaking away is not a solution.
I guess I'm just hoping for either advice or inspiration from people who've had some success -- though if you're someone who ultimately had to give up and make the switch to full-time-crib or full-time-cosleeping I would be interested in how you came to that decision, and how it's working, too.
Full-time cosleepers, where do your little ones start the night? Or do you just not put them to bed until your own bedtime?