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I Know This is Wrong...but WHY??

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
I won't mention the dreaded "F" word, but it seems plausible to me that if a baby nurses to sleep every night, they won't know how to get back to sleep without it. How does any AP parent make peace with this? I want to nurse him to sleep, and nurse him back to sleep, but I worry that I am doing harm.

I know all babies sleep differently, but I don't think its normal or healthy that my 14 month old has only ever slept for a grand total of 2 hours by himself, ever, without me needing to come in and put him back to sleep. I don't think its normal that it takes me upwards of 60-90 minutes every night just to get him asleep. I feel guilty, and sad, because I know he's only doing what he knows how to do, so I must have somehow screwed up. All the articles I read are about infants - its ok for infants not to sleep all night, but no one ever addresses toddlers, who don't need night-time feedings, and night-time wakings.

post #2 of 94
My son only started sleeping more than 2 or 3 hours at a time at night when he was right around 14 months. I think what your child is doing is perfectly normal and that he will outgrow it before he is kindergarten age. I think it is quite normal and average (and common) for children to do that and that each child is different. Of course, I dream of having a child that naturally sleeps 6 or 8 hours a night by the age of 6 months, but so far, I haven't been that lucky. Then again, I did get to enjoy that nighttime cuddling a lot longer than some. Try to look at it as a good thing, even though you might not always feel that way.
post #3 of 94
your child's sleeping habits are entirely normal and biologically/developmentally appropriate.

damn this society that thinks that getting our little ones to sleep through the night and without parental intervention is the be-all-end-all.

how do you think you are doing harm by meeting your child's needs? i'm not understanding your question.
post #4 of 94
I've always nursed my children back to sleep. They do eventually learn how to go back to sleep without nursing. My 3 year old did at about 15 months of age and my 17 month old has since he was about 8-9 months old.
post #5 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
your child's sleeping habits are entirely normal and biologically/developmentally appropriate.

damn this society that thinks that getting our little ones to sleep through the night and without parental intervention is the be-all-end-all.

how do you think you are doing harm by meeting your child's needs? i'm not understanding your question.
I guess I feel like I accidentally "engineered" his needs to be what they are, by co-sleeping and nursing him to sleep. There has to be some over-lap between what is truly a child's need, and what they are used to having and getting, and its hard to tell which is which sometimes.

The question I'm asking is - Ferber (there I said it) states that however the baby initially goes to sleep, that's what they'll need to get back to sleep when they partially wake up during the night. WHY is this incorrect? It seems remotely plausible to me.
post #6 of 94
My ds was just under 2 when he started to fall asleep without nursing. He's almost 14, and I wish I could find a way to keep him awake

I worried all along about whether he would ever fall asleep by himself, whether he could sleep by himself at all, and if I was doing the long-term damage everyone thought I was by allowing him to sleep with me, nurse on demand, etc. He didn't sleep through the night until he was over 3, and couldn't sleep alone until he was 8 or 9.

When he turned 10, he started sleeping in his own bed, alone, by preference. By 11 he didn't want me to tuck him in anymore. Now that he's nearly adult sized, we barely fit in my bed together. I miss the snuggles and cuddling

My advice: in the long run it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as it works for you and your child, and your child will learn to comfort and soothe himself, eventually, when he's ready. There really is no "normal" timetable for any of this, just a bell curve of variation, and all of it is normal. He won't need you to do this stuff for him when he's a teenager, I guarantee (ds doesn't even like me in his room anymore), and you will miss it eventually, enjoy it while you can.
post #7 of 94
Quote:
The question I'm asking is - Ferber (there I said it) states that however the baby initially goes to sleep, that's what they'll need to get back to sleep when they partially wake up during the night. WHY is this incorrect? It seems remotely plausible to me.
Not true in this house. DS has to be bounced/rocked to bed at night, but nurses back to sleep if he wakes up. He won't nurse to bed, and he'd probably lose his mind if I tried to bounce him in the middle of the night.

I don't see what is so wrong about a baby expecting to be nursed when they awaken at night.
post #8 of 94
It's not necessarily incorrect that what a baby uses to get to sleep initially is what they will use to get back to sleep. However, I'm not seeing how you are making the jump from this statement to the assumption that nursing your child to sleep for as long as they like it is wrong.

Just because A is correct (for the sake of this conversation/thread) doesn't mean that using N as A is incorrect! (Does that make sense?)

I feel I can speak up here and say that your child will learn how to go to sleep without nursing and stay asleep without nursing on their own schedule!

My oldest (now 9yrs old) nursed to sleep almost every night of his life until he decided he didn't need to anymore. We co-slept every single night until he decided that there wasn't enough room in the bed with DP and myself. He has no sleep issues whatsoever.

My middle (now 2.5 yrs old) also nursed to sleep every single night until he was ready to stop. He co-slept from his first night of existence until he was ready to sleep in his own bed (in his brother's room). He is still transitioning and will go to sleep in his own bed and sometimes sleep all night, and sometimes wake up and come to bed with us! No problem!

My youngest, 4.5 months, will co-sleep until she's finished and will nurse to sleep as long as she likes.

I don't believe this has, is, or will negatively affected my child's sleep. I don't believe this is engineering a problem, since I see no problem. Nursing is comfort, they want comfort, you are giving them comfort. You will not ruin your child for life just because you are nursing to sleep. Your toddler is transitioning to more independence, which can be scary, and sometimes needs extra reassurance that mom is still there and things are the same. Many times this results in additional feedings for a while. It will be alright!
post #9 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleCrisp View Post
it seems plausible to me that if a baby nurses to sleep every night, they won't know how to get back to sleep without it. How does any AP parent make peace with this? I want to nurse him to sleep, and nurse him back to sleep, but I worry that I am doing harm.
I strongly believe that you are not doing harm. How will he learn to go to sleep without nursing? He just will; all children do. They are driven to mature and grow independent and do things on their own, even though we do for them when they are babies. You would not apply the same logic to so many other things...i.e. if I carry him where he wants to go he will never want to walk.

My DD has always needed a lot of touching and parenting to sleep well. Now at 20 months I am seeing glimmers of some sleep independence; she wakes, looks around and rolls over and goes back to sleep more and more these days.

Around the first birthday can be such a tough time for sleep. Can you give yourself (and him) a little more time? He does not sound abnormal to me and I don't think you've screwed up at all. I can also imagine how tired you are, guilty and sad are the last things you need. Hang in there.
post #10 of 94
Thread Starter 
Ok I thought a bit and maybe I can answer my own question - so maybe sleep associations do exist - but why must the baby associate sleep with something other than mom? I guess that's the crux of his argument - his idea of a "healthy" sleep association is one that doesn't involve parents.

Any thoughts?

And thanks for letting me know other kids are the same way! That really helps.
post #11 of 94
If you fall asleep reading, do you need to read to go back to sleep if you wake up? (Barring insomnia...) There's a big difference between the initial going-to-sleep time (transitioning from day to night, which can be really hard) and little wake ups (just need to eat, pee, finished on sleep cycle and on to another, had a bad dream, whatever).

But yes, some kids do NEED to be comforted or nursed or rocked or just otherwise made to be aware that you're there, and they're OK. Some NEED help to fall asleep, because it's not an easy transition on their own. I certainly have had times in my life when falling asleep, no matter how tired I was, was not easy, and I was glad to have my partner there to talk to me or read to me or otherwise help me be able to make the transition. Why would we offer any less to our babies?

Just like with nursing, with being carried, with needing help pottying, whatever, this is a stage, and it WILL pass. I fully believe humans are, in general, not designed to sleep entirely alone, but one day, your baby won't be a baby and won't need you to spend an hour and a half helping them get to sleep. But they will be very grateful you put in the time when they did need it.
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleCrisp View Post
Ok I thought a bit and maybe I can answer my own question - so maybe sleep associations do exist - but why must the baby associate sleep with something other than mom? I guess that's the crux of his argument - his idea of a "healthy" sleep association is one that doesn't involve parents.

Any thoughts?

And thanks for letting me know other kids are the same way! That really helps.
Ferber is full of it. That's just all there is to it.

Look at it from a biological standpoint. Gorillas don't leave their babies alone so they can learn to put themselves back to sleep. It just happens when they're ready for it to happen.

-Angela
post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleCrisp View Post
I guess I feel like I accidentally "engineered" his needs to be what they are, by co-sleeping and nursing him to sleep. There has to be some over-lap between what is truly a child's need, and what they are used to having and getting, and its hard to tell which is which sometimes.

The question I'm asking is - Ferber (there I said it) states that however the baby initially goes to sleep, that's what they'll need to get back to sleep when they partially wake up during the night. WHY is this incorrect? It seems remotely plausible to me.
Saw this post. He needs what he needs (and he's not really any different than many his age if you do a poll.) You are following his lead and he knows what he is doing; trust him. I know how you feel, I've been there, but I do not think you have made your son 'needy' or done wrong by him at all.

RE Ferber: I don't know 'why', but my DD does not follow his rule. She never really did and now as she gets closer to two she does less and less...having her milk and rocking to get to sleep and going back to sleep upon waking either by herself or with me throwing an arm over her etc. It sounds logical, I agree, but babies often haven't read his book
post #14 of 94
I nursed Joe to sleep when he was a baby. We coslept & I continued to nurse him at night until he weaned. Of course, he gradually reduced both the number of times he woke in the night, & the amount of time he'd nurse at each waking... right before he weaned, literally the only time he'd nurse at night was at about 1:15 am- he'd wake up & nurse for 2 minutes at the most, & then he'd go back to sleep till morning. Now he is eight & he sleeps great. He can sleep in a loud house, a quiet house, with or without background noise... he doesn't need to be nursed back to sleep!!

People tell you that your child will be doomed if you nurse him back to sleep. Don't believe it. Especially if he is your only child- enjoy this time. Cherish it. Nurse him down for naps, & then sleep with him. Hold him when he sleeps. Soon he'll be too big to fit in your arms. Trust me- time goes wayyy too fast. You won't regret following your instinct. It won't make your baby clingy. It will make him secure.

post #15 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleCrisp View Post
...I don't think its normal or healthy that my 14 month old has only ever slept for a grand total of 2 hours by himself, ever, without me needing to come in and put him back to sleep.

I'd have to agree with you on this. I don't think it's normal that your child needs to be nursed/comforted back to sleep at 14 mnths. I read a statistic once and can't quote it verbatim, but it said something to the effect that about 90% of babies sleep through the night by 12 mos. Even if I'm off by a few percentage points, I've got the gist of that correct. BUT, who really cares what's normal or not? If the situation is not working for you and your child, I'd try to remedy it.

I wonder about this sort of thing a lot lately. I have a 2 1/2 yr old who has always been a champ of a sleeper, sleeping through the night by 2 mos. and now I have a 2 mo old who doesn't. I'm doing all the same stuff with both, but both kids are reacting to my parenting differently. So, I'm a case in point that all kids are different, and therefore, there's no one answer for all.

In fact, I'd be very curious to see if anyone has polled the AP parents on this site to see how many babies sleep through the night when they co-sleep and how many don't. My guess is (to use an analogy), if there is chocolate cake available everytime a baby wakes up, the baby will continue to wake up.
post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
your child's sleeping habits are entirely normal and biologically/developmentally appropriate.

damn this society that thinks that getting our little ones to sleep through the night and without parental intervention is the be-all-end-all.

how do you think you are doing harm by meeting your child's needs? i'm not understanding your question.
post #17 of 94
Just to reassure you... they do eventually end up sleeping thru the night and they don't nurse to sleep forever... my 12 year old sleeps alone and doesn't nurse, so does my 9 year old, my 5 year old and my 2 1/2 year old (he just resently stopped). It is only a problem when you think it is... you have to not let society tell you what you are doing is wrong. You are loving your baby (and he is still a baby really), and meeting his needs which he still has at night.
I guess I found co-sleeping the easy way out for this "problem" as I didn't wake up much to deal with their needs... : I just rolled over and nursed them, and we both wemnt back to sleep.

H
post #18 of 94
I disagree. I think wherever you read that statistic it was highly incorrect. Based on all my experiences in life. Oldest of over 35 cousins (I stopped counting), sister to 3 siblings, mother of 5, and talking with many friends. Many babies need to be comforted back to sleep well into the second year. It varies greatly by child and is not determined by breastfeeding or co-sleeping in my experience. BABIES DO NOT WAKE UP JUST BECAUSE THEIR MILK, or chocolate cake, IS NEARBY. That might make sense to me if I had never experienced differently but that is just not so. In my experience they wake for reassurance and comfort.

I will just give my examples:

1st DD, weaned at 4 months, only co-slept first few weeks, slept in crib and then toddler bed started co-sleeping again at around 3 years old and she started actually sleeping through the night then, woke through the night until around 3 years old.

2nd DD, weaned at 6 months, never co-slept as she seemed to want to sleep alone and i had actually wanted to co-sleep as i was starting to learn better parenting, woke through the night until around 4 years old.

3rd DD, weaned at 3 1/2 years, co-slept, night nursed, woke through the night till around 4 years old.

4th DD, weaned at 4 years old, co-slept later on but we did The No Cry Sleep Solution from the start until we realized it didn't work for us, night nursed but then night weaned around 16 months causing much distress and little sleep for everyone, woke through the night until 4 years old.

5th DS, still nursing, he nightweaned himself and this was a big surprise to me!!!, most nights he sleeps through the night already and he is only 2. he usually moves to another spot far away from everyone on the bed and falls back to sleep. it is only about once every few weeks now that he will come over for a cuddle.

Now, when I say woke through the night until a certain age I am including down to once a night. It was pretty much hourly at 12-16 months. It seems to be a stage and a pattern I noticed in all my children. It gradually decreased until they were waking just once a night and soothing themselves back to sleep. The more you keep reassuring him you are there with his greatest comfort, in his case nursing, the more he will realize sleeping is safe and okay and he will get there and stay there on his own sooner then you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kids&dog View Post
I'd have to agree with you on this. I don't think it's normal that your child needs to be nursed/comforted back to sleep at 14 mnths. I read a statistic once and can't quote it verbatim, but it said something to the effect that about 90% of babies sleep through the night by 12 mos. Even if I'm off by a few percentage points, I've got the gist of that correct. BUT, who really cares what's normal or not? If the situation is not working for you and your child, I'd try to remedy it.

I wonder about this sort of thing a lot lately. I have a 2 1/2 yr old who has always been a champ of a sleeper, sleeping through the night by 2 mos. and now I have a 2 mo old who doesn't. I'm doing all the same stuff with both, but both kids are reacting to my parenting differently. So, I'm a case in point that all kids are different, and therefore, there's no one answer for all.

In fact, I'd be very curious to see if anyone has polled the AP parents on this site to see how many babies sleep through the night when they co-sleep and how many don't. My guess is (to use an analogy), if there is chocolate cake available everytime a baby wakes up, the baby will continue to wake up.
post #19 of 94
My 5yo was nursed to sleep every day of his life until he was 3.5, at which point he asked to cuddle to sleep instead. He still does this, not because he cannot sleep any other way, but becasue we enjoy it.
He was around 2 when he started sleeping for longer stretches at night, and 4when he basically could sleep all night without one of us going in if he woke up- though, on special nights when he has a bad dream, or is not feeling well, he still needs us to be there for him.
This is all part of normal childhood development. You can train them to be different, but if you really, truly follow their own patterns and needs, this is roughly what it will look like (though all kids do this at different rates, and in different ways)
Each child will be able to put him or her self to sleep eventually, no matter how you put them to sleep now. It is a myth that if you nurse them down, they will need that forever.
What you are going through sounds perfectly normal.
post #20 of 94
Thread Starter 
Well, I agree that Ferber is full of sh*t.

One thing he says that haunts me, though, is that if your child were doing something overtly dangerous, you'd stop them, no matter what the psychological cost, and you wouldn't think twice about it....and not sleeping well is dangerous to your child's well-being and general development yet we shudder at . I'm not sure how to resolve that.

He also makes it very clear that he doesn't believe its a phase (which I think it is) - it seems like all of you have children who did indeed go through just such a phase.

Didn't mean to make this about Ferber; hope this doesn't get pulled.
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