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the gorilla in the room

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
being chronically fatigued seems to me not to be healthy. is it just me or is chronic tiredness and nightwaking the gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about when promoting co-sleeping?
i love sleeping with my daughter and think it is good for her--but sometimes I wish I had known the possibilites that lie with it. I look at all the threads on here and for every one good one there seems to be 5-8 ones that are desperate. I wonder sometimes if I am doing the right thing.
I'm not trying to start a huge argument here, but I feel like the more I read sleep books of every kind that there is research to back everyone's theories up.
Which makes me crazy in the head and unsure again if I'm doing the right thing since we are both chronically tired.
Thoughts?
post #2 of 59
It seems to me that if the baby is sleeping in another bed or another room that I would get even less sleep, as I'd have to be more wide awake to physically get up to tend to the baby. Cosleeping with each of my ds's has allowed me to have relatively unbroken-up nights of sleep the last 3 years! I don't see how cosleeping causes more fatigue for the mom.

I am guessing the desperate moms would be just as desperately trying to get their babies to sleep better, whether or not they were cosleeping. They would just be even more tired if they had to get up out of bed during the night.

Edited to add: DS1 woke a lot during the night - so, while he's not the *worst* sleeper, I did put in lots of time, muscle, and wakefulness helping him sleep, and he slept best ON me for a long time! Cosleeping was great for us.
post #3 of 59
I think you have to consider too that it's natural that a lot of the posts would be ones about problems or negative aspects. People who are sleeping well and loving cosleeping don't have anything to post about, ya know?

I kinda agree, that I'd be getting even less sleep if I had to get up every time my kids woke up. Maybe it's not the difference between cosleeping and separate sleeping. I think it's more the difference between responsive nighttime parenting and the different variations on CIO.

But I also think that there's a real tendency to decide that cosleeping is the answer for everyone, and a real tendency to dismiss mamas who are having trouble and not getting any sleep--- if it's not working, it's not working, and something needs to change, and often we're too quick to say "oh, just hang in there and it'll pass." And some of us wear our lack of sleep like a badge or a medal-- like oh you think you have it bad, well let me tell you how little sleep I got. Like it's some kind of virtuous thing to be a zombie all day. I know I do it sometimes.

I dunno. It's something I gotta think about some more before I can decide what I think.
post #4 of 59
You have take into account that people who are doing well with cosleeping tend not to post about it. That said, i know of almost no one else who cosleeps, but i still hear all the time about sleep deprivation and motherhood.
post #5 of 59
I think that those of us who have non-sleepers, the ones who are "desparate", would still be getting too little sleep no matter what we did. I don't think that having my dd in a crib, letting her cio, or anything else would have made things much better. I think that dd's sleep "problems" are a part of who she is, and there's really nothibg to be done about it.
post #6 of 59
My first DD woke relatively infrequently and slept still. She didn't thrash about or try to kick us out of bed. I wondered why some people had trouble cosleeping.

My second DD woke a lot! She squirmed, kicked, thrashed. I'd think she was settled down, and I could remove my boob and get comfortable myself, but, no, she wasn't really asleep. It was hell. I was miserable, resentful, had a headache all the time, etc.

She had repeat ear infections which had a lot to do with our sleeping problem. At 18 months she ended up getting tubes placed in her ears. After I was sure she was recovered from the surgery and was otherwise healthy I sent DH to sleep with her in her room. She night-weaned relatively easily, and we're all happier. The thrashing doesn't bother DH.

I remember feeling like you when I read blissful posts about cosleeping.
post #7 of 59
People without problems don't post

My dd has coslept with us from day one. Never had a crib, etc.

We had some rough runs for sure, but it has CLEARLY always been the best for us.

Dd is almost 3.5 and sleeps well between us still. She will move to her own bed when she asks.



-Angela
post #8 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I kinda agree, that I'd be getting even less sleep if I had to get up every time my kids woke up. Maybe it's not the difference between cosleeping and separate sleeping. I think it's more the difference between responsive nighttime parenting and the different variations on CIO.
I think this hit it on the nail for me. If I were content to let my daughter CIO when she woke at night in another room, then I would certainly be getting more sleep (although at what cost to my soul??), but I think cosleeping definitely gives me at least a little more rest than I would get by trying to be equally responsive to a child all the way down the hall.
post #9 of 59
I think if you are chronically fatigued, then something isn't working and it's time for change
post #10 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by mizmerricat View Post
I think this hit it on the nail for me. If I were content to let my daughter CIO when she woke at night in another room, then I would certainly be getting more sleep (although at what cost to my soul??), but I think cosleeping definitely gives me at least a little more rest than I would get by trying to be equally responsive to a child all the way down the hall.
:..especially considering the real price of ignoring a child's needs.

I also think of the long term-- to raising teenagers/adults who have trust in their instincts and their families; who feel secure in who they are as individuals (I would say that is pretty darn rare these days). That, to me, is the whole point of All This. However, if co-sleeping isn't working, there are other alternatives that don't sacrifice the needs of your little one's.
post #11 of 59
Well, I've been posting on a mainstream board lately. Most of the moms there think cosleeping is wacky. And most of them, even those who proudly have used CIO don't get sleep either. So I think it's just the way it goes. Most babies don't sttn. If you are going to be tending to your baby at night anyways, why not be right there in the same bed. That's how I see it.
post #12 of 59
I definitely think I'd get more sleep if my 2yo were night weaned and slept in his own bed. He keeps me up at night because he sleeps across my neck, like a cat! But that's like saying, If only I'd win the lotery, I'd be rich. I can't just snap my fingers and make him comfortable in his own room.
post #13 of 59
Thread Starter 
so far I have truly enjoyed the comments. they are helping me work this all out in my muddled head--especially what you posted Magali. The moms aound me that all did cio have perfect little sleepers or so they have me thinking..
post #14 of 59
double post
post #15 of 59
And if you look at the flip side of things, babies who never have been left to CIO, are sleeping all night. The more and more I read etc...I realize that the whole sleep issue is just like a big circle. And by the time I ever figure it out, my little baby will be all grown up and we won't be cuddling all night anymore. Of course ds didn't wake up his usual 10 times last night, I think it was more like 5, so maybe that's why I am looking at my sleep deprivation with those rosy colored glasses today.
post #16 of 59
i agree, the issue is not so much co-sleeping as it is responding to your child at night. if you didn't co-sleep but still answered all cries and calls for you--assuming your child still woke about the same amount--you would almost definitely be more tired.

you seem to be maybe thinking that if you did not co-sleep, your child would not wake as much. i sometimes wonder if DD would wake less if she were in her own room, but so far i've been too lazy (yes, really--i am too tired and consequently lazy ) to try that arrangement. some nights are okay, which refresh me and keep me going with the co-sleeping arrangement for now. the rest are not as okay, but are interspersed with the okay ones, so at the end of the day i am always resigned to continuing co-sleeping because it's kind of sort of working.



and i don't know if maybe you were implying that, had you CIO'd you would be getting more sleep, but i think about that too. and well, i just can't figure how i'd get more sleep if i had to listen to DD cry every time she woke up at night

i know the theory is that they stop crying, but most CIO babies i know about still wake up and cry sometimes. (ask your CIO friends if their babies ever cry during the night; i bet they do!) DD crying her head off would definitely wake me up, and then not only would i be awake, i'd be awake and distressed and guilty and miserable over my crying child who i'd decided to ignore. which would be decidedly worse than the current situation, where i just feel tired and miserable without the guilt

the more i think about it, the more i think there is no better way. this sleep-deprivation part of being a mom just sucks and there's no way around it
post #17 of 59
My ds slept in a bassinet next to our bed for the first 4 months of his life (something I very much wish had been different, but I didn't know then what I know now). Every time he woke up he would have to cry to get my attention and wake me up. I took him into the next room to avoid waking dh with all the getting in and out of bed. I nursed ds until he went back to sleep. Then I waited for him to get in a deep enough sleep to transfer him back to the bassinet. Then I very carefully put him back in the bassinet and sometimes he would still wake up and I'd have to do the whole thing again. By the time all that was done I was wide awake and it took me a while to settle back down to sleep. I was very sleep deprived.

When ds was 4 months old I went to visit my parents without dh and co-slept for the first time. It was so, so much better I've never gone back. Ds never cries at night anymore because I wake up before he gets to that point. (That is the part I feel really terrible about--that for the first 4 months of his life he had all that upset that really could have been avoided.) I slept way better because my sleep was far less disrupted. I am not one of those mamas who can sleep while nursing, but by the time ds falls back asleep I am relaxed and in bed and can fall right back asleep too.

Unfortunately this hasn't worked as well for dh who does get woken by the movement. We've tried many solutions, the best is him in another bed in the same room (where I can visit). But I think my better sleep and ds's lower stress make it worthwhile. I trust there will be lots of years in the future when dh and I will get to sleep in the same bed. In addition I'm guessing that I am raising a person that will more easily be able to sleep with his own partner and children someday.

I hope this is helpful and that you find a way to better sleep.
post #18 of 59
We've coslept with our 2yo since birth. I definitely think that, for the first many many months, we all got more sleep because i wasn't having to get out of bed. I've noticed recently though, that on nights when I can't sleep and am out of bed on my own she sleeps for MUCH longer stretches. Then as soon as I get back in bed she rolls toward me mumbling "I want some nummmmmies" We have a twin up against our queen, where she starts the night, and I've found that if i nurse her the first time she wakes up and then I move into her bed and leave her cuddled with dh, everyone sleeps longer. I'm convinced she can smell me or something.

Anyway- I would never CIO and I still can't imagine being able to sleep with her in another room- BUT, I am seeing that she wakes more frequently when we're sleeping up against eachother and I will admit that I'm getting tired and grumpy with the all-night nurse-a-thons. So we're trying out variations-- like me moving into the twin or sleeping so that dh is in the middle. We all still get the benefit of being near eachother, and our sleep is only disturbed 2-3 times a night (normally she would roll into our bed to nurse around 1 am and then want to nurse every hour or so for the rest of the night)

So I guess what I'm saying i sthat I think a lot depends on the kid. I do believe that it's best for them to be very near at night, but I also think that it makes sense to observe your own changing situation as the kids grow, etc. and be open to modifying things if you find that what you're doing is no longer working.
post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by reezley View Post
It seems to me that if the baby is sleeping in another bed or another room that I would get even less sleep, as I'd have to be more wide awake to physically get up to tend to the baby. Cosleeping with each of my ds's has allowed me to have relatively unbroken-up nights of sleep the last 3 years! I don't see how cosleeping causes more fatigue for the mom.

I am guessing the desperate moms would be just as desperately trying to get their babies to sleep better, whether or not they were cosleeping. They would just be even more tired if they had to get up out of bed during the night.
:
post #20 of 59
I agree that people without problems don't post as much, which gives a skewed view of co-sleeping, but regardless you are chronically tired and that's not good for you or your baby.

When my dd was a baby she slept in an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper attached to the side of our bed for the first 6 months of her life and that worked reasonably well for us. Then we went through kind of a transition when she grew out of the co-sleeper and could not sleep in a crib as I had expected. We were all horribly sleep-deprived and it was awful. We ended up co-sleeping. At first I did not sleep well because I was very tense and uncomfortable. Then I started to relax and sleep better, but I was waking up every couple hours or more when she nursed. It was better than no sleep at all, but still not great. Eventually I adjusted and I started sleeping through her nursing. From that point on co-sleeping was heaven and dh, dd, and I were all well-rested. I never had any desire to night wean because it made no difference to me how many times my dd nursed.

We all know every baby is different and has different needs and desires for sleeping, but we sometimes forget that every adult is different too. I sleep perfectly fine with a child wrapped around me like an octopus, but my dh does not sleep well at all this way, so my dd has always slept between me and a wall or bed rail, not between the two of us.

I'm not sure from your post how long you have been co-sleeping or how old your baby is. It can take a few weeks or even a month to get totally comfortable with it so you are getting a good night's rest. But I would definitely suggest trying different things to make yourself more comfortable. Maybe a side-car arrangement with a crib or bassinet would work better for you at least for now. No arrangement has to last forever. We changed little things many times even after we started co-sleeping. Do you have warm pajamas with easy access for nursing? Comfortable covers that keep you warm and an arrangement that does not stress you out worrying about your baby's safety? Is your bed big enough? Is the room a comfortable temperature? If your baby is very young, would one of those co-sleeper nest things help you sleep better?

I do think a certain amount of sleep deprivation is unavoidable for parents, but it is definitely not healthy to be chronically sleep-deprived. I think you will eventually be able to find a solution that gives you all a good night's rest (and does not involve CIO). Good luck!

ETA: I went back and checked the age of your dd in your sig. I think the 6-7 month period is often a time of transition and even previously "easy" babies when it comes to sleep might become more wakeful. This can be a really hard time, but you'll make it through!
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