I'm seeing a pattern with AP and sleep, and it's not good... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So with my very limited exposure to parents and babies, and with info gathered here, I'm coming to a conclusion. I'm hoping for arguments against my conclusion, or for you lovely mamas to poke holes in my theory.

Of my friends and family who have had babies in the past six years, it does seem that the ones who co-slept and extended-breastfed ended up with crappy sleepers. I'm not just talking poor naps, having difficulty falling asleep, and waking up a lot at night. Total hours seems to be waaaay less than anywhere near the range of recommended hours for that kid's age group. And I've heard about repercussions, like tantrums and meltdowns (normal for LOs, right?) being linked to a previous night's poor sleep.

At the same time, I've noticed this vague comment from non-CIO moms whose kids sleep (and who coincidentally didn't BF longer than 6-8 months and did not co-sleep). They said the baby had some trouble at night when little, but started sleeping well with minimal wakings at night after 3-4 months of age.

However, when pressed, some of these moms have admitted to letting their LO CIO when they were older, when they "knew they just needed to sleep."

Now, for those of us who may teeter on the line between mainstream and AP or natural parenting, is there an in-between? Can you put the effort forth early on to get your baby to sleep well (without CIO or putting baby in his/her own room or refusing to feed)?

I know I never bothered to read DS to see if he was hungry/thirsty. I never even thought about it (like, hmmm, when did he last have a good feeding?). I just always stuck the boob in his face. And here I am with him at 18 months and still sleeping only 8-9 hours at night and waking up a ton.

Sorry to go off track.

Now that I'm pregnant, I worry about another baby who sleeps poorly. I definitely think DS's poor sleep was a huge factor in my PPD. And I wonder if there is anything I can do early on to prevent a situation down the road where we'll be battling a toddler's sleep habits.

I'm sorry if this is negative. I just have my doubts about my instincts sometimes. Maybe offering the breast at any peep for a year+ helped get us into this pickle? Thanks for your thoughts.

Loving DH :, chasing DS (3/08) and getting to know sweet DD (born 3/10 at home).
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#2 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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I'm the execption to your theory - we coslept, breastfed and NEVER CIO with dd - she slept well as a baby (minimal wake ups to nurse and fall back asleep quickly), great in her own bed as a toddler and can go to bed alone and sleep all night at 4 1/2 and has been doing it for over a year.

I really thing sleep issues are personality related and not an issue of CIO vs. AP in my observation of parents and children. If your kid is laid back and naturally mellow - sleep can come easier, other personalities have more difficulty with it - not a reflection of good or bad parenting in any way

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#3 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by KailuaMamatoMaya View Post
I'm the execption to your theory - we coslept, breastfed and NEVER CIO with dd - she slept well as a baby (minimal wake ups to nurse and fall back asleep quickly), great in her own bed as a toddler and can go to bed alone and sleep all night at 4 1/2 and has been doing it for over a year.

I really thing sleep issues are personality related and not an issue of CIO vs. AP in my observation of parents and children. If your kid is laid back and naturally mellow - sleep can come easier, other personalities have more difficulty with it - not a reflection of good or bad parenting in any way
LOVE this! Thanks for the information and insight. Maybe there is hope for LO#2.

Loving DH :, chasing DS (3/08) and getting to know sweet DD (born 3/10 at home).
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#4 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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I think sometimes people find AP only BECAUSE they have a crappy sleeper. I had no intention of cosleeping, and only ended up doing it with ds1 because there was no way I was getting sleep any other way. So I think that it could be true that there are more kids with sleep issues in AP families, but I don't think you can then conclude that AP causes those sleep problems. FTR, after sleep?idon'tneednostinkingsleep DS1, I had a DD who slept shockingly "well" - STTN by 5 weeks, 12 hours at night by 12 weeks+a couple good naps, fell asleep on her own when sleepy, etc. By then, I was much more into AP philosophy and started out with AP in mind. Then I had ds2 who was a more typical sleeper than ds1, but might have been considered a HN sleeper had i not had the experiences I had with ds1. I don't think AP dictated any of my kids' sleep styles - I think that was genetics/ingrained personality/whatever. I think the AP dictated how I was able to cope with it.
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#5 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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I think you may hear more stories about babies that sleep poorly because generally if a kid is sleeping, nobody is talking about it!

My oldest son is 4 and coslept, was breastfed, and was never left to cry it out. He now sleeps in his own bed and wakes up once to pee on the toilet then goes right back to sleep. He sleeps 9 hours at night, which is plenty for him. Some days he also takes a 1 hour nap in the afternoon.

My younger son is 2 and cosleeps, is breastfed, and was never left to cry it out. He still wakes up to nurse twice in the night. He nurses and goes back to sleep. I don't have a problem with this arrangement.

I definitely don't think AP makes children sleep more poorly.

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#6 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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I have to agree with you Mama.

I do not have the knowledge over years past, but from the Moms and babies I currently know and have known since birth through friends and family, there is an obvious 'trend' if you will of the bf on demand-cosleeping-non-cio Moms (myself included) in which their babies do not sleep well at all. Yet all my mainstream Mama friends have pretty much perfect sleepers. As this progresses over time, it seems to stay the same, it never levels out.

I do find the statistics upsetting because I am having a horrific time right now with my DD at naps and night time, but I can't talk to anyone because it would just give them more 'ammo' against my parenting choice and they would also have more reason to try to encourage me to CIO.

At this point in my first child's life, I am reconsidering the choices I made because of how it affecting us all now. I may also be having serious doubts about my instincts (I had a really bad night), but I will be in your position in a few years and I hope I can look back and think "That is worth going through again".
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#7 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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I have had a similar theory since my ds1 was a horrible sleeper and we coslept from day one and breastfed for nearly 2 years. I now know that it was mostly his temperment with a little bit of enabling on my part.

My ds2 has been a great sleeper from the start. Can fall asleep on his own. Sleeps in the pack and play next to me for the first stretch of sleep. Sleeps for 7 hour stretches. Doesn't have to nurse to sleep. In fact isn't really a comfort nurser at all!

What I have seen different in my ds1 is that since he was introduced to his own bed at about 2 and never even slept in a crib, he goes to bed without any fuss. He was never stuck in a crib, left alone, or put on a sleep schedule. So while I didn't teach him how to "self soothe" like the baby trainers want you to. He did learn how to go to bed on his own terms. There was never any getting out of bed multiple times like people who transition their children from cribs to beds have.

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#8 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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That's been my observation from watching friends' kids too.
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#9 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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I think there are 3 different explanations for this, probably all correct to some degree: (1) you might also be *hearing* about more problems from one side than the other, and not really getting a full picture; (2) visible problems from CIO seem to be later issues with sleep in my experience, and not toddlers/young kids; (3) all kids are different personalities.

I was a CIO baby. I'm still afraid of the dark, and really cannot sleep alone in a house with no one else there. I never stayed in bed as a child, I wandered around the house in the middle of the night, was always tired at school, and had terrible nightmares. Meanwhile, if you asked my parents, well, they had no idea because I didn't want to be punished and so didn't get caught out of bed/awake if I could help it. Might be less hassle for the parent, I guess, but it's definitely not better for the child! Personally, I think CIO comes back more as a distancing from parents at an older age, less turning to parents for comfort, and in my and my brother's cases at least, more sneaking out in the middle of the night and the like.

DD was not a CIO baby, she CLW, and while she has always had trouble getting to sleep at night, woke up a lot during the night, she's always napped fantastically, still naps at 5, and puts herself to sleep; probably been doing that a year or so. She would gladly stay in bed until 10am, but I just tucked her in now at 9:30pm.

DS slept through the night early on, but he is a NAP RESISTER, an early riser and doesn't tend to fall asleep nursing anymore, though he nurses a ton before bed and naps. He just doesn't fall asleep nursing. He wasn't CIO, and he will CLW too.

They're just different kids with different personalities.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#10 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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I think that's a very good point... many families end up co-sleeping, whether they intended to at the beginning or not, because that's the only way they could get ANY sleep. The kids were "poor sleepers" before the co-sleeping even started, in other words.

I think your test sample will also be skewed somewhat by parents not wanting to admit that their negative/punitive approach to sleep didn't work as well as they claimed. In other words -- most kids will sleep great some nights, sleep horribly other nights. "Punitive sleep" parents will tend to emphasize the great nights, keeping the horrible nights in their minds simply as the reason they need to continue with the punitive approach. Some "AP" parents will focus more on the negative nights, because we've been told so often by the 'punitive' parents that we wouldn't be having those bad nights in the first place if we'd just shut the kid in their room, let them know who's boss, and leave them to figure it out.

I'm way overgeneralizing here, of course. But I do wonder if there is some kind of effect like that. Maybe CIO moms chat amongst themselves "oh I know dear, my DD had a regression when she was 12mo, we had to Ferberize her all over again. Just goes to show how those little monkeys will always try to manipulate you given half the chance, it's so important that we stay on top of this!" In other words, CIO 'works', you just have to do it again every so often.

Conversely, when an AP baby who was previously sleeping well starts waking frequently, we're inundated with the message that we must have "failed" in "teaching" our baby to sleep. A positive-minded parent will realize that the sleep pattern change means something developmentally big is going on, and the baby legitimately needs more comfort and night-time parenting.... not just 'manipulating' us.

Now, I do think that sometimes AP'd kids can be "poor sleepers" for a longer time than CIO kids. But I don't think that's a bad thing. It's only a bad thing if you believe that needing parenting during the night is a bad thing, or that children are out to manipulate you and for some reason WANT to ruin your night-times. And that tired, exhausted babies will wake up rather than keep sleeping, just to be manipulative or because they haven't learned how to stay asleep.

Instead, it's more demanding on the parents for a certain amount of time, while they need it. Whether to age 2 or 4 or 6. But when they're older, they're more secure because they've learned that nighttime, like daytime, is safe, and their parents are there when they need them. By meeting that need in the early years, they don't worry about it when they're older and don't need us at night as often. The difference is that we've let them come to that readiness in their own time at their own development, rather than forcing them to do it for our convenience.

That being said, I don't mean that EVERY AP'd kid is going to be a poor sleeper. Far from it. Most sleep great. It's the poor sleepers who get all the press, raised as examples by the CIO crowd as evidence that AP doesn't "work". These are the higher-needs kids, who if raised in a CIO household instead, would either be "good sleepers" but have potential security issues, or still be poor sleepers anyway and be constantly punished for it.

In general, from reading tons and tons of anecdotal reports I think that the majority of co-sleeping, extended BFing babies, start sleeping well -- ie, extended stretches and even all night long, possibly in their own beds or own rooms -- between the age of 2 and 3. That's not too bad in the long term, when you think about it.

There are some great books about night-time AP if you want more "expert" opinions. About how the huge benefits outweigh the potential issues. And I do heartily agree that the potential issues are way dependent on the child's personality... you'll read threads here in fact from parents talking about their three kids, all parented in basically the same way, who had DRASTICALLY different sleeping patterns. Maybe the first was easy and they thought "well this is working, this is easy, what's the big deal?" and then the second is a terror. Or vice versa heh.

For my own example.... DS co-slept until about 18mo when he moved to his own room. He would still come and join us during the night most nights until he was close to 3. He ALWAYS had trouble getting to sleep. Whether nursing, walking, driving, or - I confess - holding him down, screaming and flailing, I was at my wit's end - it took forever for him to get to sleep.

He's now 11, and for the past 2 years needed melatonin most nights in order to fall asleep. He sleeps well once he's down. He's secure with no night-time problems. But he does have going to sleep issues.

Is it because of my parenting, though? No. He's ADHD, possibly Asperger's. The sleep, we've recently learned, is related to that. His brain can't calm down on its own very easily. I can't imagine how it would have terrorized and damaged him if I'd left him to CIO. It's not a matter of me 'making' him 'learn' how to sleep. He has a physiological impediment that makes it difficult for him.

DD is now 2.5yo, approaching 3. We co-slept from the beginning, at 14mo moved to a sidecar bed for most of the night. A few months ago we moved the bed across to the other side of the room. So a bit before 2.5yo. Since that time, she started sleeping amazingly well. Most nights she sleeps all night, or sometimes she'll walk over and join me during the night for a nurse back to sleep. She'll often even wake up in her bed, fuss, roll around, sit up... and settle herself right back down to sleep.

We never "taught" her that, she figured it out herself when she was ready. The only thing we did to "help", was to not *instantly* rush to her aid when she would fuss beside us at night, once she was oh... about 10mo or so? We'd give her a moment to see if it was just a passing sleepy fuss or a real need. As she got older and we observed her growing maturity, we'd wait a little longer -- waiting until she actually ASKED for us. Not when she was an infant. When she was a capable, independent toddler with good communication skills. Not before then.

Anyway, this was way longer than I intended... sorry heh.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#11 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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Before my son was born, I didn't know what AP was. We started bedsharing BECAUSE he was so high-needs. So I don't think it was the other way around. We tried to get him into a crib for the first three months of his life. Perhaps we missed a point at which we could/should have tried breaking the habit of bedsharing, but we don't care. We love having him near us at night, as it turns out.

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#12 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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I love what tankgirl said.

I think one watershed moment for me was when my mother, who had explained several times that she sleep trained me by doing the "check every 5 minutes while child screams" thing and that it worked, talked about how she still had to do it about every 6 weeks. I was like "this is not my definition of 'working' if by working you mean the child learns to sleep and that's it."

Anyways, I think breastfeeding does mean waking up more for a lot of kids, because breasts have different capacities and the milk absorbs pretty quickly. I also think that sleep training works on many (not all kids) so that they give up and sleep more hours. I'm just not sure what it is doing to them in other ways.

I really question this sleep obsession. I think it is because our lives are so crazy that it becomes the issue. We don't seem, as a society, to be as obsessed about maximizing comfort or closeness or watching the stars move in the sky while rocking our babies. Good babies sleep. Bad ones don't. It's pretty reductionistic.

I live in Canada, so my one year maternity leave gave me a nice cushion to figure it out for my family. We definitely wanted and needed sleep, but we didn't place that as more important than comfort or exclusive breastfeeding. However we also didn't expect that choice to not have consequences - my husband had to support me in getting sleep at other times in the day/week, and we had to slow our lives down a bit particularly at the main growth spurts over the first year. We were fortunate to be able to blunder through it.

My son sleeps about 11 hours straight now. He's four.

ETA: I just want to add that I am not saying sleep is not important for everyone. I just think that the idea that any technique that creates sleep is good is questionable - whiskey probably would, but we don't feed that to babies. But if a parent is sleep deprived like mad, that *is* serious. I'm just not always convinced that there aren't other solutions like having the father feed the baby breastmilk from a bottle in a park even if it means crying in his loving arms while the mother catches 4 hrs of sleep, etc.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#13 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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My 2p is that those who say they have perfect sleepers are often unaware that their child is waking in the night. Or they will not admit to their child waking because who wants to admit that CIO doesn't work

I also agree that sleep is more personality driven than parenting driven. I'm nocturnal which is why I am here posting at 3am in the morning.......

My SIL refused to co-sleep, didn't breastfeed past 3 weeks and her dd now 3 wakes up so often in the night that she has put a stairgate across her bedroom door to keep her in her room. Her daughter is by her standards a crappy sleeper but she might be better if she co-slept - who knows?

I like the KellyMom 'Parenting: Night and Day' area because that is what parenting is to me. You may be able to switch some babies and children 'off' all night but most need you at night too.

All my kids have slept with us for a good while - til 2ish and all but the littlest who is 3, sleep happily in their own beds all night now. Dd2 is a reluctant sleeper and very busy in the night which is why we were tired of co-sleeping with her but also leads to her falling our of her little bed. A bed guard has solved this problem and she can now sleep for a good 9-10 hours before appearing in our bed which is great.
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#14 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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OK, didn't read all the posts but had several points I thought of reading through:

-- My son ended up co sleeping with us at night because he was a really terrible sleeper. It just made my life easier. If he was only waking up once or twice a night, I would have been ok getting up and going into another room. So cosleeping didn't cause poor sleep, poor sleep caused cosleeping.

-- My SIL just had a baby in June. I was there (stayed with them to help) from the time they got home to the hospital for 12 days. He slept 3 hour stretches for day 1, and currently sleeps 10 hours at night at 3 months old. He has slept either in or next to their bed and breastfed on demand from birth. Definitely no CIO.

-- Once my son got a little older, like over 1 year, and was still waking up a billion times per night, we decided we were comfortable trying to have him fall asleep on his own. So, over many months, we slowly had him learn to fall asleep first without the breast, then without bouncing, then without being rubbed, until he would fall asleep while we just sat in his room with him. It took forever because we didn't let him cry. However, once we accomplished this we noticed that he really did stop waking up so much.

So anyway, I think part of it is definitely just nature. My philosophy is I don't really plan on trying to change sleep habits too much before a year, because they really don't get what is going on. After that though, I'm happy to try and influence them into better sleeping.

Oh, and finally, I think its important to realize that kids who aren't getting enough sleep will be cranky and miserable, and sleep even more poorly. I think if you are in a situation where its a young baby (too young to work on gently improving sleep habits) it is important to just do whatever the heck it takes to get them sleeping more -- nursing, driving, bouncing, sleeping next to them. Once they start actually getting some decent sleep, they are more likely to sleep better without so much intervention.

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#15 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:18 PM
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I think that CIO moms don't actually know their kids are waking in the middle of the night, because the kid knows that crying won't bring anyone to them, so they don't. It doesn't mean they don't wake up. To a CIO parent, no crying = STTN, which is not necessarily true.

I am one of those moms who started AP because my DS demanded it. After 2 years of sleep torture, he is much MUCH better now. He sttn most nights, and when he doesn't, it only takes a little pat to get him back to sleep. He is, however, still stubborn as can be about going to sleep. DD on the other hand STTN or wakes up once at 6 months. She usually only wakes to pee (she's ECd) and then goes to sleep, sometimes without nursing. She sleeps right through peeing even sometimes .

They are very different kids, but I've done the EXACT same thing with both of them. No one would know about sleep problems with DD because we just don't have them. I think the ones you hear about are the ones who are having a hard time.

I also seem to remember 18mo being a particularly bad time for sleep for us. He was transitioning from 2 naps to 1, and was also going through a lot of verbal development. He weaned at 19 months because I was 5 mo preggers and had absolutely no milk left. Also I couldn't stand him nursing for more than 30 sec at night. I hope it clears up for you soon.
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#16 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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I have two boys. My oldest woke a lot during the night for a long time. He was highly active, "highly interactive", high touch baby. He nursed a lot during the night. This was a pattern from DAY 1 with him. He'd have awake periods during the night starting the first night home with him. My second ds has been an easy, calm, mellow baby since DAY 1. I also noticed their in-utero personality matched their personality out of utero. I have not been sleep deprived with this second baby at all. He does co-sleep and sometimes wakes to nurse at night, but he is the most mellow calm little guy. I have done the same thing with both boys and I have two totally different boys. Personality dictates sleeping outcomes during this first year, in my book. I have a friend who "sleep trained" her twins at 4 months. They were scheduled to the max. Now her daughter is 3 1/2 and going through a terrible sleep phase waking several times a night. So much depends on the child's needs and emotions and development at the time.
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#17 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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I have four children that have breastfed on demand and co slept. All of them sleep well. My oldest three sleep 10-12 hours a night. My baby is six months old and still wakes a few times a night. We have never made any of our kids CIO.

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#18 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rebeccajo View Post
I think you may hear more stories about babies that sleep poorly because generally if a kid is sleeping, nobody is talking about it!

My oldest son is 4 and coslept, was breastfed, and was never left to cry it out. He now sleeps in his own bed and wakes up once to pee on the toilet then goes right back to sleep. He sleeps 9 hours at night, which is plenty for him. Some days he also takes a 1 hour nap in the afternoon.

My younger son is 2 and cosleeps, is breastfed, and was never left to cry it out. He still wakes up to nurse twice in the night. He nurses and goes back to sleep. I don't have a problem with this arrangement.

I definitely don't think AP makes children sleep more poorly.
to you *ppppbbbbblllfffttttt* I know where you live..lol....

LOL, ok not really mad.
why did I get the non-sleeping kids?
Yes, i ABSOLUTELY see this. There are , of course, individual differences in temperment and sleep patterns, but in general, on the average, breastfed, APed babies do seem to be way worse sleepers than mainstream parented, formula fed kids. I do believe a lot of it is individual personality..and that MANY kids would be poor sleepers..but it is just taht AP parents don't force their kid to conform to a different way of being, and instead, try to respect and nurture the child's natural rhythms.
I will say that with my own kids and those i am close to, the breastfeeding seems to have the most direct affect - as in, it causes/relates to the most nightwaking and poor sleeping. As soon as breastfeeding is cut down, or nightweaning happens, there is generally a noticeable difference in sleep habits.
I will also say that the few times i have LOST IT, and let my kids cry while i left the area, (because it was either that or BEAT THEM TO DEATH, i do not CIO as a rule,lol), they slept like ANGELS, usually for a much longer, sounder stretch by FAR than any other night, sometimes all through the night. This has happened with both of them. I do believe that something in crying, expresing all the pent up emotion, etc, exhausts you..i know how *I* feel if I let loose and have a good cry over something..sleeping afterwards is just natural...i'm not advocating CIO at all, but I do think that..biochemically or whatever, a good cry leads to sleep.
I have also found that getting kids good and tired helps with sleep. A day where we play and go places, and they have lots of new info to process, etc, makes them sleep better than a boring day at home.


I do know that i attended a LLL meeting a couple years ago that stuck with me. there was a mom there, and she had 2 boys that were older, and then had a new baby girl. At this meeting, the girl was about a year old, and sleep came up.
And she sheepishly admitted that she had been one of the judgemental mommies, so very smug, who had believed that SHE had "taught" her boys to be "good sleepers" and that if other moms would just stick to a routine, like she did, they woudl have the same results.

Then came baby girl.
She said that she realized that SHE had had NOTHING to do with teaching her older boys anything..she now knew that she had just been blessed with REALLY GOOD SLEEPERS, LOL!!! And that having a really bad sleeper really did make such an exterme difference in the parenting experience.

Anyway..that has always stuck with me.

ithink a lot of it is also the parents perepctive on sleep.....some people are well equipped to do okay on less sleep, and others, not so much. My mom can do without sleep (well, nearly, lol) So, if she had had a poor sleeper, she just would have dealt and brushed it off, and I don't think it would have stuck out in her memory much at all.
Me, however? I LOVE sleep. lots of sleep. mmmmmmm, sleep. When I don't get enough sleep, it drastically affects me. So any sleep deprivation, however slight, makes such a huge impression on my overall outlook on life.

CPST
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#19 of 99 Old 09-06-2009, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LeoneLover13 View Post
I do find the statistics upsetting because I am having a horrific time right now with my DD at naps and night time, but I can't talk to anyone because it would just give them more 'ammo' against my parenting choice and they would also have more reason to try to encourage me to CIO.

At this point in my first child's life, I am reconsidering the choices I made because of how it affecting us all now. I may also be having serious doubts about my instincts (I had a really bad night), but I will be in your position in a few years and I hope I can look back and think "That is worth going through again".
Same here. Agree with "ammo" and not being able to vent, along with doubting instincts. It's really tough. And when people see you struggling they want to "help" but only in they way they believe is right. At least this is my experience. Hugs.

Loving DH :, chasing DS (3/08) and getting to know sweet DD (born 3/10 at home).
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#20 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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I slept alone from birth and was never breastfed and I STILL don't sleep through the night

Really, people are just wired differently. I have 4 children. All extended breastfed, cosleepers from birth until they wanted to leave the bed, all the good stuff. Ds1 was a horrible sleeper. He never slept more than 5 hours in a 24 hour period for the first 3 years of his life. Now he is 8 and he still takes a long time to fall asleep. He wakes up a couple of times a night and then has difficulty getting back to sleep. He tosses and turns and is really restless at night. Essentially, he sleeps JUST LIKE ME. I come from a long line of insomniacs who generally get by well on very little sleep.

Then along came ds2. He slept for 10-12 hours a night right from birth. With the rare exception of teething, illness, or developmental milestones he has slept well every night of his 6 years of life. He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow and then nothing revives him until morning when he springs out of bed well rested. Essentially, he sleeps JUST LIKE DH. Totally not fair! What I wouldn't give to sleep that well!

My girls are a mix as well. Dd1 has gone through some crazy night waking phases. She would be up for hours at night playing or causing trouble. Once I even found her footprints in the snow in the back yard. Scary! She didn't wake us up, she just crept out of bed and played silently. I only knew she was up by the evidence I found, otherwise I may have believed she was STTN Thankfully she outgrew that phase and at 4 years old goes to bed happily, puts herself to sleep, and aside from the occasional night she prefers to be in her own bed.

Dd2 is only 2. She wakes at 1am to nurse then sleeps until 7am. She isn't the all-star sleeper that her brother is, but still pretty good aside from the usual teething and such.

The biggest difference I have found between the more gentle methods and the more mainstream ones is the child's attitude toward bed time. For us bedtime isn't really a struggle. It is a time to snuggle and to reconnect. It is a time for talk and sometimes a time for silliness. They are kids and so occasionally we have those nights where they procrastinate or don't want to sleep, but most of the time they go to sleep happily and without complaint.

There is very little fear as well. I think it is because they have always had dh or I available to parent them as needed day OR night. Night has never been a source of fear or stress. We have always responded to their NEED for us at night for food, comfort, or just company. I think THAT has more value than a certain number of hours of sleep. I love that they have the confidence in us to know we will be there for them unconditionally......not just between the hours of 7am and 10pm.


 

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#21 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 01:25 AM
 
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I don't think AP makes poor sleepers, but I don't think there's an AP model of getting your kid to sleep and sleep through when they don't develop within the idealized standards.

For my non- sleeper, on the one extreme there is CIO which would not have worked. On the other is just letting her be and following her lead which DID NOT WORK. Somewhere in the middle we FINALLY hit upon the idea (thank you Sleepless in America) of setting up her DAYS to make her NIGHTS better and that finally worked. Thank goodness.

There's also such a range of what is AP to most people. So many times in this forum what I see is "suck it up" and that is useless if not downright mean advice for someone who is stumbling through year three of sleeping in 45 minute chunks. The options are NOT do CIO or do nothing. There are other options that are worth exploring because IMO having a child does not make you a super human who doesn't have any needs of her own and sleep is a need as basic as food.
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#22 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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We have never done CIO, and never will. We co-sleep, extend BF on demand and are very AP generally.
We have great sleepers, they sleep wonderful, always have. All of them.
And bc we co-sleep, we know they are actually sleeping all night, and also bc we actually respond, they aren't afraid of telling us if they wake up.
CIO babies/kids give up, they resign, they know that nobody is going to come if they cry, so they don't. Doesn't mean they sleep well. It only means their parents don't know when/how much they're awake. (And that it can damage them for life.)
(Also, you hear more about kids who don't sleep, bc if they do, you don't talk about it in the same way.)

I know a lot of AP parents, actually most of our friends are, and we see the same in their kids as in ours. Very safe, secure kids, that thrive, sleep well and are happy kids with good lives.
I hear other parents on AP forums online describing that too.

-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#23 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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Both of mine have been in our bed from day 1. I would call both excellent sleepers. Dd sttn off and on from day 1. Doesn't wake at night now. Never nursed more than once or twice in the night. Never slept as much as "they" said she should, but she was chipper and happy and never fought sleep.

Ds nurses once or twice in the night and always has. Has STTN a handful of times. Never fights sleep. Naps well (1-2 naps a day of 1-2 hours) Goes to sleep easily and never fusses.

Neither child ever cried at night (during "sleep time") unless they were ill or in pain (teething) EVER.

-Angela
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#24 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Didn't read the other replies; in a hurry...
I think so much of it is personality. With both of mine I did/do as you did~ stick a boob in her mouth for everything. Both slept with me.
First baby was NOT a good sleeper. Up every few hours forever. Still isn't really at 8, only now I don't have to stay up with her!
Second actually sleeps like the baby books say they 'should'. 10-12 hours at night, naps on a regular basis. At first I thought something was wrong with her because she's such a different sleeper compared to her sister.
Both had the same everything, just different wiring.
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#25 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 02:36 AM
 
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-- My son ended up co sleeping with us at night because he was a really terrible sleeper. It just made my life easier. If he was only waking up once or twice a night, I would have been ok getting up and going into another room. So cosleeping didn't cause poor sleep, poor sleep caused cosleeping.
This was our situation. DD was a terrible sleeper from Day 1. I'm not kidding... she screamed all night long the first night after she was born. I thought I was a horrible mother! Turns out she was just a terrible sleeper. Co-sleeping actually helped. I got more sleep, and it was better quality than before.

We'll definitely do it again this time around.

ETA: DD started STTN at age 2. She's slept in her own bed since she was about 18 MO, and was always welcome to join us in our bed.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#26 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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I thinl sleep is affected by our individual personalities. I was BF for only a month and put in a crib from day one and slpet great as a baby. However, I do not sleep wonderfully now but wake up several times throughout the night. I've had sleep issues as an adult in varying degrees.

With my DS who just turned one, we coslept for a year and just transitioned him to a crib in his own room. He is still nursing right before bed but is now STTN. He has only started STTN in the past 4-6 weeks. He was just ready. Of course I still check on him several times because I'm up anyway

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#27 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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My kids were all terrible sleepers, and in hindsight I think maybe I caused it with co-sleeping and liberal boobage at every waking. They are all older now and do sleep, thankfully (they are 15, 12, 9)--but the first few years with each of them (and even longer, actually) was a living hell of me waking up every hour or two to nurse.

My friends who were all about the cry it out method had these super sleepers that went down at 7:00 (!!) and slept all night--even when sick. My kids stayed up late with me and slept terribly all night.

I really do think I caused the bad sleeping patterns and if I had to do it over again, I might do it differently.
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#28 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 03:17 AM
 
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my daughter has always been a restless sleeper, needing a lot of comforting to go to sleep and stay asleep, but my son was a wonderful sleeper from day one -- fell asleep easily on his own, stayed asleep, went back to sleep without nursing more easily than his big sister. we did everything exactly the same with them, they just sleep differently. I wouldn't say it's "personality" necessarily, because my dd is far more easygoing than my son and she's the terrible sleeper, but I definitely beat myself up over AP'ing her to sleep all the time until ds came along and proved to me that they are just wired differently.

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#29 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 03:22 AM
 
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I agree with others who say that they came to some AP practices because of bad sleepers. I never intended to co-sleep because I am a heavy sleeper and was worried it wasn't sleep. But from the very first weeks it was the only way I could get any sleep.

For me though, the real point is this, even if it were true (and I'm not saying it is) that AP practices contribute to crappy sleeping, then what? I'm sure you aren't going to practice CIO! Some children clearly need parenting during the night, are we going to deny them that? When I have a second child, I will certainly try early on to establish good sleep habits, but I know I may end up with another crummy sleeper and I'm certainly not going to throw AP out the window. I just couldn't imagine doing things any other way.

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Currently growing number two!
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#30 of 99 Old 09-07-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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I have to agree with a few others that it's likely more the child than the parenting techniques...

We happen to go against your hypothesis. AP/co-sleep and two great sleepers. Both started sleeping through the night intermittently around 3-5 months and almost always by about 12-14 months

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