I'm the only idiot that doesn't CIO - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS will be one next week. I guess he would be described as High Needs? But I don't know....I'm doubting everything right now. He has always needed me to help him fall asleep. He's my first, and I have no help or nearby family so I always have thought that "that's just what babies need" I have just felt like I'm following his lead. DH is self employed and really really helpful- but he needs to work pretty much all the time so the night time parenting is all me.

I never once have considered CIO. Letting a baby cry has always seemed weird to me. I am a sahm and have spent the last year holding him, wearing him, bouncing him, nursing him, loving him- trying to meet his many needs. He still nurses A LOT day and night. We co sleep for most of the night and he naps in his crib once in a while, in the car, in the ergo and in his bouncy chair (Yes, still...but he sleeps there for an hour and a half every morning and it's the only time I have to myself....) He is an all night nurser. Again, it just seemed natural, and I have been operating under the theory that he will eventually outgrow it. For the most part I feel like my body adjusted to the frequent wakings (every 1-3 hours, some quick sleepy nurse, some wake ups that need rocking down....)

We hung out with a bunch of friends yesterday and I was very surprised to hear them talk about their babies pointing to the crib at naptime, and of sleeping from 7-7. etc etc etc. I learned that the only other moms who have not CIO are the ones with "sleepy babes" that have always slept well and long...one of my best friends told me that she is so thankful she CIO for naps last month (her DD is 15 mths) because her DD needed to learn to sleep on her own because she was miserable when she was tired. She said the week of hour long CIO was worth it because her baby is happier now and taking long 3 hr naps. She said CIO gave her DD much needed tools....My DS is miserable - I mean MISERABLE when he is tired, thus my elaborate rituals to get him napped etc....

Cut to last night. DS is tired but can't fall asleep. Granted he is cutting 4 teeth (they have been coming in sooooo slowly, I swear it's been a month at least!) and he is getting over his first cold (he couldn't sleep at all laying down so I held him in the ergo all night for 2 nights....) so I was in a very sleep deprived state myself. He fights. He squirms, he fusses....and then he passes out. Usually. Last night he couldn't. fall. asleep. I'm humming our lullabys, nursing, dancing, rocking, he's in the ergo, he's out, we're in our bed, we're up.....his little hands are clawing at my neck...for almost 2 hours. If I thought 'he's not tired" I would have given up, and tried later... But he was tired....so I danced around the pile of dirty laundry that I have no time to do in my messy apartment that I have no time to clean up....and I stared to feel like an idiot. I couldn't get the image of these sleepy babes being put down awake and blissfully drifting into deep long stretches of sleep out of my mind....

He is tired. He needs to fall asleep. He doesn't know how. It has been an entire year. Why have I never considered CIO? Doesn't he need "tools"? Has my acceptance of his frequent night nursing and my co sleeping set him up for sleep issues? Honestly, a lot of my choices have been coming from a place of exhaustion....as a small babe he was so needy during the day that I needed every minute of sleep just to cope...

I'm not really considering CIO I don't think. But I am confused and feel like I am failing at some crucial part of being a mama.
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#2 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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You're not the only one. This is me exactly.

I believe that children need structure and that as parents we have a responsibility to provide it. And I believe that my DD needs help learning how to fall asleep. She's almost 2 and it still takes FOREVER to get her to sleep at night, though now thankfully once she's down she stays asleep for most of the night.

I've asked myself about 1000 times why I don't CIO, and I don't have a great answer, other than it just doesn't feel right. But I do often feel like an idiot because it's not like my choices look all that competent. I can't really say that what I do is easier, or works better, or makes us all happier. It's just what we do, and we're surviving, and the effort of making a change feels overwhelming, assuming we'd even know what to change. My instinct tells me that if we tried CIO, my DD would scream for hours and it would be horrible. But I honestly don't know.

Anyway, just letting you know that you're not the only one who struggles with this! It would be great if there was one correct parenting method that worked for everyone, and you could just master it and know that all is well. But in my experience thus far, that's not how it works! There are a lot of gray areas.

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#3 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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"I couldn't get the image of these sleepy babes being put down awake and blissfully drifting into deep long stretches of sleep out of my mind....

He is tired. He needs to fall asleep. He doesn't know how. It has been an entire year. Why have I never considered CIO? Doesn't he need "tools"? Has my acceptance of his frequent night nursing and my co sleeping set him up for sleep issues? "


You have to get those images out of your head, because it doesn't matter what other people's babies are doing. You have your baby and you are meeting his needs. He is a normal human baby. Human babies ARE designed to be dependent. Independence comes not from "training," but from maturity, time. He doesn't need tools. He just needs you.

I say all of that as the mama of DS1...aka He Who Doth Not Sleep. Two years of fighting sleep, frequent wakings, all night nursing, holding for naps...I get it. Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt. At 2 things got MUCH better.

I, too, have looked longingly and with bewilderment at babies who were placed into a crib fully awake. No crying, no nothing. They just went to sleep. Weird. Some of those babies were just like that by nature, but most had been "trained." What you have to remember is that what they learned isn't "How to fall asleep on your own." They learned that crying was pointless, cause no one is there to meet their needs. So they gave up. But they will be trying to fill that void with other stuff instead. Maybe for the rest of their lives.

I know it sucks. It isn't easy. Yes, there could be underlying issues you might want to investigate, but, most likely you just have a normal, dependent human baby on your hands.

Hang in there. Try to avoid comparing him to other babies. Come here and vent to us. And keep following your gut.
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#4 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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Well, just from the title alone I will tell you that people who don't do CIO are not idiots. Being there and responding to your child makes you a wonderful parent. CIO is not a quick fix that makes you a great parent, and is detrimental. My kids do not have sleep issues and were all co-sleepers who nursed all night (except ds who hated co-sleeping). Don't let other peoples' rosy stories of how easy CIO is and how it makes all la-di-da easy persuade you against your instincts and knowledge.

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#5 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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You're right. All the other idiots are doing CIO. (Just joking!!! I couldn't resist.)

I do believe that falling asleep on their own is a skill that babies and young children need to learn. And for some kids, it is harder than others.

But I don't understand how leaving a baby to cry is supposed to teach them how to fall asleep. I don't know any CIO babies who don't continue to cry every time they are put to bed. Sometimes even before reaching their crib because they know what is coming.

I think you are seeing things in black and white though. There is a middle ground between "put up with crappy sleep forever" and "let them cry until they puke". Have you read The No Cry Sleep Solution? It has a lot of tips and ideas that can help your baby become a more independent sleeper without just leaving him to cry. There is also a toddler version, which I haven't read, but may be more useful to you if you son is a year old.

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#6 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I agree with just lilly. there is a middle ground. You just have to find what works for you. I had an hourly waker myself, until he was 18 months old, and I got pregnant. So I nightweaned (gently, while continuing to cosleep) and he started SLEEPING. He now STTN every night at age 2 in his own bed.

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#7 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Lemontree Mama, I echo your concerns. I have an almost 9month old boy and I wonder if I am making him more needy. Despite (or because of???) co-sleeping, night nursing on demand, baby wearing, with two parents at home a lot of the time, my baby is increasingly demanding and having a difficult time with sleep. (Up every 1-2 hours, short day-time naps.) I'm not even convinced that letting your child CIO is damaging in the long term... I'm just not sure that there is real evidence to prove that theory. However, I still don't feel right about leaving him to cry. I'm not sure if it's much better that he ends up crying, sometimes crying very hard, in my arms... but for now that's the best solution I have. I'm considering starting to reduce the amount I allow him to nurse at night, while keeping him in my bed for the most part as a first step.

I have started reading Pantly's book. One of her main points seems to be the need to establish a regular routine, which we do have difficulty maintaining. While her information about baby sleep needs is interesting, I haven't had a lot of success with her suggestions, but maybe I'm approaching them incorrectly. I feel like I'm desperately seeking some solutions to make the sleep situation more manageable... if you try some new techniques, I'd love to hear about them.
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#8 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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Like a PP, I am not convinced that CIO is all that harmful in the long run, BUT I wouldn't be able to do it.

But I think there is a middle ground like another PP said, and you find what you are comfortable with. We felt comfortable allowing our daughter to fuss for 5 minutes without us intervening, but not crying. And I feel like we encouraged healthy sleeping habits specific to her without trying to force them on her, which I think CIO does or tries to do. But you don't need to cater entirely, you can encourage and model and support, and I would also suggest reading some of the books out there.

I also got lucky with a kid who started sleeping 12 hours a night on her own at 12 months without me having to nightwean, she just did it (up twice a night 0-6 months, and once a night 6-12 months). She's just a good sleeper, and while I feel we encouraged her to be so, it's primarily the way she's wired (although for a long time, napping was an entirely different story).
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#9 of 21 Old 09-30-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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You know, I think a lot of people who do CIO make it sound a lot rosier than it actually is, because they really don't want to feel like they're jerks for doing it. The truth is, I have one friend who did CIO with her older daughter, and her daughter still didn't sleep through the night until she was four. I also know another couple whose older child was a very high-maintenance sleeper. They actually tried CIO for months without seeing any improvement in their son's sleep. My theory is that many of those who do CIO and get good results have children who are more easy-going by nature. I really don't think CIO would get my high-needs DD to sleep better. I think it's more likely that it would take the intensity of her personality and start to turn it in a direction where she and I would be in opposition rather than in (mostly) peaceful alignment. It's not worth it to me, honestly. Yes, I'm tired a lot of the time, but I don't want to get in a pattern of power struggles over sleep or anything else.

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#10 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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Yes, I'm tired a lot of the time, but I don't want to get in a pattern of power struggles over sleep or anything else.
That's really well said. I've been thinking of "power struggles" ever since my BIL gave us an earful for lying down with DD until she falls asleep (and BIL has NO KIDS!!!! ARGH!). Anyway, turning everything, including sleep, into a power struggle with a baby is pointless. Power struggles are about who wins--who gets to be right. And all babies know is what they NEED.

It's our job, as parents, to guide them towards getting what they need in a loving, patient way. It's not easy, and it sure is tiring when your babe would rather be awake at night, but until they can understand when we tell them nighttime is for sleeping, all we can do is guide them along till they doze off again.

Sure, we could try to "break them" with CIO, but I think that's a power struggle we win in the short-term. I know parents who CIO love their kids, and their kids will probably turn out happy and well adjusted, but I think that kind of power-struggle approach seeps into other facets of parenting, too.

At least that's what I tell myself when I'm up at 3 a.m. with DD and hosting a pity party.

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#11 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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I'm not even convinced that letting your child CIO is damaging in the long term... I'm just not sure that there is real evidence to prove that theory.
How about a Harvard study that shows it can cause PTSD and anxiety disorders? http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html
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#12 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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I hear you! Many times I consider CIO. But there's a lot of variation hidden beneath the "CIO or don't" thing. I've tried some different things, including NCSS stuff, "wait and see what the response is," holding him instead of nursing, but never "be forced to lie there without me and cry" (unless you don't want to be held while crying, which is often the case).

I think at about a year old with my son, I tried night weaning in the hopes that this would stop the frequent wakings (we co-sleep). I think I did this mostly after a visit from one of my husband's friends. Full family experience - him, his wife, the 3 year old, and the 1 year old, very close in age to my son. The subject of night sleeping came up. I was obviously bedraggled. The things i noticed were: her kids' mealtimes went way faster than mine (the 1 year old would feed himself bananas and cheerios), while I hand-fed mine substantial, hearty food; mine napped at the same time in the morning as their 1 year old, but I couldn't get him to have his regular afternoon nap (this is typical), and the other mom had more energy than I did. We co-sleep; they put both of the kids in the other guest bedroom. The other mom had weaned her kids and was giving formula; I still (and today!) usually need to nurse my child to sleep for nap and at bedtime.

I tried nightweaning then, anyway. I gave up. Yes, I was being woken 4 times or more some nights, probably averaging 3 times. I'd stopped counting (the subject did come up, and the other mom told me about how wonderful CIO had been for them in the long run, but oh how much it hurt them that first night!).

Eventually, I detected a few things in my own child, starting at a couple of months old. I'd figured out from the cries and other cues what was needed. One of those was the burping throughout the night, which continued for quite a while (he needed to be picked up, burped, and put back down, sometimes frequently). Eventually, too, I was able to figure out that there were 2 major times he didn't seem to give up the breast (and I got slapped!): when he was getting teeth in pretty hardcore, or when he was hungry. And who knows, it may have been mostly the hunger. Now, he is getting in teeth, but his sleeping pattern isn't changing because of it. Now I think the 5 am waking is hunger - we've even had to get a food snack, and I'm starting to keep food on the nightstand! I find this in keeping with my own childhood - I was ravenously hungry all the time, scarfed down food, and was frequently hungry!

If I'd focused only on the "you need to stop waking me up," I wouldn't have figured these things out. Maybe he would have given up crying. I suspect he would have cried until he puked when he was 7 months old or younger. And after that, maybe he just wouldn't have gained the dense chunk body he has, if he adapted to eating less than he wanted. These days, though, the breastmilk isn't holding him for more than an hour.

Then again, I think the sleep issue is complex and different for each child in how much it affects them. Does it matter if my child cries in my arms until he sleeps longer (a la Dr. Sears suggestions), if I am still a sensitive mom in the long run? Is my child extremely sensitive about things in general, or moves on pretty easily? Growing up involves a lot more than what I do about sleep early on. For my parents, however, what they did was symptomatic of their entire attitude toward parenting, and all of their decisions!

Also, this would be way, way easier to do, in my experience, if I had any extra help around the house (which I don't), if my husband would contribute to the nighttime parenting (and he only does rarely). I don't have those options, so what I have done in the past when I've made my decisions about handling sleep is that I will temporarily give up the things I would like to have during the day. I'm sure my decisions would be different if my circumstances were different: I'm a SAHM with one child.

Those are my experiences...whatever you do, I hope you are making your own decisions that feel right in your own heart! So I decided against CIO in the face of a comparative in-home experience with a CIO mom. I also don't think her life is particularly rosy just because she got more sleep than I did.
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#13 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lemontree View Post
DS will be one next week. I guess he would be described as High Needs? But I don't know....I'm doubting everything right now. He has always needed me to help him fall asleep. He's my first, and I have no help or nearby family so I always have thought that "that's just what babies need" I have just felt like I'm following his lead. DH is self employed and really really helpful- but he needs to work pretty much all the time so the night time parenting is all me.

. . .

We hung out with a bunch of friends yesterday and I was very surprised to hear them talk about their babies pointing to the crib at naptime, and of sleeping from 7-7. etc etc etc. I learned that the only other moms who have not CIO are the ones with "sleepy babes" that have always slept well and long...one of my best friends told me that she is so thankful she CIO for naps last month (her DD is 15 mths) because her DD needed to learn to sleep on her own because she was miserable when she was tired. She said the week of hour long CIO was worth it because her baby is happier now and taking long 3 hr naps. She said CIO gave her DD much needed tools....My DS is miserable - I mean MISERABLE when he is tired, thus my elaborate rituals to get him napped etc....

. . .

He is tired. He needs to fall asleep. He doesn't know how. It has been an entire year. Why have I never considered CIO? Doesn't he need "tools"? Has my acceptance of his frequent night nursing and my co sleeping set him up for sleep issues? Honestly, a lot of my choices have been coming from a place of exhaustion....as a small babe he was so needy during the day that I needed every minute of sleep just to cope...

I'm not really considering CIO I don't think. But I am confused and feel like I am failing at some crucial part of being a mama.
Ooh - I've been through so many doubting times! Easy to do that when sleep deprived! And yeah, I think I adapted to the sleep issues.

However, once I got past a lot of sleeplessness, I find myself not even doubting whether I did the right thing for as long as I did. I don't care if he could have slept "better" earlier. I know I tried some things that just weren't working, gave up, and went back to the way we were until I felt like trying again.

One of the things I think happens to us in this early development is that we get more "programmed." I'm referring to that pointing to the crib bit. All of us get used to the way our parents do things in infanthood/toddlerhood. Mine did this in the last couple of weeks. I say let's brush our teeth, he points to the master bathroom and goes there. I say do you want food, let's go to the high chair, and he points and goes. He's communicating and showing that he is accustomed to certain movements and locations in his life. I think that's comforting for humans, because there is so much room for flexibility in the way humans live.

My son and I had different adjustments in our successful night weaning. The most recent is, though we go to bed at slightly different times each night, and he wakes me up for a feeding near 5, it took me weeks to stop waking up in the 2-4 am area. I just felt more sensitive and alert during those times. That's finally fading. I think my son adapted more quickly. The way I proceeded with nightweaning was to give him a lot of time when he woke me up for the breast as I played dead, and only turned over and side-nursed him when he was particularly urgent about it. I found that many times, he would quiet down, lie down, and settle himself back to sleep.

I don't think babies, toddlers, or anyone else needs artificially constructed "tools." I also don't think you need to be afraid to initiate changes with your child. I think these things are an interaction between caretaker and child, not entirely one-sided child-demands. Who can tell what goes on in our little developing brains?
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#14 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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It's our job, as parents, to guide them towards getting what they need in a loving, patient way. It's not easy, and it sure is tiring when your babe would rather be awake at night, but until they can understand when we tell them nighttime is for sleeping, all we can do is guide them along till they doze off again.
I think that's what helped me: when telling my son "go back to sleep" and "the num nums go to sleep" seemed to have some kind of meaning for him instead of merely eliciting an angry response!
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#15 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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My son isn't a great sleeper. At one, he was still up frequently. Molars and canines both gave us quite a bit of trouble. Nightweaning helped slightly. Total weaning finally got him sleeping through the night. (I weaned because I was experiencing a lot of discomfort due to my pregnancy and still have mixed emotions over it.) He still wakes some nights but often doesn't require anything other than physical contact.

Our next step is to encourage him to sleep alone. I'm not certain how I'm going to accomplish that particular feat.

I do think that it's good to help kids learn to fall asleep on their own but I have a theory that kids are ready for that at different ages. I read through No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and she talks about coaching children to sleep by teaching them relaxation techniques. I think that is giving them tools.

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#16 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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I have three children who are currently sleeping alone in their own beds every night, falling asleep totally on their own, and none of them ever CIO. They each learned on their own timetable, and none of them learned at the same pace as any of the others. My fourth baby is currently still cosleeping and nursing to sleep (she's almost 19 months old), and I don't have any doubt in my mind that she will eventually fall asleep and stay asleep on her own when she is ready - and without ever having to CIO.

In other words, THIS IS TEMPORARY, mama. If you don't feel comfortable with CIO, then don't do it. Your child will learn to sleep alone eventually.
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#17 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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He's my first, and I have no help or nearby family so I always have thought that "that's just what babies need" I have just felt like I'm following his lead.

Sounds like you are doing a great job. Following a baby's need is the perfect way to parent, IMHO. It sounds like you are very tired and your ds is restless from teething - we've had tremendous sucess using hyland's teething tablets, it totally helps the restlessness you are describing. Your are also right that they do grow past their needs (after you have met them). My 8 1/2, almost 6, and almost 4 yr old all go to sleep on their own and sleep wonderfully, my 16 month old almost never sleeps without nursing and, of course, always wakes in the night to nurse. I will continue to follow his lead and meet his needs and he will grow past it, just like the other children did Keep listening to your instincts and following your babys needs.
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#18 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 03:25 PM
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Why have I never considered CIO?
Because CIO causes permanent neurological damage, making the child's brain more sensitive to stress and more prone to adult stress related diseases. Here are two articles http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/li...n_palmer2.html http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...enNeedTou.html . And info on long term effects of co-sleeping http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/longterm.html .

On a personal note my almost 5 year old goes to sleep on her own in her own bed and ended co-sleeping by her own choice about a year ago.
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#19 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Oh, I was you. I had grave doubts about my sanity and my choices, but I had even more doubts about the alternative. I tried CIO and it ended in tears for both of us. I was absolutely desperate, but I couldn't handle the thought that I was leaving her to scream - because she did scream, not just fuss.

We did create a very relaxing bedtime routine, including blackout curtains and blinds and a dark, quiet house. I swaddled my daughter for months and months beyond the usual time, nursed her to sleep for years, and still sleep with her.

She's a happy kid, she just slept atrociously. At 1 1/2, she would stop nursing, latch off, and roll over. At 2, she started sleeping for 2-3 hour stretches. At 2 1/2, she stopped getting her teeth and she slept through the night.

You know what? Now I love cuddling with her at night and even like the forced downtime of sitting beside her as she falls asleep. Soon she will not need me to do that, and I'll be sad.

Right now YOU need support to parent your baby well. You will look back and hopefully, like me, you will say, "That was incredibly difficult, but I don't regret the choice."

Tricia, treehugger.gif wild.gif geek.gif mama of dd (6) 

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#20 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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That picture you have in your mind of blissfully sleeping babes is not necessarily how it works when you CIO. When my DD was about 8 months I was so sleep deprived I was truly losing my mind. Both hubby and I worked outside the home, both of us drove alot for our jobs. Sleep was VERY important. And my DD just would not sleep (we co-slept). On her best nights she'd sleep 1-2 hour stretches with 1/2-1 1/2 hour wakings between; on the worst nights she woke up every 20 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG. And she did this off and on from day one. ANd this was with co-sleeping. Any time we tried to get her to sleep on her own it was worse. I had it. I couldn't take it. We decided to try a modified CIO (i would go in every 15-20 minutes just to let her know she wasn't alone, but leave her in the crib and leave after a minute or 2 of soothing). It was AWFUL. Many proponents of CIO make it seem like you baby will cry for 10 minutes, 1/2 hour, etc and then fall asleep. This did not happen. My DD cried for 4 hours straight both nights. The only reason she stopped crying the 2 nights I tried this was because it was so awful to me as her mom that I brought her to bed with me after 4 hours. The second night I decided I didn't care if I never slept again, I could not do this. In what other situation in life do we consider it okay to allow someone we care about to just cry and not respond? And this is a baby. I'm undecided about the long-term brain effects of CIO, but I'm pretty sure that a baby left to cry and not responded to, pretty much learns that when they are upset or scared no one is there for them. This is an emotional travesty that undermines one's faith in love and connection with others. My DD is 2 in two weeks and while we still have some sleep issues (transitioning to her own bed), she sleeps through most of the night pretty regularly now. Actually around 10 months she started sleeping much better, with only occasional spurts of truly "bad" sleeping. It gets better. Eventually.
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#21 of 21 Old 10-01-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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I agree with pp that these things are not black or white. I found this really interesting.

http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006...s_and_cio.html
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