My DS is about 7 months old. We've been co-sleeping for about 3 months now. I never intended on co-sleeping, it just sort of happened. We had a mini arm's reach co-sleeper attached to the bed prior to him sleeping in the bed with us. It worked pretty well for a while. I simply brought him into the bed to nurse during the night and put him back in the co-sleeper (if I hadn't fallen asleep while he nursed) but somewhere between 3 and 4 months old he started to cry when I would out him back in the co-sleeper after nursing. At the same time he basically outgrew the thing so we packed it up and let him sleep in the bed with us. When he sleeps in the bed with us he sleeps pretty well most nights, sometimes sleeping for 10 hours and waking once or twice for a quick comfort nurse, not really eating. During the day he naps in his swing, because he basically hates the crib. My husband especially is growing weary of DS sleeping in the bed with us as we don't get much intimate time and we both feel cramped with not enough space in the bed for the three of us. Recently yu husband has said that if we don't get him to sleep in his crib soon that he's going to end up sleeping on the couch. I don't want my marriage to suffer. We have discussed it and talked to friends, our pediatrician and read a few different books and while we're mostly into attachment parenting we're starting to consider CIO. I have let DS CIO a few times during the day to get him to go to sleep in the crib for a nap. He has cried for as long as 30 minutes before finally falling asleep and I feel awful letting him cry. I just don't know what to do, but he is starting to outgrow the swing and I can't lie down with him every time he naps and I am tired of going to bed at 9:30 because he will only sleep in the bed next to me. What can I do to help him feel safe and happy to fall asleep in his crib? I have tried standing by the crib, bending over to put as much of my arms and head in the crib next to him, singing to him, patting him, using a soother (light up aquarium thing) white noise, etc. He will not take a pacifier. He just cries and cries no matter if I'm there next to him or if I walk away! I just don't know what else to do.
oh mama, you don't need to let him cry! first off if you like to read, Pantley's no cry sleep solution book is awesome!
here is our story, not too dissimiliar to yours: DS was in the (Full size) co-sleeper until about 6 months. he started the night there but usually spent the last part of the night/morning in bed with us. Around 6-7 months I put it up all together and we co-slept full time. He started the night in his crib (I nursed him to fully asleep sitting up, then transferred him to his crib) and I brought him to bed with us once I went to bed. At 10 months we simply left him in the crib; didn't bring him to bed with us. He STTN. Now, once in a while - maybe once a week or so - he will wake up around 4 or 5 and I will bring him to bed. otherwise he sleeps til 7-8.
He is 13 months and I still nurse/cuddle him until fully asleep and then transfer him. He has a lovey blanket in his crib which may help with any nightwakings I don't notice b/c he can put himself back to sleep from a drowsy state with that. Once babes are mobile it is really hard to lay them down drowsy but awake and expect them to put themselves to sleep. At least my DS immediately rolls over and pulls himself up.
hope some of that helped.
Katrina - Mama to Gabriel 11/20/2009 and Norah 10/11/2011- married to Wayne -  and now new baby Theodore born 3/11/13
I also recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution. I've done a somewhat modified version of this book twice now, once with my DD who was cosleeping at 10 months and nursing every 45 minutes (I was a single Mom then, so I had no bedmate to bother). And recently we did it when transitioning baby-DS (just over 6 months) from his cosleeper thing in our room to his crib (in his room).
With the No Cry Sleep Solution you let them cry very, very limitedly and then you go in and reassure them, pick them up, pat them, etc, but then put them back down. It can be an exhaustingly slow process, I remember sitting/laying on my DD's floor in the middle of the night and shushing her back to sleep. However, eventually they do learn that the crib is not the worst place ever and that you haven't forgotten about them.
My DH also isn't fond of cosleeping (his exwife coslept with their son, and laid down with him until he was about 6 to get him to sleep... and I think he's just paranoid about that repeating), but he seems okay with DS coming to bed with me when he wakes to nurse in the middle of the night, sometimes we fall asleep and he stays there, and sometimes I'll put him back in his crib.
If you were able to get DS to start out in his crib, that might help DH feel better. At least then you'd have some alone time together, if DS didn't make it into the bed until after midnight or so.
I see that your DS doesn't take a pacifier. That makes it harder, as both my kids did and do. If you can find him a lovey that might help. BabyDS has a little blanket-lion that he holds and rubs on his face to go to sleep. I must say, getting him to self-soothe to some extent, while it hasn't helped with nighttime too much, its made his naps much, much better. He never loved the swing and was taking 20 minute naps all day, leaving a frazzled Mommy and a grumpy Baby. Now he will take at least 40 minute naps, but sometimes up to 2 hours.
I do suggest a naptime/bedtime routine. Everyone always said this to me, and I was like, "what, he's a baby what does he need a routine for?" But I think it helps. We have a ocean/rain noise CD we play in his room, and we turn that on during the nap/bedtime diaper change. We then swaddle him (a half swaddle which he still likes) and read him one or two books on our bed. Then its into his room, where I usually sing him a little lullabye while laying him down. I give him his lovey and he *usually* will wiggle a little and then settle down to sleep. Sometimes I stay in to rub his head. (Naps are working a lot better than bedtime lately. He's been extra fussy at night... not sure why!)
There isn't really any magic advice. Either you help them learn to self-soothe and then they can fall asleep on their own, or they don't and need help. Its the ugly part of parenting that you don't know about until they arrive!
I just had a thought... if you had a small mattress on the floor in his room and laid next to him to get him to sleep, but then you got up and left, would he stay asleep? That might be a temporary solution, until he's very mobile.
I hope some part of this helps! Getting babies to sleep can be a tiring and not-so-fun process, but in the end it might help you and DH feel better "together" and everyone will get more sleep!
Lis ~ Married to my favorite boy and raising "our" three ~
DS 14 (his) ~ DD 9 (mine) ~ toddlerDS 2! (ours)