Let me start out by saying i never thought i would be the one writing this post.
I am a passionate AP mama, but these last few weeks have been HARD. DS is 9 months, I usually wear him to sleep around 9:00 each night. i lay him down once he is asleep, and he wakes up anywhere from 30 mins to 45 mins later. I used to be able to nurse him to sleep again and now he wont. He just wants to play or just tosses and turns and can't fall back asleep.
I'm starting school again in a week and I have no idea how I'm going to have time for this. I literally just have to sit in the room with him all night until i go to bed.
So many people have suggested i sleep train him or get him a crib or "teach him to fall asleep on his own," and up until now i have been really good at giving my perfect AP mama answer. But after a particularly hard night like tonight, I found myself considering sleep training-- which i know in my heart i do not want to do.
This is where you come in! Please re-convince me that co-sleeping is the best for both of us! Any glimmer of hope from mamas who have been here would be greatly appreciated as well!
Sweetheart, in my experience, the best thing, and the only thing that will convince you is what you already know is best for you. If that means co-sleeping, then great. If it means finding another arrangement, then great, too. Co-sleeping is really only the best when it serves everyone involved. That said, I am currently co-sleeping with an 18 month old who has been doing the same thing as you describe since the same age, and she often doesn't go to sleep at all until 11pm or later. Last month, I sent in a resignation letter for several teaching engagements that would have been very lucrative and promised to bring in more demand for my services. The hardest part of that for me was feeling like I would be disappointing others by resigning; doing so for the sake of my dd was very easy for me; I knew I wanted to have the ease of simply accepting her way of managing her sleep without the stress of resisting it for the sake of my job (even though I really enjoyed that, too; it was always secondary for me). It turned out that everyone really supported my decision once they knew why and how I really feel about my role in my family and my relationships with the people in it.
So my partner and I devised a way to accommodate dd and us that is unconventional, but very freeing to us and her. We bought a futon and sleep on it in the livingroom. In the evenings, we go about our business as usual, and dd joins us in what we're doing or plays or whatever, and when she's ready to sleep, she usually invites me to come into the bed with her to nurse her to sleep. Sometimes she just wants a cuddle and no nursing. Sometimes she wakes up and climbs out of the bed and wakes right up as if it were daytime, and because I am not resisting this experience, it is such a wonderful time; she's so cuddly and her chatter is extra soft and gentle. She gives more kisses and hugs than during the day (which is already a LOT :), and usually just wants to connect by sitting on my lap for a bit, plays with a toy or book, an she's satisfied an can feel her tiredness. Sometimes she just wants to play, and she does. She's used to it being a quiet time because she has four brothers who are asleep (usually) by 10pm, so she tends to also be very quiet, but of course, not always. Having the bed in the main room makes it easy for us to just flow with things as they are, and me being home helps, too. My partner took a night shift so that he could be here for the day and bedtime stuff, so I must include this enormously beneficial decision that he gives to our family as well. He leaves at 11:15pm.
Anyway, how ever it works best for you, is best for you. With my four boys, the period of back and forth sleep happened between around 9 months and just when I thought I couldn't cope anymore, it ended, usually between 14 months and 18 months. Dd has been gradually shifting into a regular bedtime pattern over the past two weeks, which seems the same as the ones her brothers had when they began to sleep as a routine. Whether or not this is it, I don't yet know, but I don't cope anymore because I have learned some very helpful lessons about myself in the past year, and those lessons have opened me up to the world outside and inside in a way that coping prevented. Now, it is all joy. It sure was very hard for a long time, though. I get that. I really do.
My second son couldn't co-sleep past four months old. It was hard on me to let him have his own space, but he really demanded it, and in the end, I realised that it was me stopping him from having what I could so easily provide if I really saw him. He cannot sleep with any sensory input beyond the stillness of the fabrics and air around him. My breathing, my skin, my movements, the covers when I moved- their sounds, the texture and changing airflow- all completely disrupted his sleep, and he all but kicked me out of my bed to get that across to me and my dp! When we moved him to a sidecar, he protested in the same way, and when we moved him into his own room (in those days, this was devastating to me), and he not only didn't even whimper, he looooved it. He was totally in his glory, and so happy to go to sleep at night in there. I still held him for naps during the day and cuddled with him all the time, of course, but his nights were his, and now he's 7 yrs old, and the same. He loves sleeping near his brothers though, so they all have loft beds in a big "L" in their bedroom. Anyway, it will work out, and you can really save yourself a lot of heartache by just becoming still, observing what is really happening for you, acknoledge and then examine fears if you have any, and the answer will simply emerge, because it's already there.
Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. Jan. 23, 2012
But I don't think co-sleeping is best for every baby. Some will thrive and love it, and others don't like it. Being AP is doing what works for your child. We never co-slept but my youngest baby just really didn't like the crib after awhile and we got her a regular twin bed when she turned 1 year. There were definately times when she came into bed with us and many times I ended up sleeping on the floor next to her.
We never would do CIO but there are many steps in between CIO and strict co-sleeping. While the family bed is great and can be a huge asset to many families, it's not just the sleeping arrangements that make us in tune with our babies.
AP is listening to the child and making sure his priorities and needs are at the top of the list to be considered; then we make our choices how to fit that in for what everyone needs.
I went back to school with a 7 month old, a 6 year old and a 10 year old as a single parent. I found that studying wasn't that bad because I would just be planted somewhere (couch, bed or desk) with all my materials, and the baby would come over to nurse or just play. I learned to tune out happy noise. Is it possible that your worrying right now has more to do with starting school in general rather than specific concerns about co-sleeping? I know it's a stressful time with a lot of changes, but it can be done. Sorry, I don't have specific advice, but just wanted to share a few words of encouragement from someone who's traveled the school road.
Co sleeping does not work for everyone. I firmly believe that where people sleep is meaningless, it's that everyone gets the sleep they need. That's what's important. YOUR sleep is just as important. This is not a four week old, this is a nine month old and they are super aware. My daughter became a really tough sleeper around that age - I think they wake up and think WHAT DID I MISS! and not, oh, it's night time, maybe I should go back to sleep!
There is a lot you can do in a couple of weeks. One of the best books I've read is Sleepless in America. I didn't really do "sleep training" but I did figure out how to set up our days so that our nights went smoothly. Very quickly, the night waking took care of itself. I wish I had read it sooner.
Good luck. Cosleeping is great for some babies and families but being a responsive parent doesn't mean forcing a check list of Sears Approved AP Items That All Must Follow on your baby and family. If it isn't working, what's the point!
I feel your pain! Whenever our DS is teething or sick he wakes up after 45 min. to 1 hour of sleep. It's difficult, but if we can get him back down, he will generally stay asleep for a few hours.
I totally agree with this statement. While I believe co-sleeping works best for some, it doesn't work well for everyone. We were unable to co-sleep early on because I am what I call an "oblivious sleeper." (I've rolled over on our dogs more than once. Luckily they were able to get out from under me! I wasn't willing to take the chance with our newborn, but he does spend some time in bed with us now that he is older.)
AP is about *listening* to your baby and making choices based on what you hear. Maybe your child is telling you that this current arrangement is not working. Our DS does best in his own space at the beginning of the night, so we start his night in his crib. (He has a hard time getting into a deep sleep when he can feel movement or hear noises, so our bed is not a good place to start the night.) When he wakes, we either soothe him back to sleep and put him back in his crib, or bring him into bed with us. We've also found that a consistent bedtime routine helps.
Keep an open mind about your own nighttime routine. There are many options other than crying it out! Good luck!
Our 3.5yo has co-slept with us since the beginning. She hated her crib and was only able to sleep in the bassinette for a little while. She started napping in her own bed around 3yo. It has been a little hard on her to have a normal schedule as hubby and I work opposite shedules and my parents are somewhat unreliable as caregivers and I refuse to pay someone to watch my child. I'll be having twins in the next few weeks and there just isn't enough room in the bed for all of us so I want to get a bedside co-sleeper so we can be close and I can nurse them without getting up (in case I have to have a c-section). Also, I think it's too bright in her room in the morning for her to sleep .... I need to get better curtains :P
When we first started co-sleeping with my daughter it was a little scary, because of all of the stories you hear, but I am a very light sleeper. I mean, just a sigh from her and I am wide awake! I think if you are constantly being woken thinking you may harm your child, it may not be best for you, but if you like knowing you can open one eye to check on them and get back to sleep instantly, it might just be for you. Also, if your child doesn't like it, listen to them. But on the other hand, if forcing them into their room at night seems like punishment to the child, you may need to wait a little longer. I don't think a scared child will ever sleep well in their own room.
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