Hi all, I'm new here. Forgive me for not doing a formal intro but I'm kind of in need of answers. I've never come across anyone who was in a similar situation so I'm confused as to the next step to take.
We have been bedsharing since day one. I stay with her for her nap (around 2 hours!) and bed time. I've tried leaving at different times in her sleep cycle to no avail. She always wakes up. I want her to get her sleep so I have been putting off "sleep training" and now it's getting down to the wire and it needs to be done.
I am returning to work in January and will be working evenings. My husband will have to put our 16 month old daughter (18 months then) to sleep by herself. So we kind of have to get her in her crib. She will also have a sitter one night a week, so again, needs to be in her crib for that reason. And after 16 months of absolutely no me time, that might be a little nice too :) Being in bed at 7pm isn't fun.
I nurse to sleep (and back to sleep, she rolls over frequently during the night) but at this point it is purely comfort nursing so I really need to figure out how to stop that as well and get her sleeping in her crib.
I don't want to do CIO. I tried one day of the baby whisperer back when she was 10 months. I was in the room the entire time and she lost her mind. I suppose me being in the room not nursing could have been the reason and maybe it would have worked had I kept up with it. She never napped all day and I eventually gave up that night since she screamed and cried so much that she was hoarse...and didn't calm down for hours. She gets worked up and then it's even harder for her to go back to sleep.
I think she is just a stubborn little girl and knows what she wants. And now that she is a toddler, I know it's going to be that much harder. :(
Any tips or personal accounts you could give me, would be appreciated.
I have a few questions in addition to asking for your miracle cure ;)
1) Should we stop nursing to sleep first and if so how?
2) or should we just do it all at once?
3) She has never slept in her crib. Only a double bed on the floor with me. Should we leave the crib as is, turn it into a toddler bed or leave the double bed?
Thanks so much for all your help.
No miracle solutions, but I have a some maybe possibly relevant comments on your post:
1. do you have Elizabeth Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution? There are SO many suggestions and you can really choose the ones that apply to your situation. There is a section on transitioning from co-sleeping to a crib.
2. I also recommend Harvey Karp's new sleep book, the Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep. It also has lots of suggestions and considers cry-it-out as an absolute last resort (he compares it to kicking a door down instead of trying the doorknob, just not necessary for results, but unnecessarily cruel for most babies/situations).
3. Your situation sounds especially hard because you can't leave your LO sleeping once she's asleep! Could this point be an initial project? With lots of reassurance and maybe talking about it before you try it, when she is awake and calm, and some very gentle techniques to do one transition at a time. To me this looks like your biggest challenge, speaking as someone who has mostly done cosleeping, but could always leave her alone once she's asleep, and often lately even when she's almost asleep (she's still with us, but *this* was my initial transition, the "putting baby down/leaving while baby is awake but drowsy" miracle state which seemed impossible for so long!)
So I'd suggest (in the spirit of Pantley) to just start thinking about the different steps (not obstacles or reasons, just steps) involved in moving things to the way you'd like it to be, but definitely review and choose suggestions from those two books, which both really helped me (I read them at the same time, which was useful for assembling a "toolkit").
The other thing is the possibly challenge idea of the crib - you didn't mention how old your LO is but mine is 1yo and we have already abandoned the idea of a closed crib for when we move her because she can get down from our bed safely, and hates being confined. If you really want to use a crib, you'd probably want to start out with it in your room, right next to you, but that's probably true of any bed you want to transition to (another thing people do is move the baby into her room and stay with her for a while to help her adjust). But again, no matter where you're going, the first goal you'll have to work on is simply ever being able to leave the sleeping child's side!
Good luck, please get those books and think of it as a slow transition if possible (but start right away), and I hope you get suggestions from someone who has been where you are now!