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That way you can nurse him to sleep if you want.
I don't think what you are doing is as bad as CIO. I used a similar method to help my babies learn to fall asleep in their own beds. I would stay with them, or return to their room and pat them and soothe them as many times as it took for them to fall asleep in their beds. Some nights it took a very long time, but it was worth it because they all learned to fall asleep alone in their own beds and they were all great sleepers. I did not pick them up though. Once they had been fed and placed in bed they stayed there unless they were sick or really needed me to pick them up for some reason. I think it's very confusing to pick them up and put them back down over and over again. Leaving them in their crib, but comforting them makes more sense to me because it says, "I want you to go to bed, but I'm here to comfort you."
My niece recently went through this process with her one year old who had previously slept with her in her bed, and it only took a week for him to start falling asleep on his own. I'm not saying it will be that easy or fast for your little guy, because babies are all different, but I think it's worth a try because you want him to fall asleep in his own bed and the only way that is going to happen is if you teach him how to do it.
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Babies naturally have shorter sleep cycles than adults (40 minutes of deep sleep followed by periods of lighter sleep is very common) and so they will often stir shortly after falling asleep, and many more times during the night. If you pick him up and feed him and bring him back to bed with you, he will want that every time he comes to light sleep, all night long. The trick is not to just get them to fall asleep the first time (thought that does help) but to help them learn to soothe themselves back to sleep every time they awaken during light sleep. Whatever you do to get them to sleep in the first place, they will expect and need every single time they awaken, which is often because babies' sleep cycles are so much shorter than those of adults.
I realize this is a co-sleeping forum, so I am not suggesting you give up co-sleeping, unless you want to. If you really want him to sleep alone in his bed with only one or two feedings per night, you probably will have to comfort him without picking him up or feeding him most of the time.
Sleep is such a tricky thing. I have 3 kids and we partially coslept. In general this is what we found worked for us.
I nursed my kids to sleep well into toddlerhood. I enjoyed it and it wasn't something I personally wanted to change. What I did to make this easier was with my first two kids I took away the crib at about 1 year of age and had a mattress on the floor in their room. I would lie down next to them and nurse them to sleep. Both boys were walking by then, so over night we gated the top of the stairs, closed the bathroom door and left the bedroom doors open. When they woke up they would come and find me in my room.
Depending on the stage we were at I would either go back to their bed and nurse them to sleep again, or I would nurse them to sleep in our bed for the rest of the night.
Both boys eventually slept 8pm-6am at around the age of 3.5.
My daughter is only 21 months old. Due to space in our house her bed is still in our room. Her crib converted to a toddler bed and is really low to the ground. Starting at about 12 months I would sit next to her bed and lean over to nurse her to sleep. She got used to not being held, but still nursed an snuggled up against me. She used to sleep from 8-11, nurse, then sleep 11:30-3, then spend the rest of the night in her bed. Over the last few months she has slept through from 8-3 and spends 3-6 in our bed until we get up for work.
I am still in the middle of the journey with Jennifer, but with my first two I was much more hands off and tried to get him to fall asleep without nursing, sleep though the night etc., and he didn't sleep all night until around 3.5 (He weaned on is own at 18 months, but still woke up ever 3-4 hours at night anyway). With my second son I coslept much longer and nursed him past the age of 3 and he started sleeping all night at the same general age.
I am all for enjoying our babies when they are young and doing what you need to do to be the parent you want to be. If you want to work towards breaking the link between nursing and sleeping because that is important for you, then of course go ahead and work on that. If you are trying to break that association because of outside pressure, then rethink what you really want. Those years are so short and in no time they outgrow those night time cuddles. My kids are almost 12, 9, and 21 months old. Nursing my first through the night seems just like yesterday.
A lot of 8 month olds still need to be nursed to sleep. None of mine could go to sleep at that age without nursing, it's completely normal and expected to a child who is still a baby to need to nurse to sleep.
You didn't "create a bad habit" as it's normal for babies to need to nurse to sleep. If he rolls into you while you are sleeping, you are still bigger than he is and can move him back into the co-sleeper OR take him into bed to nurse and then move him into the crib after he is asleep.
I have to disagree with many here that "picking him up is confusing him." Infants view being picked up as a normal, healthy thing. How could that "confuse" a baby? He isn't 3 or 4 years old, he's 8 months!
If this were my baby (and this is what I did with all my babies) I'd let him do what he obviously needs to do: Nurse to sleep. You said, "I can't nurse him to sleep anymore." Because of the set up of the bed? Why not? Why not nurse him to sleep and THEN put him back in his bed when he is in a deep sleep? I don't understand the "can't" in your sentence here. You actually can, if you choose to.
If he didn't need to nurse to sleep..... he'd go right to sleep with no crying. Crying is a language and he's trying to tell you something. My guess it it's "I still need to be nursed to sleep."
Eventually all children sleep "all night" and stop needed to be nursed to sleep. From what I hear, it isn't a "no cry sleep solution" if the baby is crying.
I'm not trying to make you feel bad at all, I'm a Lactation Consultant and the mother of 3 High Need children. I have been through this. Yes, it can be challenging, but it's more than challenging to the child when that child is using the only voice he has and is being told, "No, I won't pick you up and won't nurse you." If he were 3 or 4 years old and could understand the need to stay in his own bed (if you felt for some reason that was a priority) then it could be explained, but.... he's 8 months old.
"As "bad" as CIO?" I don't know, I hate to use the word "bad" is accomplishes little, but if the baby is crying until he finally sleeps... well, what IS that, then?
They are only babies for such a short time. My advice would be to make the best of his baby months left and pick him up and nurse him when he cries. It's something you won't regret later. I guarantee it. My children are mostly grown (age 27, 25 and 13) and I don't regret a single minute of lost sleep I spent listening to what they needed and heeding those needs. When I did sleep, I then slept sounder... and still do.
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lifeofbridey, no one here thinks you're a "bad mother." (I only mentioned it because you asked in your first post.) Parenting is often a rough ride. I think we're trying to be honest as well as complying with the Mothering.com guidelines (which prohibit discussions on CIO and "sleep training" and for good reason: people get really defensive when they've done these things and the conversation can turn uncomfortable quickly, as you have seen.)
In my opinion, (and complying with the Mothering.com guidelines that we all agreed to when we came onto this site) perhaps your method of sleeping may need to be reviewed. I went to the site you mentioned in your first post. Frankly, it scared me. It was a Sleep Training website with plenty of stuff that is contrary to those who bedshare and very disturbing to those who do not believe in CIO. As Mothering.com does not allow discussions of CIO OR "Sleep Training" (for a lot of reasons) this will be my last post on this subject.
If the baby is crying... what else would one call it but CIO? Of course people can put different names on it, to soften the blow of it... being CIO, but if the baby cries until they either fall asleep of vomit I think the answer is clear.
You did ask for advice, I think the answers were clear and fair and mild. Many of us who have gone through similar situations have given suggestions and tried to help. No one ever said parenting, especially AP and co-sleeping would be simple or that it would follow a planned out "system" like "sleep training" stuff tries to, would be simple or easy. I think the round up of the answers are: there are other choices for you than "not being able to nurse him to sleep because we moved the bed."
I hope you have gentle nights and days with your little 8 month old boy from now on. They may not all be easy, and the best answers may not be the most convenient answers, but I think perhaps you've answered your own questions.
Here, trying to be nothing but honest and loving,
Go pick up your tiny little boy, smell his wispy baby hair and ask your heart what the right thing to do is.
Except the OP clearly states that she is with her child, soothing him, when he is crying. That is NOT CIO. Just like a child crying in the car while some comforts them isnt either. If a loving person is right there providing comfort then it is not CIO.
This post is not at all helpful and if anything only knocks a mom down even more who came here for advice and not a lecture from someone who apparently knows better.
Thank you, Sara.
I can understand why Mothering.com doesn't want this kind of discussion on the boards. What one person sees as firm but helpful information, others see as "knocking someone down" or worse.
I hope the OP can come to a solution that doesn't require crying. IMO, if they're crying until they fall asleep, or crying until someone thinks "OK, NOW I'll finally pick him up." not calling it CIO is just using rationalization and twisting semantics. Patting a baby on the back while they scream until they vomit (or even if they don't vomit) does nothing to prevent the cortisol rises, circulatory distress and other less than desirable effects of unrelenting crying. IF the child was "being soothed" the crying would have stopped.... and he didn't. Plus the post TCMoulton quoted was not directed at the OP, if you read it it was clearly directed at an other poster who was clearly endorsing "sleep training."
I won't be commenting on this thread any more.
Hi Everyone, I've removed a post that involved moderation of this thread from someone who is not a Mothering moderator. As a reminder, it is a community effort to be sure that posts and threads are in accordance with Mothering's User Agreement and forum guidelines and all of the moderators are grateful for the member's input about this. If you see a post that you believe is not within Mothering's User Agreement or forum guidelines, please flag the post to request that a moderator or administrator review; please do not post to the thread to discuss the perceived violation of the User Agreement or forum guidelines.
The User Agreement can be found here: http://www.mothering.com/community/a/user-agreement.
The forum guidelines can be found here: http://www.mothering.com/community/a/family-bed-and-nighttime-parenting-forum-guidelines.
And, now, back to the original purpose of this thread. What other suggestions do you all have for the OP?