So we are currently bedsharing (me, baby girl, husband, 120 lb mastiff, and 55 lb mutt). The most recent addition in this mess is, of course, 6-month old baby girl.
When she was tiny (like weeks instead of months) she LOVED bedtime and sleeping! Even got a 7-hour stretch out of her one time, and consistently 2-4 hours of sleep when we put her down originally at bed time. But recently (within the last two months) she will no longer sleep alone!
At the like second sign of tiredness (yawning and eye rubbing, mostly) which is anywhere from 6 to 9 pm we do our bedtime routine (lotion massage, fresh diaper, pajamas, turn off the lights, "Love you forever", and set her down). I lay her down and she immediately cries. I pray for her (literally just a few seconds while she cries at me), then I climb into the bed and nurse her to sleep in less than 20 minutes. I am usually able to roll out of the bed, but anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes later she realizes I'm not there and wakes up in (what seems like) full panic mode. She then will not relax AT ALL unless I nurse her back to sleep. Occasionally she will accept help from Husband, but usually she will continue to cry while he holds her until she falls asleep.
I know that we are doing the best we can in avoiding "CIO" by attempting to soothe, but I am trying to work from home and once she has gone to bed I try to get a couple of hours of work in so I don't fall too far behind. My big problem is that she sleeps wonderfully if an adult is present, but won't sleep at all without one of us! I understand that this is how we are designed/evolved/whatever to function, but in our modern society I really need a couple of hours baby-free in the evening. I've even tried moving her bedtime back to 9 pm when I am okay with going to bed, but she starts "cracking up" around 7 or so when I have tried. Also, it is really difficult to try to work on the computer with a baby in my lap, and she doesn't like to be worn in the wrap while I'm sitting down.
Of course, while my husband was working night shifts I was entirely in control of bedtime and I just nursed her back down every time she woke until I was ready to go to bed, but my husband doesn't think this should happen and suggests that we do "CIO" but I feel my heart breaking listening to my baby cry for any reason, even if she just needs to cry. I don't want to do "CIO" but my husband and I are a team and I cannot rightfully put my foot down on "CIO" if I don't have the information to back up my gut feelings or find a way to fix the problem without "CIO". He keeps using his neice and nephews as examples of children who are okay after doing "CIO" but they are still only children so they cannot tell you their deep emotions yet and if they are having any lasting effects from that.
Can anyone who is successful (or not) at putting their babies to bed in the family bed without adults present please share techniques or advise? I feel like I need her to go back to her newborn sleeping habits!
As for CIO, please don't give in on that one. I firmly believe both parents have the right and responsibility to make parenting decisions, but they also have a duty to be well informed before making the decisions. Added to that, biologically speaking, mom has a better understanding of what is going on in the baby than dad does. So you may need to exercise veto power. (again, this is my opinion. How you manage your relationships is obv totally up to you)
I suggest finding the information to back up your opinion on CIO, and invite your DH to do the same. (if you're basing the decision on science, you'll win)
Kellymom, and dr. sears are both useful resources. I also find Evolutionaryparenting.com very informative, they cite their sources to back up what they say about natural parenting techniques with science.
I'm hoping my DS will be ok sleeping on his own for an hour or more again soon. For now he does fine with one parent or the other.
For what it's worth, 6-12 months is a terrible time in the sleep department, it's a normal phase babies go through. It has to do with developmental milestones and teething. Expecting a 6 month old baby to sleep for an 8 hour stretch is not realistic...especially not if you're breastfeeding.
Is your partner opposed to cosleeping in general (doesn't sound like it--you've already got big dogs sleeping with you!), or just the constant waking? The only thing that would change is the location that the waking/crying occurs. Putting a baby in a room by themselves does not mean they will sleep through the night--they usual still wake up and cry, but then you are confronted with a choice--am I going to respond to my child, or ignore her? If you ignore a baby that crying, you'd be ignoring a baby that's probably legitimately hungry or in pain (teething). That's not humane in my opinion. Babies are designed to need things from us, even at night...and you're still well within the SIDS timeframe. I'd personally be scared not to respond to a baby at night...don't know how people do that!
There's lots of research that basically confirms that it's normal for babies wake up a lot, and that CIO is harmful to babies, or at the very least not particularly useful in solving sleep "problems". Since it sounds like you're wanting to improve sleep habits, you might want to check into something like Elizabeth Pantley's no cry sleep solution and see if that helps any.
And somewhere around 2 or so, kids usually grow out of a lot of these baby sleep patterns and start sleeping longer--you don't have to teach kids how to sleep through the night, they usually do it when they've reached a certain level of maturity. Sure some people have ongoing problems with older children, but it's usually a result of an actual sleep disorder or some kind of medical issue...
Know that even if it's super annoying now (and trust me, I know how annoying it is to be interrupted when you thought you were going to be getting something done, and you're confronted with the wail of a baby), babies DO sleep eventually, and you will get your evenings back to do what you like with.
Just to wrap this thread up....
Thanks so much ladies for your input! Now that my husband and I have simply accepted the fact that she single-cycle sleeps until the whole family is in bed, it is so much easier. When we were "expecting" her to sleep for a longer stretch it was frustrating to have her wake up. Now that we're expecting her to wake every 45 minutes once she's in bed until we all get there, it's almost upsetting when she goes longer!
Thank you to sageowl in particular, as your post helped me to explain to my husband that just because she's in another room doesn't mean she won't wake up. And to boot, her first teeth popped through just a couple of weeks ago, so we think this was the majority of our problem! So good to be reassured that she's waking up for real reasons.
Thank you again, ladies, for being here to support me and my family, and answer my questions in a real way, instead of responding to my woes with the standard American nonsense (i.e. CIO).