putting baby/toddler down while awake? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 03-11-2005, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Perhaps it is my fault for subscribing to the BabyCenter e-newsletter (but there is a writer whose column I like and she co-sleeps, ebf, etc.), but I keep hearing from this and other sources that "most sleep experts say" that you should put a baby or toddler down to sleep while they are still awake. Huh?

We generally nurse to sleep in our king size bed and sometimes I stay with my dd and sometimes I read or do something nearby. She does fall asleep without nursing sometimes, especially at naptimes and for other people. She wakes up a few times a night sometimes - I think when she is teething - and only once other times (which our pediatrician says is because we wake her up by sleeping with her - an issue for another thread perhaps), and we (husband, dd and I) are generally happy with our co-sleeping arrangement.

I guess I need some real-life experience from others about what this putting them down while still awake approach is and some support (or alternatives) for what we are doing. The implication from the advice of some of the "sleep experts" seems to be that my daughter won't ever learn to sleep on her own.(BTW, dd just turned one yesterday, is still nursing and doesn't have any health issues or allergies that we know of.)

Thanks.
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#2 of 21 Old 03-11-2005, 03:23 PM
 
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I hear that all the time too. I think you'd have to be willing to let them CIO afterwards though, b/c I can't think of any other way that would work!

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#3 of 21 Old 03-11-2005, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Same thought I had. Seems like the CIO routine always comes up. But advocates of this method suggest that my child won't be able to fall asleep without me. This obviously can't be true, since other people have co-slept and grown up and stopped sleeping with their parents. Still . . . maybe I'm missing something with the putting them down awake concept.

Would be nice to hear from some older, previous co-sleeping children who ended up fine, perhaps.
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#4 of 21 Old 03-11-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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Well, my father and stepmother slept with my little sister until she was two or so, and she transitioned to putting herself to sleep just fine. They did try a bit too early once, and she banged her head on the wall in her room until they came to get her : but once she was ready, she did it just fine. She's now 18 and falls asleep on her own just like every adult out there who was put to bed awake starting at 3 months and left to scream until they passed out from exhaustion.

ON a different note, when my neice was very young - maybe from about 1 to 4 months - my sister would always put her to bed awake. She never, ever, ever cried. She would just fall asleep quietly after a few minutes. However, all that "training" did absolutely no good, because at some point she decided she did not want to go to sleep alone and started screaming herself to sleep every night. Now at 16 months, she STILL cries herself to sleep every night. So what exactly is the point of putting them down awake when they're tiny? It seems to me that as soon as they're old enough to realize what's going on, you'll have to resort to CIO. JMHO
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#5 of 21 Old 03-11-2005, 06:23 PM
 
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I read somewhere that the baby is more comfortable knowing where they are going to sleep so when they wake up they are not disoriented and are more likely to self soothe back to sleep instead of fully waking. This seems to be true for my dd. She does not nurse to sleep, she is still awake when she is done eating. We then rock and sing and I put her down very drowsy and she drifts off after a few minutes. If she cries, I rock her some more and sometimes she falls asleep in arms but mostly she goes down on her own. If nursing to sleep works for you though, I don't think it makes much difference.
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#6 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 04:24 AM
 
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I did this but not with the idea that it was needed to make my children learn to go to sleep alone. I would only do it when a child was already very tired. This meant I thought there was a good chance of them falling asleep very calmly alone. Some children don't do this at all as babies. Some can.

I thought it was helpful. It meant that laying there w/o me every moment didn't feel alien and distressing. There wasn't any rule about what the results would be though I just tried it as long as it was basically relaxed and dropped it when it wasn't.

Richelle, with my fourth, she was content going to sleep alone much of the time for the first two years. Then she wasn't and we simply stopped trying to put her to bed alone. No big deal. It was nice though when it worked for her. Now she is in my bed more than she was then. She was too squirmy for me before but by some miracle that problem disappeared... so this is peaceful after all. She also sleeps with siblings the first half of the night.

I think it is bad for us to get hung up on one particular goal for sleep and then try to find ways toi make it happen that way. It makes it harder to be responsive parents. Don't put your baby down because somebody says so... I just did it because I liked to and it was okay with my dd for a while.

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#7 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 10:50 AM
 
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My two girls couldn't be more different in this respect. My oldest was the one who always nursed to sleep. And you know what? She doesn't nurse every day anymore, but she goes to sleep on her own just fine! My baby was the sort you could lay her down when she was still awake, and she'd drift off to sleep on her own without crying or fussing. Some babies are just different. There's absolutely nothing wrong with nursing a baby to sleep. It works! And it won't damage your child or create sleep dysfunction of any sort. It's really scary to me the way people use fear to enforce their beliefs and opinions on others.
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#8 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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I'm sorry! I should have been more clear. I didn't mean that it's bad to put them down awake, if that's what worked, so I'm sorry if I sounded that way. What I meant was that the reason my sister did it was because she thought it would result in a baby who always knew how to soothe herself to sleep. She didn't do it just because it "worked" - she did it expecting some sort of long term results. When she didn't get the long term payoff she had expected, she resorted to CIO. I didn't mean to imply that putting baby down awake was always a form of sleep training or that if you do so, you will eventually use CIO. (Where is that embarrassed smiley that doesn't look so shocked?)
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#9 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 12:56 PM
 
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I guess I wasn't clear either. I totally agree with you! I think it's really sad that people would do CIO because they are afraid not doing it will cause some sort of damage or sleep disorders. Babies quit nursing to sleep when they don't need to nurse to sleep anymore. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with nursing them to sleep if that's what they need, either.
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#10 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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My DS decided all on his own that he was ready to go to sleep by himself, at about 18 months. I used to rock him to sleep every night, gradually it was taking longer and longer until I finally one night put him down awake, just to see what would happen, and he crashed out no problem. After that he would ask me to put him down while I was rocking him. So that was that. He's now 2.5 and when it's time to go to bed, I just put him in his crib and he rolls over and goes to sleep. As you can see, we no longer co-sleep so maybe that had something to do with it? But he doesn't want to co-sleep, either. So maybe my DS is just a weird case. But I do think that kids will sleep on their own when they are ready, and there is no point in trying to "train" them or force the issue. Some are ready sooner than others. But, on the other hand, you never know unless you try - a kid might be ready at 2 but because he is never given a chance to do it, you don't know he's ready until he's 4! It doesn't hurt to see if it works every so often, if the child cries or is upset you can just go right back in and cuddle with them. In fact, that might actually *help* the process because it shows the child that he hasn't been abandoned in the dark, you really are still right there if he needs you! I don't see the value in making them CIO or causing anxiety in any way, it seems to me like that approach will backfire eventually.
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#11 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 08:22 PM
 
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The secret is to only read books by the "experts" that don't say this. Read Dr. Jay Gordon's book, read Dr. Sears' book. I think there's another one out there somewhere. Read those, and then you won't worry about putting baby down awake. DS will go to sleep by himself some nights, he comes and tells me he's tired and wants to go to bed. Other nights he needs to nurse to sleep. I read some of the "put them to sleep awake" theories way back in the beginning, and yes, often felt guilty for nursing him to sleep. But he's starting to want to go to sleep by himself without nursing, so I figure that I haven't caused him any harm by nursing him to sleep for so long.

After all, who's an expert on your baby anyway?

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#12 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 09:20 PM
 
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I found this very helpful, I've been reading Dr. Jay's plan for night weaning in the family bed.
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#13 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 09:29 PM
 
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I think whether or not babies can go to sleep on their own depends on the child -- my ds would NEVER do so, while his cousin could not fall asleep if anyone was touching him!

But I really don't think any of it has to do with sleep habits later on. Except that I believe that CIO ultimately leads to poor sleep habits -- but that's for another thread
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#14 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 11:16 PM
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We've done both. We had to move our son to his crib because all 3 of us were going nuts. He did cry in the beginning. But it wasn't CIO. It was crying because this is something new I don't understand. Most of the time he was fed until he fell asleep and then we put him down. A few weeks ago this just stopped working and he can pull himself up now so leaving him in the crib alone isn't reasonable because he doesn't know how to get back down yet. He came back to our bed because all of a sudden he just wouldn't go down in the crib. We switched him to a mattress on the floor in his babyproofed room and from the very first night he put himself to sleep. I sat and watched in awe ready to curl up with him and feed him but he didn't need it. He's still been spending half the night in our bed after he wakes up during the night anyway. I was really concerned he'd never be able to put himself to sleep either but he did and he's only 8 months.

I think of it this way, they say to let them learn to fall asleep on their own, not to feed them during the night and not even be in the room when the fall asleep. Well, when Lukas was sleeping in his crib he actually gave up the middle of the night bottle and slept through 10-11 hours. That's when he was 6 months old. But then comes the next growth spurt, more developmental phases that change his behavior. The last few nights I had to pick him up as he was crawling around the floor - probably still asleep! When he's older there will be a more established bed time routine with stories and talking and prayers and stuff like that. What should make the bedtime routine of a 3 year old different then a 3 month old? What do they expect? Ok, story is done, we talked at dinner now I'm going to leave you???? It's the middle of winter and I know my husband and I each drink almost a quart of water during the night, what, is Lukas not supposed to get thirsty too?

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Everyday another myth shattered another lesson learned.
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#15 of 21 Old 03-12-2005, 11:37 PM
 
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I ALWAYS nursed or bounced Ds to sleep. When he was about 1 1/2 we went to visit my SIL and we were getting ready for bed. She said it was so great that her Ds could fall asleep now without bouncing or anything (her Ds is 9 mo.older).
That night I laid down with Ds awake and bf for a minute and low and behold he passed right out w/ out getting up and bouncing . Ds #2 seems to need to be bounced for at least an hour : and held or bf to sleep, and he's still young. Still, I think they start falling asleep when they are ready, or according to their temperment. I worked for a lady who could lay her baby down and within a few min. she was fast asleep. That's okay, I still love my babies

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#16 of 21 Old 03-13-2005, 12:41 AM
 
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I never put my now toddler down awake ... when he was a baby he nursed to sleep or I rocked him to sleep and when he was a toddler I laid down with him until he fell asleep.

One day, several months ago, at the end of our bedtime routine where I usually lay down with him, he waved "bye bye" to me. I got the hint. :LOL

He co-slept from birth (for the most part ... would sometimes start out in his crib, but always ended up in my bed) and is now 28 months and happily sleeping in his own room, and going to bed totally on his own.

I believe they are only little once, and will sleep independantly when they are ready. I honestly believe co-sleeping and the security it gave my ds allowed him to be able to sleep on his own so easily. I actually wish he was still in my bed at night! (although we do still nap together)

I know my ds would not have taken well to being laid down awake, so I always did what worked for us and so far, so good. :LOL

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#17 of 21 Old 03-13-2005, 03:34 AM
 
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Richelle, please don't worry. I don't think you suggested anything negative. We're just talking about ideas. It's interesting.


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#18 of 21 Old 03-13-2005, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This has been a helpful discussion for me and thanks for all the feedback so far. It makes a lot of sense to me that each baby may have a different way to go to sleep and to grow into each stage. I like the idea that some mothers occasionally try other things to see if the sleep routine is still on the right track. Nice to hear that your babies have also let you know when they were ready. (Like waving, bye bye - very cute.) We are happily nursing to sleep most of the time and it feels right. Need to trust my instincts, I guess.

It is also good to hear that babies do grow out of - or into - many things on their own. The whole training concept always seemed strange to me. At one point in my life I was a biologist and that part of me always wondered why nature would leave such things as teaching sleep up to me as a parent. (Not sure I am that reliable! )

So far as a parent, it feels like the best thing I can do is to learn when to stay out of my daughter's way developmentally, while I stay always with her in support. I also get the impression, though, that this is not what many other people in our society think and that makes is harder to do. Glad you all are around for sharing.
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#19 of 21 Old 03-13-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleMom
So far as a parent, it feels like the best thing I can do is to learn when to stay out of my daughter's way developmentally, while I stay always with her in support. I also get the impression, though, that this is not what many other people in our society think and that makes is harder to do. Glad you all are around for sharing.
That has been my experience as a parent (so far)... Things go much smoother for everyone in the family when I follow my child's lead instead of trying to get her to change in any way, or to push her into anything she isn't ready to do on her own. I think it's a sad reflection on our society that so many people think parents should be in total control of every situation, and have unrealistic expectations of small children. Every time I have heard some expert say something, and start doubting myself as a parent, or expect too much from my child(ren), it sets us up for failure, power struggles, and major problems when really the only real problem was my perception that there was a problem in the first place.
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#20 of 21 Old 03-13-2005, 11:51 PM
 
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I was about to post a new thread (guess i still might) relating to this subject, but I've already learned a lot reading this thread (don't know what I would do without MDC). My question/story is as follows:
"Are any of you nursing mommas (or dp/dh) able to put dc (back) to sleep without nursing? I'm starting to feel chronically tired from waking up so often to nurse him back to sleep (even tho I do fall back asleep quickly), and frustrated about having to always be the one to put him to sleep. Episodically dh has been able to put him to sleep, but it would always require a lot of effort (spinning around the room til he's soaked in sweat..) I've tried some NCSS suggestions, but in the book it seems the kid will just magically not cry when you put it down awake, well, mine does, even when he's almost asleep.
Dh and I discussed it today, thinking of solutions, but we figure if nursing is just incompatible with a child falling asleep on their own, then there is no need to torture ourselves and dc trying to change things, and then I'll live with the way things are now.."
It seems that most of you feel the best thing is to go along with the child and follow their lead, and I do think that's the best way, and it's what we've done up until now, but I'm sooo tired, and can't nap with dc b/o full time job. I don't want to nightwean (since obviously that's when we do most of the nursing), but if we could reduce it a bit I would feel so much better. Any suggestions for a workable middle ground?

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#21 of 21 Old 03-14-2005, 12:02 AM
 
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Our DD is 25 months, and in the past 6 months we've decided it is time for her to learn to fall asleep on her own. Prior to that we either nursed her and/or rocked her to sleep.

At this age, we can EXPLAIN to her that it is time to lay down, mommy is right beside you, etc. But she is actually falling asleep without our assistance. Our presence, yes, but not our assistance.

We blame ourselves for 'having' to teach her this at 2 years old.....although that is still so young! But looking back, had we tried to lay her down drowsy sooner, yes, CIO would have been an issue.

We will definately try to lay a second child down drowsy and not nurse to sleep, but depending upon the child, it may or may not work!
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