Creating a "monster" by co-sleeping?! - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-20-2005, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello!

I was at a holiday party on Friday and the subject came up about our DD who is 4 1/2 months old and is she "sleeping through the night" yet...and how their granddaugher used the CIO method and now she sleeps 12 hours. I told them we nurse, co-sleep, etc...because it works for us etc. The whole table chimed in on how we were creating bad habits, creating a monster of a kid, and not helping her to self soothe or become independent, etc. I tried to keep things real simple without sounding too defensive, but I came home a bit upset!!! Never mind that we also discussed why I'm continuing BF when I should just switch to formula and start solids now that I'll be back to work in a month...etc!!!

Anyway, just looking for some positive feedback on co-sleeping...why do you do it (it works, I know!!), do you feel you are creating bad sleeping habits later for your DC, what age did your DC sleep in a crib on their own, etc.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!!
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:34 AM
 
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bad habits? Hmmmm, if feeling confident, secure and loved at night is bad habits then I guess I am. Personally, when people say things like that to me, I just smile and say 'well, I guess it's a good thing I'm raising him then' and leave it at that... if they have a problem with how I raise my child, then that's their problem, not mine. They are welcome to not be a part of his life if they don't like my 'monster'.... I love co-sleeping with my almost 27 month old son... He'll be in my bed until he's ready to leave it. He does sometimes sleep in a toddler bed next to our bed but he's welcome to come in our bed whenever he wants. After 2 years of this, my family has quit saying much of anything about how I raise my son... they see he's a happy, confident, loving child so they've conceeded that my ways ARE working. My only advice is to let comments like that roll off your shoulders. Everyone always has some oppinion that made them into a better parent... but you know what works for you, don't let anyone discourage you.

I know I don't like sleeping in a cold, lonely bed... why would my son want to either? My family belongs at my side, day and night.

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Old 12-20-2005, 11:36 AM
 
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I love waking up next to my smiling litle milk mustached MONSTER!

Really though, just because someone decided to experiment with this wooden thing with bars doesn't mean all babies belong there. I like sleeping next to a warm body and i'm a grown person. Why wouldn't my little ones like being next to one too?

Formula has a very important purpose. To feed babies that for whatever reason cannot be fed human milk. Cow milk for baby cows human milk for human babies, right?
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Old 12-20-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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You are doing a great job! Some people can be incredibly rude. : Remember: most members of the anti-co-sleeping crowd haven't experienced the beauty, wonder, comfort, and joy of nurturing a little one throughout the night. They are really missing out on something special! Try to shut out the negative comments which come from those who are less informed. The result of your parenting (a happy, confident, emotionally secure, attached child) will eventually speak for itself.

Also, it is ridiculous to expect a 4 1/2 month old baby to sleep through the night. Why do people even ask such a question? Some babies do sleep through from an early age, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
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Old 12-20-2005, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah
bad habits? Hmmmm, if feeling confident, secure and loved at night is bad habits then I guess I am. Personally, when people say things like that to me, I just smile and say 'well, I guess it's a good thing I'm raising him then' and leave it at that... if they have a problem with how I raise my child, then that's their problem, not mine. They are welcome to not be a part of his life if they don't like my 'monster'.... I love co-sleeping with my almost 27 month old son... He'll be in my bed until he's ready to leave it. He does sometimes sleep in a toddler bed next to our bed but he's welcome to come in our bed whenever he wants. After 2 years of this, my family has quit saying much of anything about how I raise my son... they see he's a happy, confident, loving child so they've conceeded that my ways ARE working. My only advice is to let comments like that roll off your shoulders. Everyone always has some oppinion that made them into a better parent... but you know what works for you, don't let anyone discourage you.

I know I don't like sleeping in a cold, lonely bed... why would my son want to either? My family belongs at my side, day and night.

Your my hero! I'll be using several of these lines during this "Oh-So-Festive" season with my inlaws and my own mother (sadly enough)too!!! Hope you don't mind! LOL
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Old 12-20-2005, 05:43 PM
 
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So I guess the vast majority of children throughout history have been monsters, eh?

I have to admit I don't understand why such a high priority is put on self-soothing. To me, part of being human is the joy of connection between people and the fact that when I am sad or tired or need soothing for any reason, that I can go to a loved one for that. When people act like they are so proud of their ability to deny their emotional need and stand as an island alone, I just feel sorry for them. I just don't get how it's a good thing.

As for the theory that children will not become independant unless forced to, well that is a total and utter bunch of crap. Recently at my husband's work party I held my 15-month-old for the first hour or so, she ducking her head into my shoulder and refusing to engage with anybody, which was fine with me (easier to keep an eye on her!) She gradually became comfortable with the scene, and pretty soon was acting like she owned the place and charming everybody. A monster? I am happy to say that my husband's co-workers would disagree. We got SO many compliments on our kids, and over and over people told us that we must be doing something right. In fact, his boss's wife was so taken with the kids that she offered several times to babysit. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

But really, there are so many factors that go into determining how confident a person turns out to be in being out in the world, and I think that where a baby sleeps probably isn't going to make or break that. But what AP does make a difference in is what kind of person that child becomes emotionally, what kind of relationships they seek out, and how they conduct themselves in those relationships. To me it's good thing for people to be interconnected and have emotional attachments. I want to do what I can to make our life together first and foremost about love. If the critics don't like it, what should I care?
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Old 12-20-2005, 06:03 PM
 
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I forgot to answer your questions --

We co-sleep because it makes us feel good! I just wrote a blog post on this, so I'm not going to repeat it all here, but feel free to go to my blog and read it.

Does it create bad sleeping habits? Well, that depends on what you regard as bad sleeping habits. If you don't like it, I guess it's a "bad" habit. If you like it, it's not. We don't have any bad habits here, because we like what we're doing. We like lying down with each other at bedtime and snuggling and talking and singing each other to sleep. We like feeling each other near in the night and the warmth of each other's bodies. The baby and I like the ease and intimacy of nursing in bed. We like that the kids (aside from the nursing baby) sleep soundly and through the night.

Let's see, ages... my boys slept in the same bed with me through my third pregnancy, so they would have been 2 and 4. When the baby was born, they then alternated nights sleeping beside me. When I became pregnant with our fourth, both boys (then ages 5 and 7) went full-time to their own beds, although still in the same room with me. My 4-year-old daughter still sleeps with me and the baby, though she's been talking about moving to her own bed, so maybe that will happen soon.
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:18 AM
 
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I remember being SO HAPPY when people finally stopped asking me if my twins were sleeping through the night!!!

People treat you like some loser parent if you can't "make" your kid sleep. Personally, I think a lot of people who do CIO feel pretty guilty about it and that's why they attack co-sleeping and AP style nightime parenting. (And CIO is no guarantee anyway.)

You're doing great. If everyone is happy with what you're doing, why change it?

Mine are now 2 years old and when they have questions about their playmates' cribs or big kid beds, and I explain that their friends sleep all by themselves in bed, they look at me like I'm crazy. (Like, "WHO on earth would want to do that??!") It's pretty funny.
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Old 12-21-2005, 02:16 PM
 
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I was extremely blessed in that all 4 of my babies slept through the night by the time they were 2 weeks old...but ONLY when they were in bed with me!!

As for whether co-sleepers grow up to be monsters, the proof is, indeed, in the pudding, as someone else said. My two eldest boys are 13 and 12 (next month) and I repeatedly get compliments on how wonderful my children are!!

The question I have, though, is how old is "too old" to co-sleep? All three of the boys were "over it" by the time they were about 3 1/2, but my daughter turned 5 on Sunday, and she has no interest at all in sleeping anywhere but in the "big bed" with Mumma. It's a King, so I really don't mind sharing, but I am wondering if I should be encouraging her to sleep in her bed, or just let her decide that for herself? (I'm really more inclined toward the latter option, despite the fact that my was-band and his new wife insisted that my daughter sleep alone during her visitation with them this summer, owing to the fact that she "needs to learn to sleep alone." : Funny, though, that THEY don't sleep alone..... )

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Old 12-21-2005, 02:41 PM
 
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I've found that if I know a situation is going to turn into a "here is how you fix that" type of deal its easier to lie.

When someone asks the sleeping through the night question just say "Yup, everything is great. Sleeping straight through. Thanks for asking." What are they going to do? Come to your house and check?

Or if you don't like flat out lying just say "Oh, she sleeps like a baby" with a happy look on your face like thats a good thing. Because really, waking up every two hours IS sleeping like a baby!

As far as co-sleeping creatng a monster...I can't see it. I think it makes secure kids who know that Mom and Dad want to look after them all the time not just when it doens't cut into something they want to do (like sleep for 10 hours). My sister did cry it out and her three year old doesn't sleep any more or better than my three year old who slept with us (and still does sometimes). And we have the added bonus that we didn't have to listen to hours of crying.

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Old 12-21-2005, 02:53 PM
 
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RE: Co-sleeping age limit

I think your daughter will know when its time for her to move to her own bed (but I think you already knew that too). Just give her the choice and make sure that her bed is a comfy happy place.

As for kids needing to learn things like independance...how is she learning anything if you (or the x) are forcing her to do it? She might be learning but its not that she should sleep alone its that Dad doesn't care how she feels.

As for the situation at the Dad's place...unless he is willing to hear you out there is probably not a whole lot you can do about that. And its sad to say but this is how she will learn where she stands with Dad. Its their relationship and as much as you would like it to be a certain way you don't really get a say. I wonder how much it has to do with dd needing to "learn to sleep alone" and how much it has to do with new wife "wanting to be alone."

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Old 12-21-2005, 04:24 PM
 
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You're preventing a monster, not creating one.
http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/faq.html#effects

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 12-21-2005, 04:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morning glory
RE: Co-sleeping age limit

I think your daughter will know when its time for her to move to her own bed (but I think you already knew that too). Just give her the choice and make sure that her bed is a comfy happy place.

As for kids needing to learn things like independance...how is she learning anything if you (or the x) are forcing her to do it? She might be learning but its not that she should sleep alone its that Dad doesn't care how she feels.

As for the situation at the Dad's place...unless he is willing to hear you out there is probably not a whole lot you can do about that. And its sad to say but this is how she will learn where she stands with Dad. Its their relationship and as much as you would like it to be a certain way you don't really get a say. I wonder how much it has to do with dd needing to "learn to sleep alone" and how much it has to do with new wife "wanting to be alone." Casey

Well honestly, as a step-mother, I don't think that's unreasonable for the new wife to expect. I absolutely adore co-sleeping with my son, however... I would not feel comfortable doing so with my step-children... especially if DH's ex is somewhat bitter, then there's the potential of being accused of things when co sleeping. Not saying OP would do that at all but as a step-mother, I know that we also have to protect ourselves sometimes. And if she doesn't have children, she may not be comfortable with the whole sleeping with a child issue. I know before I had my own child, I could never understand why someone would want to sleep with their children... of course, now I know better but sleeping with someone else's child is not quite the same as it is when it's your own.

I also have to say if, god forbid, something were to happen and DH and I were to get a divoce and he was to get remarried, I don't think I would be comfortable with my son sleeping in the same bed as the new wife unless I knew her really well and trusted her. Then again, I can't imagine having to send my baby away from home either so the thought scares me.... but personally, I think I would teach her to sleep on her own allbeit just for the summer.

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Old 12-21-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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We co-sleep with our 2.5 year old twins and we will with our new baby, whenever s/he arrives. DD's are showing some signs that they may soon be ready to sleep in their own bed, but we're not quite there yet. I predict that they will probably be sharing a bed in their own room sometime in the next year. As far as dependence/independence goes, I've found that my dd's are very independent. In fact, they are more independent than almost all of our friends children that slept in cribs. I really think that they are able to separate more easily from dh and I and explore their worlds independently because they know that we are always there for them when they need us.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your thoughtful replies. I'm going to keep this thread "saved" for the times I need some encouragement! It was cute this morning....DD slept "later" than usual....went into the bedroom to get some clean clothes, and she was just laying there in our bed, looking at her hands, and saw me, and smiled. She looked like a big kid and so content!!! I didn't even hear her on the monitor!!! I'll try to remember these moments, also! Happy co-sleeping!!
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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my 7.5 yo told me the other night that he never has liked sleeping alone and never will....it made me sad b/c i am trying to get him to see some benefit....not that i would like it either.
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:14 PM
 
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Creating a monster? Well, maybe, but a very cute and cuddly monster! If you count Elmo, then I had two monsters in bed with me last night.

People constantly tell me how polite, sensitive, and well behaved my children are. DS' preschool teacher's assistant (she's been his TA for the last 2 years) absolutely adores him- he's just so cuddly and lovable!

I've seen toddlers and preschoolers who go to their "loveys" for comfort and don't want to be touched when they're upset. Babies who won't let their mothers "baby" them! I'm very glad that my 4yo is so snuggly, even though the closeness is overwhelming at times.

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Old 12-21-2005, 11:07 PM
 
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"It's a King, so I really don't mind sharing, but I am wondering if I should be encouraging her to sleep in her bed, or just let her decide that for herself?"

What am I wondering is, what made you think to ask that question in the first place? Do you have specific concerns about her sleeping with you?
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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In what universe does ignoring somebody who is crying for you make them independent. It would make me bitter and insecure. What makes me feel independent is feeling nurtured and listened to.

ps-you're not alone about the family problems. Everytime my MIL visits she says "so would you like my help setting up DS's own room"

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Old 12-23-2005, 02:02 AM
 
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: Tell them all to bugger off!

I am starting to lose my patience with comments/ questions like that lately.

I usually say something like --

Isn't it sad that in our society when a person says their cat/ dog sleeps in bed with them and their baby is in a cage (crib) down the hall... they are accepted as normal. But when the animals are on the floor and the baby in snuggled in mom & dad's bed that is seen as bad?

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Old 12-23-2005, 12:36 PM
 
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thats just rediculious...I love my monster.

I co sleep because I want to..and I can...why should I have my lil baby in another room far from the safety, and comforts of me. or in a thing with bars so when she looks out she gets a distorted view of me ...Maybe I look like a monster to her from in there...
I also rock my dd2 to sleep , even at nap time..she doesnt need anyone to teach her how to sleep. that is the most rediculous thing I have heard.

My 9 yr old has no problem going to sleep in her own room. she slept with me till she was almost 5. This child is far from being a monster.

They are just jealous...
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Old 12-23-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abylite
Hello!

I was at a holiday party on Friday and the subject came up about our DD who is 4 1/2 months old and is she "sleeping through the night" yet...and how their granddaugher used the CIO method and now she sleeps 12 hours. I told them we nurse, co-sleep, etc...because it works for us etc. The whole table chimed in on how we were creating bad habits, creating a monster of a kid, and not helping her to self soothe or become independent, etc. I tried to keep things real simple without sounding too defensive, but I came home a bit upset!!! Never mind that we also discussed why I'm continuing BF when I should just switch to formula and start solids now that I'll be back to work in a month...etc!!!

Anyway, just looking for some positive feedback on co-sleeping...why do you do it (it works, I know!!), do you feel you are creating bad sleeping habits later for your DC, what age did your DC sleep in a crib on their own, etc.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!!
I'm sure your company would be horrified to know that I still sleep with my dd, who just turned five. We bought her her very own futon, which she sleeps in from time to time, but at least for now, she likes snuggling with Mom (that's me).

I can say this definitively: co-sleeping is one of the best things we decided to do (some of the other really good decisions: extended breastfeeding, sling-wearing -- we still sling her -- and homeschooling). I can't tell you how many times in the night she's turned over and had the beginnings of a bad dream and I've been able to soothe it away, how many times I'm glad for this time to snuggle together. What people don't somehow seem to realize is that some day their kids will be gone. Period. Their much-vaunted "independence" will take them away from home and that's it. Childhood isn't something like a book that you can go back to and re-read. Once they're grown, those opportunities for snuggling with them don't come back any more. I don't know -- I'm almost 40 and if it gives me any wisdom (HA!) or perspective (HA!), at least I know that time passes.

Do what your heart says.
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Old 12-23-2005, 02:36 PM
 
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I feel your pain sister!

DH and I may be the only people I know trying to get their toddlers INTO their bed, not out. Both our kids are adopted and before they came home I had visions of all of us sleeping in a big bed together like the perfect family I imagined we'd be. HA! It took us almost 9 months to get ds to sleep with us. It really freaked him out at first. He LOVED his crib and his privacy. He looked like he was thinking "Who ARE you people and why are we in bed together?" Now that he is almost 2 he has moved himself in and we are all finally getting some sleep. DD has always slept through the night. She sleeps with us when we are travelling, but gets really sad at home because her brother kicks her so much and she really likes her sleep. i'm hoping Santa brings me a kin size bed so we can all fit comfortably.

Here is what I have noticed. On days when DS has NOT slept with us he is irritable, insecure and fussy. On days when he has, he is sweet, loving and happy. I try to snuggle dd as much as possible to make up for the lack of nightime bed sharing. That makes a HUGE difference in her days too.

People are CONSTANTLY telling me that if we let them sleep with us it will ruin my relationship with dh and the kids will never sleep alone. Honestly, I find it very hard to imagine my kids at 16 and 17 wanting to sleep between their parents. And as far as my relationship with dh, the bed has NEVER been our preferred spot for.....let's just call it "relations."

Keep on keeping on. Do what works for you and, as someone else already said, tell them all to "bugger off!"
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Old 12-25-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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My little brother never slept in a crib on his own. By the time he was ready to leave the family bed, he was much too old for a crib.

He, by the way, was an immensely independent child and now as an adult has no problems falling asleep on his own.
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boatbaby
Isn't it sad that in our society when a person says their cat/ dog sleeps in bed with them and their baby is in a cage (crib) down the hall... they are accepted as normal. But when the animals are on the floor and the baby in snuggled in mom & dad's bed that is seen as bad?

I hadn't ever thought of it from this perspective. It makes me feel much better about my choice.

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Old 01-10-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
"It's a King, so I really don't mind sharing, but I am wondering if I should be encouraging her to sleep in her bed, or just let her decide that for herself?"

What am I wondering is, what made you think to ask that question in the first place? Do you have specific concerns about her sleeping with you?
I guess I was just second-guessing myself. Hearing someone else say "she needs to learn to sleep by herself" made me wonder whether it was true.

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Old 01-10-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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I just don't tell people where dd sleeps. My mil (who I can't stand) is coming to stay with us in a few weeks and we have decided to lie and tell her we brought dd in to our room so she can have the second room all to herself.

I adore my dd and I think she has an amazing personality. She is so loving and happy, to heck with those who want to rain on our parade. I have tons of friends who did the cry it out method, and they seem to be constantly justifying what they did. I agree with a pp that sleep isn't a make or break deal. There are tons of kids whose parents did make them cio who are great kids. For me, I chose to follow an ap-style parenting method because it just sits right with me. I don't want to look back on my dd's childhood and feel like it was frought with heartbreaking parenting decisions that in the end werent' necessary.

I say stick with your gut, you know best.

j
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Old 01-12-2006, 04:29 AM
 
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I tend to say "He sleeps fine" when people ask about sleeping arrangements and leave it at that. We have a crib in our bedroom -- mostly he sits in it while I get dressed.
But the presence of the crib tends to block some of the questions.
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:12 AM
 
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I just have to tell you that I have co-slept for 8 years and my 8 year old, 5 year old and 2.5 year old are three of the most independent and happy children I have ever met (of course I think that cause I am their mother, but lots of people comment to me on how independent they are.) But really, I always feels so good when I see how confident and comfortable my kids are in the world and I honestly attribute much of that to co-sleeping - I am 3 for 3. No separation issues, no clinginess.

I have no regrets and 2 kids still sleeping in my bed. I know this time will end before I know it, so I savor every single minute (even the sleepless nights, endless nursing, getting kicked in the head................).
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Old 01-15-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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My oldest "Monster" wakes up every morning, and wants to "nuggle" with her mommy and baby sister. Scary.
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