I Know This is Wrong...but WHY?? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:00 AM
 
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You know, when I read this, what I read between the lines is -- you're tired, tired of spending so much time in bed nursing your baby back to sleep, tired of long bedtime routines, etc., and are often overwhelmed by other things you need/want to do. If this is the case, I've been there, and I am sure you are frustrated at times, even though you enjoy your child, enjoy nursing, don't want to see your baby cry, and so on.

The last feedings that my son had were the middle-of-the-night ones.

That being said, there is just something special about this whole time.

So try to get support for yourself and keep yourself happy and well-rested and not overwhelmed.

IMO (in agreement with a previous poster) this is what makes the small nuclear family deal very hard for me, at least; so many responsibilities for house/kids falling on one mama. Sometimes there just needs to be more hands helping out! So try to find someone to help you, however you can. Even if it's just encouraging you.


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Originally Posted by AppleCrisp View Post
I won't mention the dreaded "F" word, but it seems plausible to me that if a baby nurses to sleep every night, they won't know how to get back to sleep without it. How does any AP parent make peace with this? I want to nurse him to sleep, and nurse him back to sleep, but I worry that I am doing harm.

I know all babies sleep differently, but I don't think its normal or healthy that my 14 month old has only ever slept for a grand total of 2 hours by himself, ever, without me needing to come in and put him back to sleep. I don't think its normal that it takes me upwards of 60-90 minutes every night just to get him asleep. I feel guilty, and sad, because I know he's only doing what he knows how to do, so I must have somehow screwed up. All the articles I read are about infants - its ok for infants not to sleep all night, but no one ever addresses toddlers, who don't need night-time feedings, and night-time wakings.

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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i had a horrid sleeper. it does end. it does, it does. hang onto that one phrase that makes you want to deck the person that says it: THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

~~~
i'm not even sure when it all ended, but i can assure you it wasn't 14 months. it was more like around age 3 or so. AND it was gradual, or i'd remember when it ended!
anyway he's 6 now and you'd *never* know he had sleep issues. he sleeps solidly through from the time he goes down, till morning. unless he has to pee, or is squirmy for some reason. he's so out of it that if i don't get him up, in his first hour asleep, to pee, he wets the bed. he talks in his sleep at 11ish every night, for a second or two. he's pretty regular.
and i am SO GRATEFUL.

i'm grateful that for whatever reason he needed, i was there for him when he was little.

don't worry, mama!!! it WILL end. i promise. and you are doing a fantastic job.

i'm sorry your DH isn't on board with you. would he be willing to sleep separately for awhile? if you are committed to parenting your ds to sleep, maybe it can be just on you. i did it. it was hard, but it's doable. oh, and it's still OK (here's permission, in case you need it ) to "sleep when the baby sleeps". that's one thing i did, make sleep a priority, and i still do. i'm always the rested mama maybe one day i will not need 9 hours a night! i got it in fits and starts when my ds was little. now i get it all in a row. woohoo!

hang in there, mama. you're doing just fine.

pamela

I SO agree with these parts of your post. Your whole post was awesome but these things- I could have written them. I am single also, & Joe was about three-ish when his sleep needs became less...
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:34 AM
 
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i had a horrid sleeper. it does end. it does, it does. hang onto that one phrase that makes you want to deck the person that says it: THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
and i am SO GRATEFUL.

i'm grateful that for whatever reason he needed, i was there for him when he was little.

pamela
Wow. Super kudos to you, woman! I have no idea how people go at it alone and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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Ferber is full of it. That's just all there is to it.

Look at it from a biological standpoint. Gorillas don't leave their babies alone so they can learn to put themselves back to sleep. It just happens when they're ready for it to happen.

-Angela
I sincerely don't mean to get argumentative but I just felt that I had to respond to this comment. I don't really understand comparing us to gorillas (or any other animals for that matter). For example, male gorillas often commit infanticide and is that also comparable? So I'm not sure why we should be taking our parenting cues from them. :
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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my first son was never a "great" sleeper, but my second is, by our society's definition of good sleeping, positively horrific. at thirteen months, he naps on me in a sling or mei tai 95% of the time, nurses to sleep at night, and nurses throughout the night. some nights ne nurses every 45 min, others every couple of hours.

in all honesty there is almost nothing i could do--if he woke and wanted to nurse and i tried holding him instead, it was WWIII in the bed--he worked himself up into a hysterical state in a matter of seconds. and then, even when i did nurse him (because of course i always ended up doing that anyway!), it would take him 30-60 minutes to calm down enough to go back to sleep. but if i just nurse him immediately, he pulls off after just a minute or two and rolls over and goes back to sleep.

what i'm trying to say is, when i fought it, and tried to make him do something he wasn't ready to do, it was just awful. but when i changed my outlook, when i remembered that it's easier for me to change my POV than for a baby to change what he is hardwired to do...i became a lot happier. of course there were and are nights when i get frustrated and sad about it, but i really try hard to remember that for whatever reason(s) quinn needs me at night, a lot. depriving him of what he needs is not in his best interest.

in my experience, it most definitely is normal for a 14 month old to wake every 2 hours to nurse. my first did, and obviously my second does. i hear you...i hope my post didn't come across as obnoxious or anything. it's just...i can't change him, so i have to change myself.

hang in there.

mostly WAHM, sometimes WOHM to my : two boys.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:18 AM
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We have had some times lately, with the weather getting warmer, when we didn't give the girls enough water through the day, and they'd wake up a lot to nurse, and finally in frustration we'd offer some water, and then they'd go back to sleep for 4-5 hours. I'm not saying that your baby needs water (teething and growing pains sound more plausible), but i do think that sometimes there are really easy-to-ignore solutions right under my nose, and i miss them b/c i'm so tired. The few times that we "magically" got our girls back to sleep with just a big glass of water, I was struggling and struggling with nursing , and then DH came in with the water and all was well. It's just kind of funny.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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I really do think that a good night's sleep is much more valuable than almost any other condition described in this situation. Your present situation seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lovemy3babies View Post
I am very proud that all my kids sleep through the night. <snip>

And no, it is NOT normal for a 14 month old to not sleep for more then 2 hours.
Yep, spoken like the mother of easy sleepers. Self righteous is right. I can't stand it when mothers speak up about how BRILLIANT their sleep plan was, when in reality they are just blessed with an easy going child. As you bask in your own glory, stop for a minute to think about those of use with high needs children and realize that if we were to do what you are so "proud" of, it would most definitely escalate to CIO. Very quickly, I might add!

What an insensitive post.

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I sincerely don't mean to get argumentative but I just felt that I had to respond to this comment. I don't really understand comparing us to gorillas (or any other animals for that matter). For example, male gorillas often commit infanticide and is that also comparable? So I'm not sure why we should be taking our parenting cues from them. :
Being that humans are also mammals, I think it is interesting to note that we are also the ONLY ones who force our suckling young to sleep alone. There is not another single lactating mammal on the planet who expects their young to sleep alone. It is a survival instinct, and the advent of walls and baby monitors and pad locks doesn't deviate from the fact that human babies still have this ingrained biological desire to sleep with their mothers out of survival. It is impossible to explain to an infant that they won't be carried off by hyenas, or that they won't freeze to death in their sleep. I don't understand the need this cultures places on having infants be independent. I really don't.

Bad sleepers are not made, they are born.

As for the OP, it sounds like teeth. I have SO been where you are (search my posts in this forum and you'll see the months and months of struggles). And right now she has 2 more teeth coming in, and as I type this she is asleep at my side with my nipple in her mouth.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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Another thing I would like to point out is that around that age (between 12ish and 18/20 months), many kids are to the point where they may not be nursing at night so much for hunger/thirst as for comfort due to other reasons. Both of mine got their molars and eye teeth during that time, and woke a lot due to teething pain, nursing seemed to help a lot. Also, many kids are learning to walk, run, talk a lot more, use utensils, etc. so lots of developmental changes going on that could wake them too. Both of mine seem to be settling into sleeping all or most of the night at around 20/21 months. DD is sleeping all night about 1/2 the time now (she has all teeth but the 2 year molars), and it really seems to depend on how well she at her dinner the night before...if she picked at her food, she wakes at 2ish to nurse, otherwise, she goes right back to sleep on her own. So my take is, give it about 6 months, and I bet your child will be waking only once or twice vs. every 2 hours!
This helped me a lot! My DD2 is 17 months old and nursing every 2 hours most nights. I was about ready to start nightweaning because I can't hardly sleep through it anymore. BUT That would take away my tool! If she wouldn't go ahead and sleep then I would be up walking/rocking her instead of cuddled in bed with her. lol Forget that plan! I'm not taking away her comfort not that she needs it so much.

Leigh

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Old 05-25-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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Just want to put my 2c in here - You know what happens when you don't nurse your kids to sleep? They wake up and ask for their bottle instead. Seirously some kids just aren't easy sleepers no matter if they co-sleep, sleep alone, nurse to sleep, don't nurse to sleep, whatever. It's just the kid's personality. DS1 was non-cosleeping toddler who would wake up in the middle of the night to play, it had nothing to do with co-sleeping and thus engeneering (sp?) his need to get up and play. (BTW he's 3 years old and has slept through the night for probably the last year, so it really was a phase.) DS2 is a co-sleeping toddler now, he wakes up a few times and nurses back to sleep very EASILY and never fully wakes. Really if you ask me it's all about the kids' personalities.

Single mom of 2 boys
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:27 PM
 
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I'd have to agree with you on this. I don't think it's normal that your child needs to be nursed/comforted back to sleep at 14 mnths. I read a statistic once and can't quote it verbatim, but it said something to the effect that about 90% of babies sleep through the night by 12 mos. Even if I'm off by a few percentage points, I've got the gist of that correct.
Mine needs to be, and it is normal. What's not normal is sleep-training and night-time abandonmentC (CIO). Even if "everyone else is doing it."
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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I'd have to agree with you on this. I don't think it's normal that your child needs to be nursed/comforted back to sleep at 14 mnths. I read a statistic once and can't quote it verbatim, but it said something to the effect that about 90% of babies sleep through the night by 12 mos. Even if I'm off by a few percentage points, I've got the gist of that correct. BUT, who really cares what's normal or not? If the situation is not working for you and your child, I'd try to remedy it.

I wonder about this sort of thing a lot lately. I have a 2 1/2 yr old who has always been a champ of a sleeper, sleeping through the night by 2 mos. and now I have a 2 mo old who doesn't. I'm doing all the same stuff with both, but both kids are reacting to my parenting differently. So, I'm a case in point that all kids are different, and therefore, there's no one answer for all.

In fact, I'd be very curious to see if anyone has polled the AP parents on this site to see how many babies sleep through the night when they co-sleep and how many don't. My guess is (to use an analogy), if there is chocolate cake available everytime a baby wakes up, the baby will continue to wake up.
I've read the complete opposite. It is not biologically normal at that age.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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Old 05-25-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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I just don't find it very supportive to tell mamas who are really really struggling with sleep deprivation to the point that they are depressed, unable to give their other children the attention they need, etc (all of which I've seen posted in this folder again and again) that they just have to tough it out until the child is 3 or 4 or whenever. I don't understand why mama's need for sleep gets disregarded.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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Ds goes to bed with me, because I will be all night getting him down anyway. I'm proud of myself every night, because I made it through the day doing the right thing by baby even when it was hard, or actually impossible. I have gotten a lot of support on these forums that has given me the juice to get through it one.more.time. I don't have solutions for you mama, because I am often there and I am not sure there any other than time. What I do have is confidence that we can all do it, as so many generations before us have.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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I just don't find it very supportive to tell mamas who are really really struggling with sleep deprivation to the point that they are depressed, unable to give their other children the attention they need, etc (all of which I've seen posted in this folder again and again) that they just have to tough it out until the child is 3 or 4 or whenever. I don't understand why mama's need for sleep gets disregarded.
I don't disagree with you (how's that for a double negative ) Mama Needs Sleep is a fact of life, as is If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy.

I try to be about what is going to work (so everyone can sleep) and work as gently as possible for Baby, mama and all other parties involved. After all, what's gentle for mom is going to be gentle for her baby and vice versa.

'Tough it out' as you put it is sometimes the path of least resistance I think. In my situation it was; we went through several horrible sleep deprived months of new-toddlerhood and teething and essentially rolled with the punches to get through it. It got ugly some nights and some days, but for me and my daughter what ended up working was time, naps, teething pain relief, coffee, complaining to everyone who would listen, some tears shed by both of us and self-forgiveness on my part for the nights I fell short of my ideal.

The situation that AppleCrisp describes sounds close enough to what we went through that I feel comfortable commenting on my experience. I'm not naive, though, and there are certainly parents here that have experiences where other solutions were needed. The first thing to go when I'm tired is perspective, so I think support in the form of "I've been there, it's gets better, hang on" can be helpful to the sleep-deprived. For me, it was also a huge relief to hear from people who had successfully waited-it-out that I didn't *have* to do anything, at least not yet, I could go with whatever got us through the night and have hope that I wasn't ruining my DD's chances for sleep forever.

I also don't see the 'tough it out/wait it out/give it time' approach as a maternal merit badge or anything. If something -- nightweaning, moving Baby to his own bed, Dad night-time parenting -- works, by all means go with it. I just hate to see situations where solutions are applied driven by lack of support, peer pressure or guilt, and the cure turns out to be worse than the disease.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow - SO MUCH good advice! Truly, thank you.

The mattress on the floor actually wasn't too bad last night. I read the Jay Gordon article, and after 11 p.m., the all-night boob snack shack was closed. I felt comfortable enough to lay down and let him crawl around and by golly, he did cry a little, but he eventually fall asleep on the mattress with me, all by himself. He woke up twice more and cried, but I was able to get him back to sleep without nursing. He then fell deeply asleep for most of the early morning. I was able to get up, get dressed, and have breakfast without worrying about him - it was truly a novel sensation!

I am dreading tonight, but we'll see what happens.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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Oh it's so good to hear that you were able to catch up on a little sleep, AppleCrisp. I like your approach and I hope this new sleeping setup works out well. :
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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Yes, yes! Hurray! Maybe tonight will be even better.

Good good good luck!
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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Please update us again tomorrow!

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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Old 05-25-2007, 05:41 PM
 
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I see your is one day older than mine - maybe tonight's my night too!
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Old 05-25-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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Just wanna say that I have done the same co-sleeping w/both dc and one is a GREAT sleeper (he's just turning 2) and the other is NOT (she is 3). It does depend on your dc!

Applecrisp. Hang in there. It is frustrating having transitions and you'll wanna pull your hair out, then all of a sudden you figure it out. It's great you came here to get advice b/c you can pull out tidbits of what will work for you. I too am in a frustrating stage w/dd. We have a great thing down for a few months, then BAM she'll go through a change and it'll be 2-4 weeks figuring it out again. She's sleeping thru the night but won't go to bed when she needs to or take naps. We KNOW she needs them b/c of behavior during the day. But coming to MDC and just sticking it out helps!

Keep us posted. And give your dc big hugs and kisses from all of us!
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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woohoo, applecrisp, i'm so happy for you! hey, even if tonight is awful, you know now that good nights *can* happen. hang onto that one thought/hope. it will happen again. and again. and then two in a row. and then more. and then one day you will be where some of us are, looking back on that time, going "WHEW! how did i ever survive that?!? i did it! i did it!" with that silly happy dance arms going stirring round and round

aww, thanks so much to the pp's who commented on my post. you made me smile BIG WIDE

thanks!
and you go, applecrisp. hang in there! doesn't it so help to know others are out there? i LOVE these boards! :
pamela

Me treehugger.gif Handfasted wife to M  geek.gif as of 3/7/10 , and Mama to R  reading.gif (1/31/01) luxlove.gif

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Old 05-26-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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Sending *sleep sleep sleep* to your little man. It's a tough job, mama. I think you're doing fabulously.
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Old 05-26-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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The mattress on the floor actually wasn't too bad last night....He then fell deeply asleep for most of the early morning. I was able to get up, get dressed, and have breakfast without worrying about him - it was truly a novel sensation!
Yaaay! :
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Old 05-27-2007, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, proceeding as before....I just wait on the mattress with him and he eventually puts himself to sleep which is totally a new phenomenon. It takes him a good hour of rolling around and belly-flops, but it eventually works. He's still been waking every few hours, but puts himself back to sleep as long as I'm nearby.

Thanks all....if not for your advice I'd be persisting with CIO, and we'd probably be miserable.
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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Thanks all....if not for your advice I'd be persisting with CIO, and we'd probably be miserable.
Yay! Good for you, Applecrisp!
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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awesome!
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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I'd just like to say thank you to pretty much everyone for an informative and interesting thread... I felt I was being pressured by various people to let my baby "cry it out" (hes only 5weeks old !!!!!!!!!!) and now I'm so glad I don't do that. A little whimpering or fussing is one thing - often he doesn't even wake properly and goes right back to sleep but if he hasn't settled within a few minutes or if he cries hard I do go to him and now I feel reassured I am doing the right thing which is a good feeling for a new mum like me.

I'd also like to say WELL done to the OP.... sounds like you've had a hard time of it but you're coming through it and thats so nice to hear and so encouraging!

I've never had a baby before but I have had dogs and cats and I don't think that drawing very basic parallels between mammals is misleading or wrong.... Knowing that mammals are just not designed to sleep alone is what made me decide to have my baby beside the bed and not in a nursery. Here's a thought: when I get a new puppy I allow it to sleep in a crate beside my bed. When he has settled in and is sleeping through the night I move the crate gradually to its permanent location. If I cut that much slack to a dog, you can bet I believe it's owed to a human infant!

I'd also like to offer a suggestion to anyone who wants their baby to go to sleep without having to nurse them to sleep. I've recently bought a sheepskin rug for my baby and I lay this on my lap for him to lie on as he is feeding. If he falls asleep at my breast he is less likely to wake when moved because there is less dramatic change in temp, he's not going from warm body>cold cot. Sheepskin helps to keep babies warm in the winter and cool in the summer and its been used for young babies for centuries. Laying him on the rug helps him go into "cosy mode" now too... he seems to associate it with being all cutched up and warm and nursing. Just like with pups, when I want to get rid of a "bad" association, I bring in a new association and wean off the unwanted one.... does that make sense? (NB I use a bit of muslin under his head for safety, in case he turns his face into the sheepskin )
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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I just wanted to post my own experience and how our journey has gone, in case it is helpful to anyone.

With my oldest, I had a much more mainstream perspective. I expected to have the baby in a cosleeper until, say 6 months, when she would, of course, be sleeping through the night in her own crib. Needless to say, I had quite a comeupance. She was in our bed that first night and by 5 months was waking literally every 20 minutes unless I was next to her. Everyone we spoke with said CIO, which we did, and I really regret it. It never really worked. She cried constantly, and I was hysterical, too. She still didn't sleep through the night until after 2 years.

With my second, I decided I would do it all differently. I nursed my DS back to sleep every time. He, too, woke constantly -- every 45 minutes or so. When I was about halfway through my pregnancy with my third, my DH took over putting my DS to sleep and with the nursing to sleep association broken, he started sleeping longer stretches (a couple of hours at a time). We moved him to a bed in a room with his sister around 2 years (he was still welcome in our bed) and then nightweaned him around 27 months. He has slept throught the night fairly consistently since around 2 1/2.

My third child followed the same pattern. I nursed him back to sleep every time and he woke every 45 minutes until I came to bed. We have just started having DH do bedtime and he, too, is sleeping longer stretches.

I guess this is a short way of saying that based on my family I do think that Ferber is right: kids who are nursed to sleep may have a hard time resettling themselves if the nipple isn't there when they wake (I say "may" because I know plenty of kids nursed back to sleep who can resettled at least a couple of times before needing to nurse again.).

For me, the next question is, is a nursing to sleep association a problem. In a biological sense, I don't believe it is (I highly second the recommendation to read "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small.) I think this is the way babies have evolved to behave for a reason and I think that if we can accept it, they will either grow out of it or be able to more easily accept an alternate method of falling asleep eventually.

The other challenge is meeting the sleep needs of the other members of the household. I have done this by going to sleep very early (usually after DS's first waking). That means my evening time alone has been just 45 minutes, which sort of sucks, but I also know this stage of life is fleeting and I believe that meeting my children's needs is crucial. I also believe that you can change sleep associations much more easily at, say 1 1/2 or 2 years, if constantly nursing back to sleep doesn't work for your family.

Good luck to everyone who struggles with sleeping. It's a hard road, but I promise that they do sleep eventually!
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