Monday, May 31, 2010

Some thoughts about co-sleeping

I am awake right now because Wyatt has some issues with sleep. He takes great naps. I even hardly have a problem putting him to bed. Our routine is as follows:

7:30 bath
8:00 bed

Pretty simple right? I nurse him to sleep for all of his naps and bedtimes. It's not about actually feeding for him, but rather being soothed and comforted. I'm okay with doing this because I plan on nursing for a year anyway, so to me it just goes with the territory. What I don't like is that I have to have my boob in his mouth for every single freaking time he wakes up. WHICH HAPPENS TO BE ABOUT EVERY 2-3 HOURS. What am I supposed to do? For some reason at night he's very sensitive to my presence because as soon as I get him back to sleep, I try to lower him back to his bed... and then BAM! He's awake. Instantly. Eyes wide open. And then the crying begins. I try to let him "cry it out" but I am weak and I suck. I can't hardly stand it and I just can't bring myself to resist him. What is the best way to handle this? How have you guys handled this?

And so we co-sleep. It's the only way either one of us get any sleep. He sleeps solid from 8pm - 8am if we co-sleep. It's quite wonderful. But I've been getting this insane pressure from "society" to simply not do it. I have friends that have established wonderful bed times for their babies and are getting wonderful sleep. Why am I completely out of the loop? Does establishing a great sleep routine mean that I have to let my baby scream? I'm really not anti crying it out, I'm just not strong enough to let it happen. I really don't want to be the cause of my son's discomfort. 

I think it's interesting that this country is one of the highest for sids and also the lowest for co-sleeping. It's actually the norm for babies to sleep with their mother's in most other countries. I just read that parents that co-sleep actually get MORE sleep than of those that have their babies in cribs (not that there is anything wrong with this). I guess baby sleeps longer because he's comfy? I don't know. 

All I know is that when I attempt to get Wyatt to sleep on his own, I end up dealing with this...

Both of these were taken after I was sick of the whole rocking him to sleep and then laying him down process. I sometimes find it easier just to let him be awake since he's such a light sleeper. I figure he'll get really tired and then stay asleep for longer. I'm a bad mom, I know. I finally did get him back to sleep but I had to nurse him laying down in my bed and then once he was out, slip my arm from under his head and wedge him between some pillows (possibly to fool him into thinking I'm still there?).

I'm just bummed because I never did P90X and now it's 11:30 and I KNOW I won't be doing it now.

Okay, so in case you weren't 100% sure how I stand for co-sleeping, I'm VERY much for it. I just feel pressured to not do it. If more people were open to it then I'd obviously wouldn't be feeling this pressure. At this point I'm doing it because it's the only way for us. I started out doing it because I wanted to, but now I do it more because I have to. My poor, poor husband. He'll be so pissed if Wyatt is still sleeping in our bed when he comes back from this deployment. :(


  1. Feeling you 100% on this one, I am actually getting ready to post on it soon.I'm tired of always being worn out because H wakes up every 2-3 hours. I want to try letting him cry it out, but he is so stubborn that I know he'd fuss for hours. I know H is still very young but I want to catch it before it turns into a hard habit for him to break. I am very confused about what to do. It's frustrating!

  2. the best advice i can give you is to get a hold of it now or you'll really regret it later. wyatt is almost 8 months old.

  3. You're NOT a bad mom!! Everyone has their own way of parenting.. whatever works for them.. and I say as long as the baby is healthy and happy and growing then you're all good! Don't worry too much about other people's negative opinions or "the norm." No matter what you do there's always gonna be someone that's not happy about it and trying to make everyone else happy is exhausting.. actually it's impossible. So try not to stress over it. If and when you choose to change up the routine remember to ease in to it. Nothing's gonna happen overnight so just be consistent with Wyatt and over time he'll figure it out.

  4. I have been wanting to post about this as well. Aidyn is 3 and I love sleeping with him. (maybe you're against it when the child is that old).. but I love sleeping with Aidyn. Its my favorite thing to curl up with him. He can sleep on his own at his dads, but we both prefer to sleep together. I just feel safer with him near me. Is that weird?

  5. Lily is almost 7 months old and she has always slept in her own space. first the bassinet and then 2 months after, the crib.
    i know it's hard because they are lovely, they grow so fast and you want to sleep with them but unless you want to sleep with them until they are 8, stop it! (;))
    my sister in law is still sleeping with 2.5 year old daughter while her husband sleeps on the couch.
    Lily is a breast fed baby also. did not take to the bottle at all. she too was waking up every 3 hours during the night because her body was used to it.
    the best advice i got was from another mom that told me to stop nursing her during the night. to just sooth her when she would wake.
    so, that's what we did. when she woke, we would go to her, turn on her sleep sheep and rub her back. sometimes she needed to be held and sung to, sometimes she would cry a little. all it took was 3 nights.
    now she sleeps from 8pm until 4-5am. then i do bring her to bed, breast feed her and put her back in her crib.
    i can't sleep with her. she's all over the place.
    it's worked out for us that way.
    oh, the other thing i did was put some stuffed animals at the end of her crib. when she wakes from her naps, she doesn't scream for me. she goes to her toys and plays. this was something i worked on her with. teaching them to like their cribs is really important. that way they feel comfortable in there.
    after she would wake from her naps, i would keep her in her crib a bit, sit her down and play with the crib toys (they don't leave the crib) a bit.
    it's also good to give them a big dinner before bed so they are not hungry through the night.
    Wyatt is waking up because his body is used to. if you break that routine, he won't anymore.

    be strong, stick to it if you want it. and you are NOT a bad mom.
    hope i was helpful.

  6. some co-sleeping facts...

    "1. Research shows that co-sleeping infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.

    Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone. This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.

    Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
    Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest (and even unheard of) in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception. Babies who sleep either in or next to their parents’ bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS. Co-sleeping babies actually spend more time sleeping on their back or side which decreases the risk of SIDS. Further research shows that the carbon dioxide exhaled by a parent actually works to stimulate baby’s breathing.

    Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school, and are more comfortable with affection. They also have less psychiatric problems."

    i don't know about you guys, but that makes me feel like what i'm doing is natural and that's why it's so easy to do, and hard to break.

  7. claudia, thanks so much for your input! my problem is that once i go to him, he doesn't want me to go. and simply laying him down wakes him up. i think i'm just not ready to stop the co-sleeping thing. i think that if i'm REALLY ready, then i'd really buckle down and teach him to do it. i think that's probably the bottom line for me.

    brittany, i don't think it's bad that you co-sleep with your child. he knows how to sleep on his own so you actually have the best of both worlds!

    jessica, thank you!

  8. i started co sleeping when Hendrix was 4 months old. i was TERRIFIED of sids at first so thats why we didnt have him in our bed until then and now i really enjoy it (most of the time anyways) sometimes he hogs the bed but other than that he sleeps better and so do we.
    H does however start out in his crib. he sleeps there from bedtime till about midnight then he wakes up and comes in with us so we get a little alone time too.

  9. well, there you have it. just remember that learning to fall asleep on their own is an art they have not yet mastered and just like everything else, need to be taught how to do it. ;)

  10. A parent sleeping with their child has PROVEN to make them smarter. Don't feel outta the loop. Sleep well knowing that your baby could go to Harvard in 2028.

  11. who gives a crap what other people think? I dont' cosleep because I don't get any sleep because I wake up every 10 minutes to check that my husband don't elbow Mimi in his sleep. Because I am restless, Mimi is restless---so it doesn't work for us. As for the crying out thing--it took us 3 days to "train" her and now we'll all happy---I thought I could do it, but I was weak, my husband made me sit on the couch and wait 10 minutes on a timer before he let me go back in! lol. I'm a big supporter of the Ferber method, my kid only cried maybe 20% of the time when I put her to bed, including naps, other than that she just rolls over and goes to sleep. Try putting wyatt in his crib, safe and sound and take a 10 minute shower, if he's crying when you get out, go get him.

  12. I went the co-sleeping route with all three of my babies! But I totally felt like it was abnormal too. The thing is, I got more sleep and was able to function better during the days. And to me, that was way better than developing "good sleep habits" for them. Because kids all learn those eventually. Keep doing what works for you, mama. You really do know best.

  13. I love co-sleeping with my kids. i slept with them all til the next one came, then ben took over. it was really hard with josh at points!really really hard, but the more i did it the easier it gets. now it is second nature and as comforting to me as the baby. I think it is sooo healthy for the baby. i think they are given one way to communicate (crying) and if it gets ignored it can really upset them and make them feel ignored. How would we feel if we were helpless and calling for help and someone ignored us? i think it is your instinct that wont let you allow your baby to cry , not that you are weak. Society is trying ot push us away from natural instinctive parenting and move us to what is conveniant.. but to be honest, kids arent conveniant- oh well. I think the way you have raised/ nursed Wyatt is soooo amazing. you will be so so blessed that you did it when you realize the depth of the bond you have with him. Right now (esp with the first one) 7 months seems like forever!!!! I am doing it the same way you are, and my kids are the same, as babies, they wake constantly and wont stop without a boob. .. It has been 4 years now for me (3 babies later) and to be honest i do it without the irritation and stress and frustration, etc (that is there for the first months). when you look back and have a happy sleeping toddler- you will be thrilled you did it. I think youre awesome!!

  14. I really enjoyed reading this post b/c it's so REAL and I can identify with so much...
    It really makes me upset when people brag about their perfectly sleeping babies sometimes because I know that they're just *lucky* with a deep, easy sleeper.
    The reality is all babies are different, and all mamas are comfortable with different things (and sometimes depending on the child's disposition).
    I'm about to have my 3rd kid and I know that I will probably do something a little differently with each child's sleep needs.
    Also, I don't think we should EVER feel like we need to do something (letting them cry it out or whatever) that we don't feel intuitively comfortable with. Denying our mother-instinct is dangerous!


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