31 answers

Help! My Baby Is Using Me as a Pacifier All Night Long!!

My baby is 6 months old, and we have reluctantly co-slept since the beginning. He was never happy sleeping in the bassinet, and I needed my sleep - I think we have created a monster. He sleeps pretty good in our bed and nurses whenever he wants. Unfortunately, he has been sucking more and more - much of the time not even for milk. We have to get him out of our bed before winter when we would like to use our heavy blankets. He is a terrible napper most of the time - he naps in his crib. I am afraid we got him used to our bed which has a pillow topper and smells like me. He won't take a pacifier, and he doesn't just cry, he screeches when awake in his crib and rotates so much that he ends up getting an arm or leg caught in the bars on a regular basis. We don't want him screaming/crying too much because we have a 3 year old who's room is right next door. I know he is overtired from not napping very well. I really need my sleep to deal with the 2 kids, and I work 2 days a week. Sorry this is a bit scattered; I just typed it as I thought of things. Please, don't comment/preach to me that co-sleeping is dangerous; we do it very safely.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Sorry, I don't have any advice for you. But I just wanted you to know that we are going through the EXACT same thing. You are not alone! We will be looking to make the change in about 2 weeks, when we get back from vacation, so I hope you get some good advice I can steal :) Just wanted you to know that you're not alone. My daughter is doing the same thing.

Good luck!

I would get and read "Healthy Sleep Habits, happy baby" by Dr. Mark Weisblut. Sleep begets sleep and so working on the naps will help the night sleeping. At 6 months, the baby can handle Cry it Out. I was somewhat reluctant to use this technique but it is the only one that really works effectively. It takes a few days and yes it will likely wake everyone in the house up but once it is done, everyone sleeps much much better for years. My baby hated the crib when she was really little and so she slept in her car seat and then an amby bed (www.amby.com) and only at 4 months transitioned to crib. It took a few nights to adjust but she got the hang of it. I am very happy I did this as everyone that I know that has problems with sleeping children has them in their beds. The whole family benefits from a good night's sleep. Good Luck.

Read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for tips on how to transition and get him the sleep he needs for healthy growth and development.

More Answers

Co-sleeping is the best...don't worry about the heavy blankets...

A few suggestions:

My son woke several times during the night and every time I looked at the clock I got angrier and angrier. That combined with my husbands very loud snoring made me nuts and exhausted. If you keep looking at the clock every time he wakes you, turn the clock around. Trust me, it works.

My kids slept with me for years. People all over the world have been doing it since the beginning of time. Totally normal and I think totally healthy. When you have a child, it is natural for them to want assurance throughout the day and night. I think it is wrong for parents to think that they can shove their kid aside for a predetermined amount of time so that the parent can "get their life back" or "get enough sleep". If your family and friends think it's wierd, let them feed their kids formula, sucking from plastic, getting constipated and sleeping all alone surrounded by Winnie the Pooh instead of you.

Sometimes formula is a necessity, like adoption or for example, my first child that was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 1/2 lbs. I pumped my milk for 4 weeks for him and he was fed this through his Nasal Gastro tubing, and eventually through a bottle. He was never able to nurse because of his severe disabilities. The suck, swallow breathe combined with his tonic bite were not a good combination, to say the least. My milk dried up and we had to use formula. Fortunately we were so poor, the government paid for it (thank you all for supporting us through your taxes).

Leon slept in his own room on a heart monitor for a year. He kept me awake all night long with his incessant crying. After my daughter was born, when he was 2 yrs old, I couldn't stand it any longer so I made a make shift bed right next to ours and brought him into our room. That night was the first time ever that he slept through the night. Amazing! He needed his mom! Because of his severe cerebral palsey, he couldn't call out my name or crawl out of the bed to come to me, so he just cried to get my attention. (yes I'm crying as I write this)

As for the baby using the nursing as comfort rather than nutrition through the night, my daughter slept with us and nursed for years. It was rather irritating when she Would just nurse a couple of sucks and go back to sleep, but she needed this. She was the secondary kid...always having to wait for me to take care of her brother first. This was a time when my focus was on her so if this is what she needed to get through the day...so be it. If it really bothers you lay on you tummy so he can't get at you. Try rubbing his back to let him know your their.

My opinion: crying it out teaches your kid that when they need you, their needs won't be met. I do not believe in it. Caring for and loving your child when they think they need you will build confidence and inner strength. You cannot spoil a child. Fruit spoils and then you throw it out.

Their dad and I are divorced now and I have a third child.

I get no child support and am the head of household. Leon died when he was six so I now have 2 kids.

Longer story short...They are awesome. My 16 year old daughter is a straight A student at one of the top high schools in Chicago. She's smart, respectful, kind, caring, considerate and grateful. She is not a typical kid. She is a shining star and I'm not saying this because she's my daughter. People go out of their way to tell me what a wonderful person she is. My 10 year old boy is terrific. His dad and I never married and so I have been the sole round the clock support his entire life. (Dad is involved and our son is the love of his life but gives me no child support) Sometimes I barely see the kids throughout the day what with school and my working. Even now sometimes he wants to sleep with me. He needs me at night to feel cared for during the day. He is an awesome kid...doing very well in school at one of the top Chicago magnet schools, he is a kind, caring and sensitive young man (he's also headstrong at times...typical boy?).

I know that my kids are who they are in large part because they were/are allowed to sleep with me and were breast fed for years.

So in conclusion, let the baby sleep with you, keep nursing, and turn the clock around. This will all be over in about 20 or so years.

1 mom found this helpful

J., our daughter went through something similar, right be fore she turned 1 and right before she turned 2. I attributed it to an emotional growth spurt where she just needed extra connection. I chose to co-sleep but it was still rough at those times. I used some of the methods in No Cry Sleep Solution. The main thing I did was to repeatedly remove her from the breast before she completely fell asleep. If she cried, I put her back on. I did this repeatedly until she gave up and just fell asleep. It helped immensely, but she was a bit older than your son, so I'm not sure how it would work with a 6 month old.

Hi J.,

I would recommend the book The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. She has a lot of suggestions for transitioning away from co-sleeping without crying, some of which I found helpful with my daughter.

Best of luck,
R.

Good for you for setting boundaries w/ us! I applaud the co-sleeping...if we're there for our children through the day, why not night?
My second was so strong-willed that she actually herniated her bellybutton screaming! So I know about the screaming in the crib. Consistency is what worked. Soft, reassuring words, night lights, lots and lots of checking in. It was more than a newborn! BUT, it eventually worked. Put playthings in the crib as well to keep the child occupied. And a pacifier. You just never know....Once you start be willing and able to follow through. Get Daddy to help also.

My son was the same way! It was a tough transition to get him to sleep in his crib. By the time he was 6 months, we wanted our bed back. It was not easy, it took us about a month of crying (not just the baby!) and waking up multiple times during the night. Things did get better, but honestly my son didn't sleep through the night until he was 2. I think the key is being consistent and even though you are tired don't give in and let your little one in bed with you. All babies are different, my son was very difficult (now a well adjusted 8 year old) and my daughter was a breeze (3).

Read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for tips on how to transition and get him the sleep he needs for healthy growth and development.

Hmm I wonder if it's about sucking or just being with you. Can he sleep with you in a position that doesn't permit him to suck? My baby can sleep on his tummy on my chest and he likes that because it's "kangaroo care" like they advised in the hospital-- skin to skin, but because of the way my chest is contoured, he can breathe fine on his tummy because my breasts work like bumpers keeping him still and his nose is in the valley and able to breathe fine. And he can't suck that way. Is your baby too big for that? Mine is only a month an 12lbs, so maybe it wouldn't work with a 6m, but there's gotta be a way for your baby to sleep in your bed safely without sucking. Have you tried those little baby bed things that you put in your bed between you and your husband so he's in bed with you but it has walls so you can't roll over on him? That would be a close second cuz he'd be in your bed but you wouldn't have to worry about SIDS...

Famous last words (your last sentence). You have to let him scream honey. He must learn to sleep on his own like his sibling does. You'll all be tired and crabby but if you give in to baby, he learns that he can have his way. Maybe let the sibling sleep with you a couple of nights till baby starts sleeping on his own. Make sure she knows this is only temporary. Blanket bind the baby if you're worried about his legs. Remember that babies ar more resilient and can squirm their little appendages around anything. They're usually fine.

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