J.S. asks from Bristol, CT on June 20, 2008
My Seven Month Old Will Not Sleep in Her Crib
My beutiful daughter has always been a bad sleeper. When she was born she would only sleep in my arms and then at 3-6 months would only sleep in her swing and occasionally short night in the bassinet. Now at 7 months she will only sleep in bed cuddled next to me. She wakes up once to eat and several times to make sure i am right there. I know lots of people who say let her cry it out, but I can't bring myself to do it, plus I am so tired I just want sleep. Everyone says I am doing her no favors by letting her sleep wiht us, but I just don't know how to change it. PLease help.
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A.S. answers from New London on June 23, 2008
Hi J., my name is A. and have a 3 and 5yr old born exactly two years apart. My first was born 32 weeks but only spent 10 in the nicu. He didn't like sleeping in the bassinet. My huband and I found more peace by letting him sleep in bed with us. We felt quilty because everyone kept on telling us the same thing let him cry it out!! I am not good with letting either cry it out and we didn't feel comfortable with it, so what the crib goes unused. Just about every one buys the crib to bed kind anyway. We did the same thing with my second boy. We just upgraded to a king bed. People will tell you that once you start that they will never sleep on their own. That, we found to be untrue. Both of my boys love sleeping in their own rooms. But once in a while when they are scared or sick they crawl back in and we don't mind because that lets us know that they know we will always be there for them.
S.J. answers from Hartford on June 21, 2008
I agree with other posters. You do not have to let her CIO to get her to sleep in her crib. A great book to read if you're interested is The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. It's a great gentle alternative to CIO.
E.P. answers from Boston on June 21, 2008
I don't know if this will help but I co-sleep with my son who is now almost 11 months old. My daughter who is now almost 5 years old I also co-slept with. It is the most natural thing to do and parents all around the world with the exception of the US sleep with their children. So if that is what works for you, go for it. Otherwise, perhaps you could get one of those bassinets/co-sleepers that are right next to your bed, that way you get your space and she gets hers.
A baby's job is to survive and her best way of doing that is to make sure that she keeps her caregiver around her. Co-sleeping is a part of that plus it makes for a very secure child and a very secure baby. I personally hate cribs though I did try it with my first child and I did try the obnoxious method of CIO to no avail. Plus I found out Dr. Ferber has recanted much of his method saying it has caused trauma to children from the experience...
Good Luck, whatever you do, just know your baby loves you and wants you to be closeby to her.
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A.S. answers from Providence on June 21, 2008
i could have written your post, word for word. except i don't really feel the need to push my little baby (almost 8 months) to sleep alone. occasionally i do feel antsy when she is napping in my arms and i feel like i should be getting other things done (dishes, laundry, etc.) but really she won't need that kind of closeness forever, and i feel that i should really treasure those peaceful sleeping baby moments because they will pass so quickly. sometimes i will lie down with her to nurse her down for a nap, then when she is asleep i will sneak away and do what needs to be done. she won't nap longer than 30 minutes this way.
as far as night time, we have just decided to keep co-sleeping until she has words to understand why she needs her own bed. i realize that might be a while from now, and i'm ok with that.
you say that "everyone says you are doing her no favors" but really what do YOU feel about it? are you more rested when you co-sleep than when you don't? personally, i couldn't take the getting out of bed, nursing, rocking, putting her back down two or three times per night routine. co-sleeping for us has really been about survival, or it was at first, but now, i am loving it more and more. i don't even wake up anymore when she nurses in the middle of the night. and nothing is better than waking up to a snuggly smiling babe.
i realize i am not giving any advice on how to change your situation, sorry. i just think it's natural for a young baby (and yes, seven months is still YOUNG) to want to be close to mama.
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P.N. answers from Boston on June 22, 2008
The first thing I'd suggest is stop talking to "everyone" about it. You will feel much better about it if you do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with co-sleeping. Many families do it because they want to, eventhough there is the misperception out there that it is bad for the kids. It's not. Many other cultures do it and it is totally natural for both mama and baby. If you are comfortable with it aside from what "everyone" is saying to you, keep doing it. Your daughter will NOT be sleeping with you forever!! Also it doesn't lead to dependency in your child. That doesn't even makes sense. Yes, she may be dependent on your presence now, but she can learn to not be so when she is ready and I think different kids are ready at different times. My DD slept on me forever (it seemed at the time) but when she was ready that stopped. I think about it in terms of other things we do like diapers, for ex, nobody says kids will never learn to use the potty if they start out in diapers. They will learn to use the potty when they are ready. Same with sleep; why would that be any different?
That said, if it is not working for you and you feel the need to have your DD sleeping on her own in a crib, you do not have to CIO. There is a reason you feel uncomfortable with that technique. And just because doctors tell parents to do it, does not mean it is not harmful. Doctors recommend a lot of crazy stuff, what do they know about sleep?
Somebody else recommended Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution." She has great gentle techniques to get the baby to sleep. I recommend it. It is not a quick fix, depending on the kid it can take a couple weeks, I think, but CIO is NOT an easy fix. Also, with developmental changes, teething, etc. even if you have a kid that takes to CIO and gets trained to sleep alone in a crib now, next month you might be doing it again. Get Pantley's book or if you are breastfeeding, check out a LaLeche League meeting, you might meet other moms who do cosleep and can help you out. Do remember that it is a seriously short time that she will be so tiny and dependent on you for absolutely everything, I do not how it is possible that my tiny little baby is now 20 mos. Good luck.
K.L. answers from Boston on June 21, 2008
All 3 of my kids slept in our bed until they were 3 years old and it worked for our family. Yes, I didn't get a lot of sleep but no way was I going to let my babies "cry it out". Its cruel to do that, no matter what people say. I recently read a book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night" by Elizabeth Pantley. It made such sense and is very baby friendly. Check it out.
D.N. answers from Hartford on June 21, 2008
THere are ways to get your little one into the crib without crying it out! You just have to be patient and stick to it and realize it may take a week or two. There are two options...one option is to slowly transition from your bed to the crib by puting her into a bassinet or crib right next to your bed and then when she is comfortable with that, slowly moving the bassinet or crib to her room. Or, you can start to put her in the crib in her room and you can be there for a while so she can see you and then slowly leave her room. There will probably be some crying with this process because it is a change, but if you are there to comfort her, it will be less stressful for her.
M.K. answers from Boston on June 21, 2008
My 2yo was the same way as a baby, so we actually just let her sleep with us - just follow safe co-sleeping practices (I recommend Dr. Sears' article on co-sleeping, which you can read here: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T071000.asp). She sleeps in her own bed just fine now, and has been for the past year or so. My 6mo son sleeps just fine in his crib. I hope you find a way for your daughter to sleep better soon, in her crib or through cosleeping.
C.B. answers from Boston on June 22, 2008
I can totally sympathize with you. My son (now 6yrs old) would not sleep EVER!!!! I was lucky if he slept for 15 minutes straight during the night & he not once ever took a nap!! (he had severe colic as well - so it was tough).
But, by the time the colic subsided, he was about 9 or 10 months old & I was also starting to wean him from his bottle (he only had a bottle at night before bed - the rest of the time was a sippy). Anyway - our pedi said the same thing - let him cry it out. It was the hardest thing to do but it was worth it.
I remember the first night we did it. I tucked him in safely into his crib, gave him his teddy & shut the door 1/2 way & started his ocean music/light toy on the side of his crib. I sat out in the living room with my husband. We could hear him babble & then when he realized I wasn't coming back in the room, he began to scream so bad, our neighbors must have though we were abusing our child! It was awful!!!!
When I went to get up to comfort him, my husband sat me back down on the couch & sat on my lap so I couldn't get up. We had to follow the pedi's orders if we both wanted to ever get sleep again. And he cried for quite some time (it felt like forever for me) but eventually he stopped on his own & went to sleep on his own.
He woke up 2x that night & my husband got up to check his diaper & changed him accordingly & told me to stay in bed - he cried a few minutes after each time & then boom - he was out like a light.
Within a few weeks - he didn't cry at all at night, or when it was time to be put down for bedtime. And the crying wasn't as drastic over the 3 weeks either. It slowly came more to a wimper. Ofcourse we got up in the middle of the night to check on him & even when he cried we'd check on him, but we let him put himself back to sleep.
It was the best thing we ever did. Parenting is very hard, but all those people are telling you the hard truth - you won't be doing her or you or your husband any favors by keeping these ways up.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all parenting techniques are for everyone. Follow your gut as well. But remember - it doesn't hurt to try all options or even make up a few of your own ideas to get through being a parent. I've always taken my mom's & mother in laws & everyone else's advice & I atleast tried them for a week straight. If I saw improvement, I kept it up & sometimes it worked - if i didn't see any results, I'd try someone else's idea or even my own. Follow your heart & your gut & as long as you give your baby tons of love & care & do what's best for her, you're gonna do ok. Just remember - YOU are the parent!!!
Good luck & God Bless. It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job & enjoy motherhood - it is truly the best!!!
R.A. answers from Springfield on June 22, 2008
Please check out The Baby Book by Dr. Sears from the library. You will find research in there to support co-sleeping and learn that there is NOTHING WRONG with what you are doing! It's emotionally beneficial to both you and baby, it's perfectly safe as long as you don't take medications or drink or otherwise have abnormal sleep, and as long as you keep the blankets tucked under your armpits so that they can't cover baby's face. Most of the world sleeps with parents and baby in the same bed; it's only our American culture that ostracizes parents who co-sleep and makes them feel like they're doing something bad. I'm a big proponent of co-sleeping, and most of my friends who have had babies also co-slept. Our almost-20-month-old still sleeps in a crib open to our bed on one side, and ends up with us for half the night. Originally we didn't plan to have her in the bed with us, but early on she vetoed sleeping any other way. We could let her in the bed and all get a good night's sleep, or we could get up every hour through the night. We're really glad we ended up taking this route. Normal people who don't have any sleep pathologies or substance use issues do not roll over onto their babies! Aside from any other arguments, as my husband put it, "It just feels so primally RIGHT."