Co-sleeping 11 Month Old Climber

Updated on April 30, 2010
A.S. asks from Portland, OR
7 answers

My youngest child is eleven months old and what I consider a pretty good co-sleeper. Just recently though he has started attempting to crawl/walk over us during the night (1 a.m., 3 a.m., etc.) in order to "play". While I love sleeping with him last night we found it necessary to place him in the pack-n-play that butts up against our bed. (I should note that he sleeps in the pack-n-play when he goes down for naps and at night and anytime I remember/am awake enough to put him back in after his nightly feeds. He still eats three times a night.) Last night, when we put him back in the pack-n-play he did play for awhile and would not let us lay him down. When he became bored of playing and after crying for about ten minutes he let us lay him back down and pat and shush him back to sleep.

On to the question:

I need people's opinions on if I am sending him a mixed message by nursing him when he wakes and allowing him to co-sleep only if he is not climbing over us. I don't feel like he is necessarily a candidate for break-your-heart-CIO like we ended up doing with our first who was up every one to two hours for three months straight but I also don't want to confuse the little guy. Thoughts?

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answers from Eugene on

I practice attachment parenting. I didn't know there was a name for it when I had my first son, but I followed my maternal instinct instead of what other people told me to do. After he was a year old, I learned that there was a name for what I was doing. Co-sleeping and extended nursing are two big parts of attachment parenting, but the main gist of it is that you let your child tell you what they need and you give it to them. And all kids go through stages, whether it be waking in the middle of the night to play or to eat more while they are growing.
I co-slept with my oldest son who is now five. He slept in my bed with me until he was four years old when he wanted to sleep in his own bed. With him, I often nursed him several times a night until he was three years old. The pediatrician said he should be sleeping through the night by one year, but I followed my gut and let him nurse - either for hunger or for comfort - until he was ready to give it up. He is not spoiled nor does he have any weird attachment issues with me. When he was little he only wanted to be with me all the time and would rarely go to others. He outgrew that all on his own and has become very independent because of the solid foundation of security he was given.
With my youngest son, who is now 14 months old, he doesn't eat as much so he sleeps through the night most nights without wanting to nurse. Sometimes when he is not feeling well he will nurse throughout the night, but for the most part he is a really good sleeper. All kids have different personalities and food requirements.
In answer to your question, you should follow your heart and not what other people tell you. Even if people think your child is spoiled because you coddle him, he will outgrow it. I know of no 18 year old kids who still need to nurse or don't sleep through the night without their M.! Some kids just need extra time nursing while they are growing (emotionally or physically.)
The great thing about co-sleeping is that you can feed them and go right back to sleep, usually without either of you waking up completely. They get a full tummy or comfort and you don't have to lose any sleep.



answers from Portland on

I'm wondering if he still needs the night feedings. Some kids wake up just because and aren' t even really hungry (as was the case with our son).


answers from Cincinnati on

An 11 month old in any sleeping situation, (with you or in his own bed) should be sleeping through the entire night!!! 3 times a night is excessive, and you should really end that cycle, and let yourself and your son get some sleep for goodness sake!



answers from Portland on

I'd actually just put your mattress on the floor. So it doesn't matter if he crawls away during the night. But if he seems pretty independent, he may actually sleep longer if he sleeps in his pack & play. I would just make aure to get an organic mattress, those mattresses that they come with are full of toxic fire retardants!



answers from Seattle on

I don't think you're sending any mixed messages. We did the same with my oldest (now 2.5 and an independent sleeper) and we do the same with my youngest (8.5 months). When my baby wakes and wants to play in the middle of the night, we both just turn our backs to her. Since she's between us, she can't get off the bed without us knowing, but since our faces are turned away, she isn't as interested in playing with us. The cat is another story, but fortunately, the cat gets off the bed before too much play. I think the longest she was awake with this approach was about 20 minutes. She woke, nursed, and then chattered and played for 20 minutes before she was asleep. My husband was only awake for about 2 minutes of the whole time and I was mostly asleep while she played.

In regards to his waking frequency....
If he seems hungry when he wakes, then feed him. If he's waking to play, try offering him your breast and that might help calm him anyway. It's very normal for breastfed babies to not sleep through the night until well after their first (or second) birthday. Co-sleeping is a really common way for everyone to get sleep while baby's needs are getting met during the night. Trust your intuitions. You're probably right.



answers from New York on

I used to put my DS down for bed in his crib and then when he woke up to nurse, I moved him into bed with us. He continued to wake up every few hours (and sometimes would be up for 2 hours).

When I gave up on putting him to sleep somewhere else and just put him down right in our bed, he night weaned and stopped waking up in the middle of the night almost immediately.

I was kicking myself for not doing it earlier!!

So, maybe the change of scenery (from the pack-n-play to the bed and sometimes back again) is messing with him.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

I say do what makes you comfortable! Are you planning on weaning soon? How soon are you looking to give up the co-sleeping? We weaned our son off the night feeding and moved him into his own room at 12 months. I wasn't ready until then, and I still bring him into bed some mornings.

I was told by our ped. at this age he doesn't the night feedings, so it's really just whatever you feel comfortable with. She also said the sooner the better, because closer to 18 months they really start to show feelings (tantrums) but if your looking to nurse longterm and co-sleep long term then I see nothing wrong with it.
For us we knew it wouldn't be long term, so we made big switch over, weaned from feedings and then switched to his room. It took about 3 nights for each one.

Best of luck!!

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