When to Start Sleep Training in a Conflicted, Separating Household?

Updated on July 03, 2011
C.M. asks from Miami, FL
13 answers

My son is 7 months old and absolutely refuses to go to sleep without me. He screams when in his crib. Not only, does he want to be in bed with me but also cuddled close and ideally breastfeeding. I know he is young and loves the comfort, so do I. But I wanted to ease him into his crib. His father and I are separating soon. We are tying up loose details. I wanted him to start giving him a little independence, maybe to weather the storm. I think he is extra comfort driven partly due to the angst in the house. We aren't the screaming arguing couple, more the quiet tense couple. Some nights I am just racked with grief that I involuntarily crying and I don't want him to be near at those moments so that he gets upset. But he sleeps light and when I ease out of bed, it wakes him many times. Then there is struggle to put us both back to bed. I have read some of the sleep books and tried to sleep train but nothing has worked so far. I definately do not want to 'cry it out'. given that we will be moving to a another home soon, I wonder if I should just continue the co-sleeping to ease the transition. I am conflicted. I never planned to cosleep and was against it when pregnant. But see its benefits now. Would love to hear any thoughts on this.

***** On the issue of reuniting, nothing is impossible but I cannot see the likelihood. My husband seems to have decided that he really didn't want to be a husband after all. He is happy with his child. But the marriage is unimportant to him. Having waited for the picket fence situation and being a later mom at 36+ I am truly disgsted by the situation that has occurred and the details of it are for another conversation. My husband's sister recently told me after a particular incident that 'whatever I did she would understand' and this after telling me while pregnant that she surprised that I am still married to her big brother. Needless to say I wish to remove myself and my child from an imploding situation.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the responses. My son and I moved out of the family home in early August and have been on our own since. Dad has visited a handful of times. He does no caregiving at all. My mom helps as does the sitter as I have a full-time job. He is now 10+ months and is still nursing at night and refuses to have anything else at night. But during the day he eats and drinks everything - milk, juice, water, food, the works. One exception - he refuses to drink milk from me (only) by bottle or sippy cup. He still hates his crib and refuses to sleep anywhere else but beside me. So now I'm thinking about sleep training again as well as weaning. His teeth play and the soreness can be tough sometimes. He will forcefully pull apart my clothes when sleeping to breastfeed. I admit however that I will miss the comfort of motherly togetherness after the past months of turmoil. I consider it will be a long road as I think I have a high need child, so I probably should begin now and maybe by his first birthday I will have some success.

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answers from Los Angeles on

First- super sorry to hear about the break up. Marriages are hard.
I haven't read any responses, so sorry if I am repeating!

I would let him sleep with you until you are settled in the new place. Does he nap in his crib? Try that first. When he falls asleep, put him in his crib so he wakes up there. Maybe put him in there with a bottle/ something he likes before he naps so he gets used to being in there.
I co slept for the first week or so, then the baby was in the crib. The more he is in there, the more he will be comfortable with it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Fargo on

I would absolutely continue co-sleeping. Your son needs extra comfort at this time and you probably do too!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think the continued co-sleeping may give you both some comfort. Any chance of reuniting with your husband? I'm really sorry to hear of your breakup.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would say that this is not the time to make major changes in his life in addition to what's coming down the road. The transition will be much easier on both of you if you wait until after you have settled into your new life.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Due to the soon to be MAJOR upheaval and change in the family dynamic... now more than ever your infant child will need your safety, love, comfort and breast. Co-sleeping is a great way to calm the child, make them feel safe and secure - not to mention close to their favorite person - the woman they were inside of for 9 months - listening to their breathing, heartbeat, voice, etc.

Co-sleeping is very comforting (for most Moms and even more children) to many many Moms and kids.

I've chosen to co-sleep, and my almost 6 y/o is only transistioning to her own bed now, because #2 is coming in July and there is only room for 3 bodies in our Queen bed. If I wasn't expecting - - I could have easily gone on with her in our bed until she asked to leave (which usually occurs around 4-8 y/o when privacy is desired).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sarasota on

I struggled with sleep training as well with my son who is now 4. All I can tell you is eventually he will "get it" and try different things. Whatever works for you is the right thing. My son at that age slept very well in his pack-n-play (playpen with soft, breathable mesh sides) and he could roll around without knocking into hard crib bars. Also try a fan and maybe background noise to soothe him. Mainly what I wanted to encourage you about is your separation and that you will get thru this. You sound exactly like me - same age, same type of husband. Be strong and keep putting your child's needs first and focus on moving forward. To the best of your ability, don't be bitter or angry, it will only hurt you. Try to cultivate good things in your life: friendships, playgroups, church, family, and above all, know that a happy woman makes the best mom. It's now been 3 years since my son's father bailed on our marriage and after losing everything (my marriage, my house, my life's savings, even my job), I am now rebuilding and God has blessed me so much! My son and I are healthy. I have a new job, amazing friendships, and a great church that connects us to great people and uplifting messages. Hopefully this makes you feel better. My son's pediatrician and a counselor I went to see both told me that if our marriage couldn't work, the sooner it ended the better. All my son remembers is that Mommy and Daddy live separately and they both love him. I have even found love again with the most incredible man who adores me and my son. This is not what anyone would chose to go thru, but I want to encourage you that in time, what seems so awful now, can unfold and blossom into a beautiful blessing. Peace, strength and courage to you. Kristen



answers from Jacksonville on

I would rock my son until he was asleep and then put him in the crib. He would wake up as soon as I laid him down and start to cry. We got one of the heartbeat bears and I would turn it on just before I laid him down. He would still wake up when I put him down, but didn't cry anymore and would fall back asleep right away. My son was younger when we moved him to the crib, so I'm not sure if it will work for you, but you may want to try it. Good luck.



answers from Orlando on

I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. My opinion is to continue co-sleeping until you are settled & things calm down. He is only 7 mos old, but he knows something is going on. He's needing the comfort from Mommy. I know you want some alone time to cry & be upset w/o waking him up. But remember he is only going to be this young for such a short period of time. Before you know it, he'll be locking you out of his room.
I, too, was very much against co-sleeping before I had my kids. But that quickly changed when my 1st was born. I ended up doing it & loving it!!
I pray you do well in this divorce & that your son does too. Shame on your husband for not wanting to be a husband!!! He has a son now, it isn't about him anymore!!
Best of luck!



answers from Melbourne on

My daughter (now 2 yrs) didn't really have any issues regarding sleep, but one trick I did use before putting her into her crib at night was to place a hot water bottle in her crib and remove it just before I put her down. This way she wasn't moving from the warmth and comfort of my arms into a cold bed! I did rock her crib and used one of those comfort teddy bears (whoosing white noise) which I placed under the crib as the sounds from the bear did help her sleep. Hope things get better and the sleep situation will improve :-)



answers from Salt Lake City on

as soon as the conflict is settled and life gets some sort of "normal" otherwise you are fighting a losing battle


answers from Eugene on

Co sleep until you have moved and are resettled six weeks. Then move your son to a crib next to your bed. He won't be able to climb out of it if it is one of those deep travel style cribs like Graco made.



answers from Miami on

Hi. While I am so sorry you are going through this, good for you for getting yourself into a better situation.

as for sleeping...i would advocate as little change and as much continuity with your child in every aspect you can, given that your overall situation is changing. That is, i would continue co-sleeping, especially now...If you need to get up and cry...do it...but let your child sleep in your bed with the familiar scents and textures etc...

Good Luck to you.



answers from Miami on

Why would you make any changes at this time? Of course he won't sleep away from you because he is in trauma. If the mother is in trauma, the baby will reflect your own emotions and not start self regulating. These problems can follow him for years to come so try to get yourself settled first through various relaxation, meditation, exercise and talk therapy to calm your nervous system down so your baby does not take these things through life himself. Your brain needs serotonin, dopamine and acetycholine. Get it naturally and in turn your baby will receive it! Don't make any changes now for sleep.

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