Sunday, January 8, 2017

Co-sleeping....

Photo courtesy of Cascadian Farm on Flickr
So...we're co-sleeping.

I don't know why but I feel a little embarrassed or ashamed about this.  I never really judged anyone else for doing it, we just never planned on co-sleeping with our baby.  I imagined ourselves as the parents that would have no trouble with sleep training, that we would have our baby in her crib at an early age, and that we could easily teach our baby to "self-soothe"....

But as it turned out, co-sleeping has been a life saver for us (or should I say sleep saver?).

Every baby is different, and every parenting situation and style may be different.  So what works for us may not work for you and vice versa.  And that's okay!  Honestly, I hope we don't co-sleep for a long time because I do still want Aria to learn how to sleep by herself in her own room.  But now is just not the time for her and that's okay.

Around 7-8 months we started to transition Aria to her crib from the bassinet in our room. She had not been co-sleeping with us before that, although I would usually rock her to sleep and sometimes I would pull her into bed with us in the mornings. But overall she would sleep the whole night by herself in the bassinet next to our bed with one night waking for a bottle. Then, she started to outgrow her bassinet, and we figured it was a good time to move her to the nursery.

We tried the Ferber Method, or the gentle cry-it-out (there are so many names for this!).  So basically we would lay her down in her crib when she was drowsy and fed, and then leave the room.  If she started to cry, we would check on her in 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then at 20 minutes, and so forth.
The problem was that she would not stop crying....for hours.  And it seemed that the longer we tried this method, the worse it got.  She would start screaming the second we went to lay her down in the crib.  She would cry and scream at the top of her lungs, and it would take 2-3 hours before she would become so exhausted that she finally went to sleep.  But then, she would wake up an hour or maybe a few hours later, and start screaming again, unable to put herself back to sleep.

So, out of frustration and sleep-deprivation, we pulled her into bed with us one night. And it was such a stark contrast!

She fell asleep within minutes.  If she woke up in the middle of the night, she wouldn't cry, she would drift back to sleep without us holding or cuddling her.

And she started sleeping for 11-12 hours straight.

That's when we made the decision to continue co-sleeping with her.  Every baby is unique and this situation works very well for her.  And honestly it works out so much better for us too. She is asleep by 7:30 without any tears.  So that gives us time to do whatever we want to do, read, watch tv, or spend time together.  It just works for us.

This isn't a permanent situation of course, and we will continue co-sleeping for as long as Aria needs us to or as long as she's unable to self-soothe.

At first I really felt like we were doing something wrong because we gave up on sleep training, but the more I researched on the issue and read other parent's testimonies, I realized that it's okay to do whatever we need to do so that our child can get deep, restorative sleep that they need to grow and be healthy.  That's the most important thing for us.

One of the resources that I read that was very insightful and made me feel a lot better about this decision was The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith.  You can also read her blog about this topic here.

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping?

8 comments:

  1. We co-slept until 5 1/2 months. Life saver. As you mentioned above, you do what you need (and want) to do. Hopefully you can tune out negative opinions. From what I hear, the longer the co-sleeping situation, the harder the transition, but you'll figure it out!

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    1. I've heard that too! We will try to transition her to her crib again in a month or two and see how that goes. We plan to start with naps and hopefully she realizes that her crib is a safe and comfy place to sleep! Fingers crossed!

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  2. We are still cosleeping at 18 months, with no signs of changing yet, though I think I would get slightly better sleep (and get more stuff done) if Ivy slept in her crib. I love being able to cuddle her every night, and I'm sure it has contributed to our nursing relationship as well. I know some kids need their space while they're sleeping, but Ivy is definitely not one of them!

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    1. Aria is the same! She really doesn't like to be left alone to sleep. I think she needs the physical closeness and I'm happy to provide that to her. As parents we have to do what is best for our babies! :)

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  3. Awww. You do what you need to do. Enjoy the cuddles and snuggles. Sweet sweet baby just needs y'all a bit more right now. No harm, friend!!

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  4. Like others have said you do what you have to do. For some reason mine would never actually go to sleep in bed with us. But I did sleep in the recliner with him for months on end!! I still rock him to sleep then put him in his crib at 14 months. He didn't start sleeping through the night until he was about 12 months and he still wakes up once which is ok with me! Makes me feel like he still needs me..haha

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  5. My little guy (he's 2 1/2) reacted the same way to the cry it out method - it made getting him to sleep so much worse! He has always been needy, from the day I brought him home from the hospital (he's my foster child, soon-to-be adopted son). He didn't start co-sleeping with me until he was over a year old, mostly because I fought it so hard (hearing the same things you've heard and feeling the same I failed feelings - plus, technically we aren't supposed to let our foster children sleep with us... So, shhh!). Because of this, I never slept! I was sleep deprived for a very long time and it didn't always help me to be the best mommy during the day. I don't love co-sleeping because it's not the most restful sleep (mainly because he has this awful habit of jamming his feet in between my ribs!), but it is better than no sleep. Someday he will sleep on his own the whole night through. For now, he is still a needy toddler and so we deal with it how we can. Best of luck to you and your little one!

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