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  • New here and looking for support/strategies

    Hi - I'm new to the group and joined in order to get some support and/or strategies with my son.

    Background: I'm a 28 y/o first time mom to Alex. My husband travels frequently for his job, so I am the primary parent, which we are both OK with. Currently the hubby is out of the country for a month, which is not too uncommon. I am a SAHM. Alex is almost 16 months old, and a VERY active, sensitive boy. He has always been very spirited and happy. He is the best thing in the world, but also exhausting to take care of full time. I rarely get a break from DH/family, simply because they are not available or Alex just plain tires them o ut, so after a few hours, he's mine again! I'm also VERY particular about his parenting, so it's hard for me to let go sometimes to get a break.

    Anyway (and sorry this is getting long!)...Alex sleeps in his own crib most of the time. We co-sleep when necessary (teething, bad night, whatever). But Alex actually prefers his own space (and so do we as he's a super duper wiggle worm!). I am the only one who puts him down for sleep. Ever. I have always rocked him to sleep. Very often, I have to try several times to get him down in his crib. He'll be fast asleep in my arms but of course wake up panicked when I place him in his crib. Lately, it has gotten so bad. It is taking him FOREVER to fall asleep, no matter what we've done during the day (activity wise), how his nap was, how last night's sleep was, etc. So I've finally decided to relax and stop watching the clock and enjoy this snuggle time. But then it's taking me up to 2-3 hours to get him down, and I've started getting angry . I think it's more my own stress and whatnot, but I hate hate hate that I can be angry with my innocent child. I've come to the point where I feel conflicted because my head is saying it's time to try CIO (mostly b/c of what other people have said that make me feel like it has to be done, etc). but my heart says absolutely not. I can't stand to hear him cry and feel like such a failure. In my heart I don't believe CIO is the answer. I feel like him giving up the fight is exactly what I don't want him to do. I feel like he truly does still need me and that's his "safe" time. So why can't I just calm down and keep my cool at night (or before naptime)? I'm frankly becoming ashamed at my parenting .

    Whenever I read posts of people who have BTDT or who have the same feelings I do towards CIO I feel better and more able to work on it. BUt lately I just read people who say you have to CIO, etc. So I am hoping that you all might have some encouraging words to help me believe that I am NOT setting him up for sleep failure and that I can continue to parent him during the night, etc. I know there is no magic solution for better nights, but I just need the emotional support right now that I can't seem to find elsewhere. My husband was raised very differently from me and frankly would be OK doing CIO, so while he supports whatever I choose, he's not able to emotionally support me when it's hard. I feel like my son and my relationship is so fragile and I want to nurture it, but I'm not doing well with that through these sleep issues. I also have some outside stress right now (my dad is very sick, my husband was recently diagnosed with an illness, etc) so I know that's contributing too.

    I hope this is at least somewhat coherent, I'm running on very little sleep (aren't we all!). So thanks for letting me get that all off of my chest and I look forward to e-meeting you all!

    ~Erica

  • #2
    you sound very overwhelmed and from what you describe, that's understandable! but i can assure you that parenting your child to sleep will NOT set him up for poor sleep habits. i have a 6 and 3 year old who sleep brilliantly now and we have always parented them to sleep. CIO will only serve to harm the trust you have built w/your son, so good for you for listening to your instincts!

    have you tried just laying down next to him to get him to sleep? then you won't have to disturb him once he's asleep and you can get up and do things you want once he's out. you can take his mattress out of the crib and put it on the floor (i highly recommend putting it next to your mattress) and lay next to him until he's out.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your reply :-) I am really glad to hear about your 6 and 3 y/o. I have a friend who also is anti-CIO and she has an 8 y/o who still has major sleep issues, so I know that is in the back of my mind a lot of the time. Alex is a big boy (almost 30 lbs at 1 year) so the thought of rocking him for years to come scares me haha! I haven't done the mattress approach. We had to put his crib on the lowest setting as he's tall (33") and could almost lean out of it. So it's technically on the toddler bed setting, and therefore, very hard to get him down without waking him up. I'd be interested in the mattress approach, but I'm not sure how I could do it. I think he'd definitely roll off of it in his sleep, as he really does move a lot still. I wonder if there is any way to modify it, I'll have to think about that. Some nights when I bring him to bed with me he passes right out, other nights he decides it's playtime, so I don't know, but I will think about doing that! Thanks again for your support.

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      • #4
        as you point out, it can be dangerous to take one real-life experience and generalize it to an entire population. we can all say that we know one family that does X and their kids are X, but to apply that to all families who do X would be a fallacy in thinking.

        you can push the mattress up against a wall (a corner is even better) then line pillows all around the edge. my boys are VERY active sleepers, so we do that still. their mattresses are still on the floor. we joke that our oldest will never sleep in a real bed b/c of all the thrashing he does. he'll be 17 and fall out of his bed!

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        • #5

          I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions, but I just wanted to encourage you to follow your instincts and not do CIO. It doesn't sound like you would, but you were having some doubts. If you do CIO you can damage your relationship with your son and since you sound like such a wonderful and caring mama I think you would truly regret it if you tried it. Your son trusts you and parenting him to sleep is the best way to keep that trust. I know not getting enough sleep is so hard, but eventually this will pass. I like the idea PaxMama gave you. I'm glad you're thinking about how you can make it work.

          Hang in there and good luck!
          Amy

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          • #6
            Hi and welcome to the forum. You just once around the forum and you will know what are the topics disscussed and I am sure you will get a lot of information and also post your suggesstions and question .

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