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Part Time Co-Sleeping

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  • Part Time Co-Sleeping

    Hello!! I'm so glad to have found these forums! This is my first post, and I don't know if there's an introduction thread somewhere (alright, I'm lazy and just didn't look!), but I wanted to shout out a quick hello to fellow AP mom's and ask a question while I was at it. Maybe some of you can give me a little direction.

    I have a 13 month old daughter who went from crib (I was never comfortable with this, and she HATED her crib) to a twin mattress at 6 months old. The reason we went with a twin was because I wanted to be able to lay with her at night, and our bed is too small for the 3 of us. Or when my partner is out of town (or if she's just having a rough night), she'll sleep in our bed (and he'll sleep downstairs). We've since given our crib away, and I don't plan on using one with our next child... I'm a couple months pregnant now, so I'm pretty tired.

    This sleep situation works GREAT for us... She falls asleep (usually) quickly, and often will just call out for us in the middle of the night, unless we're in a deep sleep and don't hear her, in which case she will hollar sort of a sad sleepy cry. Either way, as soon as we hear her (we both strongly disagree with allowing her to cry), we go to her immediately and she usually crawls back into bed all by herself as soon as she sees us. I can sometimes just tuck her back in and leave the room, but most of the time I'll lay with her for at least a few minutes. We TRY to leave the room before she's completely asleep (both at bedtime and in the middle of the night), but often she'll want us to lay with her for a bit longer. Sometimes until she's completely asleep... Which I have no problems with at all.

    Lately however, she's been not wanting to lay in bed at night, and has also been wanting to get up in the middle of the night. I have to rock her to sleep (which she doesn't protest), and if I lay her down too early, she'll throw one heck of a tantrum. She'll sit up, try to crawl out of bed, etc. And I really don't want to get into THAT habit... I love story time before bed (in the rocking chair), but I don't want her to fall asleep that way, every night.

    The middle of the night problem has only happened a couple times. She wakes up, and will lay in bed awake for easily an hour (happy, but awake), then she'll decide she just wants to get up and go to the living room. I am NOT okay with this. Nighttime is for sleeping, and I don't want to spend 2-3 hours playing with her in the middle of the night. And I am very not okay with this.

    I haven't figured out how to deal with this, short of letting her throw her tantrums and fighting it out. We're in bed, we're staying in bed, end of story.

    I practice AP (and EC as well), but due to the lack of room in our bed, this is the only solution we've found that works. Is there a way to do this, and (at the same time) not co-sleep without the fuss? At 13 months I STRONGLY dislike the idea of forcing her to sleep alone, but because we have baby #2 on the way, it's becoming a bit more tricky with the rocking to sleep (we never used to do that) and middle of the night wake-ups. I FEEL like I'm doing everything right (tending to her needs, being there when she feels insecure, etc), but I'd like to hear what you all have to say about this. I can't seem to find ANYTHING online about attachment parenting, and not co-sleeping.

    If you have some advice, I'd love to hear it! Otherwise, it's nice to e-meet you all!!

  • #2
    I think a lot of kids have periods on and off of occasionally waking up and being alert and playful in the middle of the night. Both of mine did it at that age and it most of the time would be indirectly related to excitement, food, nap changes etc...just something different. Mostly I have never heard of this happening all the time unless something really odd like side effect to medicine, getting over an illness, severe food sensitvity, etc

    Congrats on your pregnancy and to the forum.


    • #3
      Hi there,

      I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, but rather some questions. My 8 mth old starts the night in his crib, but comes to bed with me after about midnight (when I am too tired to continue to rock until he is completely asleep in order to put him back in his crib). He does not like to sleep in his crib, and will only go in there if he is asleep, and wakes up between 3-5 times before midnight. I have considered using the mattress on the floor technique, but am concerned about his safety since he is a VERY active baby who is into everything. His first reaction on waking up is to sit himself up, and then start to crawl around. If he is in his crib, he usually stands up (if I don't get in there in time). My questions are:

      How did you ensure that the room your child was sleeping in was completely safe? Did you take other precautions above and beyond the standard baby proofing?
      How did you find that your baby's sleep improve after taking away the crib? Was she a very frequent night waker?

      Any info would be very much appreciated!


      • #4
        How did you ensure that the room your child was sleeping in was completely safe? Did you take other precautions above and beyond the standard baby proofing?
        The ideal sleeping room would have very little in it and what was in it was as safe as possible. A mattress on the floor, low things on the ground etc.

        I will say that I always knew when my baby was waking, my babies always look or call for me when they woke up. I would say we all slept better because he was comforted faster and I didn't have to fully wake up to do that.

        Part of making a room safe is knowing your baby. If you have a climber, make sure you NEVER leave dresser drawers open, even a little. Watch low open windows! Those have always scared me. If your baby is right next to you, do you think you won't notice if the get up and start tearing up the place? If you are not in the room have a super loud monitor close to baby so you can hear any trouble or waking.


        • #5
          Originally posted by LLMom View Post
          How did you ensure that the room your child was sleeping in was completely safe? Did you take other precautions above and beyond the standard baby proofing?
          How did you find that your baby's sleep improve after taking away the crib? Was she a very frequent night waker?
          When we used the crib, she would often wake up screaming (not crying) and shaking the crib with her face pressed up between the bars looking out into the hallway. The sleeping wasn't the problem, it was the putting her down to sleep (and the way she woke up). And when she did wake up in the middle of the night, it would often take me 30 minutes (or more) to rock her back to sleep. I would have to wait until she was in a DEEP sleep before putting her down, and even then the gravity of laying her in her crib would wake her up. And when she woke up, the whole thing would start over again. It was not uncommon for me to get up and be up for 90 minutes, just trying to get her settled into her crib. This went for both naps are nighttime. Naps were much worse because she would never stay asleep.

          Oddly though, if I lay her in our bed, she would fall asleep within minutes, and stay asleep. So when we bought her a twin mattress, it was like magic.

          Her bedroom door has a tall baby gate (mostly to keep the dog/cat out), but because of the way she used to wake up in the crib, I had a feeling she would just crawl to the baby gate when she woke up. Which she does, although sometimes she just sits up in bed and calls out. The only time she wakes up and cries is if we're in a deep sleep and don't hear her immediate calls. She NEVER wakes up quietly and plays.

          There really wasn't much baby proofing to be done, really... We have a small dresser (it's actually a change table, but we've only ever used it to store clothes), a toy box (to distract her from the change table) and a rocking chair (which I lock at night so she can't pinch her fingers). Even the lamp is tucked behind the table so she can't reach the cord. The only real danger is pulling the drawers out and trying to climb up, but it's such a short climb, and the drawers are so low to the ground that there's no risk of tipping (I tried this myself). As for the dresser though, the most I've ever seen her do is pull out clothes. She's never attempted to climb up (I don't think she could if she tried), but we may use those drawer safe lock things just incase. If she does play in there, she usually just drags a toy into her bed and plays peekaboo with the blanket. All toys are safe, and there are no choke hazards in her room (that was my biggest concern).

          I occasionally let her play in her room if I want to do something like vacuum or laundry, and I watched her CLOSELY for a long time to make sure she wasn't getting into trouble. She pretty much keeps to her toybox. Sometimes I'll throw in a new toy if I want to do something like take a shower. Something to keep her interested and less likely to get into trouble, although there's really nothing she can get into.

          She was never a frequent night waker when she was younger, but often lately she will wake up at LEAST once, sometimes 2-3 times a night. The difference between the bed and the crib though, is the crib would take me hours to get her down, and the bed takes minutes.

          It's hard to say if her sleep patterns would have remained the same or changed as it is now though, as that does change with age. But I couldn't handle the crib anymore. I needed to sleep, and literally from the first night we bought her that bed, sleep happened.

          I hated that crib. I was thrilled to give it away. We'll probably do a playpen type sleeping area for the next baby and when he/she is at an age to be put into a bed, we'll do that as well.


          • #6
            Thank you for the replies!! I think I'll try the mattress technique in the near future....


            • #7
              A huge thank you....

              I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your replies on this issue. We have been trying the mattress on the floor for about a week now, and have seen a HUGE improvement in my son's sleeping. He's gone from waking up almost hourly, (screaming in his crib, needing to be consoled for anywhere from 20 mins to an hr before going back to sleep), to sleeping from 2-4 hrs at a time, waking up with minimal fussing and going back to sleep within mins. with a back rub or some quiet singing. Even my pro-CIO husband acknowledges the positive changes. I now look at our crib as a nice peice of furniture and not a place for our baby to sleep. I am so glad I found this forum full of caring parents who share the same ideas about parenting as I do. Thanks again.


              • #8
                That is nice to hear! It is how we did it so I know it can work!
                Thank you for giving us an update!


                • #9
                  I'm so glad to hear that this worked or other people as well!!

                  As for our night waking problem, it turned out she was hungry for solid food, as well as what I suspect were molars trying to break through (they're still not through, but I know it can take a while). I stopped offering a bottle on demand and only gave her milk/formula a couple times a day with water the rest of the day and her appetite for solids almost immediately went up. She also had a cold (that lingered on and off) during the times she wasn't sleeping well, and I suspect this was one of the reasons why she was refusing most solid foods during the day. And of course the reason why she may have been hungry at night.

                  I didn't stop getting up with her in the middle of the night (much to the horror of everyone who told me I was creating a bad habit and that she would never sleep through the night if she knew she could get up to watch tv and play), but she has slept on average 10-12 hours STRAIGHT, from last wednesday night on.

                  I don't know HOW I would have done this had she still been sleeping in a crib.


                  • #10
                    Mommy DETECTIVE!
                    I feel like that a lot!
                    Thanks for the update!