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Desparately Need Advice for Co-Sleeping 11-Month-Old Baby Boy

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  • Desparately Need Advice for Co-Sleeping 11-Month-Old Baby Boy


    I really need some advice. I co-sleep with my soon-to-be 11-month-old son and have since birth. It has worked well up until about a month ago, as he would fall asleep nursing without too much trouble. Now that he has gotten older, he nurses and seems tired (his eyes even start to roll back at times), but he will then get up (seemingly with a new burst of energy) and crawl off the bed, stand up on the bed, hit the wall, and go back to playing.

    It has gotten so difficult that either my husband or I rock him to sleep every night and for almost every nap (unless he is EXTREMELY tired). He will not be rocked in a chair (he is very tall, so I think he finds it uncomfortable and also restrictive), so we have to stand up the whole time, which is really hurting our already sore backs.

    I'm not ready to sleep train him or do CIO. I cannot stand to hear him cry, and I think it would confuse him to all of a sudden be left alone after nearly a year of being with me 24/7. What's more, I love sleeping with him (and he also still nurses throughout the night, which though he may not "need," I think he benefits greatly from in many respects).

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can get my little guy to sleep without leaving him to cry in a crib for hours? Any success stories? I've read tons on this (and know sleep changes can be due to a myriad of things ranging from teething and increasing separation anxiety to learning new skills/hitting milestones), but I really need something to happen in order to get through this period.

    Thank you so much for any helpful advice or words of encouragement.

  • #2
    Attached at The Heart, page 171, Dr Gordon says "I don't recommend any forced sleep changes during the first year of life." I am not assuming that you are forcing changes. Just reinforcing the idea that this might not be an emergency sleep problem as much as it is a support for mom problem. In Nighttime Parenting, Dr. Sears notes is that burnout and exhaustion is sometimes the result of too little support for mom during the day. Maybe you could explore that idea and come up with ways to get more help so that you have the patience to get through this developmental blip. If you have no outside assistance, can you afford to pay for other kinds of help - grocery drop off? OR can you let go of something that you Believe you need to do that isn't really important for right now, during this transition?

    Or, maybe you just really need to vent and be heard by someone who understands on the warm line?


    • #3

      Oh, I can remember those days! My now 7.5 year old began to resist napping and bedtime whenever she was going through big developmental changes, starting around 6 months. I used to dance her to a salsa CD, or take her for long walks in a stroller. I found that if I made sure she had a good rhythm to the day - we woke up in the morning at the same time, ate meals/nursed around the same time (I fed her whenever she wanted though), that we also got plenty of play during the day, and especially got outside in the morning, that really helped her settle for rest. Especially if she got to practice whatever she was "working" on - lots of crawling, or walking or whatever....

      The other thing that really helped me was relaxing about sleep. Finally, I gave up fighting her on taking an afternoon nap when she was about 2.5 and she started sleeping 12-14 hours at night (still with night nursing and waking but all her sleep was in a long block). I was so relieved because she went to bed at night rather quickly and easily at this point, and early, so I could get some quality time with my partner or do something for myself.

      Our family has found that food intolerances/allergies really impact our sleep. We also generally take an Epsom salt bath every night, which is very relaxing. I also have found that massage - even a foot rub - is a great way to calm my children. Earlier bedtimes and blackout curtains, dim/no lights, and no excitement in the hour before rest is also helpful for us. We have also seen great improvement for the whole family in receiving chiropractic care and using homeopathy. Perhaps some of these ideas will be helpful for you too.

      I like the other posters idea about finding some ways to support and nurture yourself too. Reminding yourself that this shall pass (and it will!) can still be hard of you are very tired or just need a break.

      Best wishes to you and your family!



      • #4
        Thank you both very much for your advice and words of encouragement. It has been tough on me, but my concern is mostly about my son and whether it would be "healthier" for him to get more unbroken sleep in a crib. I can continue (and plan to!); I guess I just wanted to hear thoughts on if it is not good to keep co-sleeping when it might be causing him to sleep less (since he doesn't settle easily and often misses his second nap). I've gotten some recent pressure from friends, family, and healthcare professionals, so I just wanted some other opinions (from moms who have actually been through this). Thanks again!


        • #5
          You are welcome! Of course you want what is best for your son. If you could ask him and get an answer from him about where and how he wants to sleep, what would it be? What would he say to you? My 3.5 is very clear that she wants to sleep with me and my 7.5 year old, as of about 9 months ago, got really comfortable sleeping in her bed, and now prefers it.

          A few other thoughts., my oldest was around that age when she transitioned to one nap in the early afternoon. My second child took naps more easily and longer than my first, probably because I wasn't so fixated on.her getting some sleep! I wonder if your son might be making a bit of nap/sleep transition? That can take a few weeks or more to settle to a new routine.

          With our older child we got her a bed around 22 months. She would sleep there until she woke and called for me, then I generally slept with her the rest of the night. She rejoined me after our second child was born bc my husband was often traveling and it was so, so much easier to night time parent if both were right next to me. We are now talking about our second child sleeping in her bed, but she says she is not ready. That's ok with me. My husband usually sleeps in another room, so we all sleep where we get the best sleep. Sometimes the best sleep isn't really that great for either children or parents, but look at how tired they are during the day, their ability to handle frustration, their growth and health and their relationship with you/your partner, and if you have concerns in these areas then start making small adjustments or changes.

          Is he healthy, happy and growing? If so, I think you can just remind friends, family and doctors that he is healthy, happy and growing well and that you and your family are doing what works best for you. No garuntee that he would sleep all night in a crib, either.

          I am sure that you and your husband and chid will find the right sleeping arrangements that are best for your family. These will change over time. Wherever you sleep, enjoy these snuggles as the years do pass quickly!



          • #6
            Thanks, Kathryn. He is doing well. Though he gets tired when he misses his naps, he is in the 99th percentile for height and the 94th for weight. He is extremely bright and sweet and hilarious. Thank God, he is thriving. So, I guess I should keep that in mind and remind myself I am doing something right! Thanks.


            • #7
              It sounds like your son is doing wonderfully and so are you! It can be a challenge when friends and family make suggestions or give advice that is contrary to what you are doing, but ultimately you need to do what works best for your family. It sounds like you and your husband are figuring that out.

              With regard to helping your son get to sleep, I wonder what would happen if you didn't rock him, bounce him, all that? I took a class years ago with Pam Leo, author of Connection Parenting, and I remember her suggesting that sometimes babies and small children have energy they need to burn off before sleep and this often comes out as crying. She was not advocating CIO, but she did suggest that allowing your child to release emotional hurts/fears through crying while held in your loving arms and with your comfort could help them be ready for sleep. This same scenario can also take place during the day, but particularly at transitions, sleep being a big one. Food for thought.