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Holding 2 year old until he falls asleep

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  • Holding 2 year old until he falls asleep

    I lay with my 2 year old on the couch until he falls asleep, which usually takes about 20 minutes, then move him into his crib after he is asleep. If I lay him down while he is awake, even just a little awake, he screams. I never thought there was a problem with holding him until he falls asleep, but my mother is telling me I need to put him in his bed and let him cry it out, even if he cries for several hours. I can't stand the thought of doing this, but I am now questioning my decisions and parenting. So, my 3 questions are....

    1. Is it okay to lay with my child until he falls asleep?

    2. If it is okay, at what age do I need to start teaching him to fall asleep on his own?

    3. Are there any resources I can provide my mother to assure her it is okay? Her best friend is a family counselor and promotes the cry-it-out philosophy, so I need more than just "my word" that I am not harming my child's development.

    Also, sometimes he stays the entire night in his own crib, and sometimes he wakes in the middle of the night crying (maybe 50% of the time), in which case I bring him to my bed and he falls back asleep. This also does not seem like a problem to me.

    I have never heard the term "Attachment Parenting" until tonight when I stumbled across it, so forgive me if I seem ignorant to basic principles.

  • #2
    Your sleeping arrangement sounds similar to mine with my two year old. She falls asleep on my lap on the couch every night and then I move her to my bed. She used to sleep part of the night in her crib, but hasn't for a long time. And that's OK with me.

    To answer your questions:

    1. Yes, it is perfectly OK to lay down with your child until he falls asleep.
    2. I choose to see a child learning to fall asleep on his own the same as a child learning to potty train -- it's a process, but eventually your child will want to sleep in his own bed. Two years old is still so small...he's still, really, a baby. I tried to transition my oldest daughter to her own bed before she was ready and it backfired badly into extreme separation anxiety at night. She just needed that security and comfort! And your son needs that, too.
    3. It's always hard when family doesn't see our perspectives on parenting. You can introduce your mom to Dr. William Sears' Nighttime Parenting or Dr. James McKenna's Sleeping with Your Baby. But it may be that your mom can't be convinced by anything but time and seeing for herself. If your mom is concerned about your quality of sleep, you can assure her that your sleep arrangement is what works best for your family. Or, you can do what I do and just not talk about it.

    And you have nothing to ask forgiveness for...we all came to Attachment Parenting at different points in our parenting journey, and sleep is certainly a concern for most parents -- especially with so many opposite points of view out there (cry it out, sleep training). You are already following Attachment Parenting principles by being consciously aware of what feels right to you in how your treat your son...and by seeking support from other parents through this forum.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CJab View Post
      I lay with my 2 year old on the couch until he falls asleep, which usually takes about 20 minutes, then move him into his crib after he is asleep. If I lay him down while he is awake, even just a little awake, he screams. I never thought there was a problem with holding him until he falls asleep, but my mother is telling me I need to put him in his bed and let him cry it out, even if he cries for several hours. I can't stand the thought of doing this, but I am now questioning my decisions and parenting. So, my 3 questions are....

      1. Is it okay to lay with my child until he falls asleep?

      2. If it is okay, at what age do I need to start teaching him to fall asleep on his own?

      3. Are there any resources I can provide my mother to assure her it is okay? Her best friend is a family counselor and promotes the cry-it-out philosophy, so I need more than just "my word" that I am not harming my child's development.

      Also, sometimes he stays the entire night in his own crib, and sometimes he wakes in the middle of the night crying (maybe 50% of the time), in which case I bring him to my bed and he falls back asleep. This also does not seem like a problem to me.

      I have never heard the term "Attachment Parenting" until tonight when I stumbled across it, so forgive me if I seem ignorant to basic principles.
      1) Yes I have a 2 yr old i still lay/nurse to sleep and she is one of the most happy go lucky kid in general

      2) I haven't decided when to stop doing this. I tried to force weaning on her it didn't go to well. Now I will say mommy's num num is owie i can't nurse you. Generally she's compassionate enough to understand that it hurts me. I know it's not the same as laying with your little one but maybe having someone else lay with him will help him move forward.

      3) as for the counselor friend here's something to say to him/her. I'm a social worker and the number one thing that we are taught and try to teach is that it is important to validate peoples thoughts, feelings and emotions. If I am to teach my child these important values I need demonstrate them through out the day and night. My child is telling me that emotionally he is not ready to sleep on his own. He may or may not find going to sleep alone distressful. By validating his feelings I am teaching him that I respect him and will help him learn how to go to sleep on his own when he is psychologically and emotionally ready. If I force something he's not psychologically or emotionally prepaired for I may cause other behavioural and emotional disorders that may have been avoidable.

      anyways I hope some of that helps. Let my know how that goes over. Pm me if you wish Good Luck!

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      • #4
        I have a very similar issue- which is my post right below yours. I am also a psychotherapist and most of us are trained very behaviorally. I was on board with the cry-it-out techniques and behavior modification- which is such garbage as it only looks to behavior and not the reason behind it. Then thank God I discovered AP shortly after giving birth when i decided to brush up on my childhood dev. I found it amusing how much the behavioral viewpoint was invalidating to ERickson's stages of development. For ex- 0-18 mo the skill infants need to master is trust vs.mistrust, and I see letting a baby or and age child CIO as teaching him to not trust himself, the world, or his parents.

        But even so your mom's therapist friend may disagree and that's ok. It ultimately doesn't matter. it may be nice to get support from family and friends but it isn't necessary or always available. you ultimately are the one raising your child. just reflect back- you were fine with what you were doing before someone else starting questioning it.

        You will always findop0 the support you need on API's forums.

        I nurse my 2 y/o to sleep. i have nightweaned him but that didn't stop the waking when we are not present. he needs our presence to go back to sleep again. and while it is very frustrating having our evenings occasionally disrupted,i really don't think now is the time to have him go to sleep on his own. i think it would cause a great upset and cause other problems. but i'll tell you one thing, he has never fought going to sleep or his whole routine because we have taught him that going to sleep is a peaceful and pleasant state to enter into, not a stressful, scary one. I just wish he would stay asleep- but that will come when he is older.

        A great read is Attached at the heart- by parker and nicholson. tells you everything thing you wanted to know about AP and is incredibly validating as a parent.

        Hope this helps- follow your instincts!!

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