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Combination method?

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  • Combination method?

    Ok. So... I'm new to this whole parenting thing, and have been feeling it out as we go along.

    When my daughter was first born, she slept with me. Which is to say, she slept and I didn't.

    I'd heard all the arguments for and against bed-sharing, and knowing how heavy my husband and I tend to sleep, and how often I tend to flail in my sleep, we'd reluctantly decided it was probably not the best decision for our family. She had other ideas. For the first month, she refused to sleep any way but a) in my arms while I tried and failed to get comfortable in a reclining chair, or b) plopped on top of me while I lay in bed. She slept the sleep of the angels. I lay awake most of the night, terrified I would roll over or otherwise hurt her, and popped back awake in a panic every time I started to doze. For that first month I subsisted on catnaps.

    Around that time, a friend gave us a bouncy chair that she adored. Suddenly she was falling asleep somewhere other than on me! I started moving her, chair and all, into the bedroom at night so she could sleep next to the bed. Still, from what I'd read the chair wasn't the best place for her to sleep. So we've been slowly, painstakingly getting her used to the idea of sleeping in her crib.

    She's currently 4 months old, and we've reached something of a compromise. When she starts acting sleepy - usually around 8, sometimes as early as 6 or as late as 10 (we're night owls), we start feeding, rocking, and singing to her. We lay her in the crib (which is not in our bedroom, but her room attaches to ours via a small walk-in closet, so there's no walls or doors between us) either asleep or very sleepy; sometimes she goes right to sleep, sometimes she fusses for a few minutes and then sleeps. (Usually if she fusses, it's for five minutes - on the dot, most nights. If she fusses longer than that or if it sounds more intense than usual, there's something wrong - still hungry, wet again, still too keyed-up from a long day, etc.) Then when she wakes, usually in the very early morning, she gets moved to our bed to nurse and snuggle - by that point, I've already gotten enough sleep that I feel more comfortable having her in with me.

    This combination of methods gives us some time in the evening to get things done, lets us get a few hours of deep sleep, lets her fall asleep (she hates falling asleep if there's a chance she'll miss anything - even singing to her, I've watched her shake herself back awake so she doesn't miss the end of the lullaby), and then lets her get her bedsharing/closeness time with us when I'm more able to just lightly drowse rather than conk completely out. It works for everyone... but I can't help but worry I'm making a mistake. Everyone has such different ideas about how sleep should work - this website argues against cry-it-out at all, even the minimal amount of crying we allow; my mother thinks I'm crazy for not letting her cry any more than I do; my lactation specialist thinks it's terrible to let her sleep through the night and that I should wake her up to nurse whether she wants to or not (even though the pediatrician says she's gaining weight right on schedule); my midwife (who lost a baby to SIDS) is adamantly against bed-sharing at all... how on earth is a new mom supposed to sort through all this advice, especially when doing it "wrong" seems to be working fine?!?

  • #2
    The purpose of API is to inform parents about practices that are attachment-promoting. We believe that being responsive at night will help to develop a positive, trusting relationship between parents and their children. For more information on the science and reasoning behind our 8 Principles of Parenting, click here.

    Every Family makes choices that they believe are best for their family. I have two children, and we even varied some of our practices between the two because each child is an individual and needs different things. I'd also encourage you to consider that your practices are not just for infants. Mine are now 6 and 9 and they still sometimes ask to sleep with me. Our bed is always open to them. These can be some of the most precious times in our relationship because in the quiet, they reveal themselves to me. They share things they never would during the day because they are too busy.