Attachment Parenting

Intro and a FTM's request for encouragement

Hi. I've been lurking on and off for a few months, whenever I have time. My little guy (my first) just turned 7 months and for the most part he is an absolute angel. I do struggle with sleep and naps though and in my heart I am committed to AP (not the label but it's just what felt natural and right from the start) but sometimes I falter and it really just feels unbelievably draining. We bedshare and up until a couple months ago he napped in his crib. I thought that was a perfect combination because he would get used to his crib and that would make the eventual transition easier.

He cut his first two teeth at the beginning of May and since then he barely ever allows us to put him to sleep in his crib. I've never been able to put him down "drowsy" and he's pretty terrible at self-soothing. Since I am pretty against CIO, I avoided that for a while. Then, feeling completely drained of energy, physical and emotional, I have tried it a few times just to see if he can fall asleep with just patting him on his back, picking him up after a few minutes, etc. No dice. He will cry until he's blue in the face, probably for hours if I let him.

Another thing that is driving me crazy is he will not stay asleep at night unless I'm in bed with him. If I am in bed, he'll sleep 12 hours and nurse a couple times while he's asleep. But it's obviously not very conducive to having any kind of life if I have to be in bed with him at 7 pm. I have never been able to leave him with a sitter in the evening for this same reason. The cherry on top is he will not take a bottle.

I feel hopeless sometimes and I know it's probably just the crappy sleep and feeling so emotionally drained. Have I created a monster? I am starting to doubt my choices, especially since everyone and their mother has an opinion on how terrible it is for me to not have LO in his own crib and that he doesn't self-soothe. I want so badly to trust that eventually he'll learn how to sleep on his own and that the true to the spirit of AP, my being responsive to his needs will give him confidence and not make him too dependent on me.

I guess I just need encouragement that there is light at the end of this. Has anyone else felt completely drained and discouraged and second guessed their AP instincts?


Re: Intro and a FTM's request for encouragement

  • You kiddo sounds a lot like mine was. I used to laugh/cry when people used the "drowsy but awake" saying. HA! they never met my kid, that's for sure. 

    Anyway, mine did grow out of it, and now she sleeps great, in her crib or in out bed, and wakes up once or twice sometimes, but goes right back down. 

    I don't believe she really was ready to soothe herself to sleep until she was about 19 months. There may have been a window around 12 months, but I missed it, then teething started and we traveled and she was sick... 

    Once she showed signs of being ready to go to sleep on her own, I actually had DH take over bedtime so that she would go to sleep about 30 minutes after nursing. This helped a lot, but again, she was ready. this was around 19 months.

    When she was little, she needed to either be nursed, rocked, walked, or driven to sleep for everything - naps and nighttime. She did grow out of it. I went to "bed" with her for a long time - at 7 or 8ish, but would read and sneak out at times. It really was the only thing that worked for us. I would go through stages of being really frustrated, and then being really happy and sentimantal about the snuggle time with LO. Now, there are times she points at the door and tells me to "go away" at bedtime. lol. Everything's a stage...

    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

  • My husband second guessed... Our son (2.5 now) is a terrible sleeper and my husband thought that we'd messed up somewhere because he's not sleeping through the night. However, then we had our baby girl and she's an amazing sleeper and we didn't do anything differently. Now my husband feels much better about how we parented our son, because he no longer thinks we messed him up in some way.

    Our son mostly nursed to sleep and occasionally rocked to sleep after nursing when he was little. He never STTN and nursed frequently at night. We did get to a point when he was taking most naps in his crib (putting him down asleep) and then transitioned from that to the beginning of the night in his crib and then ultimately stopped bringing he back to our bed and I would put him to sleep and put him back in the crib. That was around 12 months. The number of wakings slowly decreased (though there were backslides) down to once per night and he was always in his crib. He still wakes once per night in his toddler bed, but I'm able to get him back to sleep quickly (nursing).

    Maybe you can come up with some going to sleep routine that works for naps and allows you to put him down in his crib (asleep if that's what it takes) and then use the same routine at night for the beginning of his sleep so you can stay up and enjoy your evening. 

    My daughter is a totally different sleeper. She never liked bedsharing. You can occasionally put her down "drowsy but awake" and she's been STTN since she was a few weeks old. So you haven't ruined your child. You got a higher need sleeper and you are doing the best you can to help him learn to sleep well and feel loved and supported.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Loading the player...
  • Personally, I think a lot of it is the baby, not the parent.  Some babies just need more snuggling than others...
  • You described my daughter perfectly, so I know how you're feeling.  Around 7-8 months old, she started sleeping 9 p.m.-7 a.m., which made everything so much better for me.  I still don't get much time to myself in the evening, but at least I'm not going to bed at 7 anymore.  There are some nights when she's nursing for the millionth time that I really cannot take it anymore and I have to get up, have a breather, and let my husband try to comfort her (which doesn't work by the way).

    Your son is the person that he is, and you are doing your best at loving him and responding to his needs.  Some babies just need a lot of physical closeness and comforting.  I know everyone says that eventually CIO does work and everyone has their opinion, but I have personally seen a friends' 18 month old still crying (screaming really) for 30 minutes EVERY SINGLE NIGHT in her crib before falling asleep.

    Are you getting time to yourself in the evening to go out for a walk or do something else you enjoy??  On the weekends? 

  • imagetarahnpaul:

    Arieme you getting time to yourself in the evening to go out for a walk or do something else you enjoy??  On the weekends? 

    I've really struggled with this because my husband has been traveling and has had things going on most weekends. I really do need to start doing more of my own thing because I feel like LO and I are joined at the hip.

    Thanks for your comments. It is so good to hear that self soothing comes much later than I keep reading/hearing from everyone I talk to. Everything keeps saying between 4-6 months and it seems like perhaps that's an unrealistic expectation.

    Part of what makes his sleep needs so tough is he needs to be held and rocked, in a pitch black room. Rarely is he able to fall asleep easily under other circumstances. That's obviously taken a toll on my back and traveling and going to other people's houses that don't have dark rooms (you'd be surprised how much trouble I'm having with that!) trying to get him to nap is very frustrating. And it brings on the comments from bystanders about how at 7 months he should be putting himself to sleep by now and that I'm perpetuating his inability to do so by continuing to rock him.

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards