Well, unfortunately co-sleeping is not working for our family anymore. Our sweet little boy is a wild man at night, kicking and flopping about. He also thinks he should have 24-7 access to the “breastaurant,” which is keeping me up all night and driving me insane. I can no longer be his human pacifier. I love him dearly, but I am tired.
A few nights ago, I decided we would try to have him sleep in his crib all night. This led to me getting up to rock and breastfeed him back to sleep at least once every hour. All. Night. Long.
This cannot continue.
At his 6-month checkup this past week, I broached the subject with our pediatrician (whom we adore, by the way). He is an older gentleman with a kind smile who is very matter-of-fact and experienced. After explaining our situation, he said “OK, first of all, I want you to go home and write down everything that you remember about being 6 months old.” Obviously, I can’t remember a thing. Then he said, “Tonight around 10 p.m., read him a book, give him a hug and kiss and tell him you love him, put him in his crib, shut the door, and don’t go back until 6 a.m.—no matter what.” What?! Are you serious? We debated back and forth for the next 20 minutes.
Everything I’ve read has been from an attachment parenting point of view. I haven’t let my baby cry for more than five minutes—ever. I never thought I would even consider letting my baby cry it out. I want him to know he’s loved always and that he can rely on us.
On the other hand, I’m afraid we are creating a little monster. We somehow have allowed him to be become completely dependent on breastfeeding to sleep; he can’t even nap well during the day without me around. He loves his daddy, but when nighttime rolls around he wants nothing to do with anyone but me. It’s flattering, but oh so tiresome. He is chronically sleep deprived; a baby his age should be getting some solid nighttime sleep, but he is still waking frequently to breastfeed. He won’t nap well without being rocked and/or breastfed.
Sleep training is a hot issue, and I was really hesitant to write about this. I know many parents are staunchly against “crying it out” … even going as far as calling it abuse. Other parents cite that it’s “old school,” that our parents did it, and we turned out well. Some say because of attachment parenting is trending, we are raising a nation of spoiled sleep-deprived children. It’s amazing how varied parenting advice is! There are so many different opinions and no perfect set of directions to follow.
We’re still trying to decide which method we will use to start getting some good sleep around here. How does your family handle sleep issues?