I know that sleep and sleep training methods are hot button topics. I think you just have to do what works best for you and your baby. I didn't intend to co-sleep, but co-sleeping just made sense. (If you are interested in co-sleeping but feel uneasy about it, Dr. Sears' safe co-sleeping tips were really helpful for me.) I also never intended to do any sort of sleep training. I thought if we let Johnny lead the way, everything would just fall into place. But now, to a degree, we are doing some sleep training. It's was needed to be done
When Johnny was a brand new infant and we were just home from the hospital I really felt like co-sleeping helped us make up for all the hours Johnny was confined to an incubator. And being able to nurse him so easily helped all three of us to get more sleep at night. When Johnny was around 4 months old he started sleeping longer stretches through the night, only waking up once or twice to eat. That was co-sleeping heaven, I had my baby near me and still felt well rested in the morning. Then around six month, when he started getting some major teeth and started sitting up, he started waking up more and more. The past month he has been waking up almost every hour. I have been so sleep deprived I knew something had to change.
Last week we started working on transferring Johnny to his crib. I've been putting him in his crib for naps for a while now, knowing that some day we would be making the switch. It's been hard to get him used to it, but it's been harder to get me used to it. I love co-sleeping with him, even though it can be hard. It's really special to do some much snuggling and it gives me a peace of mind to have him so close. I wasn't planning on transitioning him to his crib until he was a year old, but I know that now is the right time.
I have often felt how blessed I am to have had 6 of my friends have babies the same year I had Johnny. I always have someone who is going through, or has just gone through, the same developmental stage Johnny is going through. There's always someone to commiserate with, and to share ideas with. Last week a friend was telling me about her strategy to get her baby into his crib, and it was just the push I needed.
That night Alex and I decided we would start Johnny in his crib when it was bedtime, and try to keep him in there for 2 hours before coming into our bed. The plan being that if he woke up during those two hours Alex would go in and soothe him back to sleep. We want to slowly teach him to fall asleep without nursing. Well, Johnny slept for 3 HOURS STRAIGHT! He hasn't done that in bed with us for months! And he has done that every night since we started this. Sometimes after that first stretch of sleep I feed him and put him back in his crib and he'll do another 3 hours. Sometimes we bring him back into bed with us, and then we wakes up more often.
It's hard for me to not have him in bed. I wake up often and have to check to make sure he's ok before I can go back to sleep. But I'm thankful that it has been so apparent that he's sleeping better by himself, otherwise this transition would be much harder.
This is what's been working for us. What's been working for you?