Attempting to teach my daughter to sleep on her own?

Stephanie Marie - posted on 10/31/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My daughter is overall a very happy baby. She's almost 11 months now and she hardly ever cries. Up until now she has slept in bed with my husband and me, and I basically nursed her to sleep every night (though now she's able to fall asleep without nursing)

Lately, she has been fighting sleep and she sometimes gets upset when it's bedtime (sort of drives me crazy because now she crawls off the bed to the door and starts crying). She wants to stay up and play, but she's rubbing her eyes and yawning. She goes to bed at the same time every night, around 7-7:30 pm and wakes up around 7 am. An hour before bed we try to 'wind down'-- I give her a bath, nurse her, and read her a story before bed. Last night I put her in the crib for the first time, put on some soft music and she slept through the whole night, only crying for a very short time(maybe a minute) after I left the room.

Tonight, we did the same thing but she cried for about six minutes, and I felt awful. So many people have told me that she needs to start sleeping by herself soon or she will never break the co-sleeping habit. I understand that, but I wonder if I'm approaching it the right way? I do want her to begin to sleep on her own so that she doesn't become afraid of the dark or sleeping alone.



I guess what I'm asking is, what is your opinion on the 'cry-it-out' method? I've heard that babies who do this are less happy and less trustful of their mothers, but I've also heard that that is rubbish and babies who do this are happily secure and respectful.. What is your experience with this?

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Mary - posted on 10/31/2012

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I would have to say that this is the rubbish:

"she needs to start sleeping by herself soon or she will never break the co-sleeping habit."

In my experience, most people who say this have never co-slept with older babies. Seriously, do you know any teenagers who want to sleep with their parents?? Co-sleeping is not a "habit", in my opinion, but one of the many ways that babies are given security in their lives. Since "sleep training" became popular, babies have started growing up into adults with sleep problems. I don't know that anyone has proven a connection, but I do know that no one has proven that there isn't one.



On the other hand, if you are really wanting her to sleep in her own bed, you DO NOT need to use the cry-it-out method. You can help her go to sleep in her own bed. You can sit next to her and sing her to sleep. If you wait until she is older, you can take the side off her crib with the mattress at the bottom, and you can lay down with her. She may cry and protest and throw fits, but if you are there with her, she's just angry. If you leave, she may be genuinely afraid.



If you wait until your daughter is old enough (I wouldn't expect that for another 6 months or so, maybe a little more, but it depends on the child), you can get her excited about having her own bed, so that she is happy to go to sleep there. I have seen that work really well for a child moving to the crib, and moving to a separate bedroom.

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