Ok...I'm going to blog some today on baby sleep. Let me start out by saying I mean this in no way to be offensive to any mom who has used CIO, Controlled Crying, Sleep Training, etc. I'm just trying to offer our view and what worked for us.
The reason, yes, I am against those methods (doesnt mean I am not dear friends with those who chose them, its an agree to disagree kinda thing and I personally refrain from discussions regarding it to spare our friendship and hurt feelings, they know my views, I know theirs).
Secondly, I get endlessly tired of new moms posting about having trouble getting their baby to sleep (we are talking newborns) and being told stuff like "Oh you HAVE to let them cry" "Just shut the door and go put on headphones" "Its really hard but its worth it, you dont want them spoiled" "Don't EVER let them sleep in your bed, they'll never leave." "You don't want to always have to rock them to sleep" and anytime anyone mentions something like co-sleeping, rocking/nursing to sleep, and the like, they are aghast at how ruined and spoiled my child will be and how I've "really messed up" and will "regret that later."
Well guess what? It's later and no regrets. Here is how our sleep situation has progressed.
First sleep situation...sedation. [sarcasm] Really the best method if you want your newborn to sleep all night and not interrupt you. A little bit of a pricey option...you are looking at a few thousand a day for the NICU stay, but look what you are getting...24/7 child care, etc. But for mom and dad, totally stress free, lots of sleep at night. [/sarcasm]
But eventually the NICU will send you home. Then you'll have to figure it out for yourself. They train baby to sleep on tummy then tell you that sleeping on tummy is bad...gee thanks for that. At that point what we did was we had him in a bassinet beside the bed. We had no qualms with the idea of co-sleeping in our bed but he was on a monitor and was very small so we were a bit nervous. So he was in the bassinet until he was about 6 months old. When we woke up and he had his legs slung over the bottom.
This continued for about a year. We tried his baby bed a time or two. He was never a fan. We'd put him in there asleep and when he woke up to nurse or whatnot I just brought and kept in him our bed. Worked quiet well, I could go back to sleep while he was eating. We all got more sleep and no one was stressed out. (I do believe that crying it out unnecessarily stressed babies..I just do.)
At around 18 months we decided that since Isaac obviously hated the baby bed we'd try a toddler bed. At least then he could get up and come to our room on his own, saving us from having to go get him. (Wow, we sound like such lazy parents). That worked a little better, still not great. Of course we felt the mattress was uncomfy so no wonder, we have a pillow top!
But we kept working with the toddler bed. We'd rock to sleep and lay him in it. Then around 2 I decided he needed to go to sleep in his bed. I tried laying with him..took an HOUR out of my night. Then I tried being tough...that lasted maybe one night. Just didn't work. He just wasn't ready. And again, he still didn't like the bed much. So this year for Christmas he got a twin bed. A "big boy" bed. With a real (nice) mattress. And sheets with choo choos and trucks. And comfy room for mom and dad to lay with! We did our standard lay with him some, but he was just getting more wound up, laying with him was defeating the purpose. Then one night I said, "Go to bed". And guess what...he did. Then it happened again. I finally found a bedtime that suited his needs (9:30). At that time he willingly goes to bed, gives everyone kisses, grabs his stuffed dog and climbs in bed. Oh sure, he'll poke his head out a few times, to which I tell him to go back to bed and he does. He asks for a cup. Sometimes he'll cry a bit, just a tantrum, but I tell him to go and make him go back. He'll call out for me in a singsongy whiney voice, to which I'll respond "go to sleep Isaac". Then I'll hear talking, singing, muttering....then all will grow quiet. I'll tip toe back and what do I see?
I think I am ready to call this a success. Its been several weeks now and he is in his bed all night much more than he is in our bed. Sure some nights he'll join us, but an occasion is okay, it was the every night expectation that needed to cease. But I truly feel it is because I let him be a baby when he was one. I let him grow up when he was ready. I followed his cues.
I say all this not to put down one method over another. But to point out, that letting a baby be a baby, rocking, coddling, co-sleeping, does not "ruin" or "spoil" a child. Nor make them poorly adjusted. Or create a child that has no independence. (all things I have been told.) It IS possible for your child to one day sleep on their own without massive tear shed.