Please watch my video below on co-sleeping issues for you and your child.
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To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
This week’s question comes from Lynn:
“My baby goes to sleep great at 8 PM. Then around 2 PM he wakes up, and I take him to bed with me and nurse him to sleep. The truth is that I love sleeping with him and I don’t mind getting up, although I know I’m just perpetuating a problem. What should I do?”
Well, Lynn, I always say if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I’m not here to say there’s only one way and it’s got to be this way. If it’s not bothering you and you love it, then why stop? There will eventually come a time when you’ll decide, “Okay, I’ve had enough with getting up at two in the morning,” and then you can move on to training him to sleep through the night. But if it’s something that you’re comfortable with and it doesn’t bother your husband and it’s not disruptive to the entire family, then I say go ahead and stick with it.
Really, our children are only babies for a very short time, so if you’re enjoying it and the cuddles are nice and welcoming then continue with it. From what you’ve written, when you say he goes to bed great at 8:00, I’m going to assume that he’s learning the skills for getting himself to sleep. Meaning you’re not breastfeeding him to sleep, you’re not rocking him to sleep, you have a nice routine that eases the transition into bedtime, and that he’s going into the crib awake. And if that’s not happening, then I encourage you to definitely work on that so you’re laying the foundation for his sleep skills and he has some ability to do this himself and he’s not relying on you 100% of the time to nurse him to sleep. Then you might find that he weans out of this all on his own.
He might learn the skills he needs and just start sleeping later and later and then welcoming a little cuddle time in the morning. That would be the very best case scenario, although chances are pretty slim it would be the case. More often than not, what is the habit remains the habit until you decide enough is enough. Meaning he’s probably going to keep waking up at 2:00 expecting to come to bed with you and be nursed back to sleep. And the troubling spot is that it might not stay at 2:00. It might be midnight one night and 11:00 the next, and you might find that it sort of back steps its way into something really troublesome where he’s barely sleeping at all in his crib and wants to come to bed with you for the rest of the night. And that might be when you decide, “Okay, I do have a problem here. I’m not enjoying this any longer.” And that would be the perfect opportunity to make some changes.
So when you’re ready to make the changes, again, it all starts at bedtime. He’s got to go to sleep on his own at bedtime. Then, if he continues to wake up at 2:00, looking to come to bed with you, you could do the stay-in-the-room method with him, where you’d spend three nights right by the crib, three nights in the middle of the room, three nights by the door, and then you’re out. Or you could just do a leave-and-check style, where you come in and reassure him, tell him it’s sleepy time, leave, and come back until he’s back to sleep without coming to bed with you and without nursing.
And it will be a rough few nights for sure because he is really used to this and he’s probably wondering why you’re not doing it anymore. But because he has the skills at bedtime and the foundation already there, it won’t take that long for him to transfer those skills to the rest of the night. So it will be a couple of nights, but in the big picture of life, it will be relatively easy, and when you’re ready, you can go ahead and do that.
So I thank you for your question. I think it’s very honest of you to just admit that this is something you really like. And for others out there who are enjoying the way things are going, if it’s not bothering anyone else in the family, then I say go for it. You’ll know when you’re ready and when it’s no longer fun or enjoyable anymore, you’ll be ready to make the changes.
So thanks a lot Lynn. Sleep well.
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