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Attachment parenting, co-sleeping and sex
how do you do it?

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#1 Guest_senecio_*

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

Our five month old DD has been becoming a worse and worse sleeper, waking 6-8 times a night or more. She'll only go back to sleep on the boob.

We have her cot sidecarred with the bed. Most nights she's ready for bed between 7 and 8 and I feed her to sleep in her cot then sneak out of the room. Then later on in the night after she's woken a number of times, I end up dragging her into bed with us to snuggle up to me.

Lately it has been extremely difficult to put her down at night. Sometimes she wakes so frequently that I have to feed her back to sleep 2, 3, 4 or 5 times between when I put her down and when I go to bed at 9:30-10pm. And a couple of nights recently she has screamed and cried and seems afraid of going to bed in the cot. I have ended up having to go to bed with her early and cuddle / feed her to sleep.

This is a bit of a problem for me. I really value the couple of hours I have to myself in the evening (or with DH when he's home), plus it's the only time we get to have sex!

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage this? (letting her cry is not an option for me, and never will be).

I'm afraid that if it continues like this my relationship with my DH will suffer.

#2 Bobsygirls

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:34 AM

It will pass in time.

Have sex in the morning, or feed her to sleep, get up and go have sex in the lounge room. I don't see the big issue.

#3 PigNewton

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage this? (letting her cry is not an option for me, and never will be).

That pretty much IS the only way to stop it (I'm not saying it's the correct way) other than just waiting for it to pass or for your baby to get old enough for a different management technique....at five months there's not much you can do.
I'm afraid that if it continues like this my relationship with my DH will suffer.

It's possible, with things like this you're kind of stuck between doing two options, neither of which are appealing...on the upside, if you and your DH can hang tough for a few months, the issue might pass.

The only thing I would suggest is that maybe your DH can do some of the night settling so your LO learns that getting settled to sleep doesn't require a breast...once he manages it then you can start doing it sometimes too. Not saying that a 5 month old doesn't need feeds during the night, but they don't need 6-8 feeds.

ETA if you're trying to settle your baby without the breast there will inevitably be tears, but you are still cuddling and loving them rather than leaving them to scream by themselves....she can't stay awake forever and hopefully she will get different sleep associations

Edited by redkris, 27 March 2012 - 10:46 AM.

#4 Tesseract

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

Since I'm too tired for anything fun like that by the time 8 pm comes around (and I often have to resettle before I go to bed too), it's not so much of an issue.

Weekends while she naps are the best time for it. You can have a lot of fun in 40 minutes if you're motivated.

I once saw a t-shirt that said "co-sleepers do it in the kitchen". LOL.

#5 Grobanite

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:53 AM

Does she stay asleep once you cuddle her  and feed her? I found that I could gently put my DS on my bed with pillows either side and he would be ok.
If this works you can have the time to yourself and your DH.
Sex during the Co-sleeping stage just needs some creativity and different places.
Of course have a talk to your DH and surely he will understand that it may be not happen as often until you can get your DD settled more.
I too can't let my kids cry but 2 kids co-sleeping ( the first a bad sleeper) and we have both survived.

Edited by Grobanite, 27 March 2012 - 10:57 AM.

#6 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:59 AM

Pretty much as pp's have said, you just need to get more creative.
Naptimes on the weekend, showertime, other places etc
Your dh will probably love it wink.gif

#7 ChickenortheEgg?

Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:04 AM

Sex is the easy part - different rooms.

It's sleeping with a baby/toddler who plays soccer &/or practices gymnastics in their sleep is the hard part. lol

You and your Dh should be on board together about co-sleeping. A good chat about the pro's & con's is a good starting point.

#8 Mrs Flanders

Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:15 AM

QUOTE (redkris @ 27/03/2012, 11:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The only thing I would suggest is that maybe your DH can do some of the night settling so your LO learns that getting settled to sleep doesn't require a breast...once he manages it then you can start doing it sometimes too. Not saying that a 5 month old doesn't need feeds during the night, but they don't need 6-8 feeds.

ETA if you're trying to settle your baby without the breast there will inevitably be tears, but you are still cuddling and loving them rather than leaving them to scream by themselves....she can't stay awake forever and hopefully she will get different sleep associations

This is what we did with DD at around 5-6 months and yes, there were tears but DH cuddled her back to sleep and it only took 3 or 4 nights and she stopped waking as much. Good luck!

#9 Guest_senecio_*

Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

Thanks for the advice. Pretty much as I thought.   original.gif

I should have mentioned that during the day lately she'll only nap for about 20 min, unless she's with me and mornings are not an option as she always wakes before us. I don't think we could set an alarm since it would wake her too. So there is nothing very easy about sex!

So I think we just have to wait for it to pass.

ETA: Your suggestion below is a good one, redkris. I have thought about it but it's just a matter of putting in the effort.

The only thing I would suggest is that maybe your DH can do some of the night settling so your LO learns that getting settled to sleep doesn't require a breast...once he manages it then you can start doing it sometimes too. Not saying that a 5 month old doesn't need feeds during the night, but they don't need 6-8 feeds.

ETA if you're trying to settle your baby without the breast there will inevitably be tears, but you are still cuddling and loving them rather than leaving them to scream by themselves....she can't stay awake forever and hopefully she will get different sleep associations

Edited by senecio, 27 March 2012 - 11:21 AM.

#10 123tree

Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:23 PM

One thing if bubs is still waking that much try to get into sleep school.  I was going crazy at almost ready to snap before I did anything.  By that time I had to get referrals and go on waiting lists.  Some waiting lists for sleep schools in your area may be a couple of months long.

If I could say anything to people in your position DON"T WAIT.

Also if you are on a waiting list and everything turns out OK before you get there then just ring and they take you off the list.

#11 Velvetta

Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:34 PM

My youngest is now 3.5 yrs and still co sleeps. We have his room set up (wishful thinking) and SHOCK HORROR - have sex on his bed most often  - I wash the sheets!! DS spins due north most nights and I wake with his feet in my face, so sex is out in our king size bed.
There are always other places to do it.
All that said, I love co sleeping and always breast fed my babies to sleep to at least 2 years old.

#12 Fright bat

Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

Even though sleep comes so naturally to us that we think it's a 'natural' skill - its not. Learn to fall asleep and stay asleep is very much a learned skill, and its entirely up to you how much you want to teach it.

If your baby is only sleeping 20 min at a time durin the day, and waking frequently overnight, its because she has not been taught how to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sorry to be blunt about it. Now, for many parents, who priorities other things over sleep, this is fine. A child who doesn't sleep is only a problem if it's a problem to the parents, I honestly don't think that anyone should be saying that ALL babies MUST sleep x hours at night and MUST be able to self settle by a certain age or anything like that.

But by the same token, your child will not 'grow out of this' or learn to sleep all by herself. At some point you will need to teach her that her bed is a safe place, that she an fall asleep by herself in the dark, of she wakes up she is still safe, and that you and dad will be there when she awakens refreshed. And while it seems counterintuitive that leavin her alone will teach her security (rather than always being there for her instantly), that's the truth. And unfortunately there is NO way to do this without crying. In fact there is NO way to raise a child without tears. In years to come, 'no chocolate before dinner' will get tears, 'no more tv' will get tears, 'don't run across this busy intersection' will get tears.

Babies cry for two reasons - one is because they are genuinely upset, but the other more common reason is that this is the only way the communicate, and thu know it gets a strong reaction. A crying baby is not always distressed, and the important thing to learn to differentiate is 'when is baby genuinely upset' and 'when is baby just shouting for attention'. Sleep 'training' is not about leaving a distressed baby to be agitated and upset without any support, the point is to ignore the cranky shouting, but respond to the distress.

The gentle way to start is not at night. How often do you leave your baby alone? Do you put her on a playmat and go to the next room to get something? Do you leave her in the lounge room while you make a cup of tea? Because if your baby is always in your line of sight, how on earth is she going to feel confident to be alone and asleep at night, if she's never learnt to be alone uring the day? Use verbal cues so that she doesn't have to look for you. Say 'I'll be back' and leave for ten seconds, and then announce that 'I'm back' when you step back into the room. Increase the time you're gone up o a few minutes or more over weeks. Get dad to do it to. She'll start to trust that mum and dad ALWAYS come back.

Then do it in her cot. Make her cot a fun place during the day. Let her play in it for short periods, and slowly start to leave her in it by herself while you leve the room. The cot will stop being a battleground and she'll learn to be secure in it. Then you can place her in her cot, have a little sleep routine (like a song) and then leave her awake. If she's happy in her cot and happy to be alone, she'll learn to fall asleep by herself. And if she can fall asleep by herself, she'll then learn to settle back to sleep when she wakes during the night. Of course she'll 'cry' during this process. But if you've taught her to be secure in your absence slowly and during the day, you can be confident that she is not distressed but shouting for attention. She will stop.

BUT this is only if you want to go down this road. Many parents are happy with multiple night feeds and cuddles. That's entirely your decision and you shouldn't be pressured into doing anything. But remember that in traditional cultures where baby wearing, co-sleeping and attachment parenting came from, it's not practiced how it is here. Mums are well supported by extended families and communities, babies spend a lot of time in the care of relatives/friends etc and get used to mum/dad not being in line of sight at all times and co-sleeping is on a floor with near unlimited roll space for kids so parents aren't thumped all night by acrobatic toddlers (yes even king sized beds are smaller than a hut floor and definitely too small for two parents and a vigorous toddler).

While I'm all for the principle, I do think it can be hard on mums to try and emulate that when mum is alone and not supported in the way you would be in a 'village'.

Good luck OP. But the short answer is - if you really want alone time and a baby who sleeps well, you've got to teach her how to do it. And there is no 'no cry' way to do it.

#13 BentoBaby

Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:03 PM

A girl in my mothers group has been experiencing this exact problem (although our bubs are over a year old now) so no, it won't just go away on it's own.

She has just recently started feeding her baby and then giving bub to her partner to settle and she goes and has a shower/a walk/makes dinner etc. I believe that to start bub screamed and screamed in dads arms but her perspective was that she was crying in the arms of her loving and caring dad who was there to comfort her. She was not alone, she was not abandoned, she had nothing to fear. No she wasn't getting exactly what she wanted (mums boobs) but she was getting comfort. It took a long time for him to get bub to sleep to start (an hour or more) and then he would have to resettle bub several times over the next few hours but over a 2-3 week period their baby has gone from waking 3-6 times before they'd even gone to bed to sleeping a 3-4 hour stretch.

I think it was a great solution and it has really worked well for them and she is so much happier now having time to relax and spend with her partner.

There is a difference between leaving a baby to cry alone and allowing a baby to cry in a loving parents arms.

Edited by mtilly, 02 April 2012 - 08:04 PM.

#14 Guest_senecio_*

Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:21 AM

Very helpful advice everyone. Thankyou.  original.gif

#15 coolbreeze

Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:20 PM

Couldn't of said it better myself. Excellent explanation and bottom line do what feels right for you. original.gif

#16 Zeldagirl

Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:37 PM


I just wanted to add, that my DD sounded exactly the same as yours - until I discovered that she was dairy intolerant.  So maybe something to consider if her sleeping doesn't improve.

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