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11 month EBF and co-sleeping - criticism and pressure to stop- HELP

(32 Posts)
Charlotteandlola Sat 11-Aug-18 18:59:27

Hi everyone, this is my first post here and hope to gain some useful insight.

My baby is 11.5 months and has always been exclusively breastfed and would never take a dummy.

From the day she was born the Moses and the cot sent her into meltdown and the only way to get her to sleep and sleep myself was so have her sleep on me in the day and next to me in a sleepyhead at night- even the sleepyhead was a problem some nights and she just slept next to me. I did an awful lot of reading on co sleeping and had to make the decision based on survival as a single mum with no support.

I had always aimed to get her into a cot but something was always stopping us, 4 month regression, teething blablabla.

She is 11.5 months now and still in my bed, she goes bloody mental if I put her down in a cot- awake or asleep. I go to bed with her usually because otherwise she wakes up every 15 minutes (on a bad day) crying for me. If I’m in bed with her she will wake up and cry for me to latch on for comfort then settle straight back to sleep. Something I do struggle with is that at times she wants to just sleep latched on and when I try to move she wakes up and we have to repeat the cycle over again until she’s asleep properly and lets me go. I know it’s not feeding and it’s a comfort thing which some may see as a problem, I see it as what my boobs purpose are for my baby; comfort and food.

I’m facing serious pressure from friends and family, telling me my child knows know boundaries, if I don’t do something now I’ll never be able to, she will sleep in my bed and be breastfeeding forever etcetc. I’m of the theory that there’s no way a cave woman would have put her baby away from her to sleep but have been made to feel so worried about the future I’ve looked into gradual retreat. In some respects I want to be able to sleep a full night sleep sprawled out in my own bed and I am exhausted by this but in reality I love sleeping with her, and I don’t see how I’d ever get her in a cot for the first part of the night let alone then getting her back to sleep in there for the rest of the night.

We tried gradual retreat the other night and I sat by her cot with my hand in her, patting and ssshing and singing with lullabies while she was hysterical. It got to the point where she was struggling to breathe and almost sick and I said nah, sorry I’m not having this- latched her on got in bed and she went to sleep- exhausted. Just did not seem worth the distress but am I wrong?. I just don’t think that is going to work for my baby who has never gone to sleep without being on me or feeding, unless in a car or pram.

I guess my questions are:

Keeping her sleeping in my bed, will she eventually stop waking as much to latch on/feed

Will I end up with a baby/toddler who has “no respect” for me or “boundaries” and runs circles around me thinking she’s the boss as I’m being told she will...

Will she ever get to an place as I have hoped, where she understands bedtime and that she will eventually sleep in a cot no qualms (or less qualms even) because she gets that it’s bedtime and mummy is still going to be there when she wakes up etc.

How am I ever going to stop breastfeeding when this is the only way my daughter will go to sleep day or night, and return to sleep at night? I don’t want to feed her THAT much longer, I think 1.5 years is about my limit -despite saying I’d stop when she got teeth before having her grin

I know I’ve written this badly, there’s so much to it but hoping someone catches my drift!

Any advice/experiences from people who have co-slept and breastfed exclusively on any of this would be super appreciated. Thank you.

Charlotteandlola Sat 11-Aug-18 19:02:48

I didn’t mention the night I tried the gradual retreat she cried for 1.45 minutes with me by her side before I couldnt take it any more

SayNoToCarrots Sat 11-Aug-18 19:06:46

Humans have coslept and breastfed for as long as they have existed without producing entitled brats. I dont have time for a longer post but if it is not inconveniencing you tell them to get to fuck

flamingox Sat 11-Aug-18 19:09:55

Do what's best for you and your baby. This is your child, everyone else has had or will have their children to make their decisions this is your time to make the best decisions for you and your baby x

Jeippinghmip Sat 11-Aug-18 19:13:06

I agree, your baby your business. However, if you are having doubts about continuing, that's a different matter. It's surprisingly easy to change what you're doing if that's what you want.

OrangeTangerine Sat 11-Aug-18 19:14:06

My daughter (just turned one) is like this, as was her older sister. We might weaned my oldest when she was about 15 months old (using Jay Gordon's gentle method). A consequence of this (which we hadn't intended) was that she started to sleep in her cot all night rather than our bed. She's had periods of time when she's come back in with us but now she's 3 1/3 and sleeps brilliantly in her own bed 7-7.
My second daughter is like your little one - latches on and off all night and will only settle in the cot for short periods of time, so I generally give up and bring her in with up. In actual fact she's never spent a full night in her cot. It's exhausting and I wonder will it ever change - but then I remember my older one and know that it will. Babies grow and their needs change. At the moment she needs me, and I'm happy for that to continue. At some point I will night wean her but we won't do any kind of sleep training. The most important thing is what works for you and your little one. If you are happy with her in your bed - then that's fine. Ignore anyone who tells you you are making a rod for your own back! Night times are really tough with little ones, especially if you are doing it alone so don't make life harder for yourself than it needs to be!

JoanFrenulum Sat 11-Aug-18 19:14:42

I did controlled crying at 7months because I couldn't take what you describe any more. 5 minutes in the cot 1 minute settle, repeat. With a supportive friend on messenger to help me not give up. 8 rounds before she slept for 40 minutes and then another 6 or so, but she got the hang of it eventually.

Then we had a vacation regression. Back to square one. She was older and more indignant so it took 10 rounds to get her down. Same friend on messenger holding me up.

BUT now she sleeps in the crib, for 3 hours together, which is loads for this kid, and I feel a lot better. The crying part is awful but we got through it, maybe it'll work for you.

LittleNoSleep Sat 11-Aug-18 19:16:26

I went through this. My DD still comes into my bed but starts the night off in her cot. Everything is a phase and it will get easier. My DD used to go crazy if she woke up and I wasn’t there but has got better with age. She now a toddler. I just preserved with transferring her once she had been fed to sleep. You have to leave it quite a while until they are in a proper deep sleep though. And then it was hit and miss. If she woke up I’d just feed her again and give up. Eventually she just started staying asleep in the cot longer. She also used to wake if I tried to unlatch her. It’s exhausting.

huha Sat 11-Aug-18 19:20:24

She is your baby and no one has any right to tell you what to do or how to do it.

My dd1 was exactly the same. At 1, I started putting her in her cot asleep and sleeping in the bed next to her, then gradually moved out of her room and into mine (starting at 8pm, when she woke I would get her and sleep with her the rest of the night). I slowly started to lengthen the time before I would go in during the night (e.g. 5 min, then 10, then 20, then 30). Eventually she stopped waking and then I tackled going down awake.

She's now 9, still would prefer to sleep with me but doesn't (except the odd occasion I say yes). It's worth noting that around the same age as me phasing out I introduced a stuffed dog. She STILL has it, still sleeps with it every night. Essentially the stuffed dog replaced boob and me (thank fuck).

My point is: she will not always breastfeed, she will not always sleep with you. She will get older and more independent and everything will be FINE 😊

missyB1 Sat 11-Aug-18 19:20:30

Look if you want to carry on then do so, you aren’t hurting anyone, and it’s no one else’s business.
But if you have worries about how this is going to pan out for the future then that’s a different matter. Yes you may well have problems getting her to sleep independently, I hear time and time again about 4 and 5 year olds that still co sleep.
Yes you may have problems weaning her off the boob at night, she depends on it to settle. So at some point she will have to learn to sleep without it.
But there’s no point trying to change any of this if you aren’t ready.

user1533903238 Sat 11-Aug-18 19:21:00

She sounds exactly like my DD was at 11.5 months. She is now 2 yrs 4 months and sleeps through. She is still in my bed (her bedroom is being decorated at present but moving her shortly). I give her a breastfeed to sleep then she will sleep through till around 6 the next morning, on an odd night she might wake up in the eve once before I get to bed, but she can be quickly re-settled with a cuddle.

I started co-sleeping for the same reasons as you, as a baby dd wouldn’t sleep anywhere but next to me and fed constantly. She too would be inconsolable if I ever tried to ‘train’ her otherwise and as I wasn’t about to do any control crying I just rolled with it. Over time she dropped more and more feeds, and by 2 would sleep from bedtime till morning with absolutely no interventions or changes from me.

sockgnome Sat 11-Aug-18 19:21:36

I love the Facebook group "the beyond sleep training project" for a wonderful global community of parents, many of whom co sleep. There is nothing special about a baby sleeping in a cot. My little girl is a couple of weeks older and has just started sleeping longer stretches... Sometimes... but we still co sleep. She definitely feeds "for comfort" as well and like you I'm ok with that, I see it as part of my parenting role. Do what works for you and gives you both the most rest.

silkpyjamasallday Sat 11-Aug-18 19:24:59

We had the same pressures from others to stop bf and cosleeping. We eventually moved dd onto a single mattress on the floor in her own room at around 13 months and I bf her to sleep there and could slip away easily. She always hated cots so we improvised. It worked well and since I stopped bf at 21 months she has slept through the night pretty consistently.

Liz38 Sat 11-Aug-18 19:32:22

Have to say I didn't BF and we stopped cosleeping at 6 weeks so I'm no expert. But I do think that it's total rubbish saying that because you meet her needs for food and comfort at night, she'll be badly behaved and have no boundaries. I fail to see a connection. For me, a happy child who eats and sleeps well is more likely to learn acceptable and age appropriate 'good' behaviour than one who is hungry, exhausted, confused and upset. So do what works for you. Stop when you are ready. And tell the naysayers it's not up to them!

FidgetMcGee Sat 11-Aug-18 19:32:47

I was in a similar situation with my daughter and everyone told me I had to ‘do something’. I didn’t - mainly because I was too tired to face attempting sleep training, didn’t have the emotional energy and knew that feeding her would result in her dropping off, so I went for the quick win.

At 18 months we put her in her own bed - skipped a cot and went for a big bed as most nights I was there with her - but at least it was her own bed. She’s now almost two and in the last couple of months has begun sleeping through and will also go to sleep/return to sleep without a feed if my husband does bedtime. And the feeding has drastically reduced - just first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

For us it did get better without us having to do anything. It was almost as if something just clicked overnight and suddenly she was able to settle herself. I don’t have any advice really but I honestly think that you just have to do what feels right for you and what you can take on at that moment in time. Sometimes you’re just so desperate that the path of least resistance is what you need. If what you’re doing works for you, stick with it and don’t listen to those questioning it.

SpaceDinosaur Sat 11-Aug-18 20:26:44

@SayNoToCarrots has hit the nail on the head.

Absolutely nobody else need to voice their opinion. Your baby is being fed and cared for responsively. You are producing a secure child. They don't cosleep forever. I promise! CIO, leaving your baby to sob and all that crap goes against your instincts because it is literally damaging.

Other people's opinions are like arseholes. They stink.

Ignore them. Parent your child. You'll miss these cuddles soon x

HumpHumpWhale Sat 11-Aug-18 20:38:37

I hate it when people say "if you don't address it now, it'll be like this forever". Yeah, RIGHT, you'll literally be breastfeeding and co-sleeping for the rest of your life. Your kid will be 25 and still in your bed. It's so patently absurd. Yes, if you don't stop today, you'll still be doing it tomorrow but obviously you'll be doing it until you stop doing it.
I co-slept with both kids. I fought it much more with my first, which resulted in me being exhausted. With my second I was just like "nope, not making this harder than it has to be" and co slept from day 1 and didn't even try the cot until 1ish. 15 months maybe. I night weaned with the Jay Gordon method with both of them alone 17 months and stopped consistently co sleeping after that. DS was a hard nut to crack, he didn't sleep through until he understood bribery at 3.5 but by 2 it was only one waking and he'd just get out of his bed and come to mine and it was fine. DD has been going through a needy patch and sleeping less well recently, but in general has slept through since about 21 months. You'll get there.

Tortycat Sat 11-Aug-18 20:47:09

We never had a cot for ds1. Co slept by choice til he was 2 and dc2 was due. We moved him into his own room with a double mattress on the floor, and dh slept with him. Easier as there's 2 of us, but as long as someone stayed while he fell asleep he was ok. But he always slept well. 11 months is still so little.

Penfold007 Sat 11-Aug-18 20:48:04

Serious question, why do friends and family know the details of your sleeping and breast feeding details? I'm assuming that at almost a year old your DD has been weaned so enjoys a varied diet.
You are lone parent so you pick your battles, if it works for both of you then go for it flowers

butlerswharf Sat 11-Aug-18 20:53:29

All your baby will know is that you're there for them and loving and caring for them. Isn't that what every baby should know. smile

butlerswharf Sat 11-Aug-18 20:54:40

Also I get the same bullshit contents from my inlaws. I just smile at them and don't respond. (And ignore what they are saying!)

butlerswharf Sat 11-Aug-18 20:55:21

Comments not contents! F'ing iPhone

Bear2014 Sat 11-Aug-18 20:56:02

I have a 4 year old DD and a 1 year old DS. The one biggest lesson I have learned is to not divulge details of your sleeping/feeding etc arrangements as it just results in unsolicited advice and pressure that has you doubting yourself.

Breastfeeding and co sleeping has nothing to do with boundaries, you are responding to your baby's needs and also just trying to get some rest yourself. There is no right or wrong and it's your personal choice, so crack on!

My 4 yo was breastfed on demand for 2 years and is now well adjusted and independent, and sleeps in her own room all night.

Apileofballyhoo Sat 11-Aug-18 20:57:42

DS was like that and didn't sleep through the night until 18 months (would still wake at midnight for a feed). Fuck what anyone else thinks, she's your baby.

DS is 10 now and doesn't breastfeed or sleep in my bed. Stopped breastfeeding during the day when he was about 3 and stopped the night feed at about three and a half.

He likes me to sit with him as he falls asleep. My nephew was the exact same until he was about 12 or 13, and he wasn't breastfed and didn't co-sleep.

DS does possibly have coeliac disease and may have slept through earlier if he hadn't had stomach pain.

Ohyesiam Sat 11-Aug-18 20:59:31

More people in the world co sleep and ebf than don’t. They all end up
Leaving home at some point.
Your baby isn’t having a power struggle with you she just has needs. Respect is not a concept she will come me across for a long time.

Read Three in a Bed by Deborah Jackson, and tell your nosey family and friends to back off.

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