Ready to Begin Your Sleep Journey?   Yes! Show Me How
Ready to Begin Your Sleep Journey?   Yes! Show Me How

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Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa says

    We definitely mixed the two. We bought a co-sleeper and fully intended to only let the little guy sleep there until we felt he was ready to move into his own room, which we hoped would be around when I went back to work (four months). But little man had other ideas, he would only sleep in bed with us. We co-slept exclusively with him until seven months.

    Then we started trying to transition him to his crib. Which he would usually only sleep in for the first stretch of the night (9-2) and then he would end up in our bed. It is only recently that he has been sleeping the whole night in his crib and that is thanks entirely to this site.

    He is 14 months old now and he was getting harder and harder to put down at night and was waking up for hours at a time in the middle of the night. We strongly did not believe in Cry It Out, but reading Nicole’s articles convinced us to try some controlled crying and it worked! Now he will cry a little when we put him down, but usually he stops within a minute or two. We went from 2 hours to get him down to a max of 30 minutes now and most nights it only takes a few minutes.

    We mixed AP parenting in other aspects too. We never dictated nap times to him and we had an Ergo, but also a stroller. He never latched, so I didn’t breastfeed, but I did pump and feed him breastmilk until 1 year. I would have liked to have fed him breastmilk longer if he had taken to breastfeeding. So, I totally agree, mix and match parenting is definitely the way to go, in our case at least.

  2. Kate says

    Absolutely! Like many others, I read Sears before I had my first and had myself convinced that AP was the way to go. Many things that I do now, based on my instinct and search for balance and harmony in my household are in line with AP philosophy. However, sleep training for us was wonderful in that everyone in the house started sleeping better. My daughter is a calm and cheerful girl, but does get angry when she doesn’t get what she wants and sleep training consisted of alot of angry screaming! Yes, it was really awful at first. But I came to realize it was important for her to discharge this energy and she quickly learned how to fall asleep on her own. I never trained her not to feed at night, I let her self ween (which she did at 6 months).

    So even though we let our daughter do the full blown ‘cry it out’ (after trying all the others which just made it worse), I don’t think any little girl could be more loved or cared for than she is. I spend all day with her… in my arms, playing on the floor, etc. etc. We are so attached, I can’t imagine being more attached than we already are (even though she sleeps in her crib and has been sleep trained).
    So I have gone the other way now, and have a hard time with the phrase ‘attachment parenting’ and all its supposed to mean. I don’t think it takes into account all children’s and family’s unique dynamics. Re-reading Sears, I resent some of the things he says, like joking that the crib should be put out on the curb. Some babies do better in the crib. It may work for some to follow a set of guidelines, I thought it would work for me. However, I quickly realized it is about instinct, intuition, flexibility and balance. I make my parenting choices based out of love and knowing the strength of my love and drive to protect and care for my daughter, I trust that the decisions I make for my family are the best that I can do at any given time.

    Thanks for posing this question Nicole!

    • Kimberly says

      @Jenn- For many 4 month olds, it is not uncommon for them to need to eat 2-3 times per night. He could truly be hungry at that time. Have you tried a full feeding when he wakes a 3:30 to see if that helps? Babies this age still have tiny tummies and so 2-3 feeds in 11-12 hours at night is not unexpected. I would recommend trying for full feeds, but to gently unlatch him when the eating seems to slow so that you can lay him back down drowsy but not fully asleep.

      @Cam- It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to still need at least on night feeding to get through the night and possibly 2 if he’s a bigger baby or going through a growth spurt. One thing would be to try to track how much he’s eating/drinking during the day to make sure he’s getting enough during the day and not trying to make up for it at night. If it he seems to get plenty of eating/drinking during the day, then it could be that he’s hasn’t quite learned how to self soothe back to sleep when he wakes at night. For most babies, falling asleep on their own at bed time is one skill and it’s another skill for them to know how to go back to sleep when they wake or when going through a light sleep cycle. There are other methods than just CIO, which include shush and pattting or just waiting a few minutes to see if he’ll re-settle himself. If he wakes crying, try to wait a bit more each night before going in. It may be the case where he just expects that you will come in right away.

      @Nikki, see my answer above to Jenn. It would be similar for your situation too. If he’s currently feeding more than he was before at night, it could be that he’s going through a growth spurt or he may not be getting enough during the day. Feeding him if you feel he is hungry is certainly okay, just try to unlatch him before he’s fully asleep so he can then fall asleep on his own. This will help to avoid a feeding sleep association.

  3. Lana says

    Definitely agree with all the moms – it CAN be a mixture and you don’t have to follow any method PERFECTLY. Just do what feels right. If it isn’t working, try something else. I believe in the Sears’ (AP) approach to parenting. It worked for us. We weren’t 100%, but pretty close. We did sleep train (limited crying, NOT cry it out) at about 12 months. I will say that the AP approach is demanding…and reality sometimes doesn’t allow parents to do everything they might like to. So, as my friend who is a mom of 4 says, “sometimes we just shoot for ‘good enough…PERFECT has gone out the window!” 🙂

  4. Sarah Butcher says

    My husband and I put AP and happiest baby on the block in a blender with some other things. We carry them in a wrap quite often til they can walk and help them imporve distances they can go. I breastfed for 14 and 13 months and plan to go atleast 1 year w/my newest due Valentines. We limit crying, positivly discipline (as long as I can keep my cool:) I was and AM prepared for the birth experience and I am great w/newborn care, I cloth diaper and am making my own cloth diapers for the kids, I am a SAHM. BUT We put them into their own bed ASAP it just isn’t safe for our family I wake up every couple of months or so with bruises because BOTH my husband and flail in our sleep he sleeps REALLY deep and when we tried the co-sleep thing our son got elbowed REALLY good- he was fine but woke up terrified(so did we) If ALL ELSE FAILS like when teething or sick I will sleep propped and hold them to sleep or keep a barrier aganst the side of the bed so they won’t fall off but the “safest” center spot is a no go zone in our bed so its tricky. Safety of the new one and our sleep is much more important than trying to sleep WITH them 🙂 Kudos if it works for you but it just doesn’t mesh well with our situation. My son just turned 3 and he started telling me recently I’m a good mommy and smiles like he is at total peace and hugs and kisses me so I think it can and does work 🙂

  5. Elisabeth says

    Yes! Mix parenting styles for WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!! As mothers and parents we can put so much pressue on ourselves to fit into a certain category 100% (Attachment Parenting, Cry-It-Out, etc). But the reality is that we all have to mix and match parenting styles and tricks because THERE ARE NO MICROWAVE BABIES!! We cannot simply read the instructions on the back of a box and pull out a perfectly temperatured (or in this case tempered) child a few minutes later because we pressed the right buttons. Each child is different and must be loved and taken care of in the way that is right for him/her.

    As a mother of two, I realized this especially with my second. So different the second time around, right? I use almost all of the AP parenting styles (exclusive breastfeeding, babywearing, limit crying, parents are primary or exclusive caretakers, co-sleeping), but we mix in different things too. With Elias (4 months), my second, he starts out in his crib when he goes to sleeps and then when he wakes up I bring him to bed with me to nurse (I also get more sleep). If he falls back asleep there untill we are BOTH comfortable, he can sleep there…otherwise, it’s into his swing or his crib. He also rides in a stroller sometimes with his sister either because it’s more convenient for me or because we are running in the jogging stroller. If he really puts up a fuss, I strap him into the Ergo Baby or Moby Wrap.

    With my first, Evangeline, I STRESSED OUT all the time because every time she cried I freaked out, thinking that I was a bad mom and she would sufer long term consequences because of crying. After a while, I figured out that certain things were mutually beneficial to us and helped her sleep better and be happier. She moved permanently into her own crib at 4 months. We both slept better. However, I will say that I wish I had still co-slept with her a bit after that because by 6 months she WOULD NOT sleep in our bed for anything no matter what. Kind of a bummer cause it’s really great convenient and great sometimes.

    My point is, I really don’t think Dr. Sears meant his philosophy to be crazy rigid or make parents feel guilty. I love his philosophy and follow the guidelines because I believe it makes me a better mother and my kids are just happier. But I’m not a Nazi about it (for lack of a better word). We have strollers, we have cribs, we use them. I pump and Elias takes a bottle when I go to my part-time job. These things do not make me a bad parent. You have to do what works for your family and for your children. All parties involved need to be happy with the situation.

    That said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this website and all it’s helpful advice. Thank you!! Thank you for welcoming discussion and thought-provoking articles. I whole-heartedly agree with you when you say that there is no one right method for every child. This applies here also. I advocate strongly for Attachment Parenting, but not to the point of making people feel guilty or insufficient.

    @Valerie, I love what you said and I say it all the time: FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS!! They are there for a reason. If co-sleeping, wearing your child feel right to you, do it. YOu won’t spoil them. If sleeping separately feels right to you, do that, and don’t feel guilty. We are all doing the best we can and it’s time we let off ourselves a bit.

  6. Valerie says

    I think you can absolutely mix AP and sleep training. I did-I’m sure that there are some things I do with my 21 month old that might be frowned upon by people who prefer a more structured sleep approach, but my baby is happy, healthy, and rested. I just followed my instincts. The most challenging times were her first few months and then the onset of teething. I bought a co-sleeper that she wouldn’t sleep in for almost 4 months (if she did, it was periodically), she slept and napped in our bed (a king-we used foam bumpers for nap time)-it may have had lots to do with the fact that I had returned to work and my mom/sister were not consistent (although very loving) with her nap times and locations. Somewhere between 4-6 months, she began to fall asleep nicely in her co-sleeper at night. I began laying her for naps in her crib-it would come after a feeding, but she was usually awake when I laid her down.

    By 6 months, I was able to put her in her crib (in her own room) for sleep at night. I had a very strong intuition that she was ready. She had begun laying down in her crib for nap time with a very content demeanor-she would play and chat happily with the birdies on her bumper as I left the room. Sure enough, she was ready. There were a few sessions of tears (the longest lasting 15 minutes)-but, she would fall asleep and stay asleep right after. The crying lasted for 2 weeks at the most and it was sporadic.

    I know that I did the right thing for both of us. I very much believe that sleeping next to us for the first few months “trained” her on how to sleep very soundly through the night and also gave her the impression that bedtime was a good thing. As a nursing mother, it was the best thing for me-I could nurse her almost without either of us waking up-I was not exhausted-I just had normal amount of tiredness for mommyhood. Nowadays, she sleeps 11-12 hours at night and naps for 2-3 and she still has a very welcoming attitude to her nap and bedtime.

    Will it work with another child? I’m not sure-I’ll wait until I get to know that child and their needs and then find a balance with mine and my husband’s.

    • Nicole says

      @Valerie Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you and chiming into the discussion! It sounds like you found a great combination for your daughter.

      @Elisabeth I couldn’t agree more about the “microwave” babies. What a great analogy! Thank you for chiming in and saying how much you love the website. It means a lot!

      @Sarah Thank you for commenting. Awww! Your 3-year old sounds like a sweetheart. It definitely sounds like you’ve found the right “mix” (from the blender) of parenting styles and works well for your family. Thank you for sharing with us!

      @Lana So true about “good enough” versus “perfect.” I had to learn that early on that shooting for “perfect” sleep for my eldest was a pipe dream, so I shot for “good enough” to the point that I knew he was happy and healthy. He could not function without enough sleep. He still can’t function as well without enough, but he’s thriving SO much and I’m so happy for him. Thank you so much for chiming in!

      @Kate I so agree with you when you say “…I realized it’s about instinct, intuition, flexibility and balance…” As new moms I don’t think we trust our instincts enough and sometimes they can make problems (like me and rocking my baby to sleep that just became a “problem”), but they do guide us a lot as we become more confident in our motherhood (and fatherhood for the fathers out there). Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

      @Lisa Thank you for sharing what worked for you. As a breastfeeding and pumping mom I give you super kudos for exclusively pumping for a year! I don’t know if I could have done that, because pumping was such a chore to me (I did do it part-time for 11-12 months, but…)! You deserve a medal in my book. 😉