Co-sleeping to CIO?

From the moment I was left alone with my daughter, I wanted to co-sleep. It was 8 or so hours after giving birth in the hospital. I lifted her tiny little body from the sterile plastic “bassinet” and snuggled her next to me for nearly four hours of shared sleep. We got home and worried about our sleeping arrangement as we were only in a full bed, but we got the ok to try from a midwife and C stayed up many nights worrying about rolling in any direction. I slept on my back with her in the crook or my arm.

Our first six months were glorious, we all slept tons and woke up refreshed. C probably had eight hours sleep every night and my nighttime nursing session got more streamlined and Charlotte and I could both do them half asleep. Then we moved apartments, got a bigger bed and tried her in her crib for the first time. We rocked, I nursed and we got her to sleep fine and dandy in our arms, then we tried to ever so gently get her into her crib, and she would wake up. The funny, or not so funny part, is that it got harder over time, not easier. At day 14, my back was going out from rocking and it was 1am, so she came back into our bed.

Fast forward a few more months and we are trying again. This time we hold her in our arms crying or not until she is mostly asleep then we put her down. The first night she cried for 20 minutes then fell asleep ALL night. The second night it was only 15.

But our smart little cookie started testing us. She then cried 30 a few nights later and we came in and soothed her, even picking her up. (I know, “bad” parent.) So she developed a pattern of cry for 15, parent goes into soothe, then going to sleep.

Last week she had a terrible cold and woke up more frequently. We all took turns and my mom had her one of the times and said Charlotte was gripping her desperately. Oh god, what on earth are we doing to our child right?

And believe me, I’ve read the research. I know what stress can do to a child and I will not let her cry like this long term, but here we are, confused and more than anything, stuck.
We’ve been at this for three weeks. She has a bedtime routine at the same time each night. (Bath, bottle, story and song.) She is definitely going to bed tired and shows all the signs of tiredness before we put her down, but she still cries. Almost every night. Never longer than 30 minutes, but those minutes are an eternity to all of us. So what now?
And let’s. not even get into naps. She still falls asleep in someone’s lap then gets moved. There is no nap schedule AT ALL. Grrrrr. I am sure this contributes to our night time problems, but I just can’t listen to her cry more than once a day.

The hardest thing about being a parent, is having to hear my baby cry.

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