Since your son is scared of the crib now, a more gentle but consistent approach might be a good fit for him.
I wanted another option besides letting her cry or sleeping with her until she self weans. Once she hit 18-19 weeks she became so sensitive to her environment she started relying on me to get her to sleep. She is such an attached babay in general that I really thought nothing would work or be easy. I was wrong! This is easier than i thought and has involved very few tears. It is really working for me mybe this will work for you to.
I was not comfortable with cry-it-out solutions and used a plan that involves the ISIS trading down approach:
do whatever it usually takes to get the baby as much daysleep and naps as possible. Do nighttime first and naps later.
go through your established bedtime routine
put the baby into the crib relaxed but awake NOT sleepy or drowsy so she knows where she is and what is going on. THis helps then figure out where they are when they wake up later in the night.
4.say good night and stay calm. Stay in the room in a chair if you think it will help calm your child.
- When she cries or looks to you for soothing, sooth the baby in anyway you usually do alternating from HIGH soothing to LOW soothing. Low soothing for your baby might be shhhing or patting her stomach. High soothing might be picking up and cuddling. Alternating high and low soothing can keep the baby from freaking out and helps to slowly break their attachment to one soothing method.
This is similar to pick up/put down approach but you stay and keep soothing them so they don’t ever cry alone. Provide as much soothing as you think he needs, not just to stop crying but to fall asleep in his crib. Don’t let him get too worked up and don’t worry about timing or intervals. Give him as much or as little space as you think he needs to be relaxed. For my daughter, I would hold her hand until she fell asleep and let go.
If you decide you need to nurse him down just try to make sure he is still awake when you put him back in the crib and then use your low soothing.
- Over the coming nights, “trade down” the soothing you provide. If you have been picking up and nursing as you high and then trade down to just picking up. If rubbing her stomach was your low, over time shhing becomes your low.
This worked for me almost immediately. Once I got her to sleep (about 45 minutes with no big crying) each wake-up only took about 10 minutes of soothing. A big change, since she was a nurse to sleeper who slept of top of me. (She would even be upset if she had to sleep next to me instead of on top.) I was shocked.
This might take longer than letting them cry it out but is more gentle and it really does work at getting them to sleep in their crib and soothe themselves. Be consistant and it should take hold. If not, maybe work with a sleep consultant to see if there are any underlying issues
A lot depends on personality of both baby and mom. Do what you think is best for your child and for you. If you are so frayed that you can’t see straight, continued bedsharing, for example, might not be a great option. Good luck! It sounds like you are a really great mom who will do what is best for your kids!