I need advice! Bear with me, this might be long. When my 2nd son was born, we practiced bed-sharing and a co-sleeper for the first few months. He nursed frequently and it was the way we kept our sanity through that time. When he turned 5 months, I got a little tired of being the "all-night buffet" so we tried a variety of approaches to decrease his waking every hour.
Now, he is 6 months old. Desperate, I read the "No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley and tried many of her techniques (introducing a lovey, patting, rocking, dad's help, nursing to sleepy but not sleeping to encourage learning to associate sleep with other things besides solely the breast) and keeping sleep logs for almost 14 days. We noticed from our sleep logs that he was waking every night when we came to bed and seemed to wake up a lot because of us. Reluctantly (not because of the book- she encourages co-sleeping and nursing), but out of desperation, we encouraged more sleeping in his crib and he is sleeping longer stretches. We have gone from waking 7-8 times a night to 2-3. Our typical routine is down around 8, he generally wakes between 12:30-1:30 and we nurse and rock/try to lay him down sleepy but not asleep entirely, and he wakes again between 4-5 and we generally bring him back to our bed and bedshare the rest of the morning until 7:15.
I don't mind getting up once or maybe twice in the night if he will go back to sleep fairly quickly but sometimes he's "up" and it takes 30 min to 2 hours to settle him again. When I saw my pediatrician, he says there is no reason at 6 months that he shouldn't be sleeping an 11 hour stretch and told me when he gets a tooth, I cannot breastfeed him anymore at night (tooth decay). I've heard this about bottles but not breastmilk.
What do y'all think? Any tips/advice? I know SO many nursed babies who still wake at a year or even 2 years and they nurse at night and never heard anything about tooth decay. Anyone else do a mix of crib sleeping and bedsharing? Does it "confuse" them or encourage more night-waking?