my suggestion is to be firm with in-laws or anyone trying to offer unsolicited advice. Let them know you are doing what works best for your family, and quickly change the subject.
Do what works best for your family! It's hard to not let people (especially family) get to you. My in-laws are a nightmare, but they have learned to keep their comments and opinions to themselves. I have learned over time to be assertive with them. It's hard, but you are the parent now.
here is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I love:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't.”
With regards to CIO, we have had tons of debates on here about this, but I still will not hold back my opinions. I will have to say that I believe is the most unnatural way to respond to a crying child. Crying is their only way to communicate a need that they have. Even if that need is just to be held. When they cry during the day you don't ignore them, so what makes nighttime any different? KWIM? I do not believe that infants manipulate. Sure, they know you will come when you call, but they are still crying for a reason. An infant does not understand why you are not coming. They do not have some devilish plan up their sleeve to torment you all night.
Did you know that the original person who coined the term "CIO" has changed his stance on this? Even he says you should not leave an infant alone to cry for long periods of time. Even his methods (Ferber) are very gentle, and involve comforting the child. However, this way of "training" seems to get passed down to generations, and people get desperate and use it. It's hard when so many pp say they use it, and say it is ok.
All I have to say is do what feel natural and right, and know that there is nothing wrong with responding to your child. They will adjust to sleep as they get older. They will not be a teenager crying every 2 hours at night. These days will fly by.
This is my personal opinion, but I feel that many of the sleeping issues we all face with in this generation (myself including) might be partially due to being forced to sleep independently too soon. Again, this is my personal opinion.
here are a couple interesting articles
I agree with the pp that night nursing is a great way for the two of you to connect after being apart during the day.
If you no longer want to night nurse, there are gentler ways to soothe baby, as pp mentioned. I reached an exhaustion threshold at around 8 months, and DH and I decided to take turns. He would rock him back to sleep, and next time I would nurse him. That worked great for us.
With that said, there are gentle ways to night wean, such as Dr. Jay Gordon Method. We used a similar method at around 16 months when ds could understand alot more. We could explain to him that milkies is sleeping, and everyone in the house is sleeping. We could reason with him, and he could understand more. Sure there were some tears, but he was comforted through them. He was never left alone in a room to cry for long periods of time.
Now when I am nursing him to sleep at night, he names everyone in the house and says night night (including kitty), and I reinforce by saying "thats right, kitty go night night too". He rarely wakes during the night, but on nights when he cries out for me, I am still there for him.
I remember reading something by Elizabeth Pantley that said, something along the lines of it seeming like the hardest thing to deal with at the time, but in the blink of an eye they are older, and you forget all about those sleepless nights. If anything, you miss those middle of the night snuggle sessions. Remember, it is okay for them to nurse for comfort. That is one of the wonderful things about nursing, the warmth, love, and comfort that flows out along with the milk !