Monday, April 18, 2011

Co-sleeping Advice Needed

Rob and I didn't know much about co-sleeping when we became parents but it seemed so natural in the beginning that we didn't hesitate to give it a shot. Our oldest was in the bed with us until he became too squirmy and we received too many kicks to the face. Then we moved him to the co-sleeper attached to the bed. At 6 months, we moved him to the crib. When he was almost 2, we moved him to a toddler bed. Now, at 3, he sleeps wonderfully in a regular twin bed. He gets 12 hours of sleep a night and still takes a 2 hour nap every single day. We are thrilled with how everything turned out! :)

Fast forward to our second son. He started out sleeping in our bed and stayed there much longer than our first. He slept well and so did we but then he got bigger and started sprawling out horizontally so that there was very little room left for us. We decided around 5 months to move him to a mattress at the foot of our bed and see how that worked out. He did pretty well on the mattress but around 6 months, we thought we'd move him to his crib. Why? Honestly, I think because we did that with our first and it was the "proper" thing to do. He was still getting up once or twice a night to nurse and I stupidly thought that moving him to his crib might help him sleep better. The transition was pretty smooth and we thought we were in the clear...

A few nights into it we realized that he was not going to sleep better. He would still wake to nurse AND he would wake simply because he was in a different, somewhat strange, location. No warm bodies next to him and no sounds of breathing to which he'd become accustomed...what's a baby to do?

Whenever we traveled, we'd stick him in our bed because it was easier than trying to get him to sleep in a playpen. It was no surprise that we all slept much better. The first night we returned home from a trip was always the worst because he'd gotten used to sleeping with us again and didn't want to be in his crib. A few times I put him in bed with me and Rob slept on the couch (because our bed was too crowded with 3). I'm embarrassed to admit it, but we all slept incredibly well. But Rob shouldn't have to sleep on the couch!!

So, our options are twofold: Rob continues to sleep on the couch while the baby and I are in the bed or we save up enough money to either buy a king sized bed or a queen mattress for the baby's room. If we bought a mattress for the floor of his room, I could sleep there when needed but I could also return to my bed. But then when he learns to walk, he'll be all over his room all night long. I am not comfortable with that idea.

Ultimately, I want him to develop healthy sleep habits. That is my #1 goal. I want him to sleep well like his brother. We are just going to have to go down a different path to get to that point. My fear is that he will become so comfortable in our bed that he will never transition to his own. We would like to have more children and we need him to be a good sleeper before the next baby is co-sleeping in our bed. To bed honest, I am not thrilled with the idea of a family bed. I don't want more than one child in with us at any given time.

Any advice you may have on co-sleeping and what worked for you would be greatly appreciated. We are incredibly sleep-deprived at the moment (last night was really rough) so we know this is the best option at this point. Just wondering how other parents fared. Thanks in advance! :)


  1. Alright, you know we have our own sets of sleep issues (including my 2 year old having been in bed with us for MONTHS) but some things we found has helped transition him from our bed. . . We put pillows next to him. We found that Jimmy really liked to be smooshed up against something whether it was us, our headboard or pillows. Also, have you tried a white noise maker to replace the sound of your breathing. Jimmy sleeps much better when his is on in his room. We had the same one in our room so that may have helped. And keeping him/ his room really warm. he's used to being between two 98.6* bodies- anything less is down right chilly. Bundle him up more when you want him to sleep solo.

    I hope that helps. GOOD LUCK

  2. Place his crib in your bedroom. Nurse him, put him in the crib, let him cry to sleep. Then you and Rob go down. This will take several weeks to get the hang of. Took us about a month. When he wakes to nurse put him in bed with you and when he finishes put him back in crib immediately, even if he cries, let him cry, you know how important routine is. Remind him that it is night, sleep time. I tried those reminders with E. around 9 months. At first I thought it was silly but I was desperate; then I realized she really did understand. You will sleep better with the crib in your room because you will hear his breathing even if you are not consciously awake, you will still be aware of it.

  3. Happy to report that David has been sleeping in his crib for the past few weeks and doing well! Nothing changed and I didn't do anything differently, which is the weird part. I just decided to give the crib another go and BOOM! It worked! I guess he outgrew whatever was causing him sleeping difficulty in there before? Who knows. Anyway, we are all sleeping much better and I'm a happy mama. :)