Co-Sleeping Success Story: How We Got Our Baby Out of Our Bed, Self-Settling, & Sleeping Through The Night in His Cot!
Co-Sleeping was never a part of our plan!
There was never even the thought that I’d share a bed with my baby, hence the (rarely used) Halo Bassinest & all the other sleep parifanilia I gathered up throughout pregnancy.
Little did I know that the only place he’d be happy sleeping was buried deep in a cuddle in mama’s arms. And that after that permanently sleepy newborn stage, naps would consist of him trying his hardest not to fall asleep, while I hold him close praying to the sleep gods that he could get some rest and I could creep away.
Bedtime was no exception, with the addition of having to go back up and cuddle him to sleep again. And when I say ‘cuddle’, I mean over an hour of bouncing, singing and praying while he screams or fights me away. But when I’d jump in bed beside him later on, we’d sleep through the night and it was glorious.
It always loomed over me however, that I didn’t want this to be a permanent solution and have him sharing a bed with us for years to come. But funnily enough it was our son who’d decided he was ready for his own bed before we could decide for him! All I’ll say is sleep cuddles were NOT his thing anymore and there were tiny little fists swinging all over the place.
So here’s how we adjusted and transitioned our 6 month old from Co-Sleeping, to self-settling and sleeping through the night in his crib.
The night before we started sleep training, rather than cuddling him to sleep at bedtime and putting him directly into the bed, once asleep in my arms I’d put him into his Sleepyhead (which we abandoned around 8 weeks.)
Later on when we went back up to bed, we moved the sleepyhead into his (new) cot at the foot of the bed. We went on this way for a few dats so that he’d get used to waking up in the cot and start associating it with sleep.
Unlike when we were co-sleeping he wasn’t sleeping through the night and waking around 4/5 am, refusing to sleep until I brought him into bed with us. I could have probably cuddled him back to sleep but at 4am that was not on my to do list.
It was also still a struggle to get him A) to fall asleep for naps and B) nap for longer than 20/30 minutes! So while I was relishing in being able to stretch out in my own bed again (even if just for half the night!) we needed to improve his sleep. Starting now!
I thankfully stumbled across this article and it completely changed my perception on what some refer to as the ‘controlled crying’ method. We had our reasons for using this method (in the past I’d tried different things) and though not everyone would agree or approve, my baby is absolutely well, happy and thriving (he was still his usual amazing self throughout the process too) and it WORKED.
It worked so well for us that we’ve never looked back. My baby has strengthened his understanding of sleep (without cuddles!), is able to settle himself to sleep in his own cot, and naps and for 12+ hour stretches a night, and is the happiest little man in town – win win!
If you read the article linked above, you’ll see the strategy we followed. I was quite rigid with this in the early days as I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly and not confusing my baby. But as the days passed and I made note of how my baby responded, I began to make little tweaks here and there to suit him.
Tips That Helped Us:
– Initially I started going in at 2 minutes. I noticed that prior to me going in he’d be calmly whinging but once I’d left he’d be a hot mess and full blown cries would erupt. I’m 1000% sure that this made our process longer!
I started going in at 4 minutes rather than 2 and he started falling asleep within those 4 minutes because he was given the chance without me disturbing him.
– I learned a TON about distinguishing his cries – when he was whinging, shouting, babbling, or exhaustedly whining. I needed to know when he actually needed me there and when he was just expressing himself.
After about a week or more of sleep training, I was less focused on the timer and more responsive to his cries. This, I am sure has helped build his understanding of self settling.
– Don’t be fooled by an overtired baby! Even if they appear active, babbling or playful – if you know that they haven’t had at least a short rest/nap within the last few hours the likelihood is that they’re overtired, not ready to play! Try and stick with it.
-I had faith in him, myself, the universe and the path we’d decided to go down. And that faith hasn’t failed us yet. My son’s sleep has never been better (of course we have hiccups often but whose perfect?) he has managed to carve out a routine for his everyday as a result of establishing his naps and we can function SO much better as parents knowing a rough idea of how our day will play out.
I’ve had some parents recommend sleep training and others give me a feeble side eye. But I really try not to let anyone else’s opinion of what I think is best for my child get in the way of my decision making. I’m learning to trust my intuition and live my life accordingly and hopefully one day my son can learn to do the same!
If you are struggling with your baby’s sleep and would like some tips on sleep training from someone whose been through it (trust me, I know it’s not easy!!) feel free to drop a comment and try my best to I’ll offer any insight I can.
However, don’t feel like you have to sleep train if it’s something you’re not sure about. It’s absolutely not imperative and to be honest, I never thought I’d say it but I miss cuddling him to sleep, even though at times it was incredibly draining and stressful.
This was just where our path led us and we went with it. Enjoy the cuddles while you can, because this time goes so quickly!
Til’ then, peace, love & light.