Saturday, October 16, 2010

Independent Sleep

When you bring your baby into your bed, everyone tells you, "you're never gonna get them out of there", "that's the worst thing you can do", "you'll ruin your marriage", "you'll never get any sleep".

And while its not a bed of roses all the time, I can now say, You Are Wrong.

We decided to cosleep with Noah sort of unintentionally. I knew I wanted him near me during the first few months. The second night I was in the hospital the nurses took him for the night and I didn't sleep at all full of anxiety and agitation. Putting my baby in another room was like dragging nails across a chalkboard, it went against every single motherly instinct I had.

We slept cozily near each other with him in a cosleeper next to our bed for maybe a couple of weeks but soon I figured out how to nurse laying down and bringing him into our bed gave me a LOT more sleep and so we stayed.

Some nights, when the teething was in full swing or he was unusually hungry, I would think, maybe I should let him cry it out. Maybe I should I put him in a crib in another room. but then, when those stages passed, we slept peacefully again. The cuddles every night and morning made it completely worth it.

When we decided to night wean around 15 months (when I was working nights), co-sleeping made the transition much easier. He had a difficult time with me not being there but he had daddy right next to him and knew that he was safe in our bed.

When we found out we were pregnant, I started to dread trying to figure out how to move him to his own room. People automatically started asking the questions about when and where we were going to move him etc etc. I kind of ignored it and trusted that we would figure it out.

Things happened so naturally. He weaned himself at 20 months due to the pregnancy and I didn't have to pressure him towards that step. We moved our bed into another room and gave him his own. He knew it was his bed and although he didn't sleep in it, he knew it was his. I started rocking him to sleep in his room and letting him nap there. If he wanted to nap in our bed, I let him. Then we started putting him down in his bed at night and again, if he wanted to be in our bed, we let him.

Last night he slept all night in his toddler bed without waking up. No cry it out needed. I am so happy that I didn't go against my instincts and force him to sleep alone. If he asks to come into our bed from now on, I will let him knowing that sleep is developmental. Transitions to independence happen most smoothly from a healthy attached and trusting relationship.

I'm sure if he was a different child with a different personality, things would have happened differently. We may have been tandem nursing in a few months. He might have needed to sleep with us longer. He may have slept better in his own bed from the beginning. Regardless, I know that children ask for what they need. Their tears signal their needs. Trying to prevent them and work through them is not spoiling them, it's listening to them.

Taking the time to slow down enough and give our kids our attention and love isn't only what they deserve but what they actually NEED to grow emotionally.

For more info on safe cosleeping and sleep development see:

1 comment:

  1. i wish i could post this to my fb... cause we've had identical experiences and goals thus far with ella... and they don't have identical personalities, so i just think our parenting is just the way God intended it. I know even if i posted this to my fb, the people who need to read it (my housemate) won't -- or, won't care. But it'd stil be nice for other mom's to get that reassurance that the type of caring you instinctively feel towards your children is necessary and right.


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