Last night, after drifting off into some much needed sleep, I was suddenly awakened by the clunking of my head with that of my son’s. Then his little arm flung across my face. Then came his shoulders, and before I knew it my one-year old, half asleep son had rolled on top of me for some cuddle time.
Don’t get me wrong, I really loved the sentiment, and I covet the moments he chooses to love on his dad, not to mention that hugs are a vastly improved alternative to the usual kicks to the ribs and eye gouges that haunt my wife and me routinely.
However, with the coming of new year we have decided that it is a good time for a change in sleeping habits, and so our number one New Year’s resolution is to transition our son to his own bed.
Let me say, though, that co-sleeping is not bad at all. For the most part, my family finds co-sleeping enjoyable and convenient. In fact, the Birthing Site lists several research-backed positives to co-sleeping including:
- Ease of breastfeeding
- Less anxious sleeping for the parents
- Better sleeping for the baby
- The mother being better in-tuned with the baby
- Stronger sense of independence for the baby
So why would we want to end these wonderful things? We have and would gladly continue to bear the midnight beatings, and even more so, the hugs and kisses that occasionally come. However, we would also like to have more children in the future, and I am not sure little-brother or sister would be as patient. One soft and vulnerable baby and one large and squirmy baby in the same confined space is quite a precarious mix!
So how can we transition from co-sleep to our son sleeping in his own bed? My wife and I came up with a three step strategy to tackle this conundrum that I would like to share:
- Converse: It’s important to communicate with our son that this is a part of growing up. “Hey, buddy. Check out your cool new bed!””Wow! Cool Mickey Mouse pillow!” Things of this nature will keep him from feeling ambushed as well as instill some self pride for becoming more of a big boy.
- Rehearse: Last bottle while watching a little TV with Mom and Dad. Change the diaper. Put on PJ’s. Brush teeth. Say our prayers. Stay with him until he is asleep. Establish a routine.
- Revise: Suppose he wakes up crying in the middle of the night or comes to our bed wanting up. That’s fine. We will accommodate. Be flexible.
Co-sleeping has been great, and we will miss having our little one close by, but hopefully with this 2013 resolution our son will continue his journey of growing up and our family will be in a better position to expand.