Call me a hippie, but I’m a firm believer in co-sleeping. I’ll admit it. I knew when I was pregnant with Lboy that I would not be putting him in his own bed and that he would be in bed with us. For one thing, I knew that I would strictly breastfeed and that it would be easier for me in the middle of the night to be able to feed him in my bed and me try to get some sleep while he nursed. For another thing, I truly believe that co-sleeping helps the child bond with his/her parents.
Now, I know that co-sleeping isn’t for everyone. And when Lboy turned 10 months old I was ready for a change. It wasn’t so much that he was in bed with us, so much as it was that he insisted on nursing for 10 hours straight through the night and I was miserable. At 10 months, a baby doesn’t need to nurse because they are hungry, I was basically being used as a human pacifier. I tried teaching him to sleep without being attached to me while in our bed. That didn’t work.
So, I wrote a blog post about how tired I was. It was a blog post that changed everything (I reposted it yesterday too.) I had such a huge response from that blog post and most of the responses gave me tips on what they were doing with their own kiddos. From those comments, emails, & facebook messages, I started doing research and I discovered the book that changed it all.
“The Good Night, Sleep Tight” book by Kim West, LCSW is the most influential book in my short parenting career. This book is more than sleep training, it’s a life saver! The biggest thing we learned about was scheduling, this was the BIGGY! It gave me examples of schedules to have Lboy on so that he would be able to go to sleep at night. (Seriously, I wish I could show up at every baby shower I go to with this book in hand for the parents-to-be. It was THAT amazing for our family!)
We started “the routine” on a Sunday night. We started with a bath time, then we dimmed all the lights in the house, moved from the bathroom to Lboy’s bedroom (he had never spent more than 10 minutes in there in 10 months), read for about 15 minutes, then said prayers and put him in the bed. It was a hard 25 minutes of him crying. But, it wouldn’t have been so long had I not made a rookie mistake and left a light on for him. I went back into his bedroom, flipped off the light, and he was asleep in less than 5 minutes.
After he fell asleep it was the first time in 10 months that I had time all to myself. I quite literally had no idea what to do. So, I went to bed early. I was expecting Lboy to be up and down all night long. He slept nine hours before he woke up, he cried for less than 3 minutes, and then back to sleep and slept another 3 hours. That was a total of 12 hours! It was the most sleep I had gotten since he’d been born.
Granted, I cried myself to sleep every night for a week because I missed my baby cuddled up in my arms. But, I couldn’t argue with the results of him sleeping 12 hours straight through the night. He was happier, I was happier, Todd was happier, heck even the dog was happier.
We now have Lboy on a tight, yet flexible schedule. He sleeps from 7:30 to 7:30 or 8 every day. I still refer to the book every now and again so that I can make any adjustments I need as he gets older. I have enjoyed having an evening to hang out with Todd, blog, make blog designs, or go to the movies after putting Lboy to bed.
Do I still believe in the powers of co-sleeping? You betcha I do. But, do I believe in the kiddo having a schedule and the beauty of having an evening because he’s sound asleep in his own bed for 12 hours? You betcha I do.
Who knows how we will handle it all when a second baby comes along. I know we will adjust the needs of the family as the family grows. But, until then….I’m going to enjoy my free time and love the choice we made getting Lboy into his own room and into “the routine.”