For many families, bringing baby into the parent's bed is a cherished delight that fosters family togetherness and instills a positive sense of security in a child. Like everything when it comes to caring for infants and raising children, there is some controversy regarding the co-sleeping arrangements of young Americans. Whatever your views may be about co sleeping, even those of you who initially liked the idea, even loved the idea—there does come a point when, like it or not—that kid needs to hit that long dark hallway from the parent's room to theirs. The following article discusses the transition from cosleeping to sleeping single in baby's crib or an infant's bed.
If you've opted for co sleeping, you've probably looked at the arguments on both sides of the issue. On the positive side, sharing a bed is great for bonding and convenient for breastfeeding. On the negative side there are safety concerns regarding your pillows, blankets, and your own body. Keep in mind that you're big, your baby's little and you dare not roll over. Plus, the height of your bed may be a concern should that little thing roll. There is also the very real possibility of over-bonding, creating the nightly need to be close to you when inevitably the child must learn to fall asleep on his own. That said, there is, nevertheless, nothing like hearing that baby's breath in your ear in the deep hours of the night; nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing that sweet face beside you, your baby girl's little hand against your arm or wrist.
Well, chances are, if you're reading this article you know how sweet cosleeping can be, but believe it or not, there will come a point and maybe you're even at that point when you would like to be able to stretch out, roll over and hey, maybe even invite Daddy back into bed if he's been banished to a spare bed in another room. Co sleeping makes mommy-daddy intimacy virtually non-existent, so someday it may be the best thing to get that baby boy in his or her own bed or subsequent siblings may be a no-go.
Most research says the best time to get a baby adapted to his or her crib is around three months. Anytime after that becomes consecutively more difficult. Children are creatures of habit. We do all we can to get them into a routine and just you try to break it! Tears parents… tears and screams. After all, babies love to fall asleep beside their parents, in your arms, beside your warm body. When he or she wakes in the middle of the night, there is instant comfort. Even the mom's or dad's snoring becomes familiar to them. When you try to send them off on their own to the foreign territory of a baby crib or an infant bed, don't expect them to go quietly. You've got your work cut out for you.
Alas, there are some ways to get your family through this difficult transition. First, you'll have to decide if you have it in you to undertake the cold turkey approach. Or, do you need to undergo a more gradual approach? Cold turkey means tonight, baby undergoes his or her normal bedtime routine. Maybe it's bath, pajamas, bottle, but whatever it may be, it should end with you putting a groggy baby (fully asleep) into his or her crib with a kiss and maybe a prayer if you are inclined. And prayers you may need. Do not be alarmed if your child wails for a solid hour with peanut size tears and thrashing limbs. In fact, experts say your baby will probably cry for a good hour that first night.
Now, if you are going cold turkey, you are simply letting them cry their little hearts out. No, no, no, they are not going to remember this in a month. Experts promise you won't warp your precious child. A word of caution though, it isn't a good idea to let them get so worked up that it makes them sick and throws up. In such cases, you may have a candidate for the more gradual approach, weaning from you more slowly.
By the second night, turkey-lovers, prepare for an even longer battle. At this point, your little infant will understand that the previous evening was not just a fluke and they will most likely cry even longer to let you know how he or she detests the new arrangement. This is hard and it does little good to make light of it, but try to stand firm. As parents, you will have to undertake this at some point. It is good for a baby to learn how to fall asleep on his or her own, to encourage their own self-comfort capabilities. This will make napping easier too. Besides, all their friends will call him or her a freak if they are still sleeping with mom and dad at nine years old.
Third night—well, unless you have a particularly stubborn sort, you will probably only have to go through about twenty to thirty minutes of screaming and crying. At this point the worst is over. Don't be surprised if during all this you shed some tears yourself. You’ll miss that little bundle close by, but console yourself in the knowledge that you are enabling your child to grow and to grow with a strong sense of self, whether you try this at three months, six months or even longer. And don't worry, they'll be back now and again, when they've a cold or a nightmare has struck.
For those parents who take the gradual approach, this may mean going in during the crying spells to comfort your baby girl or boy. Wipe the tears from your child's face and reassure them gently that you are close by, but it is time for sleep. This may actually calm your baby or it may spur them ever onward to new heights of vocal terrors. You'll find out. Also, you may find that even if the baby has cried them self to sleep, he or she wakes in the middle of the night to more screaming.
Apartment dwellers, you may have a problem with your neighbors here. In this case, you may have to bring your baby back to your bed. Another facet of the gradual approach is to bring their bed into your room and place it beside yours. Every night, move it further and further away until it's back in your child's room.
While there is no easy way to get through this transition period, comfort yourself with the knowledge that sooner is better than later for both of you. As the child gets older and sleeping patterns become more embedded in his or her mind, it will be understandably more difficult. It also can't hurt to seek further advice from healthcare professionals who perform routine research in this area and have advised parents in similar situations. Parenting is not easy, but researching your choices and knowing in your heart that you are doing what is best for your baby will go far in getting you through this and many future challenges.