I knew I never wanted to co-sleep. I’m very possessive of my sleep and my bed. And we were lucky enough with our first daughter that the thought never even had an opportunity to creep in our minds.
But enter our second daughter and somehow she ended up in my bed quite early on. We always started in her crib where she would stay for most of the night, but then in the early morning when she would wake and not go back to sleep, I brought her in bed with me and it was the best sleep either of us got all night. Over time, I began bringing her into our bed earlier and earlier…
I knew the risk of co-sleeping/bed sharing. But I was also NEEDING sleep. It was an incredibly difficult time personally and co-sleeping was what was keeping me going – on fumes - but going.
Once our lives settled down a bit, we knew it was time to reclaim our bed. But by then, baby had gotten fairly accustomed to sleeping next to me (not to mention nursing every 1.5 – 2 hours over night) and wasn't going without a little protest.
Does this sound somewhat familiar? Whether you chose to co-sleep or your co-sleep out of necessity and you’re looking for a way to get your baby sleeping in their own room, allow me to offer up some helpful hints.
First off, prepare yourself for the resistance. Nobody reacts well to changes in their sleep routine, so there’s almost definitely going to be some
push-back. If your child is in their crib (see my post about transitioning to a toddler bed!) you have a leg up because they are physically contained. Pick a sleep training method and use that to help them learn to fall asleep without being by your side. Babies under 15 months are quick to make the adjustment, usually about a week or so.
If your little one is older and is able to climb out of their crib or in a bed and can get out, they’ll probably make a few late night trips into your room and attempt to climb back into bed with you.
When this happens, don’t get upset. Keep your cool and walk them back into their room. Explain that they’re not allowed to sleep in your bed and let them know what the consequence will be if they do it again. (Side note: a great consequence for this is closing their bedroom door for a minute or two if they leave their room. See this post on how to help!).
I’d also choose a sleep training method to help them learn the new rules. For this age, I like the chair method - feel free to sit in a chair while they’re falling asleep so they can see that you’re there, and gradually start working your way out earlier and earlier.
You can also set up a reward program for good nights spent in their own bed. A treat or a sticker on the calendar can be a great incentive, but keep the time window short. Kids have a hard time understanding rewards if they’re expected to maintain a behavior for a full week, so a daily reward usually works best.
There’s probably going to be a little bit of crying, but once your baby gets the hang of sleeping in their own room, your whole family can look forward to much more restful nights, and far fewer wake ups from an unintentional kick to the face (from your baby, anyways. I can't promise anything from your partner).
What’s your biggest worry about transitioning your baby out of your bed? What are you looking forward to when they are out of your bed? Leave a comment!