Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good night, Sleep Tight

Molly says, "You should do a post on how you got your kids to transition to their beds."


Our journey to restful nights has been full of sleepy eyes and sagging shoulders.  When pregnant with Gavin, I set up the bassinet and washed the blankets and didn't give our future sleeping arrangements a second thought...until the night we brought him home from the hospital.  I rocked him to sleep and nestled him in a warm little cocoon...and he woke up.  I tried many times unsuccessfully over the next few hours and finally collapsed exhausted on the couch with him resting on my chest.  The following two weeks were a foggy collection of days and nights-- Brian and I taking turns sleeping in bed and sleeping on the couch, semi-upright cuddling a baby.  Two days before Christmas, I fell onto my bed in tears, heavy from lack of sleep and new-mama hormones.  Gavin, snuggled up to me and began to nurse.  We both drifted off into a needed sleep and slept that way until morning!  Our co-sleeping relationship had begun. 

Each of our children has found their way to our bed at some time or another.  Gavin and Owen slept there full-time, while Maddie and Benjamin preferred to nurse and return to their own beds most of the time.  However, at some point between 12-18 months, the time came to make a full transition to a big bed for the night.  Neither of our kids began to night wean or sleep through the night until we made this switch and despite seeming like a lot to take on all at once, it seemed to work flawlessly together. 

The following is Owen's story:

We began the process with much trepidation.  But our boy, the sensitive one who needed frequent cuddlings and assurance, was to become a big brother soon, and Mama needed room in the bed for her growing belly.  Brian tucked the crib mattress between the wall and our bed and we gave it a try.  The first night was tough.  I nursed him and then put him down, providing many kisses and pats and then retired to my rocking chair a few feet away.  He immediately got up and toddled over to me.  I put him back to bed and told him not to get up.  The cycle repeated with whimpers and sighs and cries and the firm voice of his Daddy.  And eventually he drifted off to sleep in his new space.

The first night, he woke and crawled into bed with me for comfort, but after multiple nights of our new routine, the night wakings got further and further apart until he was sleeping all night in his new beside my bed. 

When Owen turned two and as the birth of the new baby neared, I contemplated moving Owen into the bedroom with the older kids, but his need to know I was nearby made me hesitate and we kept our arrangements as they were until Benjamin was two months old. 

On Christmas Eve, we sensed it was time to make the move and so we moved the crib mattress into his new bedroom, next to the big bed his siblings shared.  That night as we tucked the kids into bed, the twinking in three sets of eyes was a happy mix of Christmas anticipation and the joy of new adventure!

After only a couple of weeks of sleeping on the mattress in the big kids' room, Owen was ready to move into the double bed (the bottom of the bunkbed) with Gavin.  (Having slept on a mattress and never rolling off, we were sure he could handle the rise in height.)  Aside from extra giggles and a few games of covers tug-of-war before drifting off to slumberland, the final stage of the journey was easy and painless. 

Up next:  Peaceful nights and early mornings...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Kristin!

    Love your gentle parenting style...


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