So many of us love to sleep with our babies. When we first receive them we don’t want to let go, the smell, the sweet way the baby cuddles into your chest, you’re hooked. The one piece of advice I give all new moms is this, “Your baby is a master manipulator.”
I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is the whole truth.
When I had my first son, I wanted to be near him all the time but my mom’s arm’s length parenting had stuck in me. From the start, he slept in his own bed, and in his own room. He only slept with me when he wasn’t feeling very well and that was not in my bed but on the couch.
There were plenty of cuddle moments!
Before we learned he had a learning disorder, he was a cuddle bug. He and I would cuddle while I watched cooking shows or whatever. As he got older, despite his handicap, he was more independent than I would have thought. I like to think it is because of the separate sleeping arrangements.
Then I had my second child.
As with my first son, I fell in love with my new baby. The cuddles were so sweet and tender. During his first few months, I pulled a first-time mom mistake, first I let him fall asleep on my chest. Now, that is not a bad thing but, leaving him there for the entire nap is. Then I would allow him to sleep between me and my husband. He also slept in his crib, in our room when he wasn’t sleeping in our bed.
I know it is dangerous to have baby sleep in your bed.
At the time, I think I needed him near me. I was also suffering from a severe bout of antepartum depression, later postpartum. So having him near me was a bit of comfort, and I will admit now that having him sleep with me was out of selfishness.
Now he is six, and he doesn’t sleep. in his own bed.
When it comes to sleep training, you must and can be stern. You have to stick to the rules created for you and your little one.
Example: With my son, I will allow him one night in my bed if he can sleep six nights in his bed. When he gets out of his bed, he turns into that master manipulator I mentioned above. He will pull any excuse to try to get in my bed. (I had a nightmare, I’m scared, I’m thirsty, etc). The thing that is the hardest is to beat back the urge to bring him into my bed. You have to be firm but fair. “Remember, we talked about this, you stay in your bed, and X night you can sleep with mommy.”
I am going, to be honest. This does work. Do I feel bad? Is there mom guilt? Um, yes. But again, this is good for everyone, otherwise, we’d all sleep in the same bed!
How to do this when they are young?
Don’t be like me, do this when they are little. By that I mean when they are still in diapers. Here are some tips that work time and time again, for my older son, all six of my sister’s kids, and my brother’s two kids.
- If you have them in your room they need their own bed. IE crib or cot. If you feed them during the night, return them to their little bed, do not get lazy and allow them to sleep with you. (Or you’ll end up like me! see above)
- If the baby falls asleep in your arms, wait min 10 min and 15 minutes max then put them to bed. This way they wake up in their bed and get used to the mattress.
- When the baby starts to pull themselves up in their crib, put them in thier own room. (If they are not there already. If they are in their own room this will make the next steps easier. Why should you do this? Well the baby is becoming more and more aware of it’s surroundings. And plus it wants something. (They always do!) Most times then not they will work out a plan to GET what they want. Either by climbing out of the crib or screaming.
- When your baby starts to cry, let them. There may not be anything wrong. If your baby is about six months old, they are playing with you. Be sneaky, check on them but DON’T let the baby see you! More times then not they just want attention, if you let them entertain themselves they will only use thier cries for emergencies. Don’t fall into the trap of running into baby’s room when they are crying. Again easier said than done. Don’t worry, once or twice you’ll start to learn when the baby is trying to get your attention and when he or she really needs you.
- I am not a huge advocate for nightlights, but some little ones need that little light. So get one! Nightlights do have a parent purpose as well, they serve to help you see if the baby is just “talking” in their sleep or helps you to see if the baby really needs you. Plus, if you are still bottle/breastfeeding feeding it helps to prevent you from running into sharp corners.
Again, this is all easier than said. But trust me if you set up boundaries and stick to them you will be successful!
Do you have tips for sleep training?
Comment below with your tips!