When I found out I was pregnant for the first time 8 years ago, I swore up and down that I would not cosleep. Nope. Never. It was something I just wouldn’t do.
You always see all those news reports about SIDs and how to reduce your chance of SIDs. Reports that have findings suggesting things like not cosleeping with your infant or using bumper pads in the crib. Of course any new Mom-to-be is going to take it all to heart and plan to avoid doing all of those things.
However what I have come to find in my experiences of life with a newborn – oh four times now – is that sure you can make all these claims of things you won’t do when your baby is born, but the reality is that you can’t control how life will pan out when your little one is in arms.
I gave birth to my fourth in March of 2016.
The first few weeks of his life were very hard. We struggled with breastfeeding. He didn’t gain any weight for the first 16 days of his life. I had to pump around the clock, nurse every 2 hours and top him up with breast milk via syringe after each nursing session. Life as you can imagine was exhausting. The only way I could get any sleep was to bring him to bed with me. When it came time to nurse overnight, I would just slip out my breast and away he would going suckling back his liquid gold.
We worked so hard to build our breastfeeding relationship, and for him to establish excellent growth. To which he has! He went from 6lbs 10oz at birth, down to 6lbs 4oz where his weight stagnated for quite some time. Now at 10 months of age he weighs a very healthy 19.5 lbs.
The one thing that hasn’t changed in all this time was that we continued to cosleep. And – yes I know the cosleeping had nothing to do with the weight gain. Or maybe it did considering he got to have an overnight breast milk free for all each night while I snoozed.
It wasn’t until December that I really began to think about transitioning from my bed to his room. He had become quite the restless little sleeper. He was beginning to wake up a lot more often, and when he wasn’t awake he was thrashing around my bed. If I wasn’t being kicked in the face, I was being punched in the face. Oddly enough, my husband – bless his heart – was snoring like a freight train right through it all. I love him and how much he sleeps. And that snoring – so dreamy!
After Christmas, I began to take the steps to slowly begin transitioning the little man into his own room from our bed. It is a transition that certainly has been a work in progress, but we are getting there. If you find yourself in my position, and what to quit the cosleeping tuck these tips on how to break the habit into your back pocket.
Start the transition slowly. The transition from cosleeping to crib is not going to happen overnight. I wish I could say it would, but the reality is it will take some work, and maybe some tears not just from baby, but Mom too. If possible, you could bring a bassinet or crib into your room, and start by introducing them to their own bed while still being an arm’s length of you.
Start in stages. Begin by introducing the crib in stages. I began with introducing the crib at bedtime. For the first little while he would then come to my bed halfway through the night, but now he is in the crib from bedtime to dawn, unless he needs to nurse. The next step will be transitioning him to the crib for nap time. Just know this process can take a few days to weeks.
Make a bedtime routine. If you haven’t already, establish a bedtime routine that you know the baby will enjoy. My little guy looks forward to his nightly infant massage which we will up with a nursing session in his favourite rocking chair before he goes down for the night. A solid bedtime routine is proven to help improve the quality of sleep a baby will have. Consistency is key! Trust me!
Use a quality video monitor. You would be amazed at how connected you can feel by keeping a video monitor close by. We use the Philips Avent SCD630/37 Digital Video Baby Monitor. I love it because it provides us with a high resolution clear crisp picture. The monitor has minimal interference. Like none! It offers an awesome talkback feature, a night light and soothing lullabies… All great tools to help calm the little one when you aren’t in the room with them! A video monitor is such a great way to always feel close to your baby. I found myself staring at mine the first few nights that the little guy slept in his crib. Ithas brought me such peace of mind. Oh – and I can’t wait to use this monitor at the cottage this Summer. It has 150 foot range! What?!?!
Introduce a fan or white noise. Or if you have Philips Avent SCD630/37 Digital Video Baby Monitor the play some of the soothing lullabies. All of these can help eliminate noise, and create a calming environment for baby. It also makes it much easier to tiptoe out of the little ones room when you have something in there covering up the noise.
Respond fairly quickly. I will be first to say that the cry it out technique is not for me. I just can’t handle it. This certainly isn’t a jab at parents who do it though because I am a firm believe in that you should do whatever works for you and your child while also letting you maintain your sanity. I have found that responding quickly has actually made the transition from cosleeping to crib seamless. Usually all it takes it a gentle rub of the back or a hand gently placed on his tummy to lull him back to sleep. Just enough for the little one to feel comforted in knowing you are at any arms length – even though you may not have been.
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