Co-sleeping in this day and age is not something new. In fact it has become quite a popular practice whenever a family has a new child. An online search for attachment parenting and you will discover that the topic of co-sleeping has a lot of debate. In my case I started with a newborn that was never exposed to co-sleeping (with the occasional morning nursing in bed), that turned into nightly co-sleeping as soon as she was able to escape from her bed. The following are some lessons that I have learned to deal with.
1. Three in the morning is not the time to have a discussion with a toddler about going back to their own bed. In fact all that does is cause loss of sleep for the both of you, and when neither of you are morning people this isn’t something to trifle with.
2. Find ways to keep them in their own bed. I still do not know what causes my little one to get up from his bed to come sleep with me, but I have in place things such as night lights and music just in case it is because of the dark. He’s also at potty training age so I limit the amount of liquids before bed, and try and get him up before I sleep so he can pee. Now he doesn’t usually come to bed until five am.
3. Enjoy it. Many parents who advocate co-sleeping say it’s a form of bonding. I have found with my own personal experience that this is true. Now mind you this is with a toddler not a newborn, so he’s able to punch and kick me if I roll on him, but it is nice to wake up to a little one that has burrowed himself underneath me.
4. Encourage independence. One thing I still try to do during the night, is make sure that he understands that he can get up and use the wash room without me, and he can get up and go back to bed. Downside to this is that he also slams my doors in the middle of the night to make come and join me.
5. Create a safe environment. This goes with most of what has already been stated, but you need to make sure that the environment that the little one goes to sleep in is safe. Currently the biggest problem that we have is the nightmares and the monsters. There have been several different ways we’ve used to cope with this, but making sure that he always feels safe even if that means that at three in the morning I have to share my bed for a little while, is extremely important.
6. Make sure that your partner understands. I’m lucky enough to have a partner that seems to have no issues being kicked out of bed. It is occasionally a problem for us, but my partner understands that my little one needs his mom, and for the most part it hasn’t caused any real issues other than sleep deprivation. Still you need to maintain that aspect of your life as well.
Co-sleeping is something that we have been doing with our children since the beginning of time. If you’re faced with this issue after not introducing co-sleeping in the first place, then these are a few ways that you can use to help adapt to your current situation.