A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about moving on from co-sleeping and how it was not going too well, so I thought I would update on further progress.
Quick back story, we co-slept from birth due to intense cluster feeding through the night and to ensure she was well settled. We decided we needed to move on for a few reasons, she’s getting on the large and wriggly side so we don’t have much room in bed for all three of us, and I’d rather do it now before she’s old enough to remember sleeping in bed with us as being the norm. We put her cot by our bed with the side off so it’s mattress to mattress; she has her space and we have ours.
The first few nights varied from not too bad to bloody awful, but it got better fast.
I’ve never been one to impose routine on her that doesn’t suit her and have always tried to follow her lead which is how we’ve ended up with a bedtime routine designed by her that is working incredibly well and makes me do a little smug mummy dance each night. I’m aware it will change, but for now it works beautifully.
If you’re stuck for ideas this is what is working for us. At around five I get her into her pyjamas and impose a rule of quiet time to anyone and everyone who comes to visit. We still talk and listen to music like normal but have no sudden noises, no playing, no over stimulation, its all about cuddles and feeds and winding down. At around 645 we go upstairs to the bedroom which is warm and quiet and dark, I put on a lamp and we read Slinky Malinky or The Gruffalo or both, then the light goes off and we have a long feed in the dark. I then put her into her cot with her blanket and give her a kiss on the cheek.
Usually she goes straight off to sleep, occasionally we get a few minutes of chuntering. I’m not letting her cry, chuntering and grizzling fine, but actual crying no. If she cries or the chuntering doesn’t stop I go up and don’t talk but offer her another feed or just give her a cuddle. Returns are only occasional and returning more than once is even rarer.
This gives me the evening with my lovely husband. We have dinner, we watch a film, we cuddle on the sofa, I neurotically stare at the baby monitor and repeatedly check that she’s not being quiet because she’s died. But it works beautifully.
I strongly believe that her confidence in settling down alone comes from having been in bed with me so she knew when she woke up she got comfort or food or what she needed. She’s never left in distress, she’s never left hungry, she has no need to fear or dread bedtime. Indeed she enjoys it. She loves her stories, putting her hands on the pages and giggling as I read to her. When she knows she’s going up to bed she’s all smiles. Bedtime is not a bad thing to her, and she does not feel abandoned, so she has no reason to protest it.
Before having her cosleeping had been the opposite of my intentions but I’ve followed her and her needs. Some nights she spends most of the night in our bed, other nights she spends most of it in her cot. If she needs her mum she gets me, if she needs her space she gets it. We still have rough nights and even on good nights she’s having breastfeeds through til morning, but I am confident. As she grows and when she’s weened the night feeds will lessen but the bedtime routine we’ve developed will stay in place. Eventually she will go into her own room but she’s not yet ready to leave and I’m not ready to force her. For now this is working for us beautifully and for all my other errors, for now bed time is ticked off the list.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!