Jan22

(Co)Sleeping With The Enemy.

79 comments
January 22, 2013 |  by  |  12-24 Months, Ava, Charlie, My Stories, Toddler

For those of you who don’t know me or haven’t been following my blog over the last 2.5 years, I’m a full-time stay-at-home dad for two toddlers.  My daughter Ava, turned 3 in October and Charlie is 18 months old.  When Ava was born, my wife and I had each lived in Los Angeles for well over a decade.  We dated for several years and were married for one.

For all intents and purposes, we were settled into a certain lifestyle.  We had our cute little rituals, like sleeping in the buff and setting our alarms 20 minutes apart to help each other wake up in the morning.  We had our own closets, separate bathrooms and preferred sides of the bed.  Aside from the dog occasionally interrupting and wanting to sleep under the covers, we had established territories.  We sometimes dozed off watching a mutually favored TV show, enjoyed spontaneous intimacy and reveled in our fantastical slumbers.

I looked like this.

As you look at the picture, maybe you’ve got a few adjectives floating around inside your head.  Perhaps you’re thinking wow, he looks really calm, casual and composed.  And maybe you’d even go as far as saying I look relaxed, care-free and well-rested.

Guess what?  You’re right.  I was ALL of them.

When Ava was first born, she spent her nights in a Pack N Play in our room.  As she got a little older, she ended up in our bed for about nine months total, while my wife breastfed her.  It didn’t even really get to a point where I noticed.  And then suddenly one day, Ava just weaned herself off the boob.  She’d had enough of us.

After Charlie was born, same deal.  We dusted off that same Pack N Play and he adjusted his flight path to pull in on our wing for the duration.  When he was only six weeks old, we made a huge decision to move back east.  Jen took a job outside of DC and it was irrelevant where I was stationed to take care of the kids, continue my blog and work on the book I had sold.  We thought it would be very ‘Griswold’ of us to stuff an infant, a toddler and a dog in the backseat and drive 2,700 miles while taking in the sights.

The weekend that we finally arrived at our new home in Maryland, we got the devastating news about the death of our 1 Year, 1 Month, 1 Day year-old niece, Olivia.  Without unpacking, we took the same cross-country bags and headed to Atlanta for a few weeks to grieve with family.

Around that time, Charlie immediately moved to our bed and started sleeping with us.  It’s hard to comprehend the loss of a baby, especially at the hands of a stranger acting reckless.  I think that my wife just wanted to be as close to her baby as she possibly could.  And I would never blame her.

Most nights, it was me, my wife, the dog and Charlie — playing a game of human Tetris in our queen-sized bed.  Occasionally, Ava would wake up in the middle of the night and climb onto the dog pile, which wasn’t the end of the world, so long as she went to sleep and didn’t want to play ’20 questions’.  By morning, we looked like one of those woven pie crust tops, but instead of dough, there were bodies layered and woven over one another.

Months have now gone by — specifically 18 of them.

Now I look like this.

A year and a half of co-sleeping.  How do I feel?  I feel like shit.  I feel like an actual dog turd rolled in hair and lit on fire.  I can’t really honestly tell you that I’ve had a decent night of sleep since Charlie was born.  I think that my wife and I are in agreement about one thing:  we want our bedroom back.

Cooper (dog) has been relegated to the floor and Ava is doing really well, enjoying her new bedroom and loves being surrounded by her stuff.  But what about Charlie?  My wife is slowly weaning him (he’s genetically a boob man, Kung-fu grip on the knockers) and we’re trying to get him to sleep through the night in his own bed.

The problem?  For the last 18 months he’s become dependent on us constantly being there.  He was able to wake up and immediately find the comfort of putting a boob in his mouth.  He doesn’t know how to self-soothe.  He associates my wife with everything sugar and spice.  And because of this, I’ve got to be the one to handle the dirty work of sleep training.

Our pediatricians are fans of the cold turkey, tough-love method of laying him down at bedtime and coming to get him at sunrise.  If he cries, he cries.  He’ll eventually figure it out.  They hinted that it would last a week, with diminishing returns each night.  We tried this for the first two nights, thinking that, when he woke up at midnight, he would have a short cry, exhaust himself and lay back down.  Nope.  He’s got porn star stamina.  His persistent wailing lasted for hours on end.

We questioned whether or not we should follow through with this.  Now I’ve fucked everything up by going into his room when he cries and laying him back down.  Pediatricians and old-timers love to toss out that old ‘no kid ever died from crying’ shit and I’m smart enough to figure that one out.  BUT, is what I’m doing humane?

Does the guilt ride my conscience?  YES.

Are his war cries affecting the sleep pattern of the entire neighborhood?  YES.

Do I wanna take a frying pan and smash everything in our house into a thousand pieces because I’m losing my mind?  YES.

I know there are a lot of co-sleeping advocates out there and I respect your choices.  To each his own.  But seriously, WTF?  I WANT MY BED BACK.

I kneel before the rest of you, asking for advice.

 

 

 

 
78 comments
Clint000
Clint000

I have been with my wife for 9 years, ISleep in the spare room 100% of the time as she co sleeps with our 3 year old son and 11 month daughter. I love and miss her so much. I am just about fed up with the situation and feel its going to end badly very soon if she can't wake up and see I'm miserable.

edillard
edillard

To each his own, and hopefully you and your wife already have your bed back at this point! But if not, we used a modified version of cry it out and it worked wonderfully. It took a week but now our daughter sleeps for 10 hours! We actually have time together again! We would wait 5 minutes before we would go into her room. If she was still crying after 5 minutes my husband would go in and pat her stomach and try to sooth her. As time went on he slowly distanced himself and instead of patting her would talk to her looking in her crib. Then a few feet away from the crib. Then at the door, etc. It helped her know she hadn't been abandoned but helped us get our bed and marriage back! Good luck! There is no "right way" do what your family is comfortable with. 

Mama_Heza
Mama_Heza

We're new parents (with a 12 week old). So far, he's been sleeping in a crib in our room, and my husband is always saying "let's bring him into bed with us" thinking it'll be so lovely and sweet. I keep saying, "No, it's not safe" as he's a deeeeep sleeper and I truly do fear for my little one being smothered by daddy. But you bring up some other really good points

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@Mama_Heza

Rikki
Rikki

Oh yea- I forgot to mention: she literally KICKED me out of my own bed one night...yea, I hit the floor. Fun. Not. So we are definitely working very hard to get Lil Miss into her own bed so mommy and daddy can finally stretch out again. :)

Rikki
Rikki

OMG - I feel your pain! I was the biggest advocate for "they MUST sleep in their own bed" when my son was little. BUT he never slept through the night either. He would go back to sleep, he just insisted that we all wake up a few times throughout the night. My daughter on the other hand, started off really well. We started with the bassinet, then the pack n play....I wasn't just ready yet to move her to her crib so it was me on the couch (pack n play wouldn't fit in our bedroom at the time without a major redecoration project) and her in the pack n play next to me. Then nights on the floor in her room while she slept in her crib. This worked great, she slept through the night like a champ!!! Well, one day when she was supposedly napping in her crib (at about 18 months old) she attempted to scale the sides and climb out. She fell and broke her wrist. This ended up with a cast and all kinds of stress for mom and dad. AND the crib was gone, done, out the door. We bought a toddler bed two days later. Guess what...she hated it. It was right back to the couch, the pack n play, eventually to her on the couch with me, then when my back couldn't take the couch anymore, she wound up in our bed again. Now, she is 3 1/2 and still there. She believes that it is HER room, HER bed and when we've brought up the concept of putting her toddler bed in our room to attempt to at least get her to sleep in her own bed (She refuses, won't do it, and screams loud enough that law enforcement has been called...twice) she informs us that she sleeps between mommy and daddy and no where else. Mommy is a foot rest or head rest and daddy is the other, depends on which way she ends up. A decent night of sleep has been a long sought after goal for us for so long now, I don't think I would know what to do with one. I am partially to blame for this because when she was littler, I really enjoyed sleeping beside her. My husband worked away a lot and it was comforting to know that she was right there beside me. For her too, she missed her daddy and having mommy extra close helped keep her calm. BUT NOW...enter into the time we should be getting ready for preschool registration and signing up for dance or sports and she absolutely will not sleep anywhere but in my bed. Right between us. Thankfully we have a sense of humor or things would've went south in this marriage a long time ago. A foot jammed into your mouth at 4 a.m. is never fun. We're still on this journey though. Our first plan of attack is to put the toddler bed in our room (we now have a larger house) and transition her to that in our room. Next step, BIG GIRL ROOM! I plan to redecorate her room and let her help me pick the colors or theme and hopefully convince her that only big girls get to help with these projects (she likes to craft with her mommy:) and that she must sleep in there. *Fingers crossed* Good luck!!!!

Yvette Shirkey
Yvette Shirkey

Hi Adrian, my company made gift bags for Ava's birthday party a few years ago. I've been following your blogs etc. You are a riot! So back to the sleeping issue. My Mother bless her heart said to me a million times, don't let them sleep with you, you'll regret it. Since I am a Mother of 5, the youngest is a Senior in high school, the oldest a nurse with 2 of her own, I have learned a few things the hard way. Number 4 would not sleep. I think he was a vampire. He would wake up every 2 hours all night long and if I put him in bed with me he would sleep but he would also want the boob every time he would wake up until I was so exhausted I would bounce off the doorways the next day. So what worked for me was I would get up , change his diaper, give him a small bottle (I know your not supposed to do that but damn we needed to get through this anyway we could!) rock him a little and lay him down in his bed. He was very much a Mommas' boy and still is even though he's a sophomore at UC and 215#. I just kept reassuring him before I left his room. I would rub his back and talk to him;Mommy will see you in the morning, I love you etc. etc. Finally it clicked and when he realized that I wasn't going to put him in bed with me he just stopped and started sleeping though the night. It was hell for a while but you will get there I PROMISE!! Hang in there!

B Eaton
B Eaton

Our son co-slept for a long time. I fell out of bed a few times. Tried letting him cry it out. Eventually he started sleeping in his own bed and then coming in with us when he woke up every night. Good thing with that was that we would only allow him in after taking a leak. Wet his bed maybe two times. They are only little once. Suck it up and think how in a few quick years you'll be lucky to get them to grunt at you. Then you will look back with fondness at getting kicked in the ---- while snuggling with them in bed.

kim
kim

please check out the book called "the no cry sleep solution" it was a miracle for our family. ( i cringe every time someone talks about letting the kids cry it out. it is awful for their sense of self worth and security!)

Ashley
Ashley

Bed was a nightmare! And involved alot of tears. Mostly from me.

Ashley
Ashley

I didn't have time to read 67 responses so if what im writing a repeat I apologize. I have 4 daughters, ranging in ages from 10 years to 3 months, and have Co-slept with all of them. Needless to say I feel your pain! The easiest to get out of my bed was my now 2 year old, who has been sleeping on her own since about 18 months. (Just in time for our new baby to take her place) . It was a process to get her in there, but there was little to no crying. I started out rocking her to sleep at night then putting her in her crib, when she woke up in the middle of night she could see my husband and I and wouldn't freak out. She did cry sometimes but we would just let her sleep with us on those nights. Eventually she stopped waking in the middle of the night all together. After we won that battle we moved on to the war; getting her to fall asleep on her own. This involved some crying but what I found was that if I acted like it was no big deal then she was more calm. We would make our rounds to her dad and sisters saying goodnight and giving kisses. Then I would put her in bed and kiss her goodnight, if she started to cry I would just tell her calmly that it was time to go to bed. Sometimes she cried, but she would eventually go to sleep. I hope some of these things work for you. Cause my 10 year old slept with us till she was 5 and my 5 year old till she was 3. Getting them out of our

Tanzi
Tanzi

Antihistamines. Ask your doctor for the pale green liquid, I forget the name. That's what my pediatrician, who has been practicing for 30 years, prescribed for the entire family to take for 3 weeks until new sleep habits formed. Best thing I have ever done. That was 4 years ago.

GarageNinja1
GarageNinja1

Well as the mother of 2 boys age 14 and 16 I can say your doctor is right. Lay him down and let him scream. It will take 3-5 nights depends on how stubborn he is. But he will go to sleep on his own. Stay strong. The more you give in the worse he will get!

Michele
Michele

First, is Charlie an 18-month old that would benefit from positive reinforcement? For example, offer him a "reward" if he can sleep in his bed half the night .... Ultimately, you titrate to the whole night. Granted, it may be super slow because you may only succeed one night a week. Second, while no one ever died from crying, the National Institute of mental health are doing studies looking at cry-it-out and elevated cortisol levels long term, which can lead to prolonged anxiety/depression. My husband loves to let my son cry-it-out. I do not, and yet, my child sleeps through the night. For me and my son, allowing him to cry when he wakes make me feel like he will ultimately get the message that I will not be there when he needs me. Now, if he wakes up in the middle of the night and he is whining but NOT crying, or babbling, I let him babble. Having a preemie he has gone through major growth spurts, and I find with his growth spurts or teeth he always wakes up. All is wants is snuggled and rocked. I think knowing you will be there will help him. My husband does the sitting in front of him gig and he just FLIPS out more. take the time you need to get him adjusted. Once he talks he can tell you what he needs. My preemie has a speech delay and can't tell me what's wrong and since he has airway issues, I go in to see if he is okay. Good luck! Remember, it won't last long--- all kids move out of parents bed..... There aren't many pre-teens and up sleeping with parents

Adrienne
Adrienne

Im pulling myself from the shared bed as we speak....laughing really hard (sorry). You see, our Ava, who is five, climbs into our bed like a stealthy ninja each night, while i, on my right side catering to our 20 month old boob monster --quietly allow it, lest i wake a hungry goblin who must suckle at every sound. Advice? My head is pounding............

Barrie
Barrie

Be guilt free, and consistent! Have a bedtime routine and keep checking on the babies every five or ten minutes at first and then make it a little longer, until you have gotten to one half hour and in the morning tell them about how you checked and they were asleep. Once they believe you will always check, they will relax. Even the little one. But be consistent. This is probably the toughest step parents take with small children, and you will go through it now and again over the years as they develop fears - perfectly normal. And when they are teenagers and you have to dig your heels in about something big and say "No", this training will benefit you too! You are the parent and you know what is right for you and your children, even if you would rather cave in and make them happy!

Jenny
Jenny

(I have a friend whose kiddo sleeps in one place and they have a king, I'm told that makes co-sleeping cake)

Jenny
Jenny

Much sympathy! We only co-sleep when we travel and it is brutal. We did do the pack and play in our room for the first 7 months, and then through the remainder of the 13.5 months of nursing I went into his room for it. It helped to start getting him used to his room by having a consistent soothing routine and getting him to nap in there before we made the nighttime move; and we actually had a really good rhythm going with rocking him to sleep and laying him in his crib, giving him a drink of water when he woke up and leaving (sometimes after a quick back rub) (blanket over the side of the crib so he couldn't see movement in the room.) THEN right about 18 months our little ninja climbed out of his bed and took a harrowing adventure through our house ultimately shutting himself in the dark in the downstairs only to be discovered screaming himself senseless when we woke up and panicked that we had slept in (for some reason) hours later. As you can imagine I nearly had a heart attack and went on a baby proofing spree including a switch to a toddler bed so we didnt have to worry about him breaking his neck escaping his crib again. The thing is, now he can see everything in his room and he can get up whenever he pleases and when he does get up he screams his head off. After a month or so of adjusting, he is pretty used to the bed, but we end up sleeping on his floor in the early morning to keep him down until a reasonable hour... The most effective thing I have found is the advice to tell them during bedtime they are supposed to stay in bed, that you love them, but at nighttime you will not be smiling or playing, and if they get up they will be put back in bed (gently, with no positive or negative engagement)... Anyway, he is crying as I type so forgive my disjointed thoughts, I need to go see if he can self soothe or in going to have to go put him back in his bed...

Lauren
Lauren

My first born, who is 11 years old now, NEVER wanted to sleep in his crib or be by himself. He's never been a good sleeper either. He would cry whenever left to sleep in his crib. I rejected the Ferber method in which you lock them in their room and let them scream it out. My personal feeling is I think it's cruel and damages their trust in us. I did try the Baby Whisperer method, in which I would lay him back down in the crib each time he cried. I gave up after 30-40+ times. I spoke with my pediatrician, who has 6 kids of his own, who had tried the Ferber method with his first child (didn't work) and never did it again. He let them bring their bedding or sleeping bag and sleep on the floor in his room saying, "As long as you don't wake me up...". We've done that, pretty much. There have been times that he has crawled into bed (unbeknownst to us, fully). This can be so disruptive (every movement would wake us to some degree) and dangerous. Both my husband and I have been awakened by a kick in the face and nose (his head is at the foot of the bed and his feet end up by our heads). I honestly believe this is why he has begun snoring (he has been diagnosed with a deviated septum). I have been smacked in the nose numerous times, am having sinus issues and am about to see the ENT doctor about it. It turns out my son was diagnosed with anxiety (at age 8) and been treated(which is why he never wanted to be alone as a small child) and I am so glad I was sensitive to his needs. He would never have done well with the Ferber method. He also has ADHD (diagnosed at age 5) - which is why he is such a restless sleeper. My other son, 9 years old has always been a solid sleeper - no issues. We allow snuggling in bed at times, but when it's time to go to sleep they will sleep on the floor occasionally, but mostly sleep in their own beds. I hope this helps!

Heather
Heather

Hi, we went through the same issue. We tried everything the pediatricians recommended. We finally laid a twin mattress on the floor and he had to start in his room at night. If he needed to he could come and lay on the mattress on the floor. He had to be quiet and lay down. Just a thought.

Grace
Grace

I'm sure you received a LOT of answers. Mine is relatively simple...when the kids were infant/toddler aged, I sang them to sleep. Sometimes it would take more than 1 song and as they got older they sang along! My husband wasn't much of a singer but Jingle Bells was his song of choice...no matter what time of year!

Phil
Phil

Hey: Your after pic looks pretty good. Mine made me look like a barely warmed over, slightly wan Zombie. You look great as a matter of fact. Keep up the good work... Phil

Lyndsi
Lyndsi

I tried to comment on the article posted on aol this morning, but never did see it so Im gonna post here :) when my boy was 3.5 and daughter was about a year I moved them from my bed to theirs, we would get jammies on brush teeth, and climb into bed, and I would read Harry Potter, in a very monotone voice! kids would be out with in a page two at the most. I would start our routine at about 7pm and kids would be out by 7:30, today boy is almost 10 and girl is 7 still in bed by 7:30, and the only kids I know that when caught trying to stay up later quietly in their rooms are in there reading instead of playing or sneaking candy! PS my monotone voice had no effect on their personal reading voices girl is one of the most animated readers in her class :) 7:30 bed time gives so much time for parents to have time to themselves and kids are well rested and ready for the day! GOOD LUCK!

Megan Schmidt
Megan Schmidt

I just found your sight and LOVE this post. We too are in a co-sleeping nightmare. We have a 4 year old that just won't stay in his room. We also have an almost 1 year old who we just did CIO with. Check out this webiste(www.troublesometots.com)...it is all about sleeping issues with kids. Alexis has some pretty good advice. We are now able to put our baby in his room at night and he goes to sleep totally on his own -- no crying. The next part is keeping him asleep -- sometimes he sleeps till 4 in the morning (goes down at 7) and sometimes he's up every 3 or so hours. Our next phase is to night wean him. I think the key is to not tackle everything at once. I would start first with getting him to figure out how to go to sleep on his own and then tackle the night weaning. Does he take a bottle at all?

Kim
Kim

This post is hilarious! Thanks for sharing. I fell for you, I do. It'll all work out, you'll see. Although we do get our own bedroom back to us, I still have the monitor turned WAAAAAAY up and it'll be there until he takes it out. Hopefully it'll be there until he moves out, but probably not. :o) I remember those concerns though when my son was much younger and he'd have the flu and we'd sit with him until he was resting comfortably in his room with him. Now I am ecstatic that I don't have to get up with him in the middle of the night to use the toilet. Ah, each age has something fun to look forward too!

Kara
Kara

When my now husband and I started dated my daughters were 3 1/2 and 2. The girls had always slept with me since I separated from their father when the younger one was just an infant. When my now husband would come over to our house, I would have to excuse my self for anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour or so to go in to my room and lay with the girls until they fell asleep. Then, after they had been asleep a while we would move them to their room. Sometimes they would sleep thru the night and sometimes not. He suggested that I do something about them sleeping in my bed (for obvious reasons). He helped me and together we tried and tried. Finally, he went out and bought them a small TV with a DVD player in it. We would turn the TV on and set the sleep timer to 30 minutes (or maybe an hour on the weekends), and shut the door, leaving a night light on in their room. IT WORKED!!!! If by chance they were not asleep when the TV shut off, we did force them to stay in their beds. They cried a little, but after a couple of weeks....we were sleeping by ourselves!!!

Madalyn
Madalyn

This article saved my sanity after our first daughter co-slept for 3 years and I plan to use this method again with our youngest: http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html Dr. Jay Gorden offers a kind but solid strategy for night-weaning that won't leave you guilt-ridden in the morning. I would say if you can get him night-weaned first, the transition into his own bed will be easier for everyone. Seriously *****THIS WORKS**** Good luck!!!!

Willow
Willow

In response to the one that said that she wouldn't let her kid cry more than 20 minutes..Oh really? That is silly, then they learn to figure out the time that mummy will jump to their demands, like little napoleons! Let the kid cry till it falls asleep. There is plenty of time for comfort during the day. I think they need to learn early that they have to sleep on their own.. I am a mom and I have two kids, and get this breasty feeders: I did NOT breastfeed them! ooooo I am the ultimate in bad parenting. I am not a milk cow! I am SO awful that now they are in grad school, one in law school and the other for speech therapy. OOO bad mom using formula and letting her kids cry themselves to sleep! Yours, Evil Mother.

Willow
Willow

You gotta let that kid cry. You guys made a huge problem by letting him sleep in bed with you in the first place, now to change that is going to be hard. The kids think that they own you. They do not. Your bed is your bed, not theirs. SO WHAT if the little monsters cry! You need your sleep. Kids are resilient and will grow in spite of what we do to them! My kids never had a problem sleeping on their own because I never allowed that whole "climb into bed with mommy" crap in the first place. Co sleeping is a really ridiculous idea. Keep this in mind: those parents that are so into their kids that they let them sleep in bed with them, are the same people that cannot wait to toss their little angels into daycare the first chance they get. Kids need to grow and live, let them have that space. Of course if they are really scared that is really different but that kid should not be allowed 'the boob' at that age. He knows he can get away with it because you guys let him, and now it is a difficult habit to break. Remember that you are in charge, you are the parent, the kid can and should sleep on his own in his own bed in his own room, not with you guys.

JustJoan
JustJoan

What you've taught the little dictator is that if he hollers long enough, Dad (or Mom) will cave. Nothing is worse than hearing our babes cry, but sometimes the cure feels worse than the disease. In the long run, both children will benefit most from parents with enough energy to keep up with their toddlerhood adventures. Rested parents are more patient. They're funnier. They're less likely to say OK to things just because they don't have enough gas in the tank to say "let's make chicken nuggets at home instead of going through the golden arches drive-through." Start a bedtime ritual well before bed time. Over-stimulated kids have trouble winding down. If he uses a lovey, make sure he has it. Keep bedtime drama-free: it happens every night, and it happens the same way. If you ritualize a happy bedtime now, it will be much easier to do so when both kids are school-aged, too. Good luck, and enjoy a real night's sleep, after you get the other Important Mommy-and-Daddy Funstuff out of the way, as well! ;)

Amanda
Amanda

I have four (4) boys ages (oldest is 7, youngest is 1). I breast-fed all of them for at least a year. I NEVER put any of them in my bed----ever. I had some terrible sleepers, too, but I would (and did) sleep on the floor of a kid's room before I would bring that kid into my bed. Let that kid cry it out; he is old enough to sleep through the night, and to do so in his own bed. I am not suggesting you do anything I didn't do myself: I spent many nights sleeping on the floor when I was 8 months pregnant because my 19 month old was a terrible sleeper. Time to re-claim your bed, dude! After a few bad nights, you will be rewarded with mostly great nights!

Lindsay
Lindsay

Try books by Kim West aka The Sleep Lady. She is a social worker that specializes in getting kids to sleep. No joke, that's all she does. And she's in Annapolis! You could go see her! She specializes in getting kids to sleep without forcing them to cry it out. I used her method to get my 2 year old to sleep in her own bed. Good luck! http://thesleeplady.com/

Angela
Angela

We were co-sleeping with our daughter from the time she was 3 months, until she was 2! Luckily for me, she always gravitated toward my husband. :) But once we decided that it was time to evict her, we purchased a toddler bed and placed it at the foot of our bed. She liked the idea of having her own bed and whenever she woke up, we were there, but she was in her bed and we were in ours. It was great for all and really helped in allowing her to sleep "in her own bed." Now, when it came time to move her back into her room, it was somewhat of a stuggle but it only took a week and a half for her to get used to waking up and NOT seeing us there. She would still come to our room from time to time, but it was manageable. She was confortable in her bed so she got used to it. The best part was there were no cries in the middle of the night and we did not feel as guilty when we moved her back to her room. Hope this helps.

Marcie, mom of 3
Marcie, mom of 3

Hi Dad, Love reading your blogs during my coffee break at work. My daughter Brook is 16mos old today and I've successfully transitioned her to her own bed in her own room. Putting her down takes about an hour. It consists of the same ritual every night, which is the key. Dad brushes her teeth with her (2 toothbrushes), then she helps feed her fish (she named him Mwah), then we read the same 2 stories every night while she has a bottle, then lights out, and rocking and lullabies until she is almost asleep. When I finally do lay her down she is so tired she grins, eyes closed, and curls up with her favorite doll and blanket. Then u leave her room. Sometimes she'll sing herself to sleep. Usually she just snores. When she's teething we'll get up one or twice at night and I'll give her a bottle in my lap, rocking. That's usually enough to get her to knock off again. It took 2 weeks to get her used to her own room. That time sucked because she did cry and I had to ride the line between midnight bottles, rocking to soothe, and letting her cry (no more than 20min at a time). But after 2 wks of being consistent inmy

David
David

Dude, We had a family bed until my daughter was a 144 months. Now she is a beautiful, well adjusted 25 year old (300 months)working professional living the dream in NYC. Get over it. Buy a king sized bed.

Melissa
Melissa

I so feel your pain! I commend you for doing the co-sleeping thing for this long. As parents we all know these little "angels" can suck the life right out of you before you even know what hit you! I have 3 kids, two girls with a boy in the middle. The first was a dream child, she weaned herself (not on my timeline, hers), she gave up the paci when she needed the bigger size at 18 months. She even potty-trained at 18 months. She slept through the entire night at 4 months and didn't have too many problems with night waking after that. Now I know how different every kid can be! Our son was a little bit more difficult. I took the paci away at 2 years old, and ever since then we have had trouble with him falling asleep at night. He's 6 now and still takes a long time to fall asleep. It was easier for him to fall asleep with one of us in the room with him. Because we did that, he had a hard time falling asleep on his own. For awhile after we took the paci, we had to time him at night wakings. He would cry right up until the timer was going to go off. I had a hard time with making him cry it out, but I also knew he was smart enough to cry long enough for us to come save him. The bottom line is, you get to do what you want because you're the dad. Even if you do have him cry it out, he will learn to self-soothe and sleep on his own. Our third one is pretty good at night too. We taught her to sleep on her own early on, but I do know when I take her paci away there will be hell to pay! She loves the na-na and has now associated that with going to sleep. It's worked awesome, but she can't have them forever! Good luck! I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes! I just found this blog and loved this post!

Michelle
Michelle

Boy can I relate!!! I actual worked for a pediatrician while going through my sleepless nights with my son! He refused to nap !!! So by the time he actually fell asleep at night his sleep pattern was so off. I finally couldn't take it anymore - after soothing and comforting our little guy only to be very sleep deprived and stressed out myself I felt something had to change !! I followed the advice of my very trusted drs who were also my frends. I ferberized my son. He didn't cry for a week - he WAILED for 3 weeks. But we stuck to our guns never picking him up , just reassuring him we were there but quickly exiting the room. My husband felt it was cruel and breaking his spirit . And as much as it bothered me I could tell my son was sooo pissed off that he wasn't getting his way but I knew we had to find a happy medium here. And as long as I was giving into him that would never happen . Eventually he settled nicely into an actual routine . The sooner he learns to wean himself from mom the human pacifier the more content he will be because he will be able to soothe and calm himself quickly . Good luck !!!!!

Rebecca
Rebecca

Never let them cry it out. That just makes things worse. You are trying to get them to trust you enough that they know you will be right there should they need you . Ignoring,their requests for love and reassurance will make them a anxious creature that just needs more and more reassurance. Make sure that they have a big kid room as an alternative. Start with naps and good night stories in 'the big boy/girl room'. Be patient. Consider that all over the world, and in other primates, co-sleeping is essential for safety and nutrition. Taking care of their needs reliablly will give them the optimistic view of the world. Furtheremore, it gives confidence from the knowledge they have control of some pretty important parts of life. These are all good things for mental health. There are studies that show that the amount of crying at three days is correlated to how much they cry at three months, three years, etc. Nurse them on demand, immediately address any problem that is causing them to cry. Self soothing is total bull pucky. No, no, no, There is no evidence that 'self soothing' even exists, let alone does anything positive. Lots of studies, even cross cultural ones, say pick them up, put them in a snugglie and let them stay there all day if they want it. My goal as a parent of an infant and toddler was to make sure that they never cried. One day they weaned them themselves, and one day they wanted to sleep in their big girl room. No drama, just a happy, independent, girl who is confident enough to study and work as an engineer, (which is a male dominated field); confident enough to be working on a doctorate in systems engineering. Confident enough to defend her position, even if the conversation is with a Colonel or Major. Though she is a petite and beautiful woman, her passion for her work has given her the reputation and name as "THE PITBULL". So for all of those folks that said, that because I never put her down, I would be creating a defendant, spoiled monster, I say neener, neener, neener.

Carol
Carol

I have three kids (two girls and a boy) the girls were easy to get to start sleeping in their own beds, but my boy I did have to try numerous things before I finally got him into his own bed. What I found that worked best was me putting him down sitting beside his bed rubbing his back and singing to him to start with. Gradually I'd move away from his bed still singing his lullabyes until eventually I could just put some music on in his room (he enjoyed the Celtic Woman)and I'd retreat to the peace and sanctity of my own room and bed.

Rose
Rose

My kids would fall asleep in our bed and then I would transfer them to their bed. If they woke up in the middle of the night, depending how tired I was, I would either make them stay in their bed or bring them back to our bed. Flexible was and is my key word. I need my sleep.

Jenny
Jenny

I feel your pain! Although our daughter is 14, you don't forget those years easily. Two things that helped us out was that our daughter fell asleep with my husband when he went to bed. He goes to bed early (8-8:30) and I am much later, so when she fell asleep, I would gently carry her to her room and she would sleep the rest of the night in her bed. We had to pretty much stop this when she grew tall enough that her head would bump into the door jam! Hold breath, did she wake? No. Phew! Close one. Other option is cute...and corny. My daughter loved cradling my arm sometimes as she fell asleep. Since I needed my own arm to fall asleep, I gave her one of my old, soft sweatshirts, stuffed it inside itself into one sleeve and she was able to fall asleep holding onto my "arm" (or "armie" as we called it). If you or or wife wear it for a day or two it may help in that it will smell like you (hopefully in a good way) and comfort him. Best of luck and restfull nights ahead! Don't worry, they don't go to school still sleeping with you. So be joyous it will end...someday!

TJ
TJ

I'm right there with you, brother. I'm the primary care taker for my two daughters. The youngest is 3 and she had a similarly hard time sleeping on her own, especially when she moved from her crib to her big-girl bed. For what it's worth, here's what we did. Have a timer or watch ready. Step one: Put child to bed; Step two: Wait until child cries. Step three: Wait one minute, then go in and soothe. Step four: Leave and wait until crying resumes, but this time wait 2 minutes and then soothe. Step five: Continue the pattern but extend the time out by two minutes each time. She had the reassurance that I was around, but she was forced her to start working it out on her own. Some nights it took forever and we all nearly lost our minds, but it progressively got better until she has developed the skill to be put to bed one time, and that's it. She's had absolutely no drama when going to bed for over six months. Kiss, hug, story, lights out, see you in 10+ hours. Good luck.

Lisa B.
Lisa B.

The only thing I can say is....it's gonna suck. I went thru the same process with my first. Letting her sleep with us was never in the plan. But somewhere between the constant wakeups for feeding and walking the house like a zombie with her colic, I gave in. The only answer is to let them cry. Don't get me wrong. You will rather that someone dip you in hot glue and then roll you in tacks. It killed me to let her cry and on top of that, to lose the already precious little sleep I was getting. And a couple of nights? NOT! It took almost a full week. But, IT WAS WORTH IT! They do get the idea and crying will not hurt them. This is how they learn to self sooth. And look at it this way....Once you get thru this, if you ever have any more children, they will never sleep in your bed. EVER! Good luck!

Fraulein Karla
Fraulein Karla

Oh, you poor parents! God I feel your pain. I have a little baby boy, a toddler now actually, and your post really brings back memories. Vivid memories. I also wrote a blog, a survival technique to vent, about everything sleep related. Here's the "gentle" but tough-but-not-so-tough method I used to help him sleep in his own bed. Hope it helps: http://angelsofbabysleep.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/tough-love/ There's also this post that might help you: http://angelsofbabysleep.wordpress.com/category/putting-baby-to-sleep/ You're a great dad! Big pat on your back. No matter what you choose to do, it all works out in the end and your kids love you. Take care and good luck, Karla

Vickie
Vickie

We now have a fully weaned/sleeping in his own bed 2 year old (after co-sleeping since infancy.) YAY! Best of all, we never had to let him cry it out. My husband and I both work (our son goes to a school during the day - they are amazing). It never would have work with my husband directing because my son is also a 'boob man' and thinks mommy is the most amazing & comforting thing on the planet - he needed to hear it from me... gradually, to get closure & transition. What I had to do for him was allow him to nurse at bed time and in the morning but not at all throughout the night. I would explain to him that 'they were sleeping.' Eventually we started talking about bed time routines through out the daytime and they would talk about it at school so he knew he could transition to having a book read to him at night before bed rather than nursing. So, we cut it down to one feeding in the morning. When he would wake up at night we would tell him that he could nurse when it was morning time. I think it was a total of two months of him still having the comfort of being in bed with us with less nursing before we moved him to his own bed at night (a toddler bed in the same room with us). In that time he learned he could fall asleep via book reading and when he would wake up in the morning he would toddle over and nurse once in bed with us before the day began. If he didn't make it through the night he was allowed to sleep with us but no nursing until morning. Most nights he slept through - they need the sleep too! Hope that helps!!! Momma is probably going to have to handle this one for it to go peacefully.

Krista
Krista

Healthy Sleep, Happy Child - SAVED OUR LIVES! I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old. Stay strong. Back away slowly. Use ear plugs. Snuggle in the morning - have a rule the kids can come to bed after some predetermined time. It works, you get closeness and snuggles, and the pre-bed routine helps with snuggling, but also prepping for separation.

Kim
Kim

GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT. The method works, and the book allows you to pick up the method at various ages (depending on the age when you are having a problem). You still sleep-train, but it is more bearable for both you and the kid. And yes, it still takes about a week. And if you are still having trouble, I think that she (Kim West) lives in DC and consults. Good luck.

Hayley
Hayley

There is a RESPECTfUL way to do it!! We did it at a similar time to you and it worked. Please read all you can on Janet Lansbury's website! I promise the way you parent will never be the same and your kids will (eventually) thank you for it!!

Nichole
Nichole

I certainly feel ya!!! Everyone needs to remember that if something doesn't feel natural or right it's not. I LISTEN TO EVERYONE'S ADVICE IN ALL THE DOCTORS ADVISE, I decided they were wrong. Why would I want my child to develop a negative sleep association. Something I was weak but so be it. I finally found asleep message that works for us. it's called a good night sleep tight method and it's the gradual process of the baby learning to self soothe. It did take a few months but now he sleeps through the night in nap are not a problem. Well most the time because the occasional tooth will cause anyone upset. If you are still looking for some suggestions they have local coaches to help walk you through it. Good luck to you!

Nancy
Nancy

Have you considered seeing a sleep doula? My neighbors who had horrible sleep issues with their two say she saved their sanity. I have to concur with everyone who says reclaim your bed NOW. You and the missus need it. Good luck!

MaryJo McLaughlin
MaryJo McLaughlin

Take back your bed now! I cannot stress this enough. My son just turned 10. He still wants to sleep in my bed. I thought nature would solve the problem, that he would think he's too grown up to sleep with me. Nope - he's a happy foot digging, toe nail scratching, hair twirling camper. I'm a step away from qualifying for disability between my impending insanity and my collection of bruises and scuffs. You need to think of this task as a Nike ad - just do it. You'll feel guilt for 7-10 days, but you and he will get past it. Start today! Save yourself.

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