Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Co-sleeping Hypocrite?!

So if you caught on in my last post my sweet Zoë has been weaned to her own bed! During our little staycation I had this strong feeling that it was time. She is a really, really mobile baby and I was afraid she'd roll off the bed or climb over me and fall face first onto our hardwood floor. I just kept envisioning that happening in my mind and knew I had to prevent that from happening.

I'm a huge advocate for doing what feels best for you and your family and I also highly promote co-sleeping if one feels it is the right way to go. So needless to say, even though I felt it was time, I had that nasty Mommy Guilt that can creep up on us mommies. I'm no hypocrite! I still strongly encourage families to try co-sleeping if they feel it is something that would benefit them. But there also comes a time for co-sleeping to end and this was the time for us. You never know when that time will come, it just comes when the time comes. Ha ha!

I had been trying to get Zoë in her bed for naps without luck so I thought we'd try to switch things up and try bedtime. And of course it worked like a charm. She still won't take naps in there or at least won't nap in there for longer than 20 minutes but she does go to bed at night!

The first night I stayed upstairs with her and hummed and rubbed her back. She went to sleep in her crib and only woke up twice in the night but muttered herself back to sleep without me having to go in there. Now she goes to bed like a pro. I lay her down fully awake and she rolls over and closes her eyes.

My personal tips for weaning baby from your bed:

-It is said that co-sleeping is most beneficial for your baby's respiratory system up to at least 6 months of age. Your baby hits a critical developmental milestone, however, shortly afterward called "separation anxiety". So the ideal time to wean is 9-months plus. Note that every child is different and as their mother (or father) only you can make the judgment on that perfect and right time for your family!

-When safety becomes an issue it is time to re-evaluate your sleeping arrangements. Co-sleeping is safe when done correctly but once your child becomes mobile new considerations need to be taken in to account. Most co-sleeping couples get rid of the bed frame and sleep on a mattress on the floor to prevent falls. This is not something we wanted to do. Choose what is right for you!

-Give it time. Try nap-times first. Let baby get used to the crib and their room. Have playtime in there and put them in their crib with some toys while you shower or do the dishes and see how they do. You might be surprised to find them happily engaged and content in their own space! Or you may find they are terrified and horrified of their new surroundings. Take your time and test the waters.

-I'm not a big fan of crying it out whatsoever. A little whining and fussing is different. Full-out crying and terror is not okay in my personal opinion. If you need to rock your child to sleep and then put them in bed do it! You won't create a dependent monster. I started off putting Zoë down after rocking and nursing her to sleep and now she goes to bed drowsy or awake.

-Lose the Mommy Guilt! That's right! Don't let those nasty feelings creep up on you. You may feel a little sad as this chapter in your life closes and new ones open up which is definitely alright. I was definitely sad and missed having my baby in bed, still do! But ultimately I know she is safer now and we are all getting better sleep.

The biggest argument against co-sleeping is that your child will become so dependent on you and still be in your bed five years later. If you can wean them before or shortly after their first birthday that shouldn't be an issue. Both of my highly dependent and clingy girls (Elaina and Zoë), both of whom I thought would never get out of my bed, were both out before their first birthdays. And once they were in their own beds they did fabulously for bedtime, sleeping through the night and sleeping soundly.

Happy 10-months to my Zoë girl! She's been sick all this week with a nasty cold but I've got SO MANY posts swimming in my head. Now that she's in her bed I have more time for blogging (I'd been holding her all night, every night, so it hurt my back to sit here with her). Can't wait to catch up with everyone again!


The Mommy said...

I definitely think listening to myself has been the key to being a more successful and content parent,
You're doing a great job!

Drake Sigar said...

There isn’t really a solid guide to parenting, as you implied it’s up to the parents to decide what is and isn’t ok for their children.

Handy tips there, guilt sure is a big one to overcome!

Julie said...

All our girls slept with us til 5 -6 months old. Travis doesn't allow them in our bed after that, so we don't believe the parents who say "If I co-sleep, they'll still be in our bed years later!" Travis's sister was in her parents bed til age 13 or so.....that doesn't fly at our house. Even if they have a bad dream, I have to go to their room to comfort them. So you're right, co sleeping does not create a dependency, unless the parents encourage that dependency.
The key is to always be consistent (and loving of course) feel secure with consistency and boundaries. And while you can't spoil a baby, you (in general) can definitely set them up for bad habits after babyhood. But that's the parents doing, not the child's.

Good tips, Sis!