Ailsa has now been in her own bed for the past couple of months, something we never thought would happen. We have co-slept with Ailsa on and off since birth. I felt very strongly about keeping her near whilst breastfeeding in the early days and would often fall asleep with her next to me, I had researched safe co-sleeping and followed the advice and felt confident in that choice. Gradually though Ailsa started to sleep in her crib next to our bed from around 10 weeks till she was 6 months, when a bad cold and subsequent virus followed by travelling up and down to Scotland for a week every 3 weeks for 3 months meant she slept in our bed full time and though we tried to move her into her cot from 10 months and then a bed from around 14 months we just never managed it. Now at just over 2, we have cracked it, here are my tips.
Take it at their pace
I am a firm believer in being as child led as can be. Before now Ailsa just wasn’t ready for her own bed, now she is we haven’t had any issues with her going to her own bed. We also felt it was important to wait till Ailsa was ready after a couple of massive changes over the last few months such as relocating to Scotland and stopping breastfeeding.
Spend time in their bedroom playing
We made sure her room was a happy room, and played in their often and used her bed for chill out time through the day. That way she was familiar with the room and would refer to it as her room and her bed. This is especially important if you have recently moved to ensure your child feels safe and secure in the room.
Do their evening routine in the room
We are quite lucky that Ailsa has a sofa bed in her room that we can use to sit on. We get Ailsa ready for bed, get her snuggled up and read a book to her. One of us will then sit with her till she falls asleep. As she was so used to being fed and then cuddled to sleep when she was in her bed it was important that she still felt secure so we sit in the room till she sleeps. Eventually though we hope she will come to fall asleep on her own without us being in the room with her.
Be prepared for spending time sleeping next to their bed
As your child is used to having someone next to them through the night it can take some time for them to get used to sleeping alone. The first 3 nights I spent most of the night in bed with Ailsa to help her settle back to sleep and would fall asleep myself but would go back to my own bed once I woke up. James then took the night shift and would sleep on the floor next to Ailsa’s bed when she needed him. After a couple of nights she was able to go longer and now we maybe need to get up once or twice to shush her, rub her back and settle her back down. A massive improvement and it only took a week or so to get to that point. We are hopeful that soon enough she will sleep completely through and we are certainly heading that way.
Be prepared there may be regression from the child and you need to take a step back
We haven’t had this with Ailsa but I know that it can and does happen and that you may need to go back to sleeping next to the bed or cuddling with your child a bit through the night. I would keep them in their own bed if you can but sometimes illness can cause this kind of regression and who can blame them, I know I still need cuddles when I’m feeling poorly.
Have a time which you are happy for your child to come into your bed and try to stick to it
If Ailsa comes through to our room after 4 am I will just lift her into bed with us. I don’t think this is a bad thing and it is still nice for all of us to get cuddles in the morning. If it is before 4 am then we would take her back to her bed and settle her back down there. We did have one night where Ailsa snuck through to our room and I was still half asleep I just picked her up and plopped her in our bed without a second thought but that shouldn’t happen too often.
Obviously, as with everything, every child is different and what has worked for Ailsa may not work for your child and in most cases will be trial and error till you find what works for your family. If you have any tips that would help please leave a comment below. I would love to read them.