As a new mom, it can be hard to know what to do when it comes to your baby. Should you breastfeed or bottle feed? Swaddle or not swaddle? Give a pacifier or not? Keep your baby in your room or put them in their own room? There are so many things to consider after having a baby, but one thing I never put much thought into was how hard it was going to be to transition from co-sleeping to crib.
I wasn’t a first time mom. I have two older boys at home, so you would think I would be a pro at this whole newborn baby thing, but newborns are hard. After having my third son, I only slept maybe 10 hours in the first 4 days after he was born. Once we left the hospital, all I wanted to do was go home and sleep for at least a week. However, with a newborn and two older boys to take care of that was not an option.
I had a co-sleeper bassinet in my room that I received as a baby gift. I tried to use it, but my son would not sleep in it! No matter how many times I nursed him and carefully put him down next to me in the bassinet, he would instantly pop awake and start crying. I was tired, my husband was tired, our baby was tired. So I did the only thing I knew would give us the sleep we all desperately needed. I held him in my arms and fell asleep with him next to me in our bed.
It’s possible that if we had put him in his crib from day one, he would have been a fantastic sleeper. However, his room was down the hall and to be completely honest, I could not picture myself happily getting out of bed every hour of the night to nurse my crying baby. Co-sleeping or room-sharing seemed to be the only option at this point.
I tried and tried to get him to sleep in the bassinet beside my bed, and we even tried bringing his crib into our room. But each time I thought he was sound asleep, I would lay him down in the bassinet or the crib and the moment his head touched the mattress, his eyes would POP open and he would start crying again.
I didn’t like to tell people I was co-sleeping with my son because I knew they would only try to “warn” me about what could happen. I didn’t want someone to say something that would make me feel guilty for making a decision that I felt was best for my family. I know all about the,”Safe Sleep Practices”. However, when you’re so physically and mentally exhausted from having a newborn and the only time your child stops crying is when he is in your arms, you do what needs to be done to get some sleep!
I co-slept with all of my boys, but I wouldn’t have co-slept if I wasn’t comfortable having them in bed with me. I did my research and read the, “Safe Co-sleeping Guidelines” and I felt confident that this decision was the best one for my family.
Here are some of the guidelines if you’re thinking about co-sleeping.
- Breastfeeding is best with co-sleeping.
- If both parents are present, each parent needs to agree to co-sleeping, feel comfortable with having the baby in bed with them, and be aware and acknowledge that they are both responsible for the baby.
- It is not recommended to have other children in bed with you when co-sleeping with your baby.
- Don’t co-sleep under the influence of drugs, sedatives, medications, alcohol, or any other substance that will make it hard for you to wake from sleep.
- It is not recommended to co-sleep if you’re overweight.
- Keep all pillows and blankets off of and away from the baby, and make sure the baby can’t fall off the edge of the bed or into any cracks.
- Premature or low birth weight babies are at greater risk of SIDS if you co-sleep.
You can find more information on co-sleeping safety in the link below.
I suggest if you’re thinking about co-sleeping, you should do your research and feel comfortable with the idea. I also want to add that you should NEVER let anyone make you feel bad for choosing to do something that you feel is best for your family. Everybody parents differently and just because someone might not agree with your decision, doesn’t make them any better of a parent.
My son slept so good in my arms, I wondered why he couldn’t sleep like that in the bassinet next to me! As he got bigger and became more mobile, co-sleeping started to become more of a nuisance than a convenience. Instead of sleeping 3-5 hours without waking to nurse, he was waking up every hour and my breast HAD to be in his mouth for him to sleep. I was becoming more exhausted as this went on, and I really wanted my bed and my body back!
When he was around 10 months old, I decided it was time to sleep train him. I needed my bed back, and he needed to be in his own room and in his own bed. I also decided to quit breastfeeding and start him on formula in hopes that it would help him sleep better at night. During the transition from my bed to his crib, I joined every Facebook group you could think of on how to sleep train your baby. I also looked up so many articles online and found that there are a lot of different sleep training methods. It was hard to know which one would be the best and hopefully the easiest.
The first method we tried was sleeping next to his crib in his room and gradually moving out of the room, but that didn’t work. We tried going in and comforting him without picking him up every 5-7 minutes and then stretching the time to every 15 minutes, but that only worked for nap time. I even tried laying in his crib with him, but it seemed like nothing was going to work!
We made the decision to let him cry it out. We waited between 30 minutes to 1 hour before going in and checking on him until he finally fell asleep. It was so HARD listening to him cry, but it felt like nothing else was going to work. I read the best thing you can do when sleep training is to stick to one method for a few weeks and to keep a routine. As bad as it sounds, his crying started to become soothing and I would actually start falling asleep to it. I was so incredibly tired!
After what felt like a decade (a week), of him crying for a few hours every night, something finally clicked and putting him down became easier. He started to only wake maybe once or twice during the night! I think one night he even slept 12 hours straight! I was in Heaven!
I don’t really recommend this method, but if you’re at the end of your rope and nothing else seems to work, you do what you need to do to continue being a functioning human being!
The transition to his crib was the best thing we ever did (possibly the hardest too). He is 16 months old now and some nights he still fights going to sleep, and he even wakes up crying once or twice during the night. However, that is NOTHING compared to where we used to be. I mean, when he was an infant I was holding him all night and even while I went to the bathroom because I didn’t want to put him down in his bassinet and not be able to get him to go back to sleep!
Now he has a bedtime routine and goes down around the same time every night. Which means I have my nights back and I can focus on other things after he is in bed, like blogging, working my online business or hanging out with my husband.
Not everyone agrees with co-sleeping, but I personally loved the bonding time I had with all of my boys during those early months. My third son was definitely the hardest to transition to his crib, but looking back now, I’m not really sure I would change a thing.