Get Your Bed Back Now: When And How To Stop Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping is one of the best things that you can do for your child. No memory is as precious as those twilight times when your baby is cuddled by your side. But no matter how much your child wants to bed share, there will come the time when he’s got to sleep on his own. That is inevitable, after all, who wants to co-sleep up to grade school?
So you have decided to call co-sleeping quits? Perhaps your baby is now too big; he is occupying most of the bed. Or it could also be due to dads’ protests. You want to get your bed back but how? Are you prepared to face your child’s protests and tears?
Calling It Quits: 5 Tips On How To Stop Co-sleeping
1. Let your child pick up his “big kid” bed and decorate his room
Choose a bed that is big enough to accommodate your child up to his grade school years. Dress up and decorate your baby’s room. Make it cozy and comforting. Ask around for room decoration ideas. Personalize it with his/her chosen cartoon characters or theme.
There will be times when you will lie down and snuggle with your kid, so the mattress must be wide enough for both of you. It must be sturdily built. Kids just love to bounce on top of a new mattress, so choose one that can withstand all that jumps. Choose a waterproof cover for the bed to save you some sanity and time spent cleaning a soiled mattress.
2. Wean your kid of nighttime breastfeeding
Finish weaning your child before you stop co-sleeping. Plan it ahead. You don’t want your child to knock on your door and wake you up in the middle of your sleep just to nurse.
Check your child’s weight. It must be within the normal range. If your kid is underweight, focus first on his diet. The moment when your child stopped co-sleeping is a stressful time. He will protest and fuss around for a few days. Based on my experience, my kid tested my resolve by refusing to eat his food. Consider this well before you call it quits.
3. Introduce a security object
During this time, your child will be needy. Be prepared to work with his Oscar award-worthy cries. Keep him comfortable and feeling safe by giving him a security object. Mom or dad’s old t-shirt will do. Even better, let him pick his choice of cushy pillow, fluffy comforter or stuffed toy.
Be prepared to have another security object on hand since you will have to wash his favorite pillow/toy regularly. Let your toddler play in his bedroom and his bed. He must treat his bedroom as his space, a place where he is comfortable and safe.
4. Set a new bedtime routine
Tuck your child to sleep in his new bedroom. Read some stories and reminisce the day with him. Give some back rub to put him in a relaxed state. Try to leave the room before your child falls asleep. Stick with a standard sleeping time. Turn off the lights but keep a night lamp open. Stick with your bedtime routine daily until such time that your kid can get accustomed to it.
5. Make compromise and transition as necessary
There are times when your child has nightmares, or perhaps he is ill and wants mom’s extra touch. Give your child some slack every now and then. Do not be so rigid or you will face the consequences.
If your bed is too small now for the three of you, then you can bring your child’s mattress to your bedroom. You can allow him to sleep on the floor during some night. Do not make abrupt changes. Be consistent but do this gradually.
Graduating into a toddler bed is a reason to celebrate. Praise your child and acknowledge him during this time. Stopping co-sleeping doesn’t need to be a time of drama and resistance. As early as a toddler, let him make some small decisions. Instead of feeling afraid and abandoned, acknowledge your child for being independent.