Before you became a parent, you heard stories from other parents who complained about their children sleeping in their bed and you vowed that you would never find yourself in that situation. That was then – this is now and you are now wondering how it happened and if you and your partner will ever be able to reclaim your bed and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep!
Parenting is not easy (at the best of times) and decisions that are made in the dead of night are usually made on the spur of the moment with little thought of the consequences. This means that tired parents will be all too happy to put their toddler in the bed – just so they can enjoy a few more hours of much needed sleep. Often this starts from infancy, when breastfeeding moms (especially moms with multiples) slip their sleeping bundle (or bundles) of joy in between themselves and their partner and fall into a blissful sleep, or they breastfeed while lying down (and mom and baby fall into a dreamy sleep)!
Sleeping with a baby, and definitely a toddler is not easy! They may seem small in the daylight hours but at night, it seems as though their tiny bodies double in size, and a few moments after falling asleep, you are hit by a flying arm, jabbed with elbow and kicked in the shins (and other places). In desperation, your partner heads off to the spare room (or the toddler’s bed) to try and squeeze in a few hours of sleep – and as you lie awake, after being slapped for the third time by your slumbering angel, you realize that desperate times call for desperate measures!
Getting the baby out of the bed is not that easy, but it can be done! If you are trying to get your baby out of your bed, you will need a lot of patience and just as much determination.
- Set a bedtime, and every night at the same time take the toddler to his or her bed. Help to settle the toddler by reading a bedtime story.
- Sit with the child until they settle.
- Have a nightlight burning in the room.
- Have an extra special teddy close on hand.
The smart toddler is going to try and escape – be patient and continue returning the runaway toddler to their bed (be firm, but don’t raise your voice). During the night, if the toddler wants to return to your bed – take them back to their own bed (again this may need to be done several times in one night).
Many parents find that by placing a mattress next to their bed will help with the transition.
Once the bedtime routine has been established, the toddler’s anguish at sleeping in their own bed will become less and less and eventually they will quickly fall asleep in their own bed and remain there for the entire night.
The co-sleeping debate
A lot of parents feel comfortable with co-sleeping (sharing the bed with their children) and in fact, many cultures actually practice co-sleeping, as a norm. A lot of experts as well as parents agree that sharing the bed with an infant will allow the child to feel secure and safe, and the baby will be a lot more relaxed and at ease. Co-sleeping is a personal choice, but both partners need to be in full agreement and what’s more, with baby in the middle, parents will have no time to enjoy sex or romance and this could cause a problem in the relationship.
Sleeping with an infant or toddler will also prevent parents from getting a good and restful night’s sleep; this could also lead to problems (at work or in the parent’s relationship). As with all decisions made in parenthood – co-sleeping or allowing a baby to sleep in the matrimonial bed is a personal choice. If you are in agreement with co-sleeping and feel comfortable with baby in the middle, the question is – at what age should the child be moved out of the bed?
– Kathy Baron