A few weeks ago I wrote about the trouble I was having getting my son to sleep the entire night in his toddler bed-“How to end Co-sleeping. Advice Needed!!!.” I WAS PLEADING FOR ADVICE! Thankfully, tons of people (well, tons for me!) commented on my dilemma with lots of useful advice.
Many of you suggested the Supernanny tactic- this involves leading the child back to their bed and saying goodnight, and as they continue to come out of their room, you keep escorting them back over and over until they get the picture.
Others said I should put him bed in our room until he got used to sleeping in it all night, then move it back to his room.
Then there were lots of other ideas, these are just the ones I saw most frequently.
I was already sleeping in his room to get him used to sleeping in his bed all night when I posted. This worked well, although once I started sleeping in my own room again (I slept in his room for 5 nights and he reduced his wakings and also submitted to staying in his bed, something he previously refused) and he continued to wake up once a night.
Whenever he would wake up, most nights he would not cry, but walk into our bedroom. He wanted me to walk him back to his bed! I did, and would sit next to him while he fell asleep.
We have tried to make this a gradual transition for him. I used to rock him to sleep and lay him in bed. Then, I began rocking him but not letting him fall asleep. I laid him in bed and he would make me lay next to him until he fell asleep. I started sitting next to him rather than laying, which was a hard jump for him. He wanted to be cuddled while he was falling asleep. After a few nights of crying he let me begin sitting next to him. Also, I did try the Supernanny techinique and it worked one night! However, the next night he was so upset I sat next to him after many times of him walking out and crying. This basically allowed me to just sit next to him. He figured it was either let me sit next to him, or have him cry and have no Mommy at all. He made a wise choice.
Now, I have moved from sitting next to him on the bed to sitting on the ottoman a few feet away. We still start out in the glider. We read a ton of books, we rock and he puts his head on my chest (and if I am wearing a high necked shirt he pulls it down so he is skin to skin!). I sing to him and then tell him I am laying him in bed. He then grabs his monkey which he always shoves next to me in the glider, and sits up. I carry him to bed, he rolls over on his tummy and cuddles his monkey, I cover him up, and sit on the ottoman while he falls asleep. He will look over to make sure I am there until he falls asleep.
My next move will be to slide my seat farther from his bed, and farther still, until I am out of the door. This is based on a famous sleep training method that I don’t know the name of! I don’t think this would have worked a few months ago in our case, but he is old enough for it now.
Most nights he sleeps the entire night, others he wakes up once. He easily falls back asleep as long as I put him back in bed.
This is a vast improvement to him waking at 12 from his bed to come to ours. It has been a very long, long road to get his sleeping habits to a place where we are all relatively happy. Daddy can even put him to bed now, something that was impossible before. I am feeling very good about where we are at and the progress he will make. I believe I can get him falling asleep on his own before the baby gets here. I am also hoping he decides to sleep all night every night, but even a few nights a week is more than I was getting just a few months ago.
The sad thing is, we haven’t napped or slept together in a couple of weeks. At first, he would come to bed for an extra 2 hours or so with us in the morning. And occasionally I would nap with him for some snuggle time. Now he won’t do either. This has also made him wake up 2-3 hours earlier than normal. It is for the best since the baby will be here very soon, but I miss my extra cuddle time so much.
I hope this method will help others who are working on transitioning their toddlers to a bed or crib from co-sleeping. This has taken months, just like our weaning process, to keep him happy and to minimize trauma. Thanks to everyone who had advice or just words of commiseration. I truly appreciate it!