My son is finally sleeping in his own bed after our easy cosleeping to bed transition we made in one day. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s all because of a mama trick that came to me in a spark of genius (or possibly even divine inspiration).
He’s 3. When he was 1 he could sleep in his own crib until he’d wake in the night. And being the attachment parents we are, we decided bringing him to bed with us was a good idea. And it was.
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And then we sold our house. It was a long story, but the result was living with Nathan’s parents in their spare bedroom for approximately a year. Since we thought it was going to be more temporary than it was, Graham just slept with us. We never set his crib back up. We were just cosleeping with no bed transition in sight.
And so we lost all the progress we had made in the first 2 years of Graham’s life in the sleeping department.
So, just before his third birthday, we were starting from scratch in the sleeping in his own bed department. Getting my toddler to sleep quickly wasn’t ever really a problem since I always snuggled with him, and when he was extra excited, I had a trick to get my toddler to go to sleep. But neither of those were good long-term solutions.
One thing we did have going for us was his age and development. He wasn’t a baby that needed hours and hours of cuddling anymore. He could hold his own for a little while, so that was a benefit of this entire situation. But here’s my moment of genius.
It was his third birthday. I did everything I could to make it special. He got a yummy breakfast. He got to watch whatever shows he wanted and play as long as he wanted. But he did have to take a nap.
As I was getting him ready for a nap, I said, “Hey! You’re such a big boy now, I bet you have new tricks and can take a nap on your own like a big boy. Want to try it and see if you’re brave like a big three year old now?”
“Yeah!” He was excited to try out his new “big boy tricks”.
You’ll never believe it.
Like for real. Straight up worked. He slept an entire hour on his own like a big boy without his mama. Yessss!!!!
This picture was actually taken on his birthday. At that first nap. I was so excited!!
So, that night we tried out his big boy sleeping skills to see if he could sleep in his own bed at night, too. And what do you know? It worked! Co-sleeping to bed transition complete!
Over the course of the next few days, he needed some coaxing and encouragement that he was a big boy now, and I believed in him.
And now, I have nights free to work (and party). We’re testing out getting rid of the nap some days, but the days he does take a nap (glorious), he sleeps in his own bed.
When he’s wanting to come to my bed, I just tell him that he can’t sleep in my bed because there’s no baby monitor for me to hear him with. And that’s usually an acceptable answer to him.
I do promise to come get him and bring him to my bed when I finish my work at night, and that goes a long way for encouraging him to sleep until mom comes in to get him. And I still get to snuggle my little while he’s still little. But he gladly sleeps on his own into the wee hours of the morning without me.
Sleeping baby. Happy mom. No crying needed.
Needless to say, I am definitely planning on using that 3.5 year old birthday for another major milestone!