We never planned on being a co-sleeping family. Never in a million years did I think our 13 month old would be sleeping in our bed. It just sort of happened. Not that there is anything wrong with the co-sleeping concept. I get it, really I do. But when I sleep I need my space, just ask my husband. I don't want anyone touching me and I want to be wrapped cocoon style in my blanket atop my mountain of pillows.
Apparently the baby came with a plan of his own. It involved: the big bed + him = the only way anyone was getting any sleep. He began implementing his plan gradually.
When he was first born we had him in a bassinet next to our bed and he tolerated it, mostly. When he got too big for the bassinet but was still waking up every few hours to eat we moved him into a pack n' play, still next to our bed. Once he (finally, after switching to formula between 5-6 months old) stopped waking up 50 billion times a night to eat we thought it wouldn't be long now before he was sleeping through the night...little did we know he had his own plan. Anyway, he got to the point where he would refuse to even go in the pack n' plan and would wake up during the transfer from arms to pack n' play. We tried just putting him down in his crib, once he was a sleep. That seemed to work, for a few hours. Once he woke up he was screaming mad and refused to even lay back down without us having to physically hold him down, which we weren't going to do. So, we would bring him back to our bed for the rest of the night. He gradually shortened the “few hours” of good sleep in his crib to throwing a fit until we just took him to the big bed with us each night.
And THAT'S how it happened.
Now, I do realize we created this monster. We brought him into our bed during night feedings. We brought him into our bed when he had a cold. We would bring him into our bed when we were away on vacation, and so on.
When he decided he wanted to sleep sideways, with his head on one person and his feet on the other, it became a problem. When he began trying to push one of us out of the bed so he had more room, it became a problem. When he insisted we ALL had to go to bed because HE was ready, it became a problem.
He needed an intervention. We knew he was not going to be happy. We devised a plan.
For some reason he absolutely hates his crib. He thinks it's some evil torture chamber. He screams and cries and clutches at your shirt, arms, neck, any thing he can get his little hands on to try and get out of there. We knew a plan that involved the crib would fail.
What we decided to do was put a twin bed in his room instead of the crib. Instead of setting up the whole bed we just put a twin mattress on the floor where his crib once was. That way the height of the bed wouldn't scare him AND if he tried to get out of bed he wouldn't fall to the ground.
We've been using this make shift “big bed” for a week or two now and it's WORKING!!!
He was a little apprehensive about going into his room to go to bed at first but once he realized one of us was going in with him he was ok with the idea. He still wakes up at night and we still have to go get him tucked back in but a few nights he has actually gone back to sleep ON HIS OWN, without us even making it into his room! He's even...wait for it...SLEPT UNTIL 7 AM a few times!!!! If we had known the crib was the only thing holding him back we would have gone on to a twin bed a long time ago!!