Be Open to Trying Various Sleep Arrangements

Co-sleeping is not limited to having your child in your bed. It may mean having baby in a "side car" arrangement with his open crib next to your bed. For an older child it could mean a mat on the floor next to your bed (watch out for drafts). For some families it means wall-to-wall mattresses on the floor. It can also mean having your child in your room or bed for only part of the night. Some parents enjoy their evening alone until their baby's first night waking when they move him into their bed. Others let him fall asleep in their bed and then move him to his own room. Some older children start out in their own beds and join their parents later in the night if they feel the need. And some parents stay in their child's bed until the child falls asleep. Dr. Sears notes, "Sharing sleep also requires that you trust your intuition about the parenting of your individual child rather than unquestioningly accepting the norms of society." Also consider that this is not a now and forever decision. You can always try other approaches if your first decision does not work for your family.

"I just don't want my child in my bed"

It is not selfish to consider your own feelings. If you feel you need this time to nurture your marriage and recharge your own batteries then take it so you can be a more effective parent by day. You may also consider bringing your child into bed with you in the morning for some cuddling. Dr. Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D. (pediatrician) offers a video, Sleep Tight, with his "No Tears" approach to getting your infant or toddler to sleep through the night in his own bed. The method involves sitting with the child until she falls asleep and gradually moving your chair each night until you are out the door (this method can also be useful in weaning your child from your own bed). Dr. Sears notes, "Wherever you all sleep best and whatever leaves all of you feeling right is the best sleeping arrangement for your family."


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