When I mentioned last week that Ida is finally sleeping in her big girl bed, you wanted know how we did it–so I put together this little post to detail how we went from co-sleeping to the big-girl bed. Let me start off by saying this didn’t didn’t happen over night. We kinda worked this out in stages. It wasn’t all perfect or seamless, but I feel that we waited until the right time for Ida and for our family and now we’ve got this whole sleep game pretty tight.
When Ida was a new-born we knew we wanted to co-sleep. I imagined we’d co-sleep for the first three or four months and then get her to sleep a crib in her room–but it didn’t quite work out that way. With breast-feeding I found it too disruptive to get out of bed two or three times a night to feed her. My solution was to side feed her while co-sleeping during the night and this way I was able to mostly sleep through the night-time feedings. Plus co-sleeping was so cuddly and sweet and I really felt it brought so much closeness to our family unit.
That having been said, over the next year or so we did get her to sleep in her crib quite a few times but we could never deal with her crying for more than twenty minutes, and just gave up. At about twelve months I stopped daytime breast-feeding and also stopped using my boob to put her to sleep like I had been doing before. Instead, Jason read her a story and gave her a bottle of milk before bed and she went to sleep sucking on the bottle instead of my boob, which at the time seemed like a real feat.
At about fourteen months though, I started to feel like she was sleeping on the breast constantly, suckling and suckling for hours on end–and if I took her off she would wake up and cry. It was a tough time. My body felt sore from sleeping in weird positions and my boobs and I were over it. If I was not in bed with her she’d sleep through the night just fine, but if I was there she’d want mommy milk. It was around this time that we decided to bring her crib into our bedroom. We put the crib at the foot of our bed and took down the fourth wall of the crib so that it was open, and she had the freedom to climb in and out of our bed. For the first week or so of putting her to bed in the crib I slept on the living room sofa. When she woke up, Jason patted her back to sleep and in this way we weaned her off the breast and she began to sleep through the night in the crib. Next we started to add water to her bottle at night (around 16 months) until her bottles of milk turned into bottles of water.
At about 17 months we got her this big girl bed and put it in her room where the crib used to be. For about a week we played with her on the bed–we read books, did blocks and puzzles and got her used to the idea that this was ‘Ida’s room’ and ‘Ida’s bed’ a concept that she began to grasp, and even like. Soon we began to put her down for her naps in her bed, and did that for about three weeks until finally one evening when it was time for her to go to bed we just put her in the big bed. We followed our regular night-time routine and she went right to sleep!! (We couldn’t believe it.) She’s been sleeping in her bed for about a month now and sleeps through the night just fine. Most mornings at about 6AM she calls for us to come and get her and we bring her into our bed for morning cuddles, which is awesome. We dismantled the crib and now, just like that, she’s a toddler sleeping in her big-girl bed. She has fallen out of the bed one time so far, luckily we had a yoga mat and a rug there to cushion any spills.
I think one thing that really helped us through this process was explaining everything to her along the way. Also, using transitional items–her favorite blankets and stuffed animals moved with her (even for naps) into her new bed.
If you have any stories or tips on how you went from co-sleeping to big-girl bed I’m quite sure there are many mommies and daddies out there who’d love to here your stories and tips so please chime in below!