How do I transition 11 mo old from co-sleeping to crib?

Arreyn - posted on 11/10/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My son was very sick for the first several months after he was born. It got so bad that he could only sleep if I held him, and could only keep milk down if he nursed while he was sleeping. You see where this is going.



So now he's eleven months old, completely weaned to a bottle, and well on his way to falling asleep on his own-- I just give him the bottle and sit with him until he falls asleep. The problem is that he and I have been co-sleeping every night since he was born, and every time I've tried to transition him into his crib, it was a disaster.



No offense, but please don't waste my time with the "NO CO-SLEEPING, YOU'LL KILL HIM!" nonsense. I was petrified about that in the beginning, but my fiance has confirmed that I don't move while I'm sleeping with my son. Also, tried the Ferber method. It was, to say the least, a fiasco. Every night was worse than the last, and when I stuck it out for a week, my son didn't sleep for three days, developed horrible separation anxiety (he'd start shaking and screaming if I put him down during the day), cried at the mere sight of his crib, and cried so hard, for so long, every night that he threw up and choked on it. It's not going to work for us.



Well, now my son is walking and climbing, so we've decided to try going straight from my bed to his crib, but lowed down and converted into a toddler bed so he can get in and out of it himself. So... does anyone have any tips for that? His dad's been sleeping on the couch for eleven months now (there isn't room in the bed for all three of us)-- I need my fiance back.

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Ronel - posted on 11/21/2012

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Make him excited about his new room and bed, have him help you choose new bedding and help to decorate his room. Tell him he is a big boy and that you are so proud of him. My son is 18 Months old and I go lie beside him and cuddle with him untill he falls asleep before I go out the room. This cant do any damange, only good as that personal touch from mom is much needed and gives them a sensce of security.



Little children dont do too well with letting go of something. Try to be strong. Dont give up after just a few days just because it seems its not working. Stick it out for a while to get him used to the idea. Also talk to him, they understand more than what we think.



Good luck! Let us know if you found something that worked?

Julia - posted on 11/18/2012

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My husband and I co-slept with our first until she was almost 3. When it was time to transition to her own bed (new baby on the way) we bought her her own bed which she picked out, along with the bedding. She picked everything out and then we got her a new stuffed animal to sleep with and always cheered when it was bed time. She still slept in our room (living with in-laws) but she had to stay in her bed unless she had to pee. lol She was very excited about having her own bed. It still took a few months for the transition to fully take but every night was a little better than the last. Patience is the key, I think, along with consistency. I know your baby isn't as old as mine but including him in everything might help and keep him in your room for awhile longer. Don't try to change everything all at once.

Beatrice - posted on 11/13/2012

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My daughter has co-slept on and off with us since she was born depending on her and our needs, so please don't feel bad about it. Closeness and contact with your baby is so important, especially when your baby is sick. Also, I think the crying it out stuff sounds terrible and you're right about that backfiring. When my daughter needs me, I find that it's not the time to "teach" her independence, but to give her what she needs to become independent. Any time I have used a method that involves leaving her to cry, I find she is so much more clingy afterward. I think those are the times that you have to be especially lovely with them.



I also have 3.5 month old twins and we are transitioning from mommy and daddy holding them to swings to cribs. My daughter 2.5 yo daughter who slept with us on and off now sleeps in her crib, but falls asleep in our bed. Have you tried moving your baby to the crib after he falls asleep with you in your bed?



I might start the transitioning process by having awake time in the crib and playing in it with you there. Maybe a week or so of that so that he associates it with you. Maybe that awake time could be part of your bedtime routine? You could read to him in his bed and then move to your bed to fall asleep. Or if he's not ready for that and it makes him anxious, maybe you could just spend some quiet time before bedtime in the bed...



Once you're sure he knows the crib is a safe and happy place, block out a nice chunk of time and try just putting him in the crib after he falls asleep with you. When he start fussing (not crying),pick him up and get him back to sleep however you do it (holding, nursing, bringing him to bed with you). As soon as he's out, try again. Repeat a bajillion times. If it gets to be 3 am and you want to sleep and he still won't stay asleep, take him to bed with you and get some rest. You're done practicing for day 1. Then give him the day off - don't try to change anything about his day. Then at night do it the exact same way that you did the night before until he gets the picture or you can't do it anymore. It will take 2-3 weeks for babies to get the idea and start to follow it.



I happen to think that it's really important for you to let him know that if he's scared, he can come back to you. Eventually, he will realize that there is nothing to be scared of and he doesn't need to come back to your bed, but I find that the best way to reinforce this is to pick him up before he gets uncontrollably upset. After a bajillion times, you start to figure you can let him fuss a little bit and you know how long it will take him to flip out and you can try to push that a little bit by talking to him and calming him down. But it all takes practice, which we forget.



Eventually, you can transition him from falling asleep with you to going to bed in his own bed. My friend never had her child in a crib - they went straight from co-sleeping to a mattress. She would keep her son's mattress right next to her bed and as soon as he was comfortable with that, she would move it a little farther away until he was able to sleep in his own room.



If you're particularly stressed out about it, just remember that most adults don't still sleep with their parents. We all make it to our own bed, it's just a matter of what path we take.



Good luck - just follow your instincts!

Karen - posted on 11/12/2012

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I'm not sure how to do the transfer....like you, only my son was a very healthy infant, he co-slept with me for healing purposes (I had a c-section). AND now he's 4 and a half and still doesn't sleep on his own much. I don't mind it though, but they get more wiggly with the flying limbs as they get bigger which means you sleep less than ever.....so best of luck with it.

Kristin - posted on 11/11/2012

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I just read somewhere (on here I think) about someone in the same situation moving the toddler bed to the foot of their own bed. That way the child can kind of get used to the idea and excitement of his own bed but not be scared since you are so close by. Also maybe try a brand new (or one that he's already attached to) stuffed animal or pillow. I know my son is really attached to a stuffed giraffe we call "Raffi." Once he's used to this you could move it into his bedroom or maybe just start with the naps if he takes them. At the very least, it would free up your fiance's half of the bed lol.



Our situation isn't exactly the same since my son has been sleeping in his crib in the bedroom. But, he just turned 2 and crawled out of it one morning while I was changing his sisters diaper. I heard some grunting and struggling behind me (he has an 8 month old sis he shares a room with) and then a huge thud. I turned around to see if he was ok because he had fallen flat on his face but instead of crying he leaped right up and said, "I DID IT!" So we figured it was best to convert the bed before he decided to try this in the middle of the night and really hurt himself. I know for him routine is SUPER important. For Christopher we read him 2 stories, then we put the same 3 blankets on him and tuck him in with the same stuffed animal. Also, he has started to become a little bit afraid of the dark and the tiny nightlight in there just hasn't been doing it. His sister got one of those fireflies that have moon and stars with a timer so I set it up on the changing table away from his reach. It shines on the ceiling and seems to be just distracting enough... it might sound a little overkill but really they are just little things that work for us.



Also, I found this on pinterest when we were looking to change beds...again it doens't exactly refer to transitioning from co-sleeping but there might be something that can help...



Some Tips on Easing the Toddler Bed Transition:



1.) Let your Little One come with you to the store to help ‘pick out’ the bed.



2.) Pick the right bed



for you and your Little One. @DaddysinCharge (very good tweep) once told me not to waste my time with a toddler bed, but to go straight to the big guns – twin. Well, I took that advice to heart. Wider seemed safter to me anyway and the one we chose expands to a twin-size length! I also love how this bed is low to the ground.



3.) Talk to your child



even if he/she is too young to understand everything you say. Tell them this is their new bed and this is where they will sleep now. If you let them sleep with a blanket or animal, show them how to put it / them into the new bed.



4.) Stick to the routine.



Obvious, right? Don’t change up your routine because this is what tells Little One that it is bedtime.



5.) If your Child gets out of bed,



go in and put him or her back. I didn’t want to let her cry it out because she just came to the door that first night. She’s not going to go back to her bed and just go to sleep if she’s crying at the door (at least – not the first night). So I sang her a song again and put her back in her bed. I tried this soothing technique three times, but it didn’t work. So I ended up laying with her and singing in her ear. Some people might disagree with this tactic, but I really felt that she needed to trust in and find comfort in her bed. I thought she needed me that first night so I helped her fall asleep. ♥ It was actually really nice. [Read this post: I Miss Rocking My Baby] My plan was to spend less time in there each night until she could fall asleep on her own, but she only needed me that first night. Totally worth it.



6.) 3 Strikes Strategy



Another tweep, Rachel (@RJsRachel) suggested this strategy: If they get out of bed 3 times, you make them sleep in the play pen beside their bed. I think Cupcakes is too young to understand something like this, but it might be good for older kids who are transitioning.



7.) Be Understanding but Consistant!



This is new for your baby – don’t expect him / her to be used to it right away. We had Cupcakes play in it a ton that day and did our best to get her used to it before we expected her to sleep in it. We didn’t let her get up and out of the room, but kept encouraging her to sleep in bed. We also (thought it was tempting) did not let her sleep in her crib. However you’re going to transition, make the decisions and stick with the routine. BEST OF LUCK! :)

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