Moving a breastfeeding and bed-sharing toddler to his own bed

I have mentioned in a few posts that we have moved Oscar into Zach’s bedroom. It happened on Good Friday, so we are almost a month into our journey. And I knew it was going to be a journey. Don’t get me wrong, inside I was praying for a miracle. Praying that he would take to it immediately. That without us disturbing him whilst getting into our bed, he would sleep for longer, would sleep better – heck maybe he would even sleep through the night. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but it was worth a little thought in my head!

I’ll start with the back story. Oscar was a fabulous sleeper until he was 3 months old. He practically slept through the night. Then he developed bronchiolitis and had the cough/cold for about 9 weeks. Weirdly, throughout the majority of this, even though his sleep was a lot more disturbed, he still quite liked sleeping in his snuzpod.

Until one day when that was no longer the case. At some point (I can’t even remember when it was now), we put him in his cot. And he quite liked it there as well. I used to feed him to sleep in my arms and then I would carefully transfer him over and he would stay asleep. Until one day he decided that the transfer was always going to wake him up, and it would take me two hours to get him to sleep.

At that point, I started feeding him to sleep on our bed because he fell asleep instantly. Then we took the side down on his cot so that I could feed him to sleep there. It worked for a couple of nights, but he soon realised that he wasn’t on our lovely big comfy bed and became a nightmare again. After a couple of nights of me spending two hours getting him to sleep, I gave up. I made it clear that we would be bed-sharing. We bought a bed guard so that he would be safe and for months and months, he slept alongside me.

The problem was, he got big. I was getting less and less room. He was also being disturbed by us going to bed and by me moving around in the night trying to find a comfy spot. I was sure that he would sleep better in his own bed and so the single bed was built. We are using what is the top bunk of the bunk beds as it has the barrier around it to stop him from falling out. But essentially, at 18 and a half months old, we moved him into his single bed.

And you know what?

He absolutely loves it. Really, he does.

We go upstairs and into their bedroom and when it’s time to go to sleep, he goes and lays on his bed. He knows it is his bed and he hasn’t once tried to come to back into ours. There was an immediate improvement to the evenings, with far less wakenings and sometimes he sleeps from the moment he nods off to around 10.30/11pm. Not every night but it’s better than it was!

However, this is where the success of it stops.

Because despite him absolutely loving his bed, and sleeping quite well in the evenings – he still wants his mumma close to him!

He still has this absolute knack of sleeping absolutely soundly until I have got comfy in my own bed. On Tuesday night I even watched him. I took the monitor upstairs with me, got into bed and he was absolutely sparko. I rolled over, I snuggled myself up in the duvet and took a peep…sparko. I closed my eyes, got myself ready for sleep, and boom…awake. Crying. Mama. In I went.

And more often than not, in fact I would say 90% of the time, I am in there the whole night.

Sometimes it’s because I have fallen asleep. Sometimes he catches me trying to sneak out.

Sometimes I have managed to sneak out and back into my bed, only for him to wake up 30 seconds later.

Sometimes I manage to sneak out and fall back to sleep, and then from about 2am, I am in there.

Sometimes he surprises me and stays asleep until 1.30am, and then I am in there.

There has been once, just once, that I have spent the whole night in my bed, bar the going in and feeding him back to sleep when he has awoken. That night was amazing!

Other than that though, I have not slept properly in my own bed for the last month.

Most nights I sleep in his bed in my dressing gown, with a blanket over the lower half of me.

Most nights I am squidged between my sort of horizontal toddler and the side of the bed.

But most nights I do sleep.

The fact of the matter is, he simply sleeps better if I am laying next to him. And so if I am in his room all night, both of us are getting solid blocks of sleep. I’ll never complain about getting solid blocks of sleep, even if I do wake up with a dead arm and a sore hip.

The biggest step of moving him out of our bed and into his own has happened. It could have all gone wrong from the very beginning when he realised that he was no longer in our room. I am thankful that he does love his new bed. That it isn’t just sitting empty because he refuses to sleep in it.

I feel like the full transition – well, it’s clearly going to take a long time isn’t it? But we have started and I am not going to stop. It would be so easy for me to just take him back into our bedroom, back into our bed. But in all honesty, it was no more comfy than sleeping is now. I was still squished, only it was in between my horizontal toddler and snoring hubby to be!

So, I will continue. I will carry on hoping that one day he will sleep better. That he will one day sleep on his own.

Sometimes I think I forget how old he is. Forget just how little he is. He seems so advanced for his age, so much older than he is. But he’s only 19 months. And so I think I need to cut him some slack and not keep having all of these expectations of what he should and shouldn’t be capable of.

The one thing that I am grateful for, is that we have done this in the warmer months. Had it have been in the winter, I think I would be complaining a lot more!

Have you managed to successfully transition a breastfed, bed sharing toddler into his/her own bed? I would absolutely love to hear how you went about it. Although if you are going to suggest that whole cry it out thing…I wouldn’t bother, because I am not ever going to do it! Gentle transition is what I am all about 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops
    April 26, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    I actually moved into my daughter’s room when she did at about 6 months, mainly so that we could escape my husband’s snoring. I stayed in there in a bed next to her cot. She was about 2 and a half when we stopped doing night feeds and not long after that we stopped breastfeeding and I moved back into my own room. I think, like you say that he is still so little and gentle transition is the way to go. I was lucky in that she was used to being in the cot on her own that once I moved back in to my room she was ok to settle herself if she did wake up, most of the time anyway.

  2. April 30, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    All my three children moved into their own room when they were around the 6 month mark. By this point I had stopped breastfeeding, and they had outgrown the moses basket so their bedrooms were the only place they could go. Ive never co slept (apart from desperate nights and in the mornings) but my three had all transitioned with no issues. Ive always felt so lonely when they’ve moved but after a night or two i’ve calmed down! I have been lucky!

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