It is amazing how different our kids are sometimes.
We’ve ended cosleeping with DC2 a bit earlier than with DC1, mainly because DC2 is bigger so we’ve run out of room earlier.
Here’s what we did with DC2: Several weeks before ending cosleeping (which we planned to try over winter break), we turned the nursery (adjoining our master bedroom) back into an office and turned the office (near DC1’s room) into DC2’s room, complete with bed (though right now we’re just using the mattress because we don’t have bedrails and DC2 tends to roll off). We talked up about how this was DC2’s room and DC2 would get to sleep in it. DC2 didn’t bite right away. There was some giggly pretending to sleep in hir bed or in DC1’s bed, but never for long.
During this time, we also started enforcing a bedtime routine. Snack, bath, teeth brushing, some play time, two books, lights out. Walking or nursing to sleep if ze asked for it, but not encouraged. A complete nix on hir attempts to stay up later by asking for 2nd or 3rd snack (which would be demanded, but uneaten, and followed by tearful 2nd and/or 3rd teeth brushing) after lights out.
Then we visited relatives over Christmas. When we came back we decided it was time to try out the bed.
And DC2 was totally on board with it. First night, after plugging the nightlight back in, we did the routine, put hir in hir bed, and ze fell asleep with DH beside hir. Second night, ze snuggled right down while I read hir two books and wasn’t yet asleep when I turned out the lights and left, but then fell asleep. No effort at all for this part, unlike the week of Super-Nanny technique we used with DC1.
HOWEVER, unlike DC1, DC2 doesn’t sleep the entire night. Getting DC1 to bed in the first place was the hard part, but after that we were fine until morning. DC2 has nightmares (DC1 had night terrors, but they were mostly over by age 2). DC2 gets thirsty. DC2 wakes up screaming regularly at 2am and at 5am. When ze is cosleeping, this isn’t that big a deal because one of us will hand over the water bottle or explain that it’s all just a dream and mommy and daddy are here and 5 min later everyone is back asleep. We can do the same thing without cosleeping, but it involves a long cold walk to the other side of the house.
The water thing is easily solvable– there’s no reason DC2 can’t get hir own water. But we’re not so sure what to do about the nightmares. Maybe the new daycare will decrease hir anxiety about people taking hir stuff…[Update: ze has learned how to come back to our bed at 5am… this is infinitely preferable. The 2am waking time has been jumping around… that part is not so good.]
Anyway, we still subscribe to the Grumpy Rumblings do whatever is easiest (so long as it isn’t actually harmful) philosophy of how to raise your kids.
I doubt this post will generate the 68 comments that our first post on ending co-sleeping did (Is baby sleeping still one of those topics that generates huge wars?), but feel free to chime in! I can’t think of any good questions though…