Why we co-slept over Christmas
Happy New Year, ya'll!
I tell you what, we had the most magical Christmas season traveling to see family. I wish we could re-live it all over again...minus the whole sickness thing. The girls were totally miserable and I am still caught with an obnoxious cough. Thank goodness for rest, honey (for my older daughter), baby vapor rub, saline spray, and now antibiotics for the infections baby has.
Over the Christmas week things escalated so quickly for the girls we decided it was better for my husband to co-sleep with our oldest daughter.
GASP! SHOCK! YES! The sleep consultant's family co-slept!
Notice I didn't say shared a bed.
I do not promote bed sharing for many reasons, but mostly due to the increased risk of SIDS.
What I'm talking about is co-sleeping in this sense being sharing a room space. The AAP has recently come out with new data and advising parents to room share with their children until one year old, at the least 6 months. This is feasible for some families and they enjoy doing it.
For my family it has never been a great option. The girls sleep soundly in their rooms from 7pm-7am. This allows my husband and I to enjoy our evening without the possibility of waking the girls or stressing ourselves over sneaking into the room for bed. Sometimes though, you just have to room share. Over Christmas my oldest daughter (2 years old) was pretty pathetic coughing and crying all hours of the night. We would go in, offer water and cuddles, medicine for her fever, songs and reassurance. But that wasn't enough.
Finally at 2am one night (morning?) my husband just stayed in the room. She was in the pack n play, he was in the guest bed. Any time she woke up to begin crying he would say, "It's okay, go back to sleep." And she did! For two more nights they shared a room and I have to say it was the best that any of us slept!
Now. That's until we came back home!
Things have been a bit off since we returned home from Christmas.
"I WANT TO RIDE IN THE CAR!" "I WANT DINNER!" "I WANT TO SING A SONG!"
She does ask for Mommy or Daddy, but typically it's after she cries out for one of the above. We've found the most effective way to respond to her is to have my husband go in and tell her it's not morning yet.
Here's how the conversation goes:
"I WANT LUNCH!!!!!" (Real tears, fake cries)
"Hi Daddy!" (Instant smile and dried eyes)
"It's not morning yet. Everyone is sleeping. We hear you, but it's time to go to sleep."
I kid you not.
Aren't toddlers too smart for their own good?
So last night was the first night in over a week she cried out for less than 10 minutes, then went back to sleep. Sure she then woke at 5:30am asking for her toys, to ride in the car, etc...but we know her cries. She was testing us this whole time and together we all won. She got the attention she needed (when coughing fits came back and cuddles/water were needed) and we got our sleep back (because no, we aren't going for a car ride at 3am).
Thankfully everyone is back to their own rooms, beds, and routine. Jumping right back into your expectations is the best way to help overcome the season of inconsistency. Plus, don't forget to communicate. When you're dealing with a toddler, tell them what's going on. It is so important to keep them in the loop!
Cheers to great sleep in 2017!
Your Pediatric Sleep Consultant