Need Your Advice – Bed Transition

Okay mamas.  I need your help.  My family bed shares and we love it.  We feel that the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.  Some of the positives is that we get better sleep than most parents who have to wake up in the middle of the night, walk down the hall, and feed/soothe/comfort a crying baby.  We also feel that our children are completely affectionate and are confident little beings.  This is NOT to say that bed sharing is fully responsible for it but I do feel that it help contribute to it.

I’ve been told by many people that children begin to sleep through the night and independently around the age of 3.  Well, my oldest daughter is 3 years and 4 months old.  Her room is attached to our bedroom and she has her own beautiful and comfortable bed.  We tried to make her bed just as comfortable as our pillow top mattress and we put the same number of sheets and blankets on top of it.  We tried to closely imitate our sleeping arrangements to make her feel more comfortable.  However, she still wakes in the middle of the night and she MUST have a body present in her room, if not in her bed with her.  We cannot continue sleeping like this!  My husband would LOVE to sleep in our bed and we are both dreading the day we have to transition our 18 month old out of our bed into his own.

We’ve tried wearing her out during the day (but it’s hard when preschool still allows the child to nap during the day for 2 hours), wearing her out before bed, doing calming and quiet activities before bed, giving her stuffed animals to sleep with, etc.  We’ve done routines.  We’ve told her in advance what to expect.  NOTHING WORKS.  We’ve started putting her in her bed in the beginning of the night and laying down with her until she falls asleep.  Then we’ll get up, go into our room but then 2 hours later, she’s climbing into our bed.  She’s never had a “lovey” (neither has my son!) so it’s hard to keep her feeling comforted.  She even THINKS that she sleeps through the night when she wakes up in her own bed (after we have struggled with her all night or have just fallen asleep with her in her bed).

I need your advice, mamas!  How have you successfully transitioned your toddler from your bed to his/her own bed?  How do you keep it going when you go on vacation or you’re in a new place for a temporary time period?  What am I missing?  Is there still hope for us?!

2 responses to “Need Your Advice – Bed Transition

  1. Ok, so Lulu was ready at about 2 1/2 to 3 for her own bed. Our rule was she had to start the night in her bed but was welcome to come to ours when she woke up/needed to. She didn’t really start sleeping through the night on her own until she was 5. When Lily was 2 we started putting her in bed with Lulu- this has worked well for us (she was also weaned at this point). My MILs gave us bunk beds for the girls, so occasionally now they’ll sleep in their own beds. The rule still stands- start the night in your own bed (ok most of the time- sometimes if they’ve had a hard day, or Chris, or myself has -we’ll bring everyone together). A lot of the time though the girls will cuddle up in one of the bunk beds or in their old bed which is now a guest bed/couch downstairs.
    My parents did something similar with my brother and me. When my mom was pregnant with our youngest brother she really encouraged Jason and I to get out of the family bed (admittedly we were 8 and 3, she was pregnant and dad is a big guy) so Jason and I shared a bed/room together, occasionally until, we were 12 and 7. To transition us out of the big bed though she’d put a smaller bed near the big bed. So we were still there in the room, close enough, but getting us out of the bed. Come to think of it, we did similarly with Lulu too before she moved to her room. Lovies are important but you can’t force the issue. Lulu had a penguin then transitioned to a bear puppet. Lily has her “bankie” as of Sunday, before that it was her baby doll, and before that a unicorn.
    Also- while pregnant with Lily I hoisted myself and Lulu into my parents bed with my parents still in it. It still has such a relaxing feel to it. Safe. I love naps with my daughters and mom or dad in their bed.
    My mom has said her theory is that since we spent so much of our day away from each other night time was really the only time to be together, vibe together, without distractions. The girls sleep with my parents and my in-laws when they visit.
    All that and good luck to you my friend.

  2. My mom will swear up and down and sideways that I was a “perfect sleeper” from early on. And my story is that I spent many a night awake in my bed either not tired or terrified. I slept with a mountain of stuffed toys until I was 16! My daughter is three and still sleeps with me and the baby, my husband sleeps in another room (he snores and goes to bed very late ).

    At age three you should be seeing more roleplay and also more dream awareness (goes along with storytelling, and story recall) which can be very disorientating! My daughter wakes rather once a night and for about the past 6 months suffered from dream disorientation just about every night. For this last month it has gotten better (not every night). She wakes half there, distressed and needs to be very close to me and then falls back to sleep. She also started to flail in her sleep and fell out of bed which she’d never done before! The flailing got so bad I switched her back to the sidecar and put the baby on the other side.

    Just so you know…my DD remembers NOTHING of waking and talking about someone taking her tickets, or the night she thought a squirrel was in her bed. Absolutely no recall!

    It will get better. You aren’t missing anything. We have a sidecar on the bed and that’s where she sleeps. I can now get up in the morning with the baby and she sometimes decides to go back to sleep alone — something she never did before. Once the baby is older I expect they will enjoy sharing sleep. For now I don’t worry. She will never be this little again and this stage is such a very short time in their lives I’ll never get back. My favorite memories will likely be these.

    I’m not saying our sleeping arrangements are puppies and kittens, but I guess I don’t see a three year old as that far removed from the baby. The way my daughter clings to me in her groggy state of sleep lets me know that she still feels vulnerable at night even if she remembers none of it. It is a process that happens over time. I might be grumpy at being awoken by a 3 year old using my butt as a pillow, but I remember being so scared at night I’d be covered in sweat and cold.

    Before the baby, I was putting her to sleep in our family bed and then rolling away to join my husband for 2-4 hours and then go to bed when she stirred looking for me and we’d sleep the rest of the night together. Could you do that? Or set up a sidecar for more room?

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