How We Gently Transitioned from Co-Sleeping to Crib From A Tired, Emotional and Panicky First Time Mom
Thalia is 10 months old today! It honestly is so crazy how fast they grow up (Mom Cliche, I know).
Daniel and I had Thalia in our room until she was exactly 9 months old, the original plan was 6 months, but Thalia had other plans.
Thalia always clusterfed in the evenings/was fed to sleep since approximately 6 weeks old. I practiced biological breastfeeding and I have always fed on demand. For the first 6 months, our 90th percentile, solid food, good mood, cute as a button little girl would go to town every night like I was an all night Vegas Boobie-Buffet. At 7 months, Thalia started waking almost HOURLY, but not to feed. She would grunt, groan, roll around and not fall back asleep until I rubbed her back and soothed her back to sleep. I was becoming a zombie.
I took this as a sign that she needed her own space. I never thought I would be ready, because moving baby into another room is SUCH an emotional experience, but I think I had just a maternal instinct that we BOTH needed space at night for proper rest.
Thalia HATED her crib so, I figured I would start the transition SUPER slowly.
At 8 months I started introducing her to her crib by placing her inside in the afternoon, wide awake. I would put her laundry away in the nursery closet and sing and dance while she sat in the crib. She wasn’t thrilled at first, but every day it became our little ritual.
At 8 months we also started her personal nighttime routine. As many co-sleeping mommies know, Baby’s nighttime routine is also YOUR nighttime routine. The moment baby decides they are going down for the night, you have to close up shop and get in bed too! This little glimmer of freedom in the evenings started motivating me to get Thalia into her rhythm.
We would do bath time, her lotion, pajama time and our bedtime feed in HER room, even if I knew she would end up in our bed. I would feed to drowsy, not asleep and carry her to our room.
These two “intros” kicked off the process of having Thalia in her room & sleeping through the night.
At exactly 9 months, Daniel and I decided to utilize the Ferber method after talking to our pediatric team. There are SO many sleep training methods out there and I truly believe the reason is because every child is so different. Ferber was what Daniel and I were comfortable with attempting with Thalia’s temperament.
The day before the first night of Ferber, I was cray. I was stressed out the entire day. I would sneak extra cuddles almost like I was trying to let her know that I love her, even if I am in another room. I was a hormonal MESS.
Nighttime came and we went through the established ritual. After the big feed, I laid Thalia down in the crib, walked out with an “I love you” almost in tears.
Daniel, the stronger of the two of us, decided he would take over the night time check ins.
If you aren’t familiar with the Ferber Method, it is a sleep training technique used to help a child learn how to self-soothe by letting them cry for predetermined amounts of time. In lamens, It is by no means full on “Cry it out by Isolation”, but a gentle way to manage night time tears by checking in with baby at different time intervals.
The First Night:
7:00pm Thalia placed in crib
7:03pm Daniel checks in
7:08pm Daniel checks in
7:28pm Thalia asleep
The first night took a TOTAL of 28 minutes of tears!
Along with sleeping in her own crib, she now sleeps THROUGH THE NIGHT.
Since Night 1 of Ferber, she has never fussed longer than 15 minutes before bedtime and she rarely wakes during the night (apart from the random night time blow out diaper change…)
Coming from a Mom that was super against sleep training: I felt it was unnatural to let a child cry out for you for selfish reasons like “sleep”. The Ferber method was a gentle way of teaching our doll that she can get rest in a safe environment and we will always be there to comfort her if she needs us. I am a better Mommy when I am well-rested and I feel like Thalia is getting that little bit of independence she needed to get a great night of sleep.
Disclaimer: I don’t think Ferber is for every baby and family. Co-sleeping is a beautiful thing and can actually carry health benefits for both mommy and baby if done safely. Ferber worked for our specific situation and this is our story.
I know I googled my little fingers off when I was toying with the transition, so hopefully someone runs across this post who is tired, emotional and panicky, just like I was.
Let me know if you have any awesome sleep training tips or stories! I would love to hear them because I could totally pop another baby out in the next couple years that isn’t Ferber- Friendly 🙂