Monday, 13 May 2013

Operation ReClaim Our Bed: SUCCESSFUL

To the people who told me 'you'll never get her out of your bed'
To the people who told me 'time to toughen up'
To the people who told me 'you'll regret starting bad habits'

...this post is respectfully dedicated to you.

Here is the current set up of Chubs' bed.

The only change from the last update is that we slipped a pool noodle under the fitted sheet to make it harder for her to roll out on that side. It's not perfect and she has rolled onto the trundle, but it helps. If we didn't have the trundle we would get another bed rail or rearrange the bed against a wall.

This picture also shows the trundle with its legs folded away, which is how we use it pretty much every night.

I am officialy declaring ORCOB successful. After the first few weeks of me sleeping in with her most of the time, Chubs is now mostly happy to be by herself all night long. She sleeps through most (not all) nights. If I do need to go in, I give her a cuddle and a pat and give her back her dummy. If this isn't enough to get her back to sleep then I lie with her for a short, quick feed full of sleepy hormones for both of us. A few times I've fallen asleep in her bed for a little while, generally I'm only in there for about two minutes then I go back to our bed. When she does wake I'm out of bed for less that five minutes then back to bed - about the same as getting up to pee or get a glass of water.

Weeks before her second birthday, she is happily sleeping (mostly) alone in her own room. At this stage I expect that night feeds will gradually fade away, as did her need for constant closeness all.night.long.

My husband and I have our bed 'back' - as much as any parents of a young child do. She toddles in in the mornings, blankie trailing behind her and teddy under her arm. She comes up to me and with a dummy in her mouth and about three more in her hands (just in case, sigh...) she gives me the most precious, sweetest smile and says 'Mummy milk peease Mummy' and gives me a kiss. I drag my exhausted body into the arena of the awoken, pull her up onto our bed and have milky snuggles for a few minutes. 'Other side?' is then followed by 'outside?' and we're all up and off - ready to face the day of cereal and toilet training and colouring in and Peppa Pig.

We were certainly keen to have Chubs in her own room earlier, but after a while it became clear that she wasn't ready, and that all our plan was achieving was less sleep for everyone. So we waited a few months, though again about the needs of all three people in our family, came up with a new loving and respectful plan, and gently tried it out. In the space of less than a month Chubs gently transitioned into usually sleeping though usually all by herself. No crying, no screaming, no disasters.

Now, this won't work for every family. Heck, it didn't work for our family a few months ago. But what did work was doing what worked for us, now, at this point, with what we had, valuing what was important to us.

To the people who told me 'do whatever you need to do so you all get the sleep you need'
To the people who showed me the data and science that shows that safe cosleeping is indeed very safe
To the people who taught me about milk production, supply and demand, breast compressions, feeding lying down and sleepy hormones
To the people who listened to my whinging about capital-H-ing, waking up with a foot in my face and a dummy in my ear or getting kicked out to the couch who understood that I was venting about a good approach that may not have been perfect
To the people who asked me 'in the end, does it really matter?'

and to the two people I love most in the world, with whom I share my love, my body, my home, my hopes, my dreams, my heart - and sometimes my bed,

...this post is also for you.



  1. Replies
    1. So this will be the plan, until a better one comes along!

  2. Hi I read your blogs and am in a similar position with my 16 month old of thinking bout reclaiming our bed! What age did u attempt this? X

    1. Hi Tez, our daughter was about 22/ 23 months when we did this. We tried to get her to stay in her cot longer when she was about 15 months but ultimately we let it go since it became clear that the transition wasn't working. I'm not sure how doing it this way (lying down on an adult mattress with you LO) would work - perhaps you could put a double mattress on the floor? I know some people do side cars too - we didn't have the space but you might? Good luck with whatever you try.


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