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I got my bed back! How I got my child to sleep in his bed.

Remember this post - We want our bed back!? Yeah. THAT ONE.

There was lack of sleep, no 'break' from each other, arms and legs flying and poking everywhere, three sweaty bods in just one bed... It just wasn't working for us.

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I had lots of you (thank you!) reach out to me when I wrote that post about struggling to get E to sleep alone. Some of you were adamant that controlled crying was the way forward and others were passionate about trying other alternative methods.

And that's just precisely the thing again.. we are all different in our ways and our parenting methods. There's no manual book that pops out of no-where alongside having a baby. No-one's right or wrong. We do what we see fit, what works best for everyone involved.

We've now found our own little method. And it works (for now).

If you're reading this looking for those magical answers, please don't rely too heavy on this - what works for us may not work for you. But because I had so many requests for this post after I announced via social media that I finally had my bed back, I felt it may be of some use to someone somewhere out there (hopefully!)..

Ethans bedtime routine first fell apart when we went on holiday. When we returned he WOULD NOT go to bed even though we followed on with his usual bedtime routine of bottle, story if he wanted it, teeth, cuddles to sleep then into his cot for the night. It was not happening and instantly we knew we'd made a serious error allowing him to stay up with us during the holiday. (Whoops!)

What didn't work was one of us putting him to bed, then the other caving in because he was crying. Adam and I wanted the same thing - our bed back, but we just weren't on the same page. Also, listening to your child scream is (as you probably already know) very stressful which meant Adam and I would snap at each other, which REALLY did not help. So we discussed, discussed again in further detail and decided that rather than bite each others heads off we'd support one another and distract ourselves from Ethans attempt to sway us out of putting him to bed.

I'd spoken to A LOT of other Mums and Dads with slightly older children about what helped when they went through this particular phase with their own little ones and then I took from those conversations the things that just kept cropping up.

One of those things was introducing a light up, musical mobile (the ones that hang above the cot). Luckily we already had one of those floating about in the attic, so up we went to fetched it out and since that very first night that we put it back in E's room - he has slept in his own bed!

Prior to that we had a wind-up mobile,, which we had believed he'd liked better. But this starlight mobile has been an actual god send - personally, I think it's the lights and the music play for 20 minutes. (It means we don't have to keep going in there to turn it back on!). It automatically shuts off (both lights and music) after x amount of time. I think he watches the lights go on and off and listens to the calming music and finds comfort in it. Even now, if he starts to cry when we put him in the cot, he stops the moment it comes on and we leave the room. And then a few minutes after that he's asleep!

We also have a night light in his room and a few teddy bears and comforters in his cot.

In total it actually only took three nights to get Ethan to go back to his own bed and sleep through.

Here's how the first three nights looked for us:-

First night: 1 hour crying (previously he could have lasted 2!) Went in to comfort him twice maybe three times using controlled crying method found on the internet).

Second night: 20 minutes! (I was shocked that it was only 20 minutes and I thought it was surely a fluke! But it wasn't!) One comfort needed, he fell straight to sleep straight after being comforted).

Third Night: 5 Minutes (if that). No comfort needed.

Since then he goes to sleep as soon as he hears his starlight mobile come on. Oh and during the day, he no longer cries when I leave the room to go to the toilet, he is no longer as clingy and quite happily goes off and plays with other children at playgroup rather than just clutching on to me. We've seen a massive change in how he is with family - previously he would cry when certain members of my family tried to take him, but now he laughs, smiles and has fun with them, which is really lovely.

There has been a massive change since Ethan has learnt that it is okay to be independent. The Health Visitor who'd  popped to see us for a developmental check and because we are new to the area, even commented to on how much of a change there was between the first week and second week that she saw us. She said that we both seemed much happier in ourselves.

So what worked for us was controlled crying. It wont work for everyone. And not everyone wants to do it. If I'm honest with you, I just don't get this whole 'controlled crying is cruel' thing. Teaching Ethan to go to bed, for us, is all part of our parenting approach. It's like taking him to school - we wouldn't take him out of school just because he cried. We'd comfort, reassure and come back at the end of the day. I absolutely get it when Mums and Dads want to co-sleep or want to try other approaches but in reality - there's no wrong or right way to approach this as long as it works and gets the best result for EVERYONE involved.




6 comments

  1. I agree about different methods working for different people and think it is great that you've shared here. I recently night-weaned my little boy who is about a month older than Ethan and really appreciated being able to see different view points on the net and to get different ideas before taking the plunge myself. So much so, that I've just started what will probably turn into a mini 2 or 3 post series on feeding and weaning. Thank you for sharing and glad you've got your bed back!

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  2. Well done you on finding what works for you all! x

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  3. So glad you got your bed back! I'm jealous! But it works for us at the minute, so we are sticking with it for now. The fact that it was so easy for you and Ethan to make the change shows he was ready for it :) xx

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  4. This post really resonated with me, we have been going through a similar 'sleep training' type thing with our little man of late xx
    Popping over from #sundaybest

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  5. Really good advice. I'd wish the controlled crying would work for us but I don't see that happening because Matthew picks up coughs very easily. He's 28 months now and still being rocked and then gets transfered into his cot bed. Have to come up with some solution soon.

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