Do I let the baby sleep with me? Do I let the baby sleep in my room? If I do that, when do I move the baby into its own room? When do I move the baby from a bassinette to a cot? Do I really need a bassinette at all (I've heard my grandmother say she kept my mum in an open drawer... how does that even work?) And we haven't even begun to talk about eating yet - these are only the sleep related questions!!
So today I wanted to tackle a big one. Well big in that it has a direct impact to your own quantity and quality of sleep after you have made your decision. (And I might add that once you have a baby you then realise how sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture - please I'll tell you everything you want to know, just let me have a sleep!) The big question is, when do you move a child from their cot to a bed?
With my first son (who is now 9 years old) it was all trial and error. Mostly error, we realised a little too late because once you have made your choice you have to live with it. There is no turning back!! So with my first child we moved him from cot to bed when he was two. Mostly because he was so tall and we felt that he would be swinging a leg over the side of the cot any day and we were worried he might fall and hurt himself. So he was duly moved into his big bed at two years and 2 weeks. The result of that move was that he was too young to "get" the rules and kept running from his bed to our room at all hours of the night because he could. (Please I'll give you all my secrets - just let me sleep!)
I went off to the library and borrowed every book I could on toddler sleeping, (sub titled - keeping them in their own bed) and we tried a number of the recommendations out. The only thing that worked for us (and keep in mind that this was almost a year later of broken sleeps and he had not slept well as a baby either... I don't believe I got an unbroken nights sleep for about three years) was threatening to tie his room shut. Yeah, I know, I can hear the horrified intakes of breath from here - but when you're that tied you go with what works.
Please note that we threatened to tie his door shut. The theory goes that you tie a rope from a door across the hall to your toddler's door and then tie the other end to their door knob. So that they are able to open their door only a tiny smidge yet still can't get out. We did not ever actually do it. Fortunately the threat of it was enough.
Now we come to that point again. My two year old is tall enough to swing a leg over the side of the cot and just get out. So what am I going to do about it?? Well, at the moment I have him sleeping in a backward kids sleeping bag (you know the ones with the arms in them, not the ones you go camping with kids in ..... and it's backwards because he learnt how to undo the zip and strip it off - and sometimes the rest of his clothes (houdini anyone?)). So in this way he can't swing his leg over high enough to actually get out of the cot.
My plan this time (based on my previous experience) will see him sleeping in the cot until he can no longer actually fit in there and then I have no choice but to move him into his "big" bed. At which time we will make a big deal (as recommended by experts) about what a big boy he is and how exciting it is to move to a big boy bed.... and then I guess we get back on with the game of sleep Russian roulette!!
I'll keep you posted.