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How to Move from Bedsharing with Your Child to Independent Sleep



Here’s how the conversation usually starts:


“I loved bedsharing, but we’re ready to be done. It’s not sustainable for us anymore. It’s all my baby knows and we need help and support with the transition into their own sleep space.”


OR


“I never planned on bedsharing, and now I don’t know what to do. I don’t feel comfortable continuing to do this, but I don’t know how to undo it. I feel trapped and I need help on how to get my child to sleep in his/her own crib or bed.”


We are not here to judge any sleep situation. We get it. We’ve been there, too. We’re moms ourselves. We are only here to help if you want or need to make changes. You may find yourself in a similar situation, and either way, we can help you!


A More Gradual Approach

Let’s say there’s more than just co-sleeping going on here (like, your baby is latched to you all night long), or you just really want to take a slower approach with getting them out of your bed and into their own.


You may want to layer some sleep training techniques and replace one prop for another, and then overlap that with another strategy as time goes on.


For example, if your baby feeds to sleep and nurses all night long and you don’t want to remove them from your bed quite yet, you can teach them another way to fall asleep in your bed. I’d recommend the Shush-Pat method.


This will take time to replace the nursing/feeding to sleep prop - dad may need to do the grunt of the work here…


Then, when you’re confident your little one can be shushed and patted to sleep instead of nursed to sleep, you move them into their crib (still in your room, or in their own), continuing with the Shush-Pat method.


When you’re confident they can sleep in their crib with Shush-Pat, then you gradually remove that and replace it with independent sleep. In this instance, I’d probably use the chair method, as it starts with the parent present and gradually removes them from the baby’s sleep space. If baby is still in your room, you will shush-pat in the crib in your room, then shush-pat in the crib in their room and then introduce the chair method.


See all the different layers here?! It can be complicated and take a lot of time…this is often why people hire us to help them!


A Quicker Option

Once you’ve decided it’s time, go right into the chair method in the baby’s own sleep space. The parent is still present to start, but is gradually removed from the sleep situation - the responsibility of falling asleep is shifted from the parent to the child, in a supportive way. This is a great option if you want or need a quicker solution, as this can be accomplished in 2-4 weeks, depending on the age of the child.


Both options give your child the support they need from you.


The Mieden Family’s Experience

I met the Mieden family at the Hartland Kid’s Day event a few months ago, and I remember Jess saying, “I don’t think I’m ready yet, but I may need to hire you soon.” Little did she know, her life was about to change in just a few months’ time!


Jess, Millie and Lainey’s amazing mother, had been through A LOT postpartum, both physically and mentally. She was physically unable to walk for WEEKS before and after Millie’s birth, and that was what initially led them to cosleep. And it worked great…


…until it didn’t anymore. For ten months, Jess found herself attached to Millie all night long and bouncing on an exercise ball for 2+ hours each day just trying to get Millie to take a nap.


Jess had no time for herself. And it was hard to give attention to Lainey when Millie was so dependent on her for sleep. And, it was taking a toll on her physically and mentally. Dad, Tyler, was a true gem both during Jess’ pregnancy and postpartum experience AND did a ton of the grunt work the first few weeks we worked together. He simply just wanted to be able to love on and snuggle his wife again. And she wanted that too.


I worked with the Mieden family for about 6-8 weeks this fall to accomplish the following goals with their two girls (Millie, 10-months, and Lainey, 3-years):

  • Teach their youngest daughter, Millie, how to sleep without being latched to her mom all night long in the parents’ bed

  • Move Millie from the parents’ bed to her own crib in a shared bedroom

  • Solidify big sister Lainey’s sleep and fix early morning wakings before moving Millie into the room with her

  • Move Millie into the same room as Lainey



Here’s what Jess and Tyler have to share about their experience:


Before Working Together

“Millie would only sleep if I nursed her to sleep, bounced on an exercise ball, or if she was held in my arms. She didn’t nap unless I nursed and rocked her the entire nap. She refused to sleep in a crib. At night, I would nurse from 6:30-8 pm. Then from 8-10 pm, she’d awake every 20 minutes until I went to bed with her at 10 pm. She would sleep with us in our bed, night nursing as needed throughout the whole night (usually 3-4 times). We ended up taking down our comfy King bed and converted it to a floor bed to keep Millie safe. The physical, mental, and emotional toll had us beat. Beyond beat. It was time for help.


After many prayers, God led us to Erin @lakecountrysleep.


I had become the biggest sleep prop for Millie, and we needed to teach her a new skill - independent sleep. Millie caught on very quickly and is thriving with her newfound skill!! I am so proud of her, and I love seeing how much she loves to sleep independently.”


During the Support Period (About 6 Weeks Total)

“Erin’s support and coaching has been absolutely amazing, and we truly could not have done this without her! Thank you for saving us, Erin!! Not only is Millie sleeping through the night, in her own crib, but she is now sharing a room with her older, toddler sister! Both girls have separate nap times and bedtimes. Erin was able to help us navigate this very tricky, and delicate sleep situation. With Erin's support, we were also able to clean up some of Lainey's sleep habits to make the transition as smooth as possible. Truly, we could have not done this without the support of Erin. We especially loved the Voxter support. Erin was always one message away and was so responsive and supportive. She will always be part of both our girls' sleep journey! Thank you, Erin!!!”


After Working Together

“I really cannot thank @lakecountrysleep enough!! I honestly thought we were too far gone to be saved. Now, Millie sleeps from (roughly) 7 - 7 and takes two naps, totally 3 hours in her OWN space! She is put to bed AWAKE and has the skill to put herself to sleep. Absolutely life changing! We were also able to eliminate Lainey's dependence on melatonin to fall asleep. Both girls have been moved to the same room with different bedtimes and are thriving!! Investing in our girls' sleep has been one of our biggest accomplishments of the year! Thank you so much, Erin!!”


If you’re ready to make quality sleep a part of your family’s sleep journey too, we’d love to partner with you to accomplish your goals. Browse our services or set up a free discovery call with Erin to learn more.


Mieden Family Photos by Katie Emanuelson Photography
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