Saturday, June 21, 2008

Toddler Bed Co-Sleeping

Our baby slept in a crib in our room for the first month or two. We bought an organic cotton mattress with chemical free wool batting (stuffing) and a rubber tree support in the middle. Rubber is like a substitute for a spring but more comfortable. It fit her crib well. It was thicker then most baby mattresses. But I researched several of them and found that I wanted one because 1. baby would not inhale chemicals 2. I believe a comfortable mattress develops good sleep habits. 3. The mattress could be transferred to a toddler bed and I could get three-four years out of it.

But she gravitated into our bed. It worked out well. She took naps on our bed and slept there at night. It helps that we saved up and bought a king size Japanese style platform bed while I was pregnant. (We now own a whopping 4 pieces of furniture: a kitchen table from a second hand store, a futon in the living room, a dresser and our bed.) We thought our sleep was important enough to spend a bit of cash on a good sleeping set up. We figured that our kid's sleep was just as important and she should value a good nights sleep. I know I am a complete idiot if I don't get sleep. Both she and I walk into door frames when we are tired.

We recently inherited a toddler bed and slid it right up against our bed. Luckily it is a mission style wood bed with slats. Her mattress fit perfectly. We put her nursing pillow on it and she sleeps with her head in the middle (like a lucky horse shoe around her head). She stays on her bed until about 4 or 5am then inches her way onto our bed. We also got her use to sleeping with a stuffed bunny for companionship.

She is now 14 months, has been sleeping on her bed for a month and is doing rather well. Most doctors recommend waiting till the child is 35 inches tall. She was 31 inches at 13 months so she is big for her age though technically too short for a toddler bed. My thinking was that her bed is more like a co-sleeper and she just seemed ready. She was active by 11 months, she would slide to the edge of our bed, stand up as if getting off a chair and come running into the living room after a nap.

She goes for naps and to bed relatively easy. She does whimper when she loses her bottle of water and can't find it on her own in the middle of the night. But she gets plenty of sleep. We never have to wake her in the morning...she wakes us. I have read that bottles of water don't hurt babies at night because there is no sugar to rot out her teeth. And at her first dentist visit he said that her teeth looked great and a bottle of water would not hurts her. We also don't give her juice yet and we do brush her teeth before sleep. She loves brushing her teeth.

I like handing over small tasks for her to take control (though I do watch closely). We make her feel like she does have a choice and when she doesn't, the task is not a task but a chance to accomplish an achievement. We approach goals with enthusiasm.

Carpe Diem!

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