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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sleeping arrangement for the kids

How do you plan the sleeping arrangement for your kids? Do you co-sleep in the same room, have separate beds in the same room or have them in their own bedrooms?

When we first had Aiden, we planned for his cot bed to be beside our bed in our bedroom. It is easier for us as first time parents, to respond to his needs and cries.
Aiden at 10 month old, pulling himself up for the first time.
I breastfed Aiden for twelve months, and what helped with this was co-sleeping with him. I was exhausted as he was still not sleeping through when he was a year old. I remember him as a bigger baby, and so carrying him in the night and walking around the house is really no walk in the park. It's amazing how babies are super sensitive and how they sometimes hate being put down to sleep on the bed. He wakes up almost immediately when his body touches the mattress, and we begin the rocking, singing and patting routine.
Aiden at 7 month old, naps are very much welcome.
With my parents helping with the kids, Aiden spends some nights over at their place and he usually sleeps on the bed with my mum. When he returns home, he co-sleeps with us on our bed. This continued until he was turning 3, and we had a makeover for his room, and got him a single bed with storage for his toys and a huge bed guard to put this mummy's worries at greater ease. On the first few nights he slept on his own bed in his own room, I rehearsed with him how he should get off his bed, come over to our room should he need us. We left a bed side light for him, and kept both his door and ours ajar. I woke up several times a night to check on him!

Aiden was doing well, sleeping in his own bedroom since then, until Ava's arrival. Many things take a turn and he grew to be more attached to us and returned to co-sleep with us. He wants to be close to us, to feel more secure with a new baby in the family. We ended up co-sleeping with both Aiden and Ava and it really deprived Daddy Darren and myself of good quality sleep. We also get body aches, having to adjust to the kids' ever- changing sleep positions through the night.
 
I started to prep talk Aiden as I set the stage for a new sleeping arrangement this new year. He loves the idea of sleeping on a double-decker bed with Ava when they are older. He saw this arrangement in books and always tells me that he will sleep at the higher deck and mei mei would sleep below when they are older. I sold him the idea of sleeping with Ava in his room and he was happy to try it out. With a few nights of prep talking, on the first day of the new year back at home, i confidently said, 'let's get to bed in Aiden's room', Aiden and Ava managed to settle to sleep side by side. We got the best of both worlds. Aiden and Ava bonding during bedtime and sleeping in their own room. Daddy Darren and I regained our spacious king size bed.

With the both of them amusing each other at bed time, sometimes it takes a longer time for them to fall asleep as they started laughing out at each other's antics.

Play time before bed time.
Aiden woke up in the middle of the night a few times with his blanket and soft toy in hand, climbed onto our bed and took his position right between us and fell asleep almost immediately. I was happy that he has outgrown the rock-sing-pat routine yet feels that he grows up too fast.

With this sleeping arrangement, our only worry was Ava waking up in the middle of the night, not knowing how to get to us. She hasn't started talking or walking as yet and I fear that she'd hurt herself, pushing open the doors to our room. Then it happened. At 4am yesterday morning, there was a loud bang and our bedroom door swung open. I usually jump out of bed this very moment, and there was Aiden appearing with his blanket and toy in hand, squeezing his way between us on our bed. We went back to sleep shortly after and then another loud bang! I was thinking 'Aiden? No! He just came to our room...' Jumping out of bed, and realized it was little Ava sitting in the doorway, and relieved to find mummy.

I was happy my little girl managed to find her way to our room independently, and that she was not in tears. Her diaper was full and after changing her, she refused to sleep on her mattress, clinging tightly as I rock-sing-pat her to sleep. I guess she might be frightened when no one came to her when she woke up earlier and dared not go to sleep on her own. Nevertheless I am pleasantly surprised and happy to know that she unlocked this stage without us guiding her at all.

The simple joy of uncovering a new milestone brought a smile to this mummy's face and led to this first post in the new year.

Happy New Year to all of you!

My drummer boy and girl in the morning.

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