01 April 2008

Bedtime for Baby

OK, let's get down to business.

A friend of ours had their first child several years before we did. They believed in the "Family Bed" system. This is the system that has you sleep in the same bed as your children. Although this sounds good in theory, it is a recipe for disaster. When their child reached 6 years old, they moved her to her own room. I guess I should say they TRIED to move her to her own room; What followed was YEARS of tantrums.

When my wife had our first child, we lived in a 1 bedroom apartment. We had decided that we did not want our baby to sleep in the same room with us, so we set-up the crib and changing area in the dining room. We did not want to share our room, because we didn't want our child to develop a need to be with someone in order to fall asleep. If your child develops this dependency, then later down the road when you try to move them into a room of their own, you are going to have major problems. I can guarantee you will have a nightly visitor and nightly temper tantrums until you cave in, or they fall asleep from exhaustion. Unless you like to endure hours of screaming, as our friend did, then you need to give your infant their own space.

I know that this is hard, especially if this is your first child. You want to be with them all the time, but you need to give them their space AND you need to have your own space as well. You and your wife need to have time to yourselves, even if there is only a door or a wall separating you from your baby.

There will be times when your child will need to sleep with you, and that's OK. I'm not saying you should never let them sleep with you, I am saying that you should not make it a permanent thing. I remember that for the first month, I stayed-up at night and watched TV in the living room, so I could keep an eye on my daughter. This also allowed my wife to be able to get a few precious hours of sleep before having to feed her again. I didn't have to do this, since we had a baby moniter, but it gave me a sense that I was actually helping my wife.

Once we were both comfortable and our daughter fell into a type of routine, we both slept in our bedroom and our daughter slept in her crib in the dining room.

Next time: Singing those Nap Time Blues.

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