Did you start out parenthood believing that by a certain point, your baby would be sleeping in their own bed? Are you now beyond the point of no return? If you’re co-sleeping with a toddler, read on and I will share with you something that might make a huge difference to your life.
Our first baby started off in a side car cot (I was too nervous to co-sleep with a tiny one). Of course, I assumed that at some point (probably around 12 months), he would naturally tire of our company and transfer into a larger cot or maybe even his own room. So 2 years later, faced with the very real fear of never sleeping properly again, I finally found a co-sleeping solution that enabled me to get the sleep I so desperately needed. It’s been such a life-altering solution that I could not keep it to myself, knowing that other parents might also be helped.
The co-sleeping problem:
- Baby wants to sleep in your bed.
- Baby wants to sleep touching you/lying on you
- Baby fidgets all night, has tickley hair and doles out regular slaps in your direction
- Baby ends up in any position other than head on pillow and body parallel to yours
- Baby has an excellent sleep; you wake up feeling like you’ve completed a night-long triathlon.
We’ve all seen the comedy cartoons of co-sleeping toddlers doing all of these things, we’ve read all the advice. We may even have started off with a large investment in a sleep pillow such as a sleepyhead. But then your baby grew, and it’s not funny anymore.
When you practice complaining to other “tired” parents, you just know you’re in a league of your own. When night after night fails to yield life-sustaining sleep, something has to give, or you may actually die. So, do you enforce separation? Do you or your partner sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room? Do you spend hours at contorted angles soothing him to sleep in his room whilst feeling your bottom go numb and your last vestiges of sanity disappearing into the mists of history? These are all things I have done, and more. None of them resulted in more sleep for me.
The co-sleeping solution:
Enter your new best friend: the toddler bolster.
It has literally rescued me from the darkness of neverending sleep deprivation into a place where parenting can be once again filled with light. Here’s why:
- No need for baby to leave family bed and all its advantages
- Feels like a person, hence taking over your role of providing constant physical contact
- Acts as a buffer to fidgets
- Helps keep baby in a more or less standard sleeping position
- Baby sleeps; YOU sleep
- Creates a distinct sleeping space for you, wherein you can regain a semblance of personal integrity.
Here’s how you make it in just 5 minutes flat.
You will need:
- A standard double size wool blanket. It’s important to use a wool blanket as it needs to be heavy (to imitate a person as well as staying put) and it won’t overheat you (wool is breathable).
- A single sheet ( you can even use a baby sheet – why not put it to some use).
- Strips of cloth/hair bobbles/thick wool string or similar/strips of elastic.
First of all, fold your blanket in half twice. This will create the required length (around 1.5 times the length of your fidgetey bed-fellow).
Then, roll it up into a cylinder. Finally, wrap the sheet around it (as if wrapping a sweet) and tie the ends with your cloth/hair bobbles/wool string /elastic or whatever you have chosen. If you want to go to town, you can even sew a custom-sized pillow case, but you might want to get a night’s sleep first.
And, disco: you have your very own life-sustaining-keep-everyone-happy co-sleeping device. Now, put it between you and your baby and may you both get some sleep tonight.
In Vietnam and China, they call a bolster a “hugging pillow”. I wish you all sweet dreams in your newly designed co-sleeping bed…….. ♥♥♥