Practicing co-sleeping, in addition to being one of the most beautiful experiences we can have with our children, has many benefits both for them and for us during the early years. The smell and contact with the parents generates security, helps them to be calmer, favors the affective bond with our baby and makes it much easier for us to feed them in case of breastfeeding (also known as “copecho”).
Although its duration depends on the circumstances of each family and in general it is the child himself who sets the guidelines for how and when to go to his own bed, there is a situation that can lead us to have to make a decision unilaterally, and it is getting pregnant when we are still co-sleeping with our first baby.
Pregnant and sleeping: what to do with our eldest son?
Before making a decision, we must evaluate the situation in which we find ourselves : the arrival of a little brother usually generates jealousy, and if our eldest son or daughter is still very young, moving him to his own bed before the arrival of a baby can aggravate the situation.
We must also consider the logistics necessary to do it, since we will obviously need more space (especially if the eldest moves a lot), adding an extra bed and a co-sleeping cot. In any case, comfort is very important for both children and parents . Having evaluated our particular case, we can contemplate two scenarios: continue co-sleeping or ensure that the older brother goes to his own bed before the little brother is born.
Continue co-sleeping with a toddler and a newborn baby
Adding a co-sleeping cot will be the best option, since the AEPED does not recommend that a baby under three months sleep in the same bed as the parents . By already having the experience practicing it, adapting to a second baby will cost less and surely staying together when sleeping will make it easier for us to strengthen the bond with the newborn.
After three months, the baby should be prevented from sharing the bed with people other than the parents, but in the case of doing so, you or your partner should sleep between the child and the baby.
As parents, we will surely be more relaxed not having to make a decision that affects only one of our children . We should not think about “what we should do” in front of others, but about what we feel safe, calm and happy with.
Obviously the nights will not be easy considering that each child will have a different sleep cycle and the baby will have night awakenings, but with love, unity and patience, it is possible and we refer to the tests.
Transition the child to his own bed
The other option is to make sure that the older brother goes to his own bed. If we do not have enough space, we will surely see ourselves doomed to it, so the best thing we can do is start facilitating the change as soon as we find out about the pregnancy , mainly so that it is not directly associated with the arrival of the baby. It is not recommended to leave it just for the week before, for example.
This change should be as gradual and respectful as possible , understanding that for the child it can be a slow process, in which little by little he will get used to being alone in his room. In that period of time, it is very important to continually remind our son that despite not being in the same room, mom and dad continue to take care of him both day and night, that we are watching over him and that he can return to our bed when you need it.
Of course, avoid it being an imposition, as well as the use of comparisons and/or labels such as “you’ve already grown up”. There are nights that can be a little harder for them and they want to go to our bed, a situation that is completely normal when managing such a momentous change for them.
In our case, it worked out great for us that his bedroom was first a “play room” where we spent many hours together. When she put her bed herself she wanted to sleep there the first night and she immediately got used to it. In the end, what works best is to accompany them in any process that they live in a respectful and loving way, because the children will feel safe and will respond in a very positive way to the changes that come their way.