Hello everybody. And welcome to another edition of slumber party. I am your host, Amanda Jewson. I am a sleep expert and I help people sleep independently, which is great because we have Petra today joining us. She is a listener with probably one of the most common questions I get. Um, so if you’re listening because you’re like, Oh my God, that’s me. Yeah, I know. It’s it’s like everyone. Um, and you know, my big disclaimer today, if you are already listening, you know, the topic of this, uh, in same with YouTube Watchers, but Petra is asking about co-sleeping and co-sleeping is one of those things where it’s fairly political and controversial. And we’ll talk about a lot of different things, but I will say this as a sleep expert and, uh, someone who does sleep stuff, I can never say yes, co-sleep I can’t, because it’s just like your doctor, your doctor, can’t also tell you to co-sleep.
Um, I do encourage you to do your research. There is research that supports co-sleeping, um, there’s research that doesn’t, uh, there’s a great chapter in the book by Emily Oster, uh, called crib sheet that also talks a lot about co-sleeping please do your own research and know that I’m coming at this like completely non-judgmentally. Um, and you know, I want to acknowledge the fact as well, that many families happily choose co-sleeping as a sleeping option for their family. I only jump in when the parent doesn’t want to be, and they’re they’re, co-sleeping when they don’t want to be. So if you’re listening and you’re like, Amanda, you’re a… I’m just, I’m not, I’m not there. Okay. I’m not coming at you in the way that is . I am well, you’re going to see my approach to all of this today, uh, and, what we do but I support your choice to co-sleep. It can never be what I say you should do, and always do your research. Is that a good disclaimer, Petra, five minute, disclaimer, jump in. Tell me what’s going on. Thank you for this question!
So it actually happened by accident. I, we were always the type of parents. We’ll pre pre-baby, who said We would never do this. And, um, here we are, my daughter is six and my son is three and we just can’t get them out of our bed. Um, yeah, it kinda just happened by accident. Like, I was very adamant about not allowing them in our bed. Um, it kind of, I I’m gonna throw my husband under the bus. It happened because we would do, like, we would, I was lucky enough to have him help on the night feedings and, uh, because I couldn’t breastfeed. And so he would do the later half of the, of the night. And I, for some reason, whenever I would wake up, my son or daughter would be in the bed with us and I’d be like, woo. And then it just trickled down from there at that point. Like, you know, just when you’re in the thick of it in the middle of the night, you just, sometimes you don’t, you want to pick your battles and yeah, most of the time, obviously we chose to just sleep. And, um, yeah, now I have like two children who obviously don’t know how to self-soothe and need us for everything. And we’re just in, um, yeah, we’re just in a, I don’t want them in my bed, so we’re out get them out. And it’s obviously like affected mine and my husband’s relationship in many ways. Like the imp, uh, intimacy has like decreased, um, obviously the stress level between the two of us, because we’re not getting the sleep that we need. And then obviously we’re always like in this who’s more tired competition. Yeah, yeah.
Uh, yeah. I mean, yeah, he like, so, um, the, the, I mean, I love all of the layers that you’re talking about here. Um, and you know, when you talked about how so, I always, I always say I helped with accidental co-sleep furs and there are many intentional co-sleeper, and this is not your podcast it’s on for you. Carry on if you’re sleeping. And I’m always a big fan of like, if the whole family of sleeping, no matter what you’re doing, whether that’s co-sleeping or [inaudible], then, then carry on. The issues are always start to arise when there’s a member of the co-sleeping relationship that isn’t enjoying the co-sleeping relationship anymore. So it may be that your husband likes it and you don’t, or vice versa, um, or that even the child is ready to go, but doesn’t necessarily know how, um, then that’s a good sign that you’re ready to stop the co-sleeping relationship.
And I think that when, um, many people think about co-sleeping, um, they asked me like, I’ll be doing like an Instagram live or a takeover or something, and I’ll be like, Hey guys, give me your questions. And someone will be like, Hey, some quick tips on how to stop co-sleeping and I wish I could be like, yeah, it’s, uh, like, you know, how do I link them? My naps, well, this, this, this, I can tell you what that looks like co-sleeping is not easy because people don’t realize that their physical body has become a sleep association to the child. So like a bottle, a boob, a pacifier rocking your physical body, your warmth, the fact that you’re there, you know, liking it too. I’ll I’ll liken it to myself, right? I’m this is embarrassing. I wonder if I’ve taught, I think I have talked about this on my podcast, but I slept with a stuffed pig under my arm until I moved in with my husband when I was 25.
Um, that is true. And I don’t know where that everyone is like, Oh my God, listen to that association. And you’re not wrong. It’s crazy. But I did. And it was falling apart and I really wanted to give it to my kids, but it went missing slash I think my husband was like, get this the out of here. We don’t need to be carrying this around country to country. Um, so yeah, he’s lived with this stuff pig, and now I sleep with a pillow. I always have to sleep with a pillow. So this has become the sleep association for me. And if I don’t have something to put under my pillow, I feel like I’m gonna lose it. Or, um, you know, you think about, uh, you know, pre pregnancy. I always used to sleep on my tummy and then you’re forced to sleep on your side that I had to reteach myself and it was agony.
Um, so it’s there. These are real true behaviors and associations that your body is, is a part of for them, right? So it’s not easy. And like, I, I would never give you a quick tip to just walk away with, and I’ve Orgain to talk about that today. There’s this is, I hate the word, but it will require sleep training. Now, obviously I say this, everyone who’s listening is like, Oh, what am I going to do? Sleep training is removing the association. So the great thing for you. So you said you had a six year old and a how old? One-year-old three. Okay. The great thing about older children is that there’s a lot less tears because they can communicate, which is awesome. They, babies cry because they can’t say, Hey, this sucks. I want you to stay, come back. I want you to do that thing that you do.
I don’t know what I’m doing. And they’re upset, right? Older kids can say, Hey, this sucks. Come back. I don’t like it. And so it sounds like that instead. So that’s, that’s a positive and a plus for you that there should be a lot less, you know, tears involved. So I don’t want you to panic about this. For those of you, with young babies who are listening or watching there probably will be some tears involved. Um, so it will feel like sleep training. And my caveat is talking about sleep training is that it doesn’t always have to be so hard core. It doesn’t have to be extinction. You don’t throw your kid into the room and be like, seeing the morning, you don’t sleep with me. That’s rough. That’s some rough stuff. So you want a methodology and a plan to comfort and console and be with them.
Um, while you are kind of weaning yourself from, from their sleep dance. Because when we think about what sleep is, and when we think about, when you go to sleep, there are a series of behaviors that need to happen in order for you to sleep. For me, it always includes my pillow. It includes like me going on one side, you are body part of your child’s physical dance to sleep. So it’s, it’s not easy and it will not be a one day thing. Um, it’ll probably be like a week or two thing, but that’s okay. It shouldn’t be that hardcore. So, yeah. Jump in
My question for you is, uh, so because they both have adopted this, this, uh, I guess sleep, what, what was the word you said sleep association. Should I like, do I tackle one? Like, like how, how would I kind of approach it? Would I deal with one at a time? Or do I, yeah.
So the first thing I want to ask you before we talk about anything, is does your partner feel the same way you do?
Oh yeah, no, he’s completely on board with it. Uh, like he wants them out, but, you know, uh, he also realizes that he is like, what kind of contributed to the issue, like when they were smaller. Uh, but yeah, no, they, he definitely, he wants them out. That’s for sure. We both are on the same page with it. Um, yeah. That’s to your point, even to what you were saying, like, yeah, you’re right. There’s not as much crying about with it, but because they’re able to vocalize what they’re feeling, it just makes you feel that much worse when you’re trying to get them back in their bed. And then they just like, go on this like guilt trip because they, and they can verbalize their feelings. It’s more of like, you know, just, it just, yeah, it’s just makes it that much harder. I feel
Totally. So let’s, this is a great question. Let’s reframe that guilt part, part, one of your question. I would tackle one at a time. I would probably start with your oldest one. She’ll be the, um, she, he, she she’ll, yeah, she’ll be the easiest thing. She’ll be the easiest to reason with. She’ll also be probably the most willing and ready. Um, because you can talk to, you know, your big girl you’re in grade one. Now these are things that you do, and that’ll really speak to her. I have a six year old as well, once her birthday.
Got it. Oh, so she, will she be, Oh, she just turned that on. She just turned six. Got it. So you’ll probably get more buy-in from her. Um, and then let’s reef. Uh, okay. So then I have to say, okay, this goes back to my original thought of what did the parents want here? Let’s reframe what you guys want. You guys, are you sleeping well with them?
You’re so funny. No, just no don’t know. Okay. So know your intimacy is lacking there. Stress between mom and dad. There’s fighting there. I mean, I’m assuming, cause that would be mine husband and I. Okay. There’s no like it would just I’m projecting then there’s then there is, um, you said there’s that competition, right? So these are five really good reasons for you. Why you don’t want to do this. And I think what happens as we become parents and I think our modern parenting styles or the pressure around modern parenting is that we give everything to our children, our bodies, our time, our breath, if we could, I read, what did I read? Oh, where did I read it? It must’ve been on Instagram somewhere. And someone said, you know, I can’t imagine not doing everything possible that I could for my child. And I would give them my life.
And I feel like we’ve lost our way a little bit in terms of what we think our role is. And that might be because I always talk about the fact that we don’t live in tribes anymore. We don’t live in a group where we can share the responsibility of parenting. And that is the way it has always been. It has not been mum and dad full on looking at your child all day long, constant and talking. And how are you doing? And being an aunt it’s like, that is, uh, a task that has an expiration date. Whether it’s you do it now, when you’re a sane mind and body or one that you’re like, get the out of my bed because I don’t have it. Right. There’s an expiration point. If disclaimer, this is not what you want, because you will always your body.
This is such a like interesting season where this has come up a lot, your body responds to stress and it will eventually get what it wants in some way, whether that’s through anger or maybe, I mean, I, you know, stuff happens, whereas just like, maybe we’ll get out or the kids they’ll get up. So then I have to, this is where we go back to this. They guilt me. What is good for the parent is good for the child. Always. I have learned this the hard way. Um, don’t do what I did because you think that no, I have to be everything to them. Or like, well, I feel so bad. You know, my husband travels, I feel so bad. So when they’re gone, I really want to make sure it’s like this big thing. When my husband is gone and it’s like, you know what?
My kids need love food family. And that’s it. And they don’t need, they don’t need me to put on a song and dance. They don’t need me to be like, tell me about your school. It date in four sentences. I said, him put up three fingers in four sentences. And then I’m going to really interact you and look at you in the eye. And then we’re going to have a big loving conversation. It’s just what we’re asking of modern parents is impossible. And so I think that you have to say what’s really helpful as well for children. So that’s like part one part. One is it’s okay to want what you want. I want you to even just before you make any changes for yourself, honor, this part of you that says, I don’t want to do this. I am giving my percent myself permission. And that, that it’s okay. And I think we need to get comfortable with that first or else. This guilt thing is always going to like, come up for you the other way,
Even, um, I listened to your podcast, the one you just released the season for the first episode. True, it’s it? Yeah. We feel like we need to be all and end all for them. And in turn we’re creating kind of monsters. Cause my kids are always like, Oh, what are we doing today? What are we doing today? Wouldn’t make it because they’re always expected to like, I, we’re kind of creating exp expectation for them. So yeah, no, I hear you 100. Yeah.
There’s a great, um, Oh, I’m gonna butcher her name. It’s like [inaudible], it’s on Dax Shepard’s podcast. I’ll put it in the podcast notes. She talks a lot about how, um, let me look it up on my phone when we can edit this out, because I think this will be a good episode for you to listen to where my podcasts, um, I’ll send it to you after, but it’s it’s uh,
I’ve, I’ve, I’ve read, I’ve listened to a few of his, um, podcasts. So I know who you’re talking about.
It’s it’s like Lenore or something. Anyway, she talks, she she’s above the, the free, Oh, here we go. Lenore Skenazy skin as yet. And she is, Hey, she calls herself a free range parenting expert. And she talks about how modern children have more depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and they’ve ever had in the history of children. And she thinks it’s largely in part in due to this like helicopter parenting, this like need to be everything. This need to save them from feelings from ever feeling bad from ever doing anything dangerous. And as a result, we are limiting their capacity to be individual human beings that can do hard things. And I think this is the thing that we are not serving our children well with is again, this does not go if you’re just co-sleeping and you want to be, and that’s your family choice. This is, I don’t want to stop this hard thing because it will be hard for my child.
This is what I’m speaking to. So whether it’s co-sleeping or anything like a friend issue, it’s all the same thing. So the, we are doing our children a disservice by saying you can’t do hard things because there is going to be a day that you were right. Not next to Olivia and her friend is being a Dick and she needs to be able to do a hard thing and have some bad feelings and be with those feelings and then get stronger because of that. And it’s really hard as parents to see our children go through those experiences, but they’re not unhealthy and they’re not problematic. I mean, it would be different if you’re like a guy, but we’re just saying, you know, I have a plan. You’re going to sleep on your own. We’re going to do this pretty gradually. And in the end, you’re going to be stronger for it.
And I’ll support you when you’re sad, but we’re not sleeping together. That is not a sad thing to say. And children respond so well to their parents being leaders. So I talk about this a lot and I’m, I’m, I’m quoting Janet Landsbury who’s my guru. Uh, Janet Lansbury is a parenting expert. If you know that, yada yada check her podcast out called unruffled. And she talks about how children always respond to loving from boundaries. What makes children feel safe and secure is that their parents say no and me now, and that they set a boundary and they stick to it. And then that child is like, Oh, these guys are in charge. They said, and that they may not like it. But if you think back to, I always say this, I think back to a time when I was a child and I drove my parents so crazy asking them, can I do this?
Can I do this? Can I do this? Can I do? And they finally like gave in that never felt good. It never felt right. I always felt like, Oh, who’s in charge. Like boss me around a little bit. I don’t like things. Um, and this is an example of, you know, I want to sleep in your bed. I want to sleep in your bed and you go, okay, like, it doesn’t necessarily feel good to them. It doesn’t mean that boundaries feel wonderful. It means that they are forced to do a hard thing in a safe, loving environment with parents who care about them and are just doing things respectfully.
No, for sure. Yeah. No, I think like we’re like, I’ve, I’ve tried many times to get her to be in her own bed. Like, so typically we, like, I have to sit in the room with her and she’ll go to sleep in her own bed. And then at some point, whenever she wakes up for whatever reason, because we wake up as humans, like, and she really, she realizes that, Oh, no one I’m not there no more. And then she comes and comes to search for me. And then I come in my bed and then I’m like, no, you need to go back into your bed. And like, it, eventually I do try to be strong and like, we cut it and like reinforce the time. But then, you know, when it’s the six or seven three at the time, you know, I’m usually like, bang, go, go sleep in the room with, you know, your daughter, you know, like it’s more like vice versa. He’ll get up. And he’ll be like, ah, you know, I need to sleep. Like we can do this all night. And it’s like, yeah, we want, we, I believe we generally want this to happen. But I think, uh, yeah, I think it’s, we just gotta bite the bullet and training kind of.
I mean, yes, it’s about by biting the bullet and all of this stuff is so easy for me to say, but why it always helps to work with a consultant. And if you can’t work with a consultant, this is what we do. And this is what you can do at home. By yourself. We make a plan. We are not rocket scientists. We are not finding out anything. You can’t find on the internet. But what we can do is we do problem solve really well with you. We’ve seen all the so we can help you, but barring all that yet, this is not affordable for everyone. This is not in everyone’s budget. You need to sit down with your partner and you need to sit down and write down. This is what we’re going to do. This is what we’re going to do at 3:00 AM.
This is what we’re going to do at 6:30 AM. Here’s how we’re dividing the labor at night. This is what you’re doing. Or if she wakes up, then you go. So it’s already set out. So there’s no fighting. Everyone knows what to do, uh, because no one makes good decisions at 3:00 AM. They’re all bad. Me too. They’re all bad. Like if my kids wake me up for a stupid reason at 3:00 AM, I am not this mom. I’m uh, I’m a bad mom. I’m like, Oh my God, no, one’s making good decisions at 3:00 AM. But if I had a plan, yeah. Oh yeah, you are not alone. And I try to be really open about that. Um, I definitely have yelled at my kids more than one time. Um, but yeah, so you have that, that, that division of labor set out ahead of time, we yes.
Stay with her at first, make a plan with your daughter and your three-year-old he’ll get it. He’ll he, you will lean yourself off from that and tell them when your last day in the room is. And then you got to, after that, it’s about, I’m not, I’m not here anymore. If you come out, I’m sorry, this is like a safety and behavior issue. So there might need to be a consequence that you employ again, that you discussed beforehand before you make the plan, make that a part of your plan. When this happens, we will do this on nights seven. If they’re out, we’re going to do this and then make that obvious to all members of the family. That might be like when I’m working with older children, especially are, I might have them in on the consultation. I might, um, get the parents to print out what they’ve decided.
Uh, have some charts, have some rewards, have some incentives, incentives alone are not enough to convince your child to stay put, you need to probably have a disincentive as well if they come out. Um, so, but the, the Mo the key thing is, and this is where everyone fails in, in, you know, co-sleeping for older kids or sleep training for babies is one day you get so fed up and you say, this is it. Tonight’s the night. And you talk, and your partner is like, yeah, it is night. And you’re like, great. We’re on board. That’s our plan. Let’s go to bed. It’s not happening. And then 3:00 AM comes and you’re like, I just has like a slave just come in. It’s fine. And then it’s like, you have to write it down and you have to stick to it and maybe put some incentives for you and your husband as well, where it’s like, okay, if we can get through this at the end of the week, we’re going to go to dairy queen or like, we’re, you know what I need, like silly things.
That’s a great point because you always try you think to your, towards the child’s. But obviously if we were, if we successfully sleep, train them, then in the end, it’s, it’s, you know, we should reap the benefits as well, right? Yeah. Not, not only just being able to sleep. Right. But yeah. So I had done all that with her. Like, it kind of worked too, like, uh, when the pools opened, when it was safe earlier, she’s like an avid swimmer. I was like, okay, well, you know, you’re not going to go swimming if you don’t stay in your bed. And so she stayed in her bed, she stayed in her bed for about a week. And then I was like, she’s like, well, my every day is like, I stayed in my bed. Can I go swimming now? Can I go swimming now? And I’m like, no, no. We said, you know, a week, you know, and then the week is up and we let her go swimming. And then the V seeing night, Oh, what happened? She’s trying to get in there
Last winter. The, this is where the, um, like people don’t like the word consequence because it insinuates that we’re like doing something bad, but a consequence might be like, uh, you know, before, if you are going to come out of your bed, I’m going to have to shut your door before I go to bed. Um, and you can have that discussion with your child beforehand. These aren’t like surprised things. It has to be, the punishment has to fit the crime, right? Like, well, if you come out, I’m sorry, there’s like, there’s no TV. Um, if you come out, I’m sorry, we can’t do this. Have an incentive and the incentive, um, about why they shouldn’t be doing the thing, because the incentives only worked so much. Right?
No, for sure. That’s why I mentioned that because I didn’t think about that. We, we needed like a disincentive, you said.
Yeah. So then, um, I also want to just point out, and I, I’m not doing this to be spiteful or , but a lot of people will say, you know, the baby isn’t sleeping. Just, co-sleep just co-sleep and you know what, one day they’ll stop. It is really unlikely that that is going to happen. It is a myth. And like one day does one day mean 18, like,
Oh, for sure. Yeah. That’s I guess what we kept telling ourselves and, you know, here we are. And, uh,
But so many people probably told you that as well.
Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. A hundred percent like my parents being probably, you know, the biggest ones they’ve, you know, I guess grandparents just don’t really like to hear their grandkids crying, so yeah, yeah, yeah. No, for sure. Um, well, this is great. I’m happy. I, you answered a lot of my questions. One was like, where do I start? And, you know, you said, make a plan. And then I was asking about tips and tricks, but we know that that’s,
I would say, could do it like really it, but it would just be, I don’t like, I don’t like selling, I don’t like giving and I will never be like, yeah, just do a couple of quick things then it’s over. It’s like that just as a lie to you. And then you’ll be mad at me after.
Yeah, for sure. And then I guess my other one was like how to keep it going, like how to keep the momentum going. But, um, you spoke to that in terms of incentives and disincentives. So I think that like, I, I have a solid starting line. Yeah.
The other thing too, is like to know that children are always pushing limits. So let’s say you get a month out of this. And then, um, the next month they’re pushing back on something. So it’s like, no, I want to be in your bed. That’s when it is actually the hardest to stay consistent because you’ve had a month of sleep and you’re like, what’s the, what’s the problem. And just one night, don’t do it. You have to pretend it’s a night, one every, every time. Um, so that, that will, sorry, I’ve been doing this a little while. So like, I will have, um, I’ll have clients who like, Oh yeah, things are great. And then it was just like one bad night. And we, we just, we thought of it, like, what’s the harm in that? And again, it’s not me making these rules. I don’t make the rules. I wish, I wish we could have one night. Howcute would it for me to bring my kid into my bed and be like, let’s snuggle for just a night. Kids do not understand gray. They’re like, it’s either this or it’s this. And you let me do this every day. And now you don’t want to, I’m not, I’m not going to comply.
No, for sure. Consistency, I feel is definitely, yeah. Definitely very important for sure. Especially when you’re trying to change behavior. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I feel like I know all the, like the answers, it’s just a matter of, uh, you know, putting them, putting them to work. It’s hard to stay insane. Committed. Yeah,
Sure. Yeah. It’s hard. It’s hard. Even when you work with a consultant, it’s hard. It’s just hard stuff in general.
But I feel like, I feel like you’re ready. And so is your partner. And so this is the time.
Yeah, no, for sure. They need to, they need to
Get out of my bag.
There’s, they’re also there. They both want a close seat, but they’re also, they have two different ways of like doing it. Olivia is like really in your face. And Lucas is like the little quiet Ninja and you’ll be like, Oh, when did he get here? You know, where she, like, she makes it know when she’s, when she’s coming. So, yeah. Uh, I liked the point as well, just to recap about doing one at a time, like you need to get one doing and then I guess, work on the other also because they’re different. Right. And I’m assuming their plan may be different, right? Depending on
To some extent, I mean, for that age and stage, I would probably follow a relatively similar methodology of weaning slowly, um, because both have been sleep co-sleeping. I mean, I, in general co-sleeping I always recommend weaning slowly. Um, but for both of them, I would recommend generally the same plan. You’re just probably gonna get a little more buy-in and it’d be a lot faster with your oldest.
Amazing. Well, Petra you’ve been amazing and believe it or not, you have helped like a thousand people or however many people are listening to this podcast or watching this. Um, so thank you so much. Uh, like always guys, uh, you can find me at baby’s best sleep online. Uh, I have a blog, more podcasts, but as always, if you like what you were hearing or watching, please like subscribe and review. Leave me a note if you’re a co-sleeper and if this was helpful, leave me a note. If it wasn’t helpful. That’s fine too. I think. Do you know that stuff do have a good one and thank you so much. Petra thank you again. See you