I moved my son into MY bed
Yep, you read that correctly! I moved my amazing, independently sleeping, 4 year old son from his bed to mine bed because I NEEDED him! I decided to write this very personal blog in hopes that sharing my story will help others.
Let’s begin with a brief introduction: my name is Laura Lederman. I am a Sleep Consultant and a Behavioural Therapist with 19+ years’ experience. I have spent the majority of my adult life changing people’s behaviour. I truly love what I do, it’s my passion. When I became a mother I thought to myself “I got this!” “sleep will not be an issue for me…” “I know what I’m doing.” Well, that was a joke! I struggled. I struggled hard. After a FULL year of not sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time, I finally reached out to my now-colleague, Holly. Holly changed my life, and I knew that I needed to learn how to help others as well.
When I first became a Sleep Consultant I knew that I wanted to be great at what I did. I learned a lot, I memorized wake windows, all the “DO’s & DON’Ts” to be successful…or so I’d thought. I then realized that this is one of the BIGGEST misconceptions of sleep coaching; there is not just one way to do it. Not all families are comfortable with certain strategies, some people wait to sleep train, some people train as soon as they can, while others don’t want to sleep coach at all. But most importantly: not all babies respond the same! After all, we’re talking about tiny humans, not robots. By working with families and learning what works for them is one of the most important things that we do as Sleep Consultants. One size doesn’t fit all.
Now, back to my son and our story: Just over a year ago, my life was turned upside down in an instant. I was happily married, or so I thought, and enjoying all that life had to offer. Then one day in July, unexpectedly, my husband said that he was leaving and wanted a divorce. The life and family that I thought I had suddenly disappeared in that moment and I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. 11 days later, on my sons 4thbirthday, my husband left our home. I was feeling like I was trapped in a vortex of emotions.
My son had been sleeping in his “big boy bed” for 8 months and had been doing awesome (one would hope so, Mom being a Sleep Consultant, right?). I knew that I could not sleep in my bed alone, nor did I want to. I wanted my son close to me…no, I needed him close to me. At that point, he was what was keeping me going, keeping me sane. I told him that we were having a “special sleepover” which he was over the moon about. I slept more that night than I had slept in the previous 12 nights. The “special sleepover” resulted in my son sleeping in my bed for 8 months! I had made a choice; I did what I believed to be right for my family and ME. To be honest, for a brief moment I remember thinking to myself “what will other people think about me, a Sleep Consultant, co-sleeping with my 4 year old?” That thought quickly went out the window, and was replaced with “who cares!?” This is what I needed, and what was right for MY family.
Around the 6 month mark I was beginning to feel as though I was ready for my son to make the transition back to his bed, however I was not ready to put in the work to get him there and that was OK! I knew that he could do it, he had done it before! By the 8-month mark, after the 1456thtime I’d had a foot in my side, an elbow to the head, or a little hot body pressed up against mine at the edge of my king size bed, I was finally ready to put in the work! You know how they say that doctors make the worst patients? I make a poor client! It’s so much easier to coach other people how to handle situations with their children than to actually do it with my child. I fully relate to the emotional aspect of sleep coaching/behaviour modification; it doesn’t matter if your child is a baby or a large toddler, it’s not easy… but it’s SO worth it. With the proper routine, positive reinforcement and social praise, my son was back in his bed sleeping through the night.
Before having my son I was always very confident in the decisions I’d made in my life. After having him I went through a period of constantly doubting myself when it came to the decisions I made about his wellbeing. What I have learned in this past year is that I will make mistakes, this is life, but the most important choice I can make is to TRUST my instincts! We live in this world filled with “perfect mom” social media posts and Facebook groups ready to judge and comment on every move and decision you make. Please trust your decisions. Please be kind to yourself. I made the decision to move my son into my bed because I needed him and I will never regret that decision…I may have a permanent imprint of his foot on my left side, but I will still never regret it!