My son is 8.5 months old. I'm just learning about Montessori right now, and I have to say, a lot of what I've read sounds like stuff that I've been thinking on my own, but didn't know there was a name to it. I'm very interested in getting more and more into this especially as he starts school.
Anyway....I'm wanting him to learn to regulate his sleep so that he'll crawl up on his bed and go to sleep when he's tired. We have a floor bed. I wonder if it'll even be possible now though to make the transition, and what the best way to go about that might be. So, you know what my goal is....let me tell you where we're coming from, so maybe you can help me get there....
We've coslept since day 1 and loved it! When he started crawling, we put our mattress down on the floor so he wouldn't try to crawl off. Then we read about floor beds and put his floor bed right by our mattress. He can get on and off both mattresses just fine without any help. I'm hoping to get him used to sleeping on it then eventually we'll move him to his own room (no set time frame, I'm not in a particular hurry). So that's the physical set up of our room. He'll sleep in his floor bed for 3 or 4 hours, then when he wakes up to eat I'll bring him in bed with us for the rest of the night. (I don't have a problem nursing several times a night. I'm wanting to do it as much as he asks for to delay my fertility returning.)
When he acts tired, I'll crawl to the room and have him follow me. I'm hoping this will teach him that the bedroom is where we go to sleep. The hard part is when we get there....I have a hard time getting him to actually sleep.....(so he probably thinks the bedroom is the place we go to eat and play instead...!)
......I've always nursed him to sleep. I've never worried much about it, but it seems like Montessori discourages it along with pacifiers and swaddling. Pacis I'm doing without just fine. Swaddling is a little tougher. He loves to practice his mobility when he's tired. Then he won't sleep. Then he gets over-tired and is even more difficult to put down by our usual routine. I can nurse him to sleep and not swaddle him, or sometimes I can swaddle him and not nurse him....but I have no idea how to do without both.
Actually, even right now, it's getting harder to nurse him down. He'll get full before he falls asleep, then he'll get up and start playing and crawl away. So our bedtime routine is a messy, haphazard concoction of nursing, playing, waiting, whining, being tired, then finally crying it out in daddy's arms until he falls asleep from exhaustion....2 hours later than bedtime. Naps have been in chaos since I don't have an organized way of getting him down.
I hate it.
I know part of it is just the mobility phase, and that if he were in a crib he would just stand up holding the bars and cry there for a long time.
I just am not really sure where to go from here. I don't want to try to force him to sleep because I want him to learn to self regulate. But I wonder if I'm too late since I haven't done it Montessori style since birth? How can I transition him to not need nursing and swaddling and to fall asleep (in the right place) when he's tired? I have a few ideas in my mind, and I don't know which route if any would be the best way to go.....
1. Work on one aspect at at time until he's mastered it then move onto the next. Focus on getting him sleeping in his floorbed, then on crawling there when he's tired, then on not nursing, then on not swaddling, then on falling alseep by himself.
2. Do it the way I'd like the end result, until he gets the idea. He'll follow me to the bedroom when he acts tired, I'll feed him while still awake, don't swaddle, and lay him down in bed. He'll probably crawl out and play, and I'll do it several times before he gets tired enough to fall asleep. Don't make him cry about it. My concern with this approach is that he won't learn that the bed is for sleeping if he plays on it a ton.
3. Similar to 2 but don't let him leave the bed or the room. This would likely involve crying. I worry about this option that it'll make him not like bedtime or sleeping or something though. I tend to worry about less gentle approaches, although if a little crying helps him to figure it out without giving him a negative association, I think I'd do it.
So....I just wanted to get some advice from you if you have experience with it. We're in an awkward transition right now and I'm not sure the best way to handle it.
Thanks in advance!!!