Co-sleeping families: are your older kids able to go to sleep without you?

Updated Oct 12 2015
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
By: Sonya GreenCC BY 2.0
I have read plenty of articles on co-sleeping on Offbeat Families, and I understand that many of your readers practice it. I know that you have done the topic ad nauseum, but what I cannot find on your website is information on "bedtimes."

Let me explain more: I have not yet fallen pregnant, and already I have every mother I know telling me to sleep train. Women who co-sleep are social pariahs, and my family regard the biggest mistake that a mother can make as "taking baby to bed with you." Friends who have babies who go to sleep at a particular bedtime attribute this to sleep training, and are able to lead fairly pleasant social lives after 7pm because of it. Some women I know even claim that baby sleeps through the night from the get-go with sleep training.

Now, I personally don't see the importance of sleeping through the night at a young age, but I am secretly afraid of co-sleeping, only to have a toddler that never goes to sleep and all my female relatives tutting their disapproval behind me.

So, I would like to know whether or not families who co-sleep experience difficulties in getting baby to sleep at night that parents who sleep train don't experience, and if your kids ever have a problem in sleeping without you? — Carmen

  1. I didn't co-sleep or specifially sleep train but wanted to share my experience: I was afraid to even try when my baby was young, and by the time I wanted to try just for naps (around a year) she just wouldn't cooperate. If I was in bed with her, she wanted to play. I realize I'm not answering your question directly, but my experience was that my baby wouldn't co sleep just because I wanted her to!

  2. We used to cosleep, but now our 10-month-old son mostly sleeps in his crib unless he's sick (not because I'm against cosleeping, but because he sleeps better in his crib.) However, even when we were bedsharing, I would just feed/rock him to sleep and then place him in his crib for the first part of the night. At first, he woke up a lot, but every time he woke up, I would just go back in and feed/rock him back to sleep and put him back in his crib until he stayed asleep. After a week of that, he pretty much stayed asleep the first time I put him down. Then, when my husband and I went to bed, I would bring our son into bed at his first night waking. There was no crying involved in this process and it allowed us to have time together after the baby went to bed. I'm in several online groups with women who bedshare and many of them nurse to sleep and leave baby in bed (with a bed rail or side-carred crib) while they go and do their evening activities. With that said, I also know some women whose babies do not allow them to leave and in these cases, the women basically go to bed (but may stay up reading or something) when their baby goes to bed. Some are happy with it and some are not. I think it just depends on your baby and your situation.
    This is all to say that while it may take a little longer to put baby to bed when you don't sleep train (it only takes me 20 minutes, including the time to feed him) it's certainly isn't always difficult and I enjoy it. I get sad when I have to work late and don't get to rock my son to sleep.

    • My process was similar. We started out sleeping together, because as a new born he just couldn't sleep with out me for any length of time. Then I would put him in his crib until first waking, after which I brought him to bed with me. "Bedtime" training started somewhere later (close to a year maybe) and has been perfectly successful.

  3. I know you want direct experiences, and I think you'll probably get a lot of responses, but I will say that my cousin co-sleeps and is frustrated now that her baby is 2. Her baby wakes several times throughout the night (2-3) and the baby cannot sleep without her. The 2-year-old also moves a lot at night, so my cousin's husband often leaves to sleep in the guest room.

    This also means that when we have social time (at holidays, etc.) my cousin has to leave early to go to bed with her child or the child won't sleep.

    HOWEVER, despite expressing frustration, my cousin has never said she should have done things differently, so maybe the benefits outweigh these drawbacks for her.

    She does face a lot of criticism from some people over the issue (specifically her aunts/uncles). I would probably cry if some of the comments she receives were said to me. But I really admire her for staying strong and doing what she wants to do as a parent.

    I think in the end, you maybe can't worry about what MIGHT happen. You do the best you can, and then if it becomes a problem, you make a change. For us, we didn't cosleep but we did rock our twins to sleep with a bottle every night, until one day we realized they wouldn't sleep without us there to do that, and every time they woke up we had to repeat the process. At that time we made a change because the routine wasn't working for us as parents anymore. It took some work and planning, but we were successful in solving the problem. So, if you want to try co-sleeping and it DOES lead to problems later, it's totally possible to fix them.

    Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I know what you mean about all the people telling you that "you'll have 5 year olds sleeping in your bed." Or at least that is what our ped. cardiology nurse told my husband when he said we cosleep our daughter.

    Luckily, as it turned out my daughter transitioned to her bed at about 14/15 months old without a problem. The first few days were an issue, more for me then her, but on day 5 she slept all night and we haven't looked back sense. I guess I should say that we started co-sleeping when she was 6 months old and she only slept with us for about 9 months total.

  5. I have been cosleeping since my daughter was born (she's almost 2 now). It was, was and still is the easiest option for us as I breastfeed. She established her own schedule. She wakes us up at 8:30am, and lets me know it's time for bed at 10:30pm, by taking my hand and walking me to the bedroom. It hasn't really been difficult to get her to sleep for me, however, everyone is different.

  6. i was ready to be a hardcore cosleeper as soon as we started trying to get pregnant. after the birth, we didn't "put him to bed" – he dozed with my husband or me or in a nearby cradle until we all went to bed, then slept in the bed with us. at two month, we got a cradle to put beside the bed – within two days, he was sleeping through the night in it.
    now he's hit four months and the notorious four month sleep regression, so he goes to sleep in his cradle by the bed (again, when we go to bed) and i bring him into bed with me when he wakes up hungry. i probably would try to put him back in after he eats, but i usually fall asleep nursing!
    i don't know what'll happen in the next two years. i do know that the next step is a toddler bed in our room, then the toddler bed in his room. little by little…

  7. I think the mistake people make is assuming that the outcome is based on whether or not you co-sleep. I think children's sleep varies from child to child and a lot over time. I don't think it's pathological for children to need company to fall asleep, nor do I think it's strange for this to last into elementary school age. I don't "blame" my children's need to have company on my choice to co-sleep, which I believe was the right choice for our family even if our kids are both crap sleepers. I think that's who they are. FWIW, our 5 year old likes us in the room and takes about 10 min to fall asleep in her own bed. My 3 yo likes to snuggle for about 15 min. They both join us at night often. Bottom line is, I wouldn't make parenting decisions based on whether or not people are going to think you're dumb for them. It's a guarantee that someone will think you make a bad choice. Heck, it's a guarantee that you will question whether you're doing the right thing all the time. The important thing is to make the choice based on your family's needs and your individual child, not on others' perceptions of what's right or wrong. Some kids sleep fine, sleep trained or coslept. Some kids sleep shitty, sleep trianed or coslept. At least I know that my children fall asleep without tears or fears, and achieve more sleep independence over time. Whether or not my Mom thinks this is right (she doesn't) has little impact on what I feel is right in my heart for my family. My 2 cents!

    • Yes, this. Some kids are just crappy sleepers and some are great sleepers from birth. I know a mom online with an almost two-year-old who wakes every two hours and a six-month-old who wakes once at 4am to eat and otherwise sleeps through the night. She didn't do anything different with the younger one, the older one is just a different child with different sleep needs.

    • definitely. Some kids, like some adults, are great sleepers. Others aren't. I have twins. We never co-slept our son because he doesn't like it. His preference has been to sleep in his own crib by himself
      and he has been a great sleeper since he was 2 months old. I'd like to take credit for his great sleeping skills but it had nothing to do with parenting.

      His twin, my daugter, on the other hand really loved cosleeping. She couldn't sleep in a crib due to reflux and other stomach issues. She is not the best sleeper due to these issues and really benefited from sleeping with us. And like I said in my previous comment she made an easy transition to sleeping in her own room and crib now that she is a toddler. Every kid is different.

  8. My daughter is 4 months old, so of course I don't know what will happen in the future. But personally, we are super happy with co-sleeping. She knows we're always there, so she never cries at night. When she's hungry, I just roll over to breastfeed her, we don't have to turn on the light or get up and she just continues sleeping afterwards. So this is is relatively easy on all of us. My huisband doesn't even really wake up. For the last month or so, she's started to be consistently tired around 8 pm, so one of us stays with her for about 10 minutes until she's asleep and then she sleeps by helself in our bed until we go to bed around 11 pm (which doesn't wake her). So we have our evenings to ourselves.
    I've always felt more comfortable having her with me, especially when she was a newborn, and she obviously vastly prefers that, too.

  9. My mom never co-slept with either myself or my younger sister, but neither of us could fall asleep unless she way laying with us. Until I was around 10/11 I needed my mom (or dad) to lay with me until I passed out. We did have bedtimes, so it became routine for her to lay with us for 20 minutes or so every night.

    Oddly enough, my younger sister, who is 14 now, still sleeps with my mom every so often. If she has a nightmare, or people are staying at their home, she will sleep with my mom, and they are fine with it. Sometimes even 'just because'.

    I just wanted to share that, since it goes to show that co-sleeping isn't a 'cause' for kids needing their parents at bed time. Like myself and my sister, some kids just want their parents near them when they fall asleep.

    • I really like how you present this. It sounds like your mom was not put out by doing this. She didn't find it such a huge inconvenience to spend that time with her children at night. I'd love a mom who I'd ever felt close enough to to share a bed with. I don't want to always keep my children at arm's length like she did. It's a mindset rather than a plan. Just be there for your children and make them a part of your life in the ways that matter to them.

    • My parents never co-slept, either, but I was the same way- I needed them to be in the room while I fell asleep until I was around ten.
      Even now, I have a hard time sleeping alone in a room. When I was in high school, and then into adulthood whenever I was single, I needed a pet so that I'd at least have another creature moving around in the room. Weird, but I just get scared and lonely when I'm by myself at night. My brother was the one who told my parents he wanted to go to sleep (even before his bed time). Every kid is different, no matter what you do in early years.

    • My parents co-slept with their youngest (of 4), and up until age 15 (when he went to school elsewhere), he liked mom and dad to tuck him in at night – just 5 minutes of special "goodnight" time. My parents both loved this.
      I am wondering about the whole co-sleeping idea. I am pregnant with our first. I'm the last of my girlfriends to have a baby, and they pretty much all co-slept. And loved it. But then didn't know how to get the now-toddler into a big-kid's bed. For one set of friends, it took baby #2 (with whom they are not co-sleeping!). Another friend is still co-sleeping (with a 2-year-old) – and is hoping the transition will happen naturally. Another friend's baby sleeps in his cot, in his room, but wakes up 3-4 times a night.
      My husband is all for co-sleeping, as am I – but we're also both keen of an earlier bedtime for the kid so we can get some alone time. The plan is to play it by ear – and have a cot set up just in case that works better (depends on the type of baby you get, right?).
      One thing I'm wary of is breast-feeding on demand in the night. Everyone I have spoken to did it and didn't have a problem with it but it seems soโ€ฆ "unstructured" to me – but maybe that won't matter when the time comes?

      • I co-slept with my parents until in was 4, and my little sister was born. A couple years later we moved into a bigger house and mom co-slept with my sister in the guest bedroom until she was 13. My parents have been happily married for 37 years and this separate bed and co-sleeping business hasn't had a negative impact at all to my knowledge.

      • There are times when unstructured, frequent feeding is strongly recommended, particularly the first 6 weeks, and during growth spurts. It helps you to build up a good milk supply, and helps both you and the baby get comfortable with the work of getting food into them.
        Keep in mind, at first basic tasks like eating are really hard work for newborns. During the first couple weeks, they're really tired by life outside the womb, they really don't know how to differentiate their needs, and they need stuff a lot. Some newborns react to not eating for a while by getting too tired to cry about it. The easiest way to avoid that problem is to offer them food every couple of hours, and many moms use side by side feeding as a way of handling the tired night time hours.

    • My sister is 22 and still sleeps in my mom's bed occasionally, if there's room (queen sized bed but my mom uses the second half as storage a lot). I suspect it isn't just because her own room has zero heat, either.

  10. My husband and I have bedshared with both of our children. Our daughter is now 7 and our son is 3. Our daughter has been falling asleep in her own room by herself for at least 2-1/2 years now. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into our bed – it seems to go in phases and for the last week or so she's been coming in every night. Our son still sleeps with us every night – no, he doesn't fall asleep on his own; my husband takes him into the bedroom and lays down with him until he falls asleep, then gets up again. Anytime I have suggested we try to get our son to fall asleep on his own, my husband has resisted – he enjoys the time alone with our son. They talk and play for a while before he actually falls asleep. I love having our kids in our bed – I love waking up and being able to snuggle them awake.

    We both work full time and have since our daughter was nearly 3. Both of our children have had no problem falling asleep at daycare, so they are definitely able to. They also spend the night at my parents' house often and although bedtime is not strict there at all, since it's grandma and grandpa, they do just fine when they actually settle down.

    I don't believe in sleep training as a rule, mostly because I believe every child is an individual and needs something different. I have things that work with my kids – that doesn't mean it will work with someone else's. Parenting is such an individual experience, and is often unique between children in the same family. I firmly believe in following your intuition and letting your children show you what they need.

  11. Kids are so different; you can not tell ahead of time what type of sleeper a child will be.

    With my first, I put him in his crib, standard feed, then swaddle and lay down. He was fine. We moved when he was around 10 months and we transitioned him to a mattress on the floor. He loved it.

    With my second, he was the same standard feed, swaddle, and lay down, except this time we'd put on music for him. He was a noisy sleeper, so he was definitely in his own room. We transitioned him to a bed share with his brother at around age 1 (and 3 yr old brother). We turned a full size mattress sideways and they'd play and fall asleep together.

    Then, came #3 and what I knew about sleep when out the window. In the beginning, he was fine in his bassinet. Feed, swaddle, and put down. Up every couple of hours, normal newborn stuff. Around 6 months, he might do a 3 hour stretch, but we could still put him in his bed (now a mini crib). By 10 months, he was having none of this bed thing. He had to sleep next to us on a mat on the floor. Eventually, he moved to sleeping right next to me. We do have a king sized bed, so we weren't too squished. Now, he is fine sleeping and can put himself to sleep as long as you are in the same room. For normal nights, he and I lay down together. I read by the light of the lamp and he goes to sleep. If we are visiting my in-law's for holidays, we just let him run around until he is exhausted and then we'll cuddle him on the couch. He'll go to sleep in our arms.

    Just be flexible and follow your instincts and what your child is trying to tell you he or she needs.

  12. Also, my third has no problem staying over at grandma's for the night as long as she sleeps next to him. He has no problem napping next to daddy, but if I'm in the house, it has to be me.

  13. From the day we brought him home our little one has been unable to sleep without being in skin contact with me, and now at almost 2 he has slept through the night (according to the technical definition of 6 hours) exactly twice. While the sleep deprivation has been difficult for me, the sacrifice is one I'm willing to make in order to parent the way I want to. Totally agree with the poster who pointed out that the kind of sleeper a kid turns out to be is not a factor of whether or not they co-sleep.

  14. Whatever you decide, it doesn't lock your childs sleep into stone! I know many people who co-sleep until baby is 8-12 months then try sleep training, some who share a family bed until children are school aged and some who were in the crib from the get go- only to have their children sneak back into bed with them when they turned 3 or 4. Children's sleep is not programmed into them "forever" based on what you choose to do for the first few months of life to keep yourself sane. Despite all the intense scrutiny on what families are choosing to do at bedtime (because for some reason that is appropriate) whatever you choose you will be just fine. If anyone tut tut's you, you can go ahead and say "Sorry, I don't find caring for my children to be a huge burden." And move on. My friend who has a 19 year old daughter and a one year old son thinks that this "new obsession" with sleep training is insane. She didn't have anyone harping on her twenty years ago yet now everyone wants to know the intimate details of her babies sleep routine. Which she never gives ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I know several parents who co-sleep, and know plenty who don't. You will get issues with sleep no matter what, as children are children, and get attached to whatever they feel is secure and comfortable to them. In particular, I have a friend who co-sleeps with her son, who is almost 2, never nursed him, and has no problems at all with his going to sleep without her in the bed, can be left with a babysitter, etc. The only issues she has reported is a drop in "parent time" in the morning because there is a wee body there putting the brakes on sexy moments. To compare, our son never wanted to sleep with us, still doesn't, and sleeps just fine on his own.

    I'd say this: parenting is hard enough without folks nay-saying your every move. And they will. If they aren't criticizing the co-sleeping, it will be because you nurse after 6 months, or cloth diaper, or whatever. Do what works for your family, and ignore the rest of them.

  16. I know some other people have said this already but I really do think that sleep differs from child to child based on themselves more than their parent. My mother rarely coslept with me as a baby (I think only during travel ), but I ended up running into her room to sleep with her every night until I went to middle school. It wasn't until my boyfriend moved in with me that I stopped for good!

    My boyfriend and I chose to co-sleep with our daughter from the get go, and though at times it is stressful, and there are nights that she continuously kicks me, we love it.

    But anyway, do what feels right for you. I think it might be easier when the baby is born, then you might find you need to co-sleep for your sanity, or you might be perfectly okay with baby in the crib. Don't stress about it, just go with what you feel ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Okay, real talk. I tried co-sleeping. Like, really hard. I spent nine, nearly ten months spending every waking and sleeping moment with my son – and waking up every 45 to 90 minutes to nurse all night long. Beyond the sleep deprivation, which was pretty horrible, it was painful not to have a moment to myself, not to be able to bond with my husband after the baby went to sleep, and not to even have the option of having friends over at night (and forget about leaving the house!).

    I finally gave in and sleep trained, preparing myself for hours of crying, and for my son to be "psychologically damaged" and resentful of me for abandoning him.

    What actually happened? He cried for twenty minutes the first night, five minutes the second night, and never again after that. And rather than growing distant from me, the opposite happened. He became happier (because he was sleeping and not waking himself up to nurse every hour), healthier (he learned to walk, gained weight, and started eating better within a week of sleeping on his own) and more affectionate towards both me and his dad.

    I really believed that co-sleeping was the right thing to do – I believed it so hard that I was willing to ignore how terrible it was making me feel. My mistake was ignoring how it was negatively affecting my baby, too.

    This is not an anti-cosleeping screed. I know that it works for a lot of people, and that for many families it is absolutely the right choice. The only message I'm trying to get across is to be flexible. No one else's experience, no book, and no parenting philosophy can predict how you and your child will react to co-sleeping. Just be honest with yourself, and if something isn't working, change it!

  18. Ugh. You need to choose what works for your child and be strong enough to tell advice givers piss off. Truth is, there's no right answer. Every kid is different, and to make matters even more maddening, their sleep patterns and needs change seemingly on a whim. Do what works for you, and jam your fingers in your ears when you get unsolicited advice.

  19. We co-slept until our daughter was about 10 months old. It was great up until then, but she had recently started to refuse to nap without me laying next to her the entire time (previously I could lay down until she fell asleep then leave, but as soon as I moved a muscle she started to wake up) and at night she was thrashing around and crawling out of bed and we were all miserable. It took about 2 months to transition her to her crib, and it was hard. There were definitely tears, though we never did cry it out. So that is probably why it took so long. And it was really hard on all of us until she got used to it. But starting at 1 year until now (18 months) she sleeps SO WELL in her crib. We lay her down, and she goes right to sleep and hardly ever makes a peep. Sometimes she'll wake up and want to be rocked for a few minutes or need a diaper change, or when she is sick we might bring her to bed with us. When she gets tired now she'll go grab her blanky and walk over to her crib and look at me like "what are you waiting for?"
    I think it will get really challenging again when we start trying to transition her out of the crib to a real bed, but luckily we aren't there yet. My grandma was always chiding me for co-sleeping saying that she'd be in bed with us until she was 12, but her paranoia was unjustified. If not having a thrashing toddler in bed with you is a priority, you'll make sure it doesn't happen that way. That doesn't mean you can't co-sleep at all! Do it for as long as it works.
    We didn't really even start co-sleeping until about 3 months, before that she was swaddled in a bassinet by our bed. Our sleeping arrangements have been fluid, and that seems to work for us and make it less stressful.

  20. My twins will be here in a month or so (impossible to know how early multiples will arrive!) and I've been planning to co-sleep for years. I've read several books (Good Nights is my favorite), and many parents say they experienced what other commenters have said here: Children often transition into their own beds without much help. Of course, every child is different. If one or both of my babies resists co-sleeping, then I'm prepared to be flexible. Part of my plan to co-sleep is out of necessity. My husband works nights and I'm planning to return to work after the 3-month leave, so making the nights as easy as possible is what I need the most. To many, that means co-sleeping. Both of our families are against us on this parenting choice, and I've actually kept the plan a secret from a lot of people just to avoid constantly defending it. They say you must sleep-train, you must let them cry it out. I think that is intensely cruel and can have long-term negative affects, so I will do anything to get around it.

    I also really like what Teegan said, and I've heard many other parents say it, too. The idea that babies and children must sleep in their beds isn't necessarily true. Babies who sleep in car seats at restaurants, slings while you watch television, and even nap on the floor are completely the norm in many countries. That eliminates the need for bedtimes in most cases. I think the key in all of this is flexibility. If I keep an open mind and try not to simply conform to the parenting styles of those around me, then I can find the balance I want in my life, with bumps along the way, of course.

    • my twins are 5 months now and cosleeping is a big part of still being sane – if i had to get up every time one of them meaows… often itยดs just a reassuring touch that sends them back to sleep.
      all the best for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. No matter your sleeping arrangements, I think it's important to establish that nighttime is for sleeping from the get-go, by keeping the room dark and activity at a minimum. Also, establish a bedtime routine.

    We coslept until my son was ten months. He prefers to sleep in his own bed now and objects if we leave him in ours. Before that, we always had him start the night in his bassinet or crib, and then cosleep from the first waking on. We know lots of families who do this. You can have a bedtime, and know that your child is in a safe place while you get some time to yourself before you go to bed.

    I agree with other commenters that you need to figure out what works best for your family – no one can tell you what to do.

  22. I think sometimes whether or not you cosleep has less to do with what you want to do, and is more about the temperament of your individual child. While I did plan on cosleeping before my son was born, we planned on having him a cosleeper, and instead found that he needed to be phsycially touching me for any of us to get any sleep. My best friend had her son ten days after me and also planned to cosleep. Being in bed with mom and dad kept him awake, and he slept better in a crib in his own space.

    At 18 months they both sleep through the night 95% of the time in their own rooms. We did what made the most sense for our families at the time. There are some kids that are going to wake throughout the night until they are three no matter what you do. If cosleeping works for your family then do what works.

  23. Like everyone else has said, it depends on the child. We coslept until about 4 months, then transitioned to a crib pretty easily when my daughter showed she was ready (by wiggling away from us on the bed and making it clear she needed her own space). She has never slept very soundly, but that's true whether she sleeps with me or by herself.

    Anyone who says a certain parenting style will "never" or "always" lead to a certain behavior doesn't know what they're talking about. People are more complicated than that.

    I really recommend the book "No-Cry Sleep Solution". It's very friendly to co-sleeping and also provides lots of ways to make sure the parent's sleep needs are met too.

  24. Many people above have said that each child is different, so perhaps the thing to do is just try and figure our what the new baby needs. If they're restless and need lots of physical contact, I think it will be an exercise in frustration to try and "train" them out of it. In the same way, you can try cosleeping with some babies and as soon as they are able to they will kick you away (my 2nd at 4 months). Having said that, if you can all cosleep then do it! My memories of snuggling my oldest are my favorite parenting moments hands down.

  25. same thing here – find out what works and feels right for your family and donยดt let the "but that is how EVERYONE does it!"s scare you.

    we cosleep with our 5 months old twins and our 2 1/2 year old.
    for the first six months or so i would let my son fall asleep wherever we were and just transfer him to bed when we went.
    later, i nursed him to sleep in bed and left – that took a while at first, because he woke up when i moved and then it all started over again. but that stopped eventually and for some time now we have a nice routine: a book, lights out, cuddling and a song and then i/ dad leave(s). for him, i think heยดs sleeping through the night because of the co-sleeping. he often reaches over for a quick touch and goes right back to sleep.
    he is also able to sleep without me, as long as someone he knows is there for him, we tried that for the first time when i had the flu last year and again for the birth of the twins ๐Ÿ™‚
    btw. my godson absolutely needs his space and a qiuet room to go to sleep, the totally opposite.
    i think thatยดs really the zen of parenting: let go of all the expectations and see where the child and your love for him or her leads you.
    and on that cheesy sentence, iยดll finish ๐Ÿ™‚
    all the best!

  26. Another data point for you:

    My first son slept our bed till he was 4. He occasionally slept in his own bed from 2-4 and he slept perfectly fine at sleepovers at Grandma's, etc. I slept really well, as did my husband, during those years.

    When his brother was born, the rule was "big boys don't sleep with babies" so he went into his own bed. He also started JK a few months later so it was EASY to get my tired fella into bed at 8pm-ish every night with a book or just a little cuddle. Heck, on weekends when we were distracted and he was allowed to stay up later, he sometimes put himself to bed without even telling us!

    When his little brother was 16mths old, we got a bunk bed. THe little fella LOVED that he got the bottom bunk and immediately and forever after slept there – sometimes he'd crawl in with his brother when older. With the bunk bed double bed time, I started reading Harry Potter to my older son. The younger listened along and was usually fast asleep after a couple pages.

    Now, they are 9 and 6 and we sing a song together (Wonderful by My Morning Jacket) and a song I made up, "Goodnight, goodnight, I hope you sleep tight and have happy dreams. Goodnight goodnight, I hope you sleep tight and smile while you sleep" ๐Ÿ™‚ A kiss goodnight and they are straight to sleep.

    If they are sick they can sleep with us. Occasionally we welcome one of them in the middle of the night after a bad dream, but 99% they go to bed with no problems.

    It's not a universal truth, of course, but for us, switching from co-sleeping family bed to solo sleep in their own beds was totally and completely painless and happened in one night.

    Best advice for a new parent I have: follow your gut. If what you are doing feels right, keep doing it. If what you are doing fills you with anxiety, find a new way to do it better for all of you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. FYI- I'm typing this reply one handed with my 5 year old snuggled in one arm, sleeping next to his 7 year old brother. We have co-slept with both of them for the better part of their lives. We have gone through many phases and transitions during this time (trying to get them to fall asleep without us, laying with them while they fall asleep, a family bed, them sleeping in the same room but not the same bed, the list goes on). I am finally in a place where I will happily lay with my boys and let them sleep wherever they feel most comfortable. I savor these moments where they are peacefully sleeping, snuggling in my arms after a long day of busy family life. I may sacrifice an hour of alone time in the evening, but I wouldn't trade this for anything.

  28. We were cosleepers from day one and it has been the most beautiful and cozy experience for our family of three. That being said, we have our second baby on the way and learning to have independent sleep routine has been a gradual and non-scarring experience for my 2 year old. at 1 1/2 years old we took the front off of the never slept in crib and I nursed him to sleep in it. It takes a little twisting (I mean angling my body to BF) but he was always fell asleep in 5 minutes. Now he is weaned and goes to sleep in his bed with 5 minutes of rocking and 5-10 minutes of laying in his bed with me (or his dad) sitting close by. He still wakes up in the middle of the night and climbs into bed with us but hopefully this will end before the next baby gets here. I absolutely would not trade the cosleeping for anything. Yes, it would be great to have a baby that slept easily and through the night but it is also a magical moment to wake up and see my husband sharing his pillow and spooning with the baby or the sweet "Morning Mama!" accompanied by a gentle pat on my cheek. Also, screw what your family thinks. The proof is in the pudding. When your sweet baby is here and very obviously thriving because of all of the love and 24 hour support you will give him then the naysayers will shut their traps.

  29. Oh, and one more thing. Your family does not need to know every detail of your life. My husband and I made that agreement early on. When people asked for the millionth time how the baby was sleeping (seriously the question never goes away) we always said "Great! He sleeps xx hours of sleep at night and is a happy boy!" No one even asked WHERE he slept and it didn't matter.

  30. I'm the girlfriend of a 50% parent and sleeping has always been an issue for his daughter as she moves back and forth from Mom's to Dad's. I don't believe they co-slept with her when she was a baby, and for as long as I've known her (3 years), she's had her own bed… but bedtime between the two houses is inconsistent and in the last year, Mom decided to try co-sleeping.

    I can definitely say that introducing co-sleeping to a toddler (4 years old) having never had it before did NOT help her sleep habits. She struggles more now than she used to with falling asleep, she wants her father to sleep with her in her bed (instead of climbing into ours), and she's started waking up in the middle of the night two and three times.

    We respect that Mom wants this to be a bonding thing for them, but it's not something my boyfriend really wants to do (and frankly, I don't either – both Dad and Daughter are Cover Thieves and I can't take them both on at once). I've tried reading to her at night while Dad sits on her bed to try and get her calm enough to sleep on her own and that seems to help — she's still awake when we leave the room, but she doesn't pitch a fit like she used to. She's still getting up over and over again, though :-/

  31. I was co-slept and the transition from my parents to by myself was a little hard on me. Why? Because i got cold and was afraid of the dark. My mom figured this out after a while; left the bathroom light on, got me fluffy blankets and promised that if i ever needed her, she would be there. And she did, laying next to me late at night until i dosed off then sneaking off to her bed unless she fell asleep with me.

  32. We bed shared from day one and my daughter is nearly one year old. Besides my sheer selfishness of not wanting to get up to nurse, bed sharing is great for bonding, longer periods of sleep and especially when they are sick!

    Around 7:30p, we put our daughter to bed (either I nurse her or my husband rockers her) then we can both get up and come to bed later. My husband works 4 nights a week so sometimes I just stay in bed with our daughter and use my phone or laptop until I go to sleep. I expect we'll put a toddler bed in our room for her in the next 6 months or so and she can sleep in either bed.

    Historically humans slept in close proximity. When wild animals were near, humans slept in groups for safety and warmth. It's perfectly natural for our babies to feel safe and fall asleep either near their parents.

    Silence (crying then stopping crying and falling asleep) is our body's way of giving up on getting attention/help and a fear response. Yes, babies will eventually stop crying and fall sleep but that is not the only way.

    Many people are very concerned with being inconvenienced by their child(ren) – that they brought into this world – but at the most its a couple years in comparison to the rest of their (and their children's) lives.

  33. I co slept with my now 4 year old, and am currently co sleeping with my new baby. I don't know whether or not the baby sleeps better but I know that I do. if she wakes in the night I barely even have to get more than half awake to start feeding so she will cry less have less gas form crying and be over all less fussy. I have a crib for her and if im going to be up for a wile she sleeps in that. later in life (my older kid)iv not had any issues other than the normal I just don't want to go to bed and now and then she will wake up because of a bad dream and climb in bed with me the hubby and the baby. but she was very willing to sleep on her own once she was a year old and I started having her go to her own bed a few times a week

  34. First of all, the females around you will tut-tut no matter what you do. Find what works for your family and ignore them.

    Second, in all families I have seen who practice co-sleeping, the children at one point insisted on their own room and bed without having to be coaxed. They just grow up and decide this is what they want.

  35. I'm pregnant with my second and the first still sleeps with us. He's 2 now and let me point out, him sleeping with us does NOT mean that we go to bed at the same time! Right now, it's almost 3am — Our son went to sleep in our bed around 9pm and hasn't woken up once since then. Sometimes he does wake up a few times, but there is no real difference between where he is now and him being in his own room. If we wanted to, we COULD put him down in his own room for at least the first half of the night… but I like going to bed with him there. We have plenty of space, it's not crowded, so why not. I know I'll miss it someday!

  36. First caveat: every kid is different, every kid will react differently to sleep transitions.

    We coslept with our now-6-yr-old son until he was around one and a half. The transition was long and at times frustrating, but now he is one of the soundest and most secure sleepers I have ever seen.

    One thing we did that helped was that we transitioned him not into a crib or toddler bed, but a twin mattress on the floor. This let us lie down with him until he fell asleep. We got him taking naps independently first. Then he would sleep alone for the first half of the night and climb in with us later, and then later still, until now, he can go to bed completely independently, and on a weekend, he will get up and dressed and head downstairs to play without waking us.

    I'd say the keys, for us, were taking it very very slowly, listening to our instincts, and ignoring any traditional advice*. Your kid is who they are, and they'll grow up at their own pace, not yours ๐Ÿ˜‰

    *In particular, the traditional advice about "stay with them until they are drowsy but not asleep". That never ONCE worked for us.

  37. I'm going to give you my own honest thoughts on this, which are a bit conflicted…

    My daughter is 15 months old, and yes, she has a lot of trouble falling asleep on her own. Last night I went out with a friend (leaving her at home with her dad) and it was rough on her… she DID fall asleep with him (on the sofa– he felt that might be easier than getting her to sleep in the bed), but she kept waking up and crying, and looking for me throughout the house. On the other hand, he survived, she survived, and I don't feel like I have to be a social pariah, but it does make me pick and choose my nights out very carefully. When I'm home on a normal night, it's hard for her to sleep by herself, so some nights I don't even get up and just read or work in bed after she goes to sleep. She'll stay asleep for about 30-60 minutes on her own before waking and crying. (For a bit we were trying to transition her to a crib next to her bed, and after she had cried her way to sleep alone, she would usually sleep for two hours or so independently… until she hit illness/teething, and then it was a half hour of crying to get her to sleep, followed by about a half hour of sleep, followed by more crying, so we decided to just go back to normal co-sleeping.) She also takes all of her naps on me, which I realize many people would think is crazy if I told them, so I don't. ๐Ÿ™‚ The nap situation actually works wonderfully for me, because I work from home via my computer, so I'm stuck on the couch with her as she naps and get a lot done (as opposed to attempting to do 1,000 things during her naps like many of my friends). So that's the downside… in my opinion, it IS real and this kind of dependence on me for her sleeping IS probably fostered by co-sleeping, because she loves sleeping right next to me and understandably feels less secure if I'm not there.

    That said, there are also a lot of upsides to this for me. For example, because *I* am her sleep association– not a crib in her nursery, or a special noisemaking machine, or a stuffed animal, or whatever– she sleeps great anywhere I happen to be, whether this is in the ergo (a great way not to be a social pariah at family events when she was a bit littler– I would just pop her in the ergo and wear a wrap around my shoulders so she can nurse and go to sleep), in my lap in a plane, in a strange bed on vacation, on a park bench, wherever. ๐Ÿ™‚ I've read more in the last year than I actually did pre-kid… while I was pretty likely to spend my evenings watching TV before, now I'm more likely to spend a few hours in the evening reading a book. It does mean I see my husband a bit less in the evenings (though, ahem, she's a really deep sleeper in the middle of the nights with the lights off…), but I think he actually likes to have some alone time in the evening too. More and more, I AM able to get up and leave her alone in bed, so I do see progress in the right direction. I also get more sleep because I'm less tempted to pack in a bunch of things to do after she goes to sleep. Am I a little jealous of my friends who can go out in the evenings and hire babysitters to do nothing whatsoever? Yes, sure! But at the same time, I absolutely love the closeness I feel with my daughter, I love the lack of stress in our bedtime routine, and I actually love the rhythm this gives to my life. Now that she's older, we deal with late family events by letting her stay up past her bedtime, and I deal with intrusive family questions through half-truths… yes, we have a crib in our room for our daughter! She sleeps great at night!

    I'm honestly not sure what I'll do with our next kid, but right now, this is what "works for us" looks like.

    • Oh, one more plus: I feel I sleep a lot better because we cosleep. This was definitely true when she was younger, and it would be true now during a sleep-training transition… she still nurses a bit throughout the night, but I barely have to wake up when she does, and it's easy to deal with the ebb and flow of her night-nursing as she goes through teething and such. Of course, she might be sleeping through the night on her own now if we didn't co-sleep, so I could be trading short-term benefit for long-term gains, but this is probably my biggest motivation to keep cosleeping, if I'm honest about it. Plus, I think I think I like sleeping better with a toddler to cuddle with… I might need to get a transitional object if she goes into the crib!

  38. I have a backwards co-sleep example. I have 3 daughters – all of which we did not co-sleep with as babies. They slept in their cribs and i nursed them and put them back in their cribs. For every child when it came time to transition them to beds they were fine going down and would naturally wake in the night (always at the same time) and make their way to our bed. They all did this from about 2.5 years thru' 4/5 years. Then they seemed to grow out of it. However, all of them will sleep with us when they are sick – they want to be close as we do to them. My youngest is the only anomaly with respect to going down to sleep. She likes to start sleeping in our bed with me lying down with her. She is asleep within 5 minutes. When we go to bed we move her to her bed. She stays there for 95% of the time through the night. She wanders to us if she wakes or if she is sick. Last night I had one sick kid and 1 wanderer in our bed. It works fine and as I say it can often be 'musical beds' – but we do what we need to do for kids to feel safe, parents to feel they have kids close when needed and everyone to get sleep.

  39. We slept with all four of our children and all of them sleep on their own now except for our youngest. (She goes to bed in her bed but still climbs in with us every night, she is 5.) I loved every second but I spent the first year of my oldest childs life feeling guilty and worried that I was messing her up for life. Then we were able to get her to sleep on her own before the next baby came relatively easy and I knew all the haters were wrong. Follow your instincts about what is best for you and your family.

  40. The best advice I ever received about parenting (but via a sleep related question) was "Do what works for you until it doesn't work anymore, then try something else."

    I never planned on co-sleeping – was afraid of roll-overs, etc. But around the 5/6 month mark I started falling asleep with my daughter next to me (after having gotten her for a nursing) and guess what?!? Lo and behold she and I both started getting more/longer stretches of sleep at night. At that point I was all about more sleep.

    She's now 3 and we've gradually worked toward the point we're at now which is me nursing her (down to 30 sec. on each side), laying with her til she falls asleep and then me going to bed (whenever that is) in our bedroom across the hall. She usually sleeps about 8 hours alone then calls out for me around 5am when I go back in with her and lay down for another 1.5/2 hours until we get up.

    We started this whole process by me doing the first part (nursing, laying with her til sleep, moving to my room) and me going in to lay down with her whenever she called (maybe 1 hour into sleep time). I then tried saying to her "I'm coming…" and then waiting to see if she'd fall back to sleep. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn't. She then progressed to falling asleep more often than not the first time she called out. This gradually worked down to where we are now. Occassionally she sleeps the WHOLE night through without calling out for me.

    I think this gradual process got her used to sleeping on her own and knowing that if she kept calling for me I'd come in to her. Every once in awhile she asks me where I am at night and I let her know where I sleep and that if she needs me I'll come to her.

    I think it's helped make her more secure overall. Also, just to note I'm a working mom so am not home during the day and feel like our time at night somewhat makes up for when she misses me – she knows I come home after work, knows I'll be with her to go to sleep.

    And basically what everone else has said – you just have to figure out what works for YOU and YOUR child and go with that. If co-sleeping isn't working, try moving them to their own bed. If having them sleep on their own isn't working, try co-sleeping.

    The only other caveat I'd put in there is to research SAFE co-sleeping to ensure your child's health. I think that's what most caring family members/friends are worried about is the safety/health of the child when they "dis" co-sleeping.

  41. I sleep trained (CiO) with my first, because I didn't know any better. He went to sleep at 8 in his own room, would wake once or twice at night for a feeding, and stay in his crib until 8 the next morning. It was pretty convenient that I always knew when he went to bed and could plan social type things after that.

    My second one co-sleeps. In general, he's been a much needier baby, but he just sleeps better when I'm around. I can indeed get frustrating that I have to be there to put him to sleep (most of the time) and that my social life has to revolve around his light sleeping and needing to cuddle, but honestly, it's SO worth it. I'm SO much closer to him than I ever was to his brother. He is more outgoing, despite being needier (which I think is a personality difference, not a nurturing difference) than his brother.

    I honestly can't tell you which is better, and I'm sure it differs greatly depending on each parent and each baby. What is good for one family, won't work for another. What is good for one baby might not work with the next. I just wanted to give you my experience with both.

  42. My own experience was one of off-and-on co-sleeping during my son's first year. Nobody is paying me to say this, but I had a great, wonderful experience with once he was 14 months old and became impossible to sleep with or near or to sleep at all. It was hard for me at first, because they customized a plan for us that was nice and mellow but still had "sleep training" elements.

    Basically? With my particular child, it turned out that his changing sleep needs meant that he was needing more space, privacy, and independence for solid and long sleeps. Keeping up with co-sleeping for us would have been a matter of selfishness for *me*. (Not implying that that is the case with other parents.) We did go back to co-sleeping for a while, age 20 months, when his dad ended up in the hospital for several months. Even then, when my son and I really needed each other so much, I could tell that my being in close proximity, even sleeping next to his crib but not *with* him, was making him wake up earlier every day.

    So for us? Our co-sleeping stages earlier on did not result in forever-co-sleeping. It was hard to make the transitions, but I ended up feeling happy about them. And I genuinely believe it was harder on me than on my son. I just had to stick with it the first week and then watch him start getting really good sleep.

  43. I have no problem with co-sleeping, do what works for each kid.
    The problem is here in Milwaukee we have had an average of one baby squished in bed to death by the mother every five weeks since January 2009. The latest died at four days old. His mom took percoset with vodka, woke up when the daddy handed him to her to nurse five hours later. The dad found the baby dead between the mom and the couch two hours later.
    So, if you value your child less than booze and drugs…

  44. I think it is a decision you have to make after you have a baby, you never know what your child's personality is going to be like or what issues may arise once your little on comes along. I was totally against cosleeping when I got pregnant, I wanted my freedom and told by every woman I met co-sleep will ruin your life. Well My little girl is 6 weeks old now and I am cosleeping, it was the best decision I ever made! The first 2 weeks of her life were hell for me. She had a tounge tie that was overlooked by the doctors so she had a latch problem that left her hungry and cranky and eating constantly because I refused to formula feed or bottle feed. So sleeping with her made her less cranky and both of us much less tired.It was actually one night in bed with her i noticed something was wrong with her tounge. I think you have to go with your gut if it feels right do it! As for all the haters they aren't the ones dealing with your baby at 3 am so they have no say lol.

  45. I have had 3 co sleepers n 1 child who loved her crib. I personally prefer co sleeping, the closeness, not having to get out of bed for a late night feeding. All kids however were on a schedule. All had a route teen bed time (which was not my bed time) and route teen nap schedule. A baby will clue you in were they are most comfortable sleeping. My daughter who used the crib was forced in our bed for first 6 weeks while her brother (15 mo older) was forced in the crib because of the new baby. Needless to say neither were happy and no one slept til one night I switched them. My son returned to our bed and my little baby slept the best she ever had in the crib. And we didn't turn back. Our last started in the crib but it was obvious that was not her comfy spot. At 3 is when I switched them out of our room. Even our crib sleeper slept in our room til 3. The switch was a slow process which started with a toddler bed next to our bed. Then after they got used to that I would "clean" and rearrange the room a little so the bed was closer to the door. When that was comfortable it was time to introduce the big kid room with a new big bed just for them. Usually they were so excited that the transition went smoothly. Alot of cultures around the world sleep with thier children, its not new, and it seems more natural than letting baby be in another room while you pet is on your bed. I dont know why it has such a stigma in the US . But as a parent you learn to let those opions of others go and follow your own heart. For it really knows whats best for you baby.

  46. I am still co-sleeping with my 2 year old. There have been times when it's been frustrating, but we worked through it because co-sleeping was important to us and my son needed it. E always needed my touch to settle when he was a newborn and still does need to, occasionally, reach out his hand and make sure I'm still in the vicinity at night. I still have to put him to bed at night, but that's not a problem. I don't have a kid who is crying and begging not to go to bed, he happily snuggles in and we read a story then I lay next to him while he falls asleep. Then I ninja-roll off the bed and have a few hours to myself. Of course, it's evolved into this. There were many nights when he was tiny when I couldn't leave the bed, but I wouldn't change a thing about it. He still wakes up at night sometimes but there is no way to prove he wouldn't be if I did things differently.

    Anyway, like most people said, it really just depends on the individual needs of your child. Some babies don't like it from day one, some change after a few months. I don't care if my son sleeps in the bed til he's 4, but that's just me! People will judge your parenting up and down no matter what you do, so you might has well just do it your way!

  47. When my daughter was born, we co-slept. I received mixed reactions, and a lot of those horror stories of having a teenager unable to sleep in her own bed. Maybe I got lucky in having an independent child who can sleep anywhere, I don't know. All I know is that co-sleeping was much easier than hauling my weary self to my daughters nursery every two hours. And when she started sleeping six full hours, my husband and I started talking about putting her in her crib. Which she hated. We started to think we made a mistake, but decided to just use the crib for overnights at grandmas house (which she's okay with) and turn her nursery into one big crib. She was eight months old. We put a comfy futon mattress on the floor (she can crawl off of it without bonking her head), covered it in soft blankets, often piled up to make a sleeping nest, and lined the wall around it with body pillows and stuffed animals. We put her dresser and heater behind a baby gate and have toys all over the place. She'll either play or drink herself to sleep and will typically wake up and play for about an hour before she cries for us.

    That being said, take everyone elses experiences with a grain of salt. Every baby is different. Just do whatever feels right for you and your family.

  48. My son has never been a good sleeper. When he was an infant he was up every 90 minutes to feed around the clock. The sleep deprivation was awful. I switched from breast feeding to formula at around 2 months against everyone's advice, but it allowed him to sleep in 3 hour cycles which was a miracle for me. At the time, I would try to put him to sleep in his crib, but usually brought him into my bed by the second time he woke up. As he got older, I tried really hard to sleep train. I tried everything to get him to go to bed, but he would stay up crying for hours. He still woke up twice a night for the first two years. My pediatrician would tell me to let him cry it out and he would eventually start sleeping better, but my son is so stubborn he would cry for hours without even laying down. Our neighbors yelled at me. My family was incredibly unsupportive. When he would stay with family, they would co-sleep with him, even though I asked them not too. It was horrible. Eventually, I started putting my son in his crib and sat with him until he fell asleep. Then when he woke up at night, I would bring him in my bed.

    My son is 5 now, and he still is a terrible sleeper. My fiance and I lay down with him until he falls asleep, which usually takes about an hour. Then he wakes up and comes into our bed during the night. He usually wakes up a few times while in our bed as well. I'm still completely sleep-deprived. It has its ups and downs. I was a single mom for his first three years and the sleep deprivation was almost unbearable. Now, it really helps to have a partner to trade off laying down with him and waking up with him. I miss sleeping through the night. All of our moods can take a turn for the worse when we've been up. I also get sad sometimes when my fiance falls asleep while waiting for the kid to fall asleep, because that means I don't get any one-on-one time with him. I also get sad when one of us has to get out of bed in the middle of the night just to get a few solid hours of sleep before work. Then again, there is nothing better than waking up and immediately looking at my kids eyes. When he smiles and says good morning, my heart melts. It's also really comforting to me to feel his warmth, and feel his little body curled up next to me at night. There is no better feeling in the world.
    A few months ago, I was asked to have his tonsils removed. The ENT doctor thought his tonsils were causing him to have sleep apnea. We had his tonsils removed, and he still doesn't sleep. (He does eat much much better though.) After that, the ENT told me that some kids are just like that. It doesn't matter if you co-sleep, sleep train, stand on your head, whatever, they just don't sleep. I have friends who co-slept, and friends that sleep trained and have kids that have slept 6 to 8 hours a night since they were infants. I honestly believe a lot of it is luck of the draw. Do what's best for you and your kids. You are the only person in the world that knows what that is. Good luck!!!

  49. I ascribe to the following rule, which I've heard from both childcare specialists and other parents: whatever situation provides for the best sleep for everyone in the house is what's going to be best for you and your family. In our case, co-sleeping with our daughter until she was about four months old was a lifesaver for my own sleep, because I could easily breastfeed her before she even woke up. However, as she got older and slept longer in the night, every time she adjusted in her sleep I was up, even if she wasn't actually waking up. I finally had to move her to her bedroom so I could get a better night's sleep. She still woke up once or twice every night until she was about 13 months old, and I always went in to feed her and comfort her (she's now two years old). I think she and I both slept/sleep better with the situation we have had than co-sleeping, but I know plenty of other moms that feel more at ease with a co-sleeping arrangement.

  50. We have a five year old, who was just always a brilliant sleeper, and a two year old, who isn't. With our two year old we have had all sorts of arrangements for all sorts of phases. We have nothing against the idea of co-sleeping (but I don't usually sleep well with someone close beside me and wiggling) So we have co-slept when it has been needed. Often the arrangement was that she went to sleep in her cot in the evening, and later when me and her Dad came to bed she would wake and come into bed with us. Recently she has moved into a big bed, and she must have been ready because her sleep has gotten so much better. But a couple of times a week me or her Dad still end up climbing into her bed and staying there to help her sleep ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for other people judging, and disapproving. Well, admittedly that has happened. I never got to find out wether when she was co-sleeping she would go to sleep for other relatives. Noone would help me seeing as I had 'brought it upon myself'. However she is still quite high needs at night and my Mum will sometimes (if grudgingly) babysit. It has been tough sometimes with little help and alot of dissaproval, but I am so proud I didn't give in, and really pleased I have done this for her.

    Also, I think the best advice I have heard about sleep is the arrangement where everyone gets the most sleep and is happiest is the best arrangement. So really do whatever works for your family at the time!

  51. Personally, I thought I was going to be one of those set scheduled mamas who put her kids to bed on a time schedule, but honestly, I don't even go to sleep the same time every night.

    We turned into a co-sleeping family with our first. The constant getting up and out of bed to get our crying newborn from her crib to our bed so I could feed her and then change her when she was finished and feed her again was just too taxing on both of us. Co-sleeping fell in to our natural swing of things, though my husband tried, he couldn't handle it either with working.

    Our first is now 17 months, and a wonderful sleeper and can sleep pretty much anywhere (as long as she has been fed, changed and sometimes when needed, pets mama's hair which is her comfort thing lately). I can 'sneak' out of the room after she has fallen asleep too, and she is fine. Even when she wakes up, she is a happy child. Naturally, she got into a pattern of sleeping through the night and actually going to bed between 7:30 and 8:30pm. Pretty awesome. I do hope my second does well with it too. But the first, she is very independant and confident. I know some people have told me that they need to stay in their own beds in their own rooms, but for a year and a half year old who doesn't fuss when it's time for bed, but actually tells me when she's ready to sleep and goes down in less than 3 minutes sometimes, I am truly blessed and wouldn't trade it for the world. Things may change later down the road, but as of right now, sleeping is not a struggle. Even naps are easy.

    Do what feels right for you, but that is my experience, and I would completely recommend it. Schedules, eh… maybe I could have done with it a bit more, but then again… she found her own. Plus, I can't sleep sometimes if I'm wired. They just have more energy to expel (you learn what your child needs during the day after a while… like how much play and what not). I have very active children apparently… lol I call them my little trainers. Definitely has gotten me in shape. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wait until two! Lol

  52. we co sleep by happy accident. it started because o was tired and breastfeeding. and we slept really well. so thats what we did. the crib we bought went unused. in the day Id rock him to sleep then put him in his crib for naps. then that stopped working around 10 months because he'd wake up. so I, in a fit of frustration, threw his craib mattress on the floor and lied down with him on it until he fell asleep. we never used the crib again. he'd fall asleep, I'd leave and whenever he woke in the night Id bring him into our bed. around 15 month he started getting up and coming into our bed. perfect! we have done a Montessori style floor bed since then ๐Ÿ™‚ now we have 2. 6 months and 2 today. I rock the little one then put him down in his crib. when he wakes he come into bed w us. when I cant rock him anymore I will lie down with him until he falls asleep. and when he wakes he comes in bed with us. we stay up late so this is what works for us. but my big kid lies in bed on his own to fall asleep now while i sit in the chair and rock the little one, most nights but sometimes (once a month or so) he needs me to lie down with him. thats ok with me). nothing is absolute. things change daily with kids. bringing him to bed when it works doesn't mean he'll always have to be there. and doing something because of what might happen in a year is a waste of time. if it happens in a year you'll deal with it then. thigns happen that you cant possibly imagine. just do the thing that feels right when it feels right. if it doesn't feel right anymore, change it. kids are very adaptable. I do the thing that feels right. for me letting my kids cry just doesn't feel right.

  53. We co-slept until our daughter was 1. By then she would have her feet in my face and her head on my partner's neck, so physically it didn't work anymore.

    We laid her down in the crib at 7PM and around midnight she would wake up and we'd bring her into the bed with us. At 1 year we did the 3-day sleep training and it worked perfectly. She has slept through the night since then. We did have to occasionally go in and pat her back from time to time until she turned two.

  54. I have co-slept with my son since he was born over two years ago. I honestly think it was one of the best decisions I ever made, despite so many people's attempts to dissuade me against it for fear my son would never be able to sleep on his own. When I put him to bed three hours before I go to bed, I tuck him in, give him a kiss and say goodnight, and he goes right to sleep. He naps at school and at home with ease.. I have never had an issue.

  55. You can co-sleep and transition successfully! … well I guess depending on the temperament of your baby. We had a NON SLEEPING BABY. We didn't plan on co-sleeping but let me tell you… we got so much more sleep that way in the beginning. If I got up to nurse him in the middle of the night he would wake up completely and I'd spend another hour after 45 minutes of nursing trying to get him back to bed. But if I rolled over and nursed him in bed, he and I and my husband would all peacefully fall back to sleep. We transitioned him slowly into his own room and mattress on the floor around 6 months bc he stopped sleeping well with us- too big and too squirmy. First just for a portion of the night he'd sleep on his own.. and then a little more as he grew into his sleep patterns. He is slowly sleeping more and more at night. He is 14 months and still wakes up once around 3 a.m. and I go in to him. Since he is on a Queen mattress on the floor in his room, I will sleep in there until I get up at 5. I do agree that it is different for every baby and for every family and every mom… but I will admit… I love having most of the bed to myself again… but I also LOVE getting a little cuddle time with him in the middle of the night.

    And I say, don't tell your family anything you are doing! That's what we decided after getting such negative feedback… "If you rock him he will never fall asleep without being rocked" False. "If you go to him everytime he cires he will always cry for you" False. (Actually I find that he is very even keeled bc I do respond to him when he cries instead of "letting him work it out" which for our son would only frustrate him more) "If you nurse him to sleep he will always need that to sleep" False. "If you cosleep he will never leave your bed" Also false. I think you just have to be smart about transitioning your baby into his or her own space gradually- not suddenly one day at age 3 kicking them out. See ya, kid! ๐Ÿ™‚ When you meet your baby and you all get to know each other, then you can really make some good decisions about what is best for your whole family… go with your instincts!

  56. I think that your question relates more to evening than night time, so I'll say that regardless of the fact that my co-sleeping son does not sleep through the night, he has a separate bedtime from us. Every night we do our bedtime routine then lay down with him until he falls asleep. Depending on whether or not he's teething, it can take from 5-60 minutes, but is usually around 20. After he falls asleep we get up and have our own time, either alone or together, or go back to guests on the rare occasions we have some. For the first 14 months he was in our bed, now he's on a double futon on the floor in our room and I sleep with him part of the night. When he wakes up, I have to go to him until he falls back asleep. Sometimes I fall asleep on his bed too. When he was only a few months old he would often wake up several times before I went to bed, but now he doesn't wake up until after I've gone to bed.

  57. Admittedly, i've not read all the above comments so this may be already covered but here's what we do and why (in brief): we're 50%/50% co-sleeping. What that means is: he has a bed-TIME and routine that lands him sleeping in his crib where he stays… as long as he stays. By now, at almost 17 months, he's there usually until about 1am. By that time, my partner and I have decompressed and had some real "us" time and are even usually long asleep. he wakes up, we grab him up, settle him down and land all of us back in our bed and, unless he's sick or teething (he's a slow and late teether), we are all usually blessedly asleep until about 6:20/6:30am. Here's the why: This is how we get the most sleep in our house and THAT is what matters most. I've found his routine is great – he's got a really solid sense of night/bed/sleep and it's been very much a win-win for us. the other part is that i work a lot and travel quite a bit for work so i also find it nice to have that snuggle time and early morning time together. Hope that answers your question!

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