When did your family stop co-sleeping?

Posted by

Jasper’s been co-sleeping (for us, this means sleeping exclusively in our bed) with us since he came home from the hospital — it was something we always thought we’d do, and we’ve always been happy with the arrangement. When he hit twelve months, we started having discussions about when and how we’d transition Jazz to his own bed, and briefly set up his “big bed” in his “own room,” but abandoned the idea after one failed nap attempt.

I’m the first to admit that we also didn’t really want him to leave our bed, we just kind of momentarily gave in to all of the questions (“When’s he going to be in his own bed?!”). Once that experiment failed, we decided that two years old would be our cut-off.

Now that he’s on the brink of turning two, none of us are interested in changing up the way we sleep. Our arrangement has definitely morphed throughout the months — now that Jasper’s much larger, he sleeps on either side of us. Our bed is a King size, and also on top of another mattress which is on the ground. If he happens to roll off (it happens! Rarely, but it does), it’s easy enough to scoop him up and get him back in bed. Except for random eye pokes and accidental baby-finger-scratches, there’s nothing that makes us want to stop.

But yet … I still wonder. I keep reading all of these accounts of kids who seem to wake up one day and decide they want their own bed. Does this really happen? Is transitioning to a bed something we’ll have to steer, or should we just roll with whatever Jasper wants to do? Those of you who co-slept until toddlerhood, how did you know when it was time to transition to a new arrangement? What did you do?

Comments on When did your family stop co-sleeping?

  1. I’m not a parent yet, but I have MUCH younger siblings. My sister was forced out of my parents bed when my little brother was born. They could NOT handle two children in the bed kicking them all night. Honestly though, once she got to kindergarten, sleeping with mommy and daddy was just so “uncool” anyway. My brother is now in kindergarten and is clinging to “the big bed” for dear life. The one thing I will say is my parents have no sex life thanks to small children wedged in between them for the last decade and I think it’s really affected their relationship in a negative way. It’s not something I enjoy discussing with them considering they’re my parents, but it’s true.

    • I have a friend who still co sleeps with her 11 year old and 8 year old every other night. Her husband is with them the nights she is not. That means she and her husband never sleep together. It has caused some issues. I don’t mean this as an anti-co-sleeping posting at all. But, it does seem that the larger the kids get, the harder it is, and this kind of solution is a bit unfortunate.

    • I think if two people ant a sex life, they will find a way. It seems like an excuse to say that kids in a bed prevents sex from happening. Sure, you may have to be a little more creative or deliberate about making it happen but what parent doesn’t? Most co-sleepers who are doing it just do it elsewhere in the house, after the kids go to bed or during nap time.

  2. Our wee man is 10 months and we sort of semi co-sleep meaning he starts off in his cot beside our bed and then comes into our bed around 3am. At the minute we have no intention of stopping as it works for all three of us. Ideally I would like him to be in his own room by the time bambino number 2 comes along(not on the horizon just yet) as he’s a very light sleeper so i wouldn’t want him to be disturbed too much with a newborn waking for feeds.

  3. I co-slept with my single parent dad and still have vivid memories of my then step mother moving in and Not Being Okay With This, it was was an odd reaction when I was 5 and now I’m 23 it smacks as unsettling claiming behaviour.

    I’m from a very large extended family and we’ve got a history of cot death so babies tend not to co sleep(I had a heart monitor as a babe so co-sleeping made more sense), but after the age of two every one piles in for sleep overs at Papas house. A lot of siblings do have their own beds but co-sleep through choice.

  4. My 8 1/2 month old son was co-sleeping with us up until about 2 weeks ago. He had been getting more and more wiggly and hard to sleep with and the last night he slept with us he woke up every hour and cried (he wasn’t teething and didn’t seem to be in any physical pain). We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The next night he started the same thing, waking up crying every hour. I took him into his room and he looked at the crib and smiled. I laid him down in his crib and he went to sleep right away. I was preparing for an eventual battle to get him into his own bed for the night and could hardly believe that he decided on his own that he was ready. He had been waking to nurse several times a night in bed with me and he now wakes an average of once a night to nurse and goes right back into his own bed. We are happy to have more space for us in our queen sized bed but I do miss snuggling all night.

  5. I just recently started getting my 3yo into his own bed in our room. There’s just no room/comfort with my ever expanding belly (30wks). Two weeks in, he’s still waking up once a night, but otherwise we’re good. He also recently weaned a few weeks ago, so we’re full of changes at our house with the familial addition on the way.

  6. I’ve never thought much about co-sleeping before because no one in my family has ever done it. My parents were of the “cry it out” school of thought and we were always in our own crib/bed from birth.

    Sleeping in my parents bed or even entering their room at night was absolutely forbidden. I remember having nightmares and singing to myself (hopefully loud enough) in the hopes of luring my mother into my room to comfort me.

    • My parents weren’t quite that bad, but they were of the “cry it out” school. I could crawl in with them in the mornings although they worked to cure me of that since my wake up time was a bit early when they wanted a little more sleep and if I crawled in I wanted to be awake. Sleeping with them was a treat, something to do when only one of them was home or I needed some comforting. I still did it occasionally into my teens, although only with my mum. I kick, though, so generally my parents were happy to have me in my own bed. Not sure what my guy and I will do although as we already share the bed with 2-3 cats there will be some serious negotiation.

      • I can relate. My parents bedroom was not forbidden, but we were not allowed to leave our beds after bedtime! And I remember rules like ‘you can’t leave you room before 7 am’. But whenever I had a nightmare, I could go to my parents, they would let me sleep with them or my mom would wake up, go to my room and sing for me until I was at peace again. But this was all when I was older than 4, I guess. My parents had 3 babies in three years (I’m the oldest), so I guess co-sleeping was not in the picture. Imagine having 3 toddlers in your bed!
        And snuggling in my parents bed was a privilege.. on birthdays etc. it was extra fun! When my dad was on trips abroad, we could sleep with my mom in turns. I guess there is some sense in making your (parental) bed special.

  7. I co-slept with my Nonnie till I was about 11. I had always had my own room (with a bed) right across the hall. Sometimes I would sleep there with my sister or cousins, but, if no one was spending the night, I co-slept.
    The bond Nonnie and I have now (I’m 24) is just… I just wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world.
    I’m all for it… and I agree that someday they just want their own bed. Maybe they’ll be 2… maybe 4… maybe 11 🙂

  8. My step-son still co-sleeps with his mother. He is 7, and while I don’t mind what she does in her home, it has become a serious issue at home with me and my husband. Little man gets upset every single time he spends the night at our house (2 nights a week) because Daddy won’t sleep in bed with him. We have been dealing with this issue for years now (since he was 3). On top of that, he wakes us up every night between 1 and 3AM to ask hubby again to come to bed with him. Sometimes hubby is so tired, and knows that I am so grumpy and exhausted from this constant routine that he will go get in bed with him to quiet him, exacerbating the situation. I don’t know how to break him of the habit, but I am assuming it will have to start with his mom. It’s not my place to tell her how to raise her son, but it is becoming such a problem in our house that it is not only affecting our sex life, but our mental health. His mom is single, and I doubt she intends to ever re-marry. I keep reading that a lot of single parents co-sleep with their children, but what happens when it affects the household of the non-single parent? Am I being selfish in hoping that she will stop co-sleeping with him because it is now affecting us in our home?

    • I really resented my step mum because I saw that the change was led by her, it didn’t work well because I was just left to cry it out.

      I’d suggest a “come to jesus” with your partner and his ex. Co-sleeping is awesome if it works for every one involved but in this situation it obviously doesn’t. You can’t blame the child or your partners ex, it is frustrating for you but you need a game plan.

    • Maybe you could try to change your perspective. If your stepson is only with you 2 nights a week, does that really have to harm your sex life when you can have sex and be alone with your husband in your bed the other 5 nights a week? I’m sure your stepson wishes he got to spend more time with his dad and the desire to sleep with him is probably part of that.

  9. My daughter slept with me until she was 4, and there were several nights after when she would come to my room in the middle of the night. Around 6 she stopped the midnight creeping. My son, now 5, sleeps with my daughter, now 9, yet still comes to my room on random nights. All is well, and they will let you know when they are ready to be alone.

  10. This is interesting, as far as I know co-sleeping is not common in NZ, certainly no one I know does it, and I remember campaigns against it due to the risk of smothering newborns. I’m guessing these risks are over stated?

  11. Red – I’m sorry, but I do think you’re a little out of line here. Even calling it a “problem” throws up a red flag for me – that is not the attitude you should have when easing a child out of a habit – the more you make him feel uncomfortable, the more he is going to need comforting in a way he is used to. If your husband is having difficulty getting your step-son to sleep alone at your house and you’re really against the idea, perhaps enlist his mother to help explain to him about the differences when he is at home and when he’s at daddy’s. If it comes from all involved and is explained in a gentle way that he isn’t being rejected maybe you can work past this “problem”. Also having his father read him to sleep and then sit with him (not lay in bed) when he wakes until he falls back asleep might help.

  12. Argh, lost my first comment.

    My partner and I share a bedroom with our child and a home with his mother, and we also have opposite hours — he works by day and I’m in school at night — and we still have a sex life. Where there is a will, there is a tired but determined way.

    We wanted to bedshare, but when our child was born she turned out to be somebody who didn’t sleep well in our bed, so we took the side off her crib and pushed it against our bed. Since her sleeping surface didn’t shift when we moved, she slept better. Now, at 15 months, she sleeps her in crib until the second night nurse, around midnight, then comes into our bed to nurse and sleeps with us till morning. We’re thrilled about this.

    Our feeling is that she will prefer independence to the company of boring old mom and dad all too soon, so we’re making hay while the sun is shining. I was an only child raised by a single mother and while I had my own room, I preferred sleeping in her bed (unless we were fighting) right up until I moved out. I don’t imagine a bed with not one but two snoring parents thrashing around in it will be so appealing to our child for that long, but she is most welcome to stay as long as she likes.

  13. Not a mom, but was a live-in-auntie/nanny for my sister. In the reading I’ve been doing there seems to be some cross cultural support for children sleeping more contentedly within easy earshot of family. Multiple beds in the same room seems like a great thing to offer children that doesn’t seem to be happening much. I know I enjoyed halving a room with my sister until I was 8 and she was 11. After that we chose to push our beds up against the dividing wall and tap messages to each other.

  14. I have a question for long time co-sleepers. We are co-sleeping with our newborn now, and I love it, but what about sex?? We have a cosleeper attachment, which I can see using for her while she’s still tiny and we’d like full use of the bed but when you have a toddler, what do you do? Or for those who don’t HAVE a co-sleeping attachment? It’s something I have wondered about often.

    • Our son has slept in bed with us since he was a newborn. He’s 21 months now. The answer to your question is: couch, guest bed, or our bed when he happens to be agreeable to going down in his crib or elsewhere for either naps or the first part of the night. It’s not ideal but livable and he’ll only be this small and wanting to cuddle for such a short time in the grand scheme of things.

  15. With our BF son we exclusively co-slept for a few months, then once he got too good at snuggle-herding us off the bed, we transitioned him to a bassinet in our bedroom for some naps and the part of each night when he wasn’t nurse-sleeping. At 6 months, we moved him to a crib in his own room (because we were all kinda waking each other up) and he suddenly started sleeping 8-9 hour stretches through the night. Yeah, sleep! Every morning, when he awoke we’d bring him into our room so we could get a little more shut eye while he had some boobies…

    Now he is 2 years old, has been fairly recently weaned, and still comes into our bed to snuggle most mornings. He likes it. We like it. At some point, I reckon we’ll stop… but until then it suits us all fine.

    So. That said, it doesn’t sound like any of you are bothered by the co-sleeping, so why not just wait until someone is ready for a change and proceed from there?

  16. My children never ever slept with me at first, they started out in there own rooms in a crib from their first day home but when my oldest boy was about 2 he got really sick for about a week and a half and I had him sleep in my bed while he was sick, and he is now 5 and he is still sleeping with me. I think the best way to stop co sleeping is to never start my 20 month old has never sleep with me and I don’t think I will allow him too lol. Now that my oldest is starting school in the fall I am having the hardest time getting him to sleep in his own bed!!

  17. This may make me sound ignorant, or maybe this has been asked many times already–

    How on earth are partners able to have sex with a toddler in their bed? Do you just…stop?

  18. We bed-shared with our son until about 5 months. I wanted to continue so much, I loved waking up together. But he was moving around SO much, that both my husband and I weren’t getting any sleep. We’d spend the whole night moving our little one back into the middle of our king-sized bed. After one too many kicks in DH’s groin or head-butts into my nose, we decided to give the crib a try. He made the transition very easily. I was actually a little heartbroken that he didn’t put up a fight.

    Now at nearly 22 months old, I still bring him to bed with us when he’s sick or if he wakes up earlier than normal to try and get a little more sleep out of him. On chilly mornings, he likes to cuddle with his mama. But I usually don’t get any sleep once he’s in bed with me, but I still love the cuddles.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation