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Transitioning from Co-Sleeping to Own Bed

Lucy is seeking thoughts on transitioning away from co-sleeping:

Does anyone have any opinions or experiences to share about when they felt the right time was to transition their child out of their bed after co-sleeping has been the norm?  We have a three year old daughter that still sleeps with us, and I'm getting vibes from my mom, among others, that I ought to get her her own bed.  I still feel fine about it-- I'm a working mom and it gives me a way to feel like I'm still her parent even though I don't get to see her awake during the week for more than a couple hours at a time.  She seems to enjoy the closeness too.  She now will go to sleep on her own, but she counts on us coming in to share the bed at some point.  Perhaps there are benefits to her sleeping on her own that I'm not considering?  I'd get more closeness with my partner for one thing.  Thoughts?


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I'd say some of the 'objections' people voice don't seem to be an issue for you. I know my brother and his wife each sleep with one of their children (nearly 4 and 1 1/2) every night; the older child can't go to sleep alone, so that cutails their awake adult time together as well as intimacy. If that's not an issue for you, why force it?

Having said that, we co-slept only a few months when our son was an infant; it wasn't the best solution for our family. But I think if the main reason you're contemplating a change is external pressure, you can choose to ignore that 'input' and just do what seems right for you.

I moved my daughter out of our bed when I got tired of getting kicked in the head every night (she was 14 months, and it was a pretty long transition). Later I stopped her from coming in to our bed in the middle of the night when I was pregnant and needed the space.

If you're comfortable, don't worry about it. I only want to move my son (20 months) out of our bed soon because it's harder for us to travel this way, with him in our bed. My parents' guest room has a small bed and it's tough for us all to fit. I also have fantasies about the kids sharing a room and giving the grownups some privacy.

My son moved out of our bed and into a crib (which had previously been used only for timeouts - not recommended, but it worked for us) at about 1.5 years. We weren't at all sure how to pull it off, but were developing a sense of urgency because our second child was just a few weeks away and our bed won't fit four. In the end it was almost accidental. My son started acting out near the end of the day, we put him in for a "timeout," and he started snoring within seconds. Eureka! We congratulated him in the morning for sleeping on his own like a big boy. After that, it became easy to set an expectation that the crib was the place for him to go whenever he was acting tired. He still resisted on some nights at first, but it was manageable. At that point he was old enough that letting him "cry it out" was no longer traumatic.

Living in Japan, co-sleeping is the norm for parents and children well up to the age of third grade even! They might have their own futon on the floor, but they sleep in the same room. Seeing as this culture isn't as touchy-feely as ours is, this is their only real time to get the closeness that their children need, I believe.
My husband and I slept with our son until just recently. Just before his third birthday we went out and got a proper bed and mattress. Thinking that when my mom comes to visit she can sleep on it, and Kye could come sleep with my husband and I when she visits. At first, I had to lay down with Kye when he went to bed. I eneded up falling asleep with him, but usually found myself waking up around midnight to use the restroom and then I would head back to sleep with my husband. At first, I was very happy to have my husband back to myself, but secretly I think we both miss Kye sleeping with us a little more than we are able to admit! However, with me being three months pregnant I wanted to try to have a little more space for myself. Kye, for some reason, has taken to sleeping on his own very well. Now, all my husband and I do is read him a book, kiss him goodnight, and tell him to turn off his light when he is ready to go to sleep. The other night he wanted to sleep with us, so I said, sure! (Kind of regretted being kicked all night, but still that was ok!) The next night he tried to snuggle in our bed again, did so, fell asleep, then I brought him to his own bed. My point being, there is no pushing him. I think with all children if they think they are the ones making the decisions they will stick with whatever they choose.
I really hope that you don't quit because of pressure from family. Whatever feels right for YOUR family is what is important! You won't sleep with them forever, and they just are so cute at three!! Good luck!

Trust your own intuition. I think we could learn from the rest of the world (including the more 'underdeveloped', 'less civilized' countries). Most people in the world couldn't imagine placing their precious children in a separate room. IF it still works for you, your child will only benefit from the added closeness and security from co-sleeping. We're still co-sleeping with our 2 year old and we feel lucky as she comes up with the most adorable, original, speech and movements in the morning. We aren't willing to trade it for more sleep....yet.

I think you have gotten allot of great advice here. We also co sleep with our 10 month old and love it for now. I was planning to co sleep until she was old enough to decide she wanted her own bed. Allot of people I know started the transition with a small mattress or futon next to the bed and letting the child back in if the crawl in mid night. Then transition them into another room. I also have a friend who took her daughter out for her 3rd birthday to shop for a "big girl" bed, making it an exciting transition. I think this helped her daughter feel like it was a fun change not a punishment. In addition the author Dr. Sears has so much of great information about co sleeping and transitioning out of it in his books (he is an MD and his wife is an RN they are great). Good luck!

I agree that if it works for you, don't worry about what others say. We still co-sleep with our 18 month old son, and are just beginning to transition into another arrangement. We have our queen-size bed and a single bed pushed together. The idea is to get DS to sleep on the single, and gradually move it away from our bed and eventually to another room (could take years, but I'm OK with that). Right now DH sleeps on the single, since DS still nurses to sleep and about once or twice a night. Works fine for us. We just love that we can all be in the same room together. It makes Saturday mornings especially sweet. :)

Our almost 4 year old sleeps with us and we all love it. it helps to have a king sized bed:) I really feel that the nighttime and early morning snuggling we do is an important part of our parenting. my son reaches out and holds my arm several times during the night - I would rather be available to him for comfort through the night than him sleep in a bed by himself with a substitute like a stuffed animal. it's such a short time before he'll want to be by himself anyway- i really savor what we have now. daddy and I get the alone time we need by going in a different bedroom while he's sleeping. whatever works...

In September, we bought our then 2-1/2 yo daughter a full size futon for her bedroom. Until then, she had slept with us in our king size bed, but I was expecting our second in February and knew by the end of my pregnancy I would want more space and definitely did not my daughter in bed with her baby brother, as she's a very heavy sleeper who tends to drape herself all over her bedmates. So we spent the next five months transitioning her to her new bed. Usually, my husband would lay down with her at bedtime...I was having trouble with my hips and back during my pregnancy and was very uncomfortable laying on her futon. But often, she would go to bed with me in my bed and my husband would sleep in her bed. By the time the baby arrived, she was comfortable sleeping in her bed all night by herself, though honestly, most of the time, her dad slept with her, as apparently I snore very loudly when pregnant! I enjoyed those last few weeks of having her in my bed...I knew it would be a while before we'd share sleep again. She will now just go to bed completely on her own some nights, but most of the time her dad or I read stories in bed with her and lay with her 'til she's asleep.

That said, she would probably still be in our bed if we hadn't had another baby. If you don't want to transition your child out of your bed, try to ignore the comments/vibes from you mother or let her know that you're the parent you know what right for your family (easier said than done, I know).

ADVICE NEEDED: Aidan's 9.75 months & co-sleeps w/us -
We rock him into deep sleep & put him in his crib until we get into bed & take him with.
THINKING about transitioning him into his crib - but very nervous & not sure about it.

I am in the same situation. My daughter is 13 months and we are trying to get her to go to sleep in her own bed. I do not let her CIO, (it doesn't feel right). I have been trying to get her to sleep by rubbing her back until she falls asleep. So far it has only worked onece in 4 days. I also tried just sitting in the rocker in her room until she fell asleep. She just sat up un her bed watching me. After an hour each night I have given up and just take her in bed with me. She falls into a deel sleepafter just a few minutes. I don't think she is ready to sleep on her own, and I don't think I am yet either :)

we co slept with our daughter until she was about 9 months. we finally transitioned her out and into a sleeper next to our bed after she was demanding that i be her all night diner and i was sleeping terribly. i was really sad to do it but i felt like it was going to be inevitable.

then a few weeks later i got really, really sick and we had to move her sleeper out into the living room (my parents came to help out while i was ill and they slept in her room). after my parents left we were faced with the decision of moving her back into our room our trying to put her into her own--we'd already made the break from our room. so, we tried it and it worked fine. of course i lay there in bed that night and cried and cried that she was in her room and not in ours anymore...

we got the usual raised eyebrows when people learned we'd been cosleeping for as long as we did, warnings about how hard it would be to transition her out. and you know what? it wasn't hard. it was surprisingly easy. i guess she was ready. if your child is not ready, then don't! it's the best time in the world as long as everyone is getting the rest they need. i miss cosleeping with her so much. my daughter is 13 nearly months now and lately she's been having a tough time going to bed. i think we have entered into that separation anxiety phase. the other night after a few hours of middle-of-the-night struggling, i gave up and slept on the floor of her room with her. it was pretty heavenly. i smiled in the dark and then i nearly cried, it felt so great to have her right there with me again.

I have a ten month-old that I am desperate to get into his own crib. However, the reasons why have prevented me from doing so. I still breast-feed and my son uses it to get back to sleep. He can go asleep initially by just being held but then wakes up every 1.5 hours to nurse back to sleep. HELP! We tried the CIO method, but after changing sheets all night from the puke, and listening to my child as though we were torturing him, we opted to not do it. I REALLY don't want to use the CIO but I really need to sleep!!
We have tried everything from music, lights, baths, food....nothing helps. He squirms and fusses until I give him a boob. If I don't, WW3 breaks out and he wakes up fully and then it takes an hour to get him back to sleep. advice needed!!! Please note: I am not against co-sleeping at all!! I love it!! Sadly, our family has just outgrown it. =(

Chelsea--this might not work for you, but...
My older son (now 5), slept with us exclusively until he was about 15 months and I found out I was prego with #2. #1 had a beautiful crib that he never, ever slept in (once I put him in it to take a photo). It was also one of those cribs that converts to a toddler-bed. When we started transitioning him to the crib, it was a horrible, horrible disaster. He loved the boob, he loved the cuddles. So we just turned it into the toddler bed. The first week I had fears of him rolling out of bed and onto the floor (although, let's face it, he fell further than that every day when he was learning to walk), so I set up a "nest" for him, involving large stuffed animals (about the same size as he was), thinking when he rolled over he'd feel the animal and think maybe it was mom or dad. There was also a giant pile of pillows next to the bed, in case he did roll out. He never rolled out. And with the toddler bed, I was able to lay next to him and nurse/read stories/cuddle until he fell asleep--which is impossible with the crib. It took a month or so for him to really get used to his own bed, but really, after about a week he wasn't so bad about it. I think he liked knowing he could get out and find us if he needed to (which happened alot during the first month, but we'd just put him back to sleep with cuddles in his bed). He's 5 now, and sleeps in his own bed every night, although about 2x a week he'll end up in our bed by the morning. (I think he gets up to go potty and just comes into our bed cause it's closer than the bathroom--although he still loves cuddles.)

Good luck!

Our daugher Kaia is 2 yrs 4 months. She co slept with us since she was a baby. My wife is pregnant and needing the rest in our bed. We'd have kept Kaia but she flails around and likes to dig her feet under our bodies perhaps for warmth b/c she doesn't really like covers. Once it got to the point that she was kicking and hitting us waking us up in the middle of the night, that became an organic message that we needed to transition her. The transition was not as hard as we thought it was going to be because one of us would start out in her bed and she was used to taking naps there. But we've been at it for a month and a half and the longest stretch she's gone before coming in to get one of us is about 5 hours.

Lately she's been unable to go more than a few hours without coming to get one of us. I find that I'm sleeping with her in her bed. Issue now is that she is moving back into digging her feet under my legs or going diagonally in a single bed. She sleeps fine at nap time for our nanny, 1 to 2 hours, but night time is a different story. Any strategies to get past this point? Ideas? Thoughts?

Great to read all these posts here. Our daughter is 22 months and we have co-slept and breastfed since birth. We bought a bigger bed when she started shuffling and kicking in the night, then a few months ago we got a toddler bed and put it my side right up against the bed like a side car and she slept in that and then crawled into bed for a feed when she fancied and sometimes wanted to go back in sometimes she didn't. We always had a toddler bed in her room too which we change her on and read stories on. She plays in there when I'm in the shower and often just before bedtime.

Night before last she woke at 1am and had a huge (and terrifying for me) tantrum and I just couldn't work out what she wanted. She kept crying 'bed' and 'booby' but she didn't want to feed in our bed or her own. The tantrum lasted almost all night and we held her and rocked her and tried to work out the problem and eventually she fell asleep exhausted in her daddy's arms.

Then yesterday at nap time she asked to go in her room and to have booby in her bed. I did as she asked and she slept soundly on her nap. Last night at bed time she asked again to go to her room and she went to bed in her bed. We have a stairgate on the door so and left her and our door open. We moved the video monitor in there too in case I felt insecure in the night and wanted to look at her without getting out of bed.

I slept terribly but she slept really well. She woke at 1am and called me for booby. I fed her and she fell asleep and woke again at 6am, perfectly happy.

I'm kind of in shock right now - we planned to cosleep until she wanted her own room but I thought that would be at 3 or 4 or even 5. I wasn't prepared for it to be before she even got to be 2! I feel a bit traumatized because I haven't had time to prepare myself but she is 100% happy.

I missed her badly last night but want to do whatever makes her happy. Has anyone else had a baby this young ask to go in their own room?

Tonight is the first night I am letting my 11 months old sleep alone in his room. He's very attached to me and breastfeeds still all through the night including comfort feedings. I have pit him to sleep two times so far using the boob and laid him to sleep back in his bed. Why am I choosing to move him a bit earlier than my other two children? Truthfully speaking I need some independence. I have had two children close together my other younger child is 2 years and him 11 months (I am also a mother of a 6 year old). I have moved to a new country and have had two small children since I have been here I don't get out of the house not event o go to the classes that I need to learn the language. It's time now I start to get on with my personal growth as well. I also need to have some me time. I am starting to resent my motherly duties and I have never ever been like this. So this is why on this night I chose to start to train my beautiful sweet little son who when I look at him it rips my heart out to see him cry. I do feel very very sad to think I will not have my sweet little snuggle buggie in bed with me I just well up with tears int he thought. But its time now. And I know that even if I move him to the his own bed it will NOT make him or I love each other any less.

Good luck mama's!

I have been trying to get her to sleep by rubbing her back until she falls asleep.

My daughter is 7 years old and is a restless sleeper, she has a habit of coming into my bed and digging her feet under my legs and back which is sore and disturbing my sleep. I really need some advice or feedback from any one who is in the know or experienced similar problems. She sometimes does this for hours at a time. Please help.

Ok I have a serious problem with co sleeping because in the event that something happens to you whose ever responsible for your child goes through living hell trying to get them to sleep on their own! I didn't have a problem with it until recently when my god daughter became mine I can't even sit beside her crib and rub her tummy or back to put her to sleep she will scream for hours!

Since you all think it is so great you can come sleep with her so I can accomplish my simple house chores and spend some time with my 10 year old and possibly even sleep with my fiance` or actually get some sleep!

Any tips to stop the screaming and get her to sleep in the crib?

Sassha...it sounds like your god daughter has gone through a trauma. Adding a child to your family has to be so difficult but losing her primary care giver has to be so horrible for her. Try to be patient. Co-sleeping may not be fun for you but might bring her some comfort in her time of need. If she's under a year it might not be safe since you aren't mom, your chances of rolling on her etc. Might be higher. I see your post is 6 months old. I hope you've made progress. Try to develop a lovey, maybe something from home? I hope your both sleeping better. If she's only ever coslept she has no idea that's what a crib is for. Imagine how your own child would have felt if this had happened to them. Where is my mama? They may have also cried at bed time, even if they wete used to their crib.

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