Attachment to Co-sleeping

Updated on May 14, 2008
E.W. asks from Edmonds, WA
10 answers

I currently co-sleep with my 6 month old daughter during the later part of the night (about 12-6am). She is not a very strong sleeper and still wakes up often during the night. She falls asleep in her crib (7pm), and takes all her daytime naps there as well, but at a certain time during the night (around midnight) it just takes too much effort for me to continue going in and out of her room to replace her paci./feed her or lay her back down. So I bring her to bed with me. My fear is, is that she will be come so attached to co-sleeping, that she will depend on it to sleep for years to come (I've heard crazy stories). My instincs tell me that I need to just have a few sleepless nights and encourage her to sleep in her crib all night, (I have fears that she could roll off our bed or suffocate, plus I want to encourage independence and have my bed back). I am also aware that she smells my milk and this can encourage wake-ups, but it just seems like she (and I) sleep so much better when we are co-sleeping. What are your experiences with co-sleeping and then transitioning to all night in the crib?? Do most kids adapt pretty well to sleeping alone all night after sleeping with mom/dad? At what age? Thanks for all your thoughts...


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answers from Seattle on

I co-slept exclusively from birth until six months and it worked out wonderfully well for my family. I wanted to transition my children into their cribs before they discovered their mobility and I did use the cry it out method. (And by "cry it out," I really do mean that literally. I was also sitting on the edge of my bed watching the video screen and crying as I watched my oldest cry for me. I spent most of the night watching him . . . even after he fell asleep! For the next children, I went and took a long shower after putting them down for the first time. Nights two and three got progressively easier. By night five, each child might have "waaa'ed" for a minute or two before conking out for the nght.)

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answers from Louisville on

E., to maintain your future sanity and your marriage, I advise you to do the "bad mommy" for a few nights and get it over with! My husband had to physically hold me down to keep me from going to our first child. After a few nights of crying herself to sleep, she stopped. And on a health side of it, it made her lungs healthy with the extra exercise! As long as she was safe, clean, and fed, I let her cry. Yes it was hard, but after my third, who is now four...I've really learned my lesson. He was born with a medical condition so was spoiled quite a bit more from mommy. Slept with us more than the other two and I was forced to start being "bad mommy" last year. It has taken much, much long now that he's older so get it over with now! Best of luck and keep in mind, it's not going to hurt her! She may become a great singer someday, my oldest sings beautifully!



answers from Seattle on

My son was a very light sleeper and only wanted to sleep with me! I know how you are feeling, but we got to the point where we had to do the cry it out thing. He was about 5 months old or so. Yes, it was hard but he will be 2 in one month and is now a great sleeper! All kids are daughter was 10 times easier and wouldn't cry as long. My son could cry for a very long time. I talked with my pediatrician and as long as they are fed, not wet, not sick or anything else, it's OK to let them cry. I am so tired of hearing about how it's traumatizing to do that to a child and that co sleeping makes your child so much more bonded with you and on and on...both of my children had to cry it out at some point and I was very sensitive to it but they are both VERY close with me and are both very independent. They also know they are loved dearly and we would do anything for them. I also know so many of my friends who have done the cry it out thing and their children are also thriving so please don't let anyone tell you that you are wrong for letting them cry it out. Your fear is real...she will become attached to co sleeping. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be. It will be hard in the short term though, but I believe it's well worth it. I believe so strongly that children need their own bed/space and that adults need their own bed/space. Hang in there and be strong. It won't be easy and you will feel your heart aching! She knows that you will keep coming back in at that time of night, but once she knows that once she's been fed/changed or whatever else needs to be done, she'll learn that it's time to sleep. I also think that once she realizes she's not getting what she wants, she won't even bother waking up at that time of night anymore! I wish you the best of luck and just remember that everyone thinks they know what's right and wrong, but I believe there is no right or wrong, just what works best for you and your family!



answers from Jacksonville on

We coslept all night with our first baby. He was premature and we needed to monitor him throughout the night, and it was a whole lot easier to do with him right there. We actually bought a "cosleeper" that more or less attaches to the bed. You can put him in it and still have him within arm's reach, and not have to get up from bed. I got a whole lot more sleep at night that way, and wouldn't do it differently, except according to the needs of the child (our second baby didn't like sleeping with me - liked sleeping in a carseat - in the cosleeper!)

He was actually in the bed with me more than he was in the cosleeper. It essentially extends the bed for him so there is more room, if you're worried about there being enough room. Really and truly, though, do your or your husband roll on top of eachother, or roll out of bed? We don't either, and we also never rolled on top of the baby. The stories that the naysayers tout are of people who were drunk or stoned when they passed out with their babies - usually on the couch; they leave those parts out of the sensational stories. Sober, attentive parents who aren't morbidly obese do not have a problem. I read a book by Dr Sears about SIDS, and how much cosleeping helps prevent it. The most important thing to take from the book, though, is to trust your instincts. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

At nine months we tried putting the baby in another room, and it didn't go well, so we decided he wasn't ready. At 11 months, he would turn over on his belly and want to play when we were ready to go to sleep, so we decided he was ready and gave him the boot. I really don't remember it being very difficult. You just have to resolve ahead of time that you will send them packing at a reasonable time, before it does become a huge deal.

Also, he did roll out of the bed one night (must have been when we moved the cosleeper to the other room while we began the transition process). So we went to Target and found an arm thing that attaches to the bed to keep that from happening again. It's kind of like the side of a bunk bed or toddler bed.

Anyway, good luck. Go with what works for you. I got much more sleep at night by cosleeping. Someone told me I was lazy for not getting up at night to go sit somewhere to feed the baby. Whatever! I probably would have fallen asleep and dropped him. He suckled much of the night (or at least was attached), which seemed to help me lose the baby weight quickly, and then some.


answers from Seattle on


I personally have never been comfortable with co-sleeping for some of your same reasons. Try giving her about five minutes at night to try and calm herself. If at any point that cry is more than just a fuss go in and get her and comfort her.

At six months we started letting both our children start trying to learn techniques to soothe themselves. It's hard to hear our angels cry when we know that all we have to do is pick them up and it will end.

What we did was 1) let them fuss, but if the cry changed to that pitch of "I'm scared" or "I'm Angry" we'd go in and comfort them, and 2) when we did comfort it was always right there crib side. There is a rocking chair right next to her crib that we can rock her in, or we'd just sway with her in our arms with her cuddled against us.

Trust your instincts when doing this. It has worked for us and my kids are 4 1/2 years and 14 months.

Hope this helps,



answers from Eugene on


Most everyone has responded that you should just let your baby cry it out. Ultimately, it is your decision, of course, but let me put out a different perspective, so at least you aren't making the decision from unfounded fears of somehow harming your baby or having a teenager still sleeping with you!

There are societies where children have slept with parents until the child chooses to move. There are very few societies, including Westernized societies, where it is considered "normal" to place an infant in a crib in a room alone. Pediatricians, while they are necessary and excellent at providing help with making decisions about a baby's medical needs, tend to give parenting advice that comes from doctors, not mothers. In honor of Mother's Day, I'm going to say "Mother knows best" on this one.

Go with your instinct. If you and your baby are more comfortable sleeping together, or if it is neutral for you and more peaceful for your baby, consider letting that continue. If you are breastfeeding, it is certainly a thousand times easier and better for your sleep to have your baby right there where you can just pop it in her mouth and basically go right back to sleep. You'll get very proficient at that if you aren't laying there worrying. You will NOT suffocate your baby! That is a ridiculous assumption that people put on others to scare them--unless you go to bed literally "dead drunk" you will wake up or stir the second she does and you will simply not end up laying on your baby. Just try sleeping with a cat--you never end up on top, do you? In fact the cat keeps you from rolling over half the time! She should not, of course, be using a pillow. There is actually some evidence that SIDS could be prevented by the natural harmonization of the baby's breathing with the mother's--proving that it is actually a physiological reality that it is natural to co-sleep. As far as her falling off the bed--it's more likely she will snuggle up very close to you, because you are warm and it is NORMAL for her to do so. But if you are really concerned, or you have a very small bed, put a twin mattress on the floor next to you. She won't hurt herself even if she did fall out, frankly, as long as there is a rug there. Babies really do bounce! ;)

With my first daughter--18 years ago--I tried putting her in a crib in her own room at just about exactly 6 months old. She was so upset it broke my heart. She did not cry it out and eventually go to sleep, she cried hard--the "scared" cry--and cried more the longer I tried to wait. After about an hour, I went in and got her. The next night, I tried again--because that was what the pediatrician told me I "had" to do. She eventually did wear herself out, but she was still "hitching" in her sleep when I went in to her the next morning. That was it. She was never forced to sleep alone again until she was ready. We kept the crib in her room, she had her play area there, too. Eventually, when she had words and could understand mine, I talked with her about putting her to bed in her own bed, then I would get her to sleep with me when we went to bed. I built up her trust with that-kept my promise. Within a few months, she said she was ready for a "big girl" bed. We bought a handmade bunk bed, and decorated the bottom bunk all special for her, and most nights she slept there. Once in awhile, she woke up and wanted to come in with us--and that door remained open as long as she needed it. But for the most part, being responsive to her needs and feelings even though she couldn't talk, while gradually moving her to her own bed once she could, gave us both that trust and closeness, while giving her great independence as soon as SHE felt ready for it. (And it certainly did result in an independent person--she's now in her second year in college at age 18, and running for student body president, lobbying the U.S. Senate for better college funding.)

My second daughter is now 14. She was an absolute snuggle bug until she was about 1 year old. Her older sister came and joined us on a mattress on the floor when she was newborn--just because she wanted to be part of the whole family. That didn't last long--big sis went back to her own room after about a week or two. At about 1 year old, daughter number 2 started literally crawling across my face as she slept--tiny toenails scratching as they went! She quickly went into her own crib--which we put under big sis's top bunk-removing the bottom bunk to put the crib perpendicular under it. Made it a big event for big sis to move up--and since little sis was totally in love with big sis, she was ok with it too. But I still ended up with her in bed with us once a night to nurse. (yes, I also believe in nursing well into toddlerhood)

Third daughter was born when second one was 6 and already had her own room. Third daughter slept with us in a very large, king size bed we had--and with her being my last baby, I was in no hurry to end this arrangement. It's warm, it works well for feeding, she slept better and so did I. She also just happened to have a very sensitive personality and cried a lot--having her in bed with us was probably the only way to get any sleep at all, frankly. She slept with us until she was about 1 or so, and we put her in the bottom of her big sister's bunk bed (one of those metal ones with a double bed on the bottom) gradually--but totally allowed her to sleep with us whenever she wanted to. She chose the family bed about half the time and sleeping with her sister the other half. She now sleeps in her own room, too.

Let me reassure you again--NONE of my daughters insisted on sleeping in our bed later than about 1-2, and by that age, though they frequently chose to for a couple more years, it was only because it was just fine with me and my partner--if we ever said "no", that was ok, too, because we could give a reason (like I'm not feeling well, or I just want some "Mommy Daddy Time" tonight).

By the way, they did not get in the way of adult snuggling and more. Babies who are happily ensconced near Momma sleep very soundly--even if you scoot them over a little bit. You get to know their patterns and when they might be starting to stir.

Good luck with your choices,



answers from Portland on

I encourage you to keep at what you are doing, and try putting her in her crib more and more each night. When our baby was 11 months, we put him in a room with big brother and it was no problem at all, because he was used to sleeping in the crib. He didn't 'cry it out' at all, as I rubbed his back to get him to fall asleep or else rocked him. The first night he woke up 5 times, second 3 and third 2. He now wakes up only every few nights and I go in there, pat his back or rock him and he goes right back to sleep (usually has gas or a burp waking him). It took putting him in a separate room though, as in our room he woke up about 10 times every night (whether in our bed or his crib) and wanted to nurse. Now he only nurses at bed time and in the morning when he wakes up. With our older son we had to cosleep until he was 1 (lived in a small 5th wheel trailer), and it took 4 months of crying it out/appeasing/trying everything under the sun to get him to sleep alone. He hated the crib because we introduced it so late.


answers from Seattle on

We have co-slept with both of our boys...let me put it this way my hub has threatened to sleep on the couch if I do it again with the new baby when it comes. Here is the thing, every child is different. with our first son we didnt have a choice but to have him in our room. We had a two bed apt with a room mate. so when it finally came time for him to go into a toddler bed we just put it next to our bed and moved him over. He did the move easy enough. Then when our second came we started him in the crib in our room so there was four of us shoved into one room. So when we moved I tried to put my best effort into having him in the crib still. The roblem was that my older son was going to be in the room for the first time alone and didnt want to miss that up. He transitioned into his own room better then i could have hoped!! but then the second one was in our bed..he now is 17 months and we have tranistioned him from our bed to the crib mattress next to me on the floor. Hopefully in the next week here we will be getting bunk beds for in the other room so we can try him in the other room with brother..He still wakes up once or twice a night though for a little drink so we have to get him off that too. the new baby will be in a bassinet in our room for the first month or two but them into the crib in the other room he goes. I cant handle trying to slowly move another one out of our room.

So that is my story with it. I personally think it is a family decision. If your hub is ok with it and you are up for the challenge of having to transition them then go for it. But remember it may not be as easy for her then for others. IO have heard of kids refusing to trans and then they sleep with mom and dad until they are five. SOme og with glory. I will admit it is easier for night feedings and feels safer having them close. In fact with our first even with the space issue i would have prolly eneded up co-sleeping just because. The other thing is...It makes being inimate a little bit more of a challenge with a co-sleeper and as she gets older she may even protest being in the crib to begin with and want to go directly into your bed so those are more things to think about. Anyways, long story short you and hubby have to make a choice and soon on whether it is something you want to keep doing. And know every family is different and so it may work best for you!!



answers from Seattle on

Co sleeping is natural and beneficial in so many ways. To get more ideas on how to sleep more you might try the book NIGHT TIME PARENTING. It has lots of good ideas. when will they grow out of it? When they no longer have a need as it is not a want but a need, the age will vary alot!

There is also a good book called THE FAMILY BED that gives good ideas for making co sleeping safe.



answers from Portland on

Co-sleeping will actually make your daughter more confident and independent. It's a huge myth that people need to make their infants independent by depriving them of touch. Read the article below, it's full of really interesting information pertaining to touch. Touch is necessary to developing a full neurological system.

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