Seeking Words of Wisdom on Transitioning Co-Sleeping Baby to Their Own Bed

Updated on May 19, 2008
L.B. asks from Los Angeles, CA
9 answers

Ever since I first learned about co-sleeping (in my Evolutionary Psychology class in college), and then later read Dr. Sears while pregnant, I have been comitted to co-sleeping. I would love to hear about diverse experiences in transitioning kids to their own bed and bedroom from moms who have co-slept. At what age did your kids start sleeping on their own? How did they (and you) go about it? I love sleeping with my daughter, but sometimes I worry that she won't learn to fall asleep on her own, or that she's not getting enough sleep (she sleeps 8pm - 6am, with 2 night feedings). Our ped has pushed Ferberizing since she was 4 months. Thanks for your help!

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answers from Los Angeles on

You daughter is getting more sleep than mine did at that age. I co-slept with both and up until 2 years old, they nursed throughout the night (every 1.5-2hrs was pretty much the norm.) They are 3 and 5 and sleep GREAT! After turning 2, they were either night weaned or in the case with my first, she stopped nursing all together.

With my first, we packed up the crib we never used and put a queen mattress on her floor in her room and a baby gate at the door. I would get her to sleep in there starting around 1.5 years old (not every night) when she woke, I'd go back in and nurse her to sleep. Eventually she just stayed. However, if she came in to my room, that wasn't a problem.

With my second who is 3, we started with a mattress on our floor in our room around 2. He'd fall asleep down there and sometimes make it back to our bed, sometimes not.

Both kids still sleep with me often during the week because my husband travels a lot. One thing I know for sure though is they are happy to sleep in either place - their bed in their room or with me/us. The don't fight it if I put them to bed in their room. Bed time has never been a fight. I've always had a routine and have always made going to sleep very peaceful. I now have two kids that go to bed around 7/7:30 and wake at 6:30.

Hope that helps (we are trying for #3 and I won't change a thing).

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.:
I agree with Michele S.
Its also my feeling that, If you offer your baby,(relationship pleasure,)rather than (relationship deprivation,) you will help her go to sleep secure in the conviction that you love her and want her happy.I found two quotes from some reliable resources.
Martha and william Pieper(Emotional Health experts) In regards to CIO, Say "If your baby stops crying,its because they have abandoned all hope that help will come"
Dr. Michael Commons (Dept of Psychiatry,Harvard)On CIO.
"Parents should recognize that having their babies cry unnecessarily, harms the baby permanently" "It changes the nervous system,so they're sensitive to future trama" I realize, that there will always be those parents, that believe they are benifiting from using this technigue.They have every right to raise their child the way they see fit. I certainly don't expect to hear any negative responses from those who have choose to let their babies CIO.However, If your main priority is your babies mental health and well being,I'd try and make the transition,as peaceful as I possibly could. You'll make things less tramatic,for your daughter,while providing a secure, loving enviroment for her. Just go with the flow, with what feels right.Follow your motherly instincts and your baby will be wonderful.

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answers from Honolulu on

There are So many different approaches and experiences with this.
Your baby seems to sleep fine, with you. I assume she also naps during the day too?

Each baby is different, and has different needs and personalities. For me, I gaged sleep arrangements, per their own needs and such. I never let them CIO....that is just me.

Each of my kids were different. My girl was attached to me like velcro and so I co-slept with her and I was also still breastfeeding...until I got pregnant with my second baby. Then she weaned herself from me and breastfeeding. It was MY choice to let her self-wean. Within that time... we did transition her to her own toddler bed, when she was about 2.5 years old. Still, I had to sleep with her for her to fall asleep. She is less independent than my second child, and "needs" company and Mommy when she sleeps. Now though, from about when she was 3 years old, and now at 5 years old, she is completely fine falling asleep on her own. Although, she will still sleep with us sometimes. We are fine with that.

My 2nd baby, now 21 months old.... was more independent. I breastfed him, also let him self-wean, and he was done with my breastfeeding by 1 years old. He sleeps in the crib just fine...but in the beginning I did co-sleep. My son is more adaptable, and transitions to things fine. Now, IF he wakes up during the night.... I will pick him up and co-sleep with him. BUT, when he goes to bed, I put him in his crib first. He is a good sleeper, and wakes less than my girl did....and this works for him.

We all do sleep in the same room however and have an extra futon bed in our bedroom. We don't "force" them to sleep by themselves and if they want to sleep with us, we let them.

Both my children, do get enough sleep at night. And they nap during the daytime. My son naps morning and afternoon. My girl even at her age, naps afterschool for 2 hours.

With both children, we co-slept at various phases and their needs, as I was breastfeeding, and it's just easier that way. And during their night feedings as well, getting up for that and getting them back to sleep, co-sleeping was just easier, and they like the comfort.

A child will eventually sleep on their own, or in their own bed... although each child transitions differently, with or without clingy-ness or fuss.

For us, we just went according to our child's needs, and sleep styles. It differs with each child.

The reason for some, to get them out of co-sleeping and to sleep separately, is to get them to self-soothe and yes, LEARN to sleep on their own. Some babies don't self-soothe very well, or resist it because they have Mommy right there (like my daughter), and they want the closeness. Some babies (like my son) will just adapt well and still sleep.

Whichever method you choose... their will be a transition for the baby to adjust to. It will either be easy or impossible.

When we transitioned my girl to her own room and her own bed, when she was a toddler.... it took time. I would still have to stay with her until she fell asleep, then sneaked out of her room. But I would explain to her, that after she falls asleep, Mommy will go. Sometimes, by this age, it's a little easier, and they cognitively can understand and are more capable. BUT, if she still wanted to sleep with us, we allowed that. We had no problem with that.

Co-sleeping can go on for years. It is up to you, at what point you want her to sleep on her own. There will be crying probably, because it is a big change for them. But, at some point, they will need to learn to self-soothe.

As far as baby getting enough sleep..... Your baby sleeps 10 hours with 2 night feedings. That seems fine. I am the type, that did not with-hold feedings if my babies go up at night. I nursed on demand throughout their baby-hood. At some point, they will sleep through the night... each baby has their own pattern at which they come to that point. My girl never slept through the night until she was 2-3 years old. My son on the other hand, slept through the night from about 16 months old. But, they do nap during the daytime still.

Here is a link on how many hours of sleep a baby needs:

Well, I could go on rambling more, but I should stop now. I don't know if this helped, but just sharing what I have gone through with my kids.

Good luck and take care,

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answers from Los Angeles on

L., I am a lot like you, psych in college, Dr. Sears etc. Long story short, transitioning to their own bed seems to be very individualized. We have 2 boys (3 & 4), who still sleep with us most nights. Our ped actually was very against co-sleeping. I actually switched drs over the issue. If your daughter is still feeding at night I would say let her sleep with you, you will just be up with her in the middle of the night. My sons were both sleeping aprox 10-12 hours a night (feedings 1-2 times) and then 1-2 hour naps. We tried the Ferberzing thing and with our first couldn't stand it. Right now they fall asleep in our bed and I move them to their beds when we come to bed. Sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night and crawl back in our bed, other nights they sleep all the way through in their own bed. My oldest has actually told me that he will be ready to sleep in his own bed when he is 5. I'm not holding my breath... I know right now I am ready for them to sleep in their own room; however, I would not change the way we did things if I had to do it over (or if we have another). I also know that I will miss them sleeping with us once they decide to sleep in their own bed. Keep doing what you are doing, if you are still enjoying it, chances are it is benefiting you daughter!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I slept with my son for 3 months.. I JUST put him in his crib last week. Put a nightlight in his room and soft music. He is doing great. Goes to bed at about 9 and up at 7 or eight, 2 night feedings. If your baby wakes in the night and IS NOT hungry, do not remlve her from crib. Put your hand on her chest firmly and she may go back to sleep. Good luck



answers from San Diego on

We loved co-sleeping with our kids too. Once we decided to move them to their own bed (around six months), we always started the night with them in their own crib. If they woke up and wanted to sleep with us, it was okay. Eventually, they wanted to sleep in their own bed. At the latest, they should be sleeping in their own bed a while before you try to potty train them. I had a friend who waited until her daughter was three to get her in her own bed and it was a good six months until she did so. They also were not able to "night" potty train her until after this was accomplished.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello L.,

My daughter slept in my bed with me until she was about nine months. She started crawling all over me and kicking me and slapping me through the night that I was exhausted by the time it was time to get up. Plus, I was worried about her falling off my bed that......well, let's just say, it was time to get her into her own room and into her safer bed!

This may be hard for moms (and dads), but I did let her cry it out. I set a time and stuck to it. She cried for hours for the first three days...then slowly but surely, she got the hang of it. She now falls asleep without any help from a bottle, pacifier or her thumb.

I have to warn is TOUGH listening to your baby cry, but if you want her to get used to sleeping on her own, it is imperative that you do not come back in the room! Check on her only when you know she's finally fallen asleep. Things should smooth out within a week. You will feel guilty and your heart will ache, but it will all be worth it.

good luck!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I co-slept with both of my daughters. Awesome! At her age, you may want to start a routine of books, nurse/feed and cuddle in bed. Let her fall asleep next to you and then move her to her bed. Some white noise (like a small fan) may help her relax & filter out the new noises in her room. If she wakes up, go to her for comfort and try again. As she masters that, you can modify the routine by taking her to her room when she has sleepy eyes.

We also keep a soothing night light in their room so that I can check on them.



answers from Los Angeles on

We co-slept wwith out first born and are currently co-sleeping with a 15 month old. What we did and are doing to slowly ease the kids into their own bed is to let them play in the crib during the day. We just put them in there with a bunch of books and hang out in the room with them or play music and let them get used to the environment.

Take Care,

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