Q&A: When is it “time” to stop co-sleeping?

A writes:

"When is it time to stop co sleeping?  And I don't mean 'you must not share a bed past 18 months'.  What are the signs that it is time to sleep separately, from an emotional/developmental point of view?

My son still falls asleep in my bed most nights.  And the nights he falls asleep in his own bed he comes into my bed at some point during the night.  I *try* not to make sleeping in his bed a punishment ("If you don't keep your head on the pillow you are going to sleep in your own bed tonight"  has escaped my mouth more than once).  And I like climbing into a bed that has been prewarmed, or waking up to my baby-turned-little-boy cuddles."

You can probably guess what I'm going to say by the fact that I put the word time in quotes in the title:

It's time to stop co-sleeping when it stops working for one of you.

Kids are all different, and some need to sleep in a certain place under certain conditions or they can hardly sleep at all. Others could sleep on a bench in Grand Central Station and get a solid 10 uninterrupted hours. Some really like to sleep with other people in the room, and others need to sleep alone.

Which sounds a lot like adults, too.

When you have a baby, co-sleeping or not co-sleeping is about principles, and How You Parent, and about what you think you should do. But once you have a preschooler it really just becomes about what makes things better for everyone involved in the equation tonight, because you know that it won't be the same in a few months no matter what you do.

The developmental signs for him are that he wants to sleep in his own bed. And the developmental signs for you are that you want him to sleep in his own bed.

If you and your cuddlebug like sleeping close, go for it. When one of you gets sick of it, it may be a big moment, or you may not even realize you've stopped co-sleeping until it's been awhile.

As long as you're being specific about respecting your kids' boundaries and teaching them to respect yours, do what works to get everyone as much sleep as possible.

 

87 thoughts on “Q&A: When is it “time” to stop co-sleeping?”

  1. My kids are three and five, and let me tell you, we’ve had at least twenty different sleeping configurations so far. I second Moxie. Do whatever gets everybody a decent night’s sleep.

  2. Co-sleeping is a fact of life in my house and my son is 4 and a half. However, our experience is a bit different than others perhaps. He rarely joins me or wants to sleep in my bed. He insists that “we” sleep in his bed. He still wants me to lie down with him to fall asleep at night. I go to sleep in my bed with the dog. Then frequently, my son wakes up during the night calling for me and wanting me to sleep with him in his bed. Then the dog decides to come in and join us. Even if we get through the whole night with each of us in respective beds, he calls out in the morning for a snuggle in HIS bed. The thing is, I don’t mind. After 2.5 plus years of no sleeping (frequent wake ups, night nursing, etc.) this is heaven and I will do what it takes to get this much sleep. Sometimes I wonder if some of this co-sleep need is a result of my son being in two homes (divorced and co-parenting). Apparently, according to his dad, he sleeps on his own at dad’s house. Or is this a legacy from the days of night nursing, etc? ask me again when he is 8 if I still relaxed about co-sleeping, lol.

  3. Ha.My son is 5 and he sleeps in his own bed in a pattern sort of like:
    Night 1 – all night
    Night 2 – comes in around 5
    Night 3 – comes in around 2
    Night 4 – suggests he sleep in our bed and is talked into his bed; comes in around midnight
    Night 5- outright sleeps in our bed
    Reset.
    Kids, I dunno. This works for us right now. 🙂

  4. I agree with everyone else. If it’s working and you are all getting sleep, it’s probably not time. If you or he are not getting the sleep you want/need, it’s probably getting closer to time. I would guess that if you start offering him a choice between your bed and his he will give you a pretty good indicator of when it’s time by choosing his own bed more and more consistently.

  5. I think, in my house at least, it will be a gradual change. My son is almost 2 ½ and we have co-slept from the very beginning. Some nights he asks to go to sleep in his room. He still nurses to sleep, so I lay down with him (he has a full size bed) until he falls asleep, then I leave. The longest he’s ever made it in there alone was about 4 hours. Most nights we go to sleep in our bed and honestly, I prefer it. On the nights he asks to sleep in his bed, I pretty much just lay awake, listening like a hawk for any noise coming from his room, which is kind of stressful. I like knowing exactly where he is and being able to comfort him immediately if he wakes up, which allows me to get as much sleep as possible. Plus it helps with some of the mommy guilt I feel for working full-time and being apart from him so much. I like having that extra time with him. I can’t see myself ever laying down the gauntlet and saying “Tonight is the last night in our bed.” I think over time he will prefer to have more of his own space and it will work itself out. But I also remember being as old as 11 or 12 and still kicking my Dad out of bed to sleep with my Mom. 🙂 So we’ll see.

  6. Both my girls have moved over into a bed of their own when sleeping next to me became more of a distraction than a comfort. It was pretty easy to tell with both of them that when they graduated to using me as a pacifier rather than the occasional snack, we would all sleep better with them in their own beds.This happened around 14 months for daughter #1 and 12 months for daughter #2.
    I second what everyone else has said – do what works and gets everyone the most amount of good quality sleep! If you are both happy with him in your bed, by all means go for it!

  7. Our daughter is 1 and cosleeps most of the night. Her crib is in our room, and my husband usually lies with her on our bed until she falls asleep, then transfers her to her crib. Some nights she’s up in an hour and we either rock her back to sleep or I bring her to bed, other–rarer–nights she makes it a whole 5 hours in a row and then I get up and take her into bed with me. My husband has taken up sleeping in the baby’s room (ha!) to get a good night’s sleep.Are we comfortable with the arrangement? Honestly, not always. I wish she’d sleep on her own all night. I wish she didn’t wake at every noise. I wish my husband and I had our bed back. I wish she’d fall asleep on her own. I wish I could stop obsessing about her sleep.
    But it’s the way she is, and luckily I have friends who’ve coslept, so I have people who can relate. The first few months of baby’s life I was a zombie, so at least these days I feel like a human being again. And I do enjoy her big smiles in the morning. I know I’ll look back and look fondly on these days, but sometimes it’s really hard to hear about other people’s babies who sleep 12 hours without a peep!

  8. I love sleeping with our kids, and they do, too. To echo a previous comment, both of our kids were horrid sleepers for their first 2.5 to 3 years of life. Lots of night nursing, night terrors, so having two warm bodies next to us that sleep through the night, is a cinch. Our sons are 6.5 and 4. Neither wants to sleep alone. They have their own beds, but these are loungey spaces in another bedroom, where they can have their own space as needed or desired during the day. If someone pipes up that he would like to sleep alone, we would certainly support him in this decision. But honestly, I do not see this happening for at least a few years. Sometimes, I feel odd when people find out that we all sleep in a big king size bed. My parents certainly find a 6.5 year old too old to be sleeping with us. But it works for us, and we all sleep well and through the night.

  9. I’ve been wondering when it is “time” myself. My daughter is 1.5 and is still sharing a bed with us. She and I go to bed early, and my husband joins us later. I still love it 90% of the time, but I also get tired of the aches that come with sleeping in a certain postion. However, I know my daughter is still not ready to sleep on her own. She will hardly take a nap without someone laying with her. It’ll be a while before she moves into her own bed.

  10. One small boy and me and we have a routine pretty much identical to @anne minus the dog. And I don’t mind the co-sleeping either pretty much for the same reason – it works and is a zillion times better than it used to be.

  11. No opinion on when cosleeping should stop. Like others, whatever works for you is fine. I wanted to comment that I don’t think saying “keep your head on the pillow or you have to sleep in your bed” is a punishment. Assuming he understands it, then that sounds to me like a perfectly acceptable consequence and he can choose whether to keep his head on the pillow and sleep with mom or he can choose not to do that and sleep in his own room or a blanket on the floor. Just my opinion, but I know I couldn’t sleep with a wriggly toddler so if we coslept we’d have to have rules like that to make it bearable.

  12. I’m partial night cosleeping with a one year old now, and it is working well. She starts the night in her crib, and comes in to our bed when she first wakes up. (Despite what my grandma says, I see no evidence that this “makes” her wake up, and it is just easiest for me this way.) Things get rough when she gets sick and wakes up a lot (we’re just coming out of a period like this now)- but honestly, I think they’d be rough no matter where she was sleeping. At least this way I don’t have to haul my tired butt down the hall.My older child did a similar partial night cosleeping thing with us for about 6 months I think, starting when she was 18 months old. It ended when she started sleeping through the night, at about 2 years old.
    I think you’ll know when you’re ready to quit- or your son will.
    The only “advice” I’ll give is that you might want to take a look at a copy of Bedtiming, to get some ideas about when it might be easiest to change the arrangement. For instance, I used to have to snuggle Pumpkin to sleep in her bed. It sometimes took ages, and once Petunia arrived, I knew this had to change. Based on what I read in Bedtiming, I decided to stick it out until Pumpkin was about 3 years old, and then make the change. I have to say- it worked out amazingly well. I’m probably jinxing us now, but it only took a few nights to make the change, there wasn’t much crying, and 6 months later, she still falls asleep on her own. I consider this one of my parenting success stories. (Potty training is my parenting fail story, if you’re curious….)

  13. I read these comments with some wistfulness, since I wanted to co-sleep with my son, but we didn’t make it past five months. I have one of those “certain place under certain conditions or they can hardly sleep at all” kids and he has required a quiet, dark room in which he is alone since babyhood. They even build him a “nap cave” out of a blanket and table at preschool so he’ll nap. I felt bad moving him into his own room at 5 months, but the transition was pretty easy and we all slept much better– so I guess it was a temperament thing.But, FWIW, my Iranian neighbors told me it’s the norm in Iran for a kid to sleep w/ their parents until they’re 7 or 8 years old. They don’t actually co-sleep themselves since they’re both MDs working full time– as they point out, in Iran most moms stay home and tend to co-nap with their kid in the afternoon to make up for any sleep deprivation that results from a restless night. Same story in Japan (co-sleeping ’til age 7 or 8, mostly stay at home moms). A pal from Sri Lanka says everyone sleeps with someone, but not necessarily the parents (she slept w/ her grandma on the floor ’til she was 6 or 7).
    Which all goes to reinforce Moxie’s point: do whatever works for you, there is no “right” time to stop. OTOH, no need to keep doing something just because you feel like you “should”. (If I had my druthers, that word would be banned from the English language.)

  14. Our son really helped to guide this decision, though I prompted the purchase of the bed to move the time line along. We had co-slept from birth. I think we purchased and set up a toddler bed for him when he was about 28 months old. We didn’t move him into the bed right away. Just kept it set up in his room and talked to him about sleeping there. One night, maybe 6 weeks after we had set the bed up, my husband asked “Would you like to try sleeping in your bed tonight?” He said yes and that was that. 🙂 We still have a rather long bedtime routine and we all still hang out together reading or relaxing until he falls asleep, but it is in his own room and he is in his own bed. When/if he night wakes, he stays in bed, but calls to one of us to come in and see him. We trade off on who does that and my husband and I have different techniques at that point. My husband lays on the floor next to his bed, whereas I recline in a chair I placed in there for that very reason.

  15. “My son still falls asleep in my bed most nights. And the nights he falls asleep in his own bed he comes into my bed at some point during the night…And I like climbing into a bed that has been prewarmed, or waking up to my baby-turned-little-boy cuddles.”Um, yes? And my son is 4 1/2.
    That being said…he *is* getting harder to move to his bed (every night he seems leggier). And a year ago we moved abroad and downsized to a queen. Which, let me tell you, kind of sucks because he is only getting bigger.
    But he is generally a polite cosleeper–doesn’t kick or move around too much (I couldn’t cosleep with his sister past about 9 months, she was SO restless).
    And now he overwhelmingly wakes up in his own bed and comes trotting in for morning snuggles. Sometimes the “morning” part is a little iffy (5:something), but he is a lark like me so we don’t usually fall back to sleep. (My husband usually misses whatever exchanges we have until I pound him over the head at a quarter to 7 to get up right this instant.) The morning climb in routine has gotten later over time overall, but it’s not a linear progression. Sometimes there will be a few nights of him coming in at 1 or 2 or 3, then it’s back to 5 or 6 or 6:30.
    Right now he shares a room with his sister (age 6), who likes to read for 30 min before bed, go to sleep with a strong nightlight, and will chatter with him until she falls asleep. I couldn’t go to sleep under those conditions either.
    I am hoping when he gets his own room (1-2 yrs, assuming we can figure out where to move), it will be easier to entice him to go to sleep in his own bed. In the meantime, it clearly makes him feel happy/secure and it’s not like I NEED my bed at 7:30pm. I mean, I do, but that need goes unfulfilled for another 3-4 hrs.
    Anyway, if I try to make a big deal about where he goes to sleep he whines and throws a tantrum, instead of just waving and happily trotting off to my bed by himself. Seems like a no-brainer…at least to me and my husband.

  16. I second everything that Callie said, including the extra snuggles for the WOHM. We co-sleep with both boys (17 months and 3yo), DH with older and me with younger. Still night nursing. They both sleep better with someone there. I’m kind of hoping we can put them together to sleep once the younger one weans.

  17. Oh, I just wanted to add that for a while we were making him sleep on the floor if he came in before it was light out. I’m assuming that was during a long period of true middle of the night (midnight to 3) interruptions. I can’t remember why we stopped the floor thing…I’m guessing his nights got longer again.SLEEPING. NOT LINEAR.
    (and wasn’t there once a discussion about how cosleeping with your 2 year old was suburbia’s dirty little secret? because EVERYBODY does it at some point, a little or a lot, because of How Two Year Olds Are?)

  18. What @Kate said about sleep being NOT LINEAR. So true.DS just turned 3, and we have co-slept with him pretty much since birth. Since age 2.5, he has started the night in his own full bed (he recently stopped napping altogether and this has resulted in him falling asleep much earlier than before). He usually comes into our bed sometime during the night after 3 am, and snuggles with me.
    DD just turned one and hates to co-sleep. Putting her in her own crib at the first sign of drowsiness is the only way she gets enough rest. She is pretty much a textbook sleeper and I can hardly believe it. I was raised co-sleeping with my parents – until about age 12 I would still come into their bed, so to have a baby sleeping all by herself in a crib is a bit strange for me. Clearly, that’s what she prefers because all prior attempts at co-sleeping with her were a big FAIL resulting in no one getting any sleep.
    To be perfectly honest, this arrangement (kids each start the night in their own beds) is the one we all prefer – everyone gets plenty of sleep, and it gives DH and me a few hours to ourselves after the kids have gone to bed, and we can actually have sex in our own bed!

  19. Our 3.5y/o starts the night in his bed, with one of us snuggling us. Unless he’s really restless, and then we drive him around/push him in a stroller, weather depending. Sometime in the middle of the night/early morning (between 4-6 generally), he hollers for my husband to snuggle with him in his bed. Daddy trots in and snoozed for the rest of the night. Honestly, my husband and I would prefer that the kid sneak into our bed than hollering and demanding that we sleep with him. Our bed is bigger and more comofortable (3 people in a king is better than 2 in a twin) and the kid is up anyway, he may as well sneak and let us sleep. Alas, it’s not meant to be.

  20. @sueinithaca,ITA about kid coming to you. When we were in the king size bed sometimes I would find him there between me and DH in the morning and have no recollection of him arriving. Which meant that I had experienced quality sleep, so yay!Looky here, I don’t chime into a Moxie post in ages and now I am verily frothing at the mouth with responses. Apologies.

  21. On the dreaded “should” word: how to you answer people like your pediatrician when they ask if you’re co sleeping (or night nursing) and they tell you the baby SHOULD be sleeping in their own bed or SHOULD be sleeping through the night? I don’t want to lie to my pediatrician, but I also get tired of feeling like a failure whenever they tell me I SHOULD be night weaning by now. Do you like? Make something up? Go into your reasons? It’s easy to tell friends or relatives to buzz off, but not so much your pediatrician.

  22. I will second @Cloud’s point about timing, when you are ready for a change.Though we don’t co-sleep (DS at 2y4m is too restless and would BF all.night.long – both of which drive me nuts and mean no sleep for me), I did pay very close attention to timing when we helped DS learn how to sleep through the night (aka sleep trained him). Like @Cloud, there was minimal pain & suffering on both sides (his & mine) and we had success within about 3-5 nights.
    We’ve done it twice so far. Yes, it’s worth repeating @Kate’s comment again: SLEEPING. NOT LINEAR. Each time I waited until what seemed like the right timing (outside of regression periods, DS didn’t have anything overly unusual going on and I had enough energy/will power and/or was desperate for better sleep).
    Second time around I was feeling pressure from DH to do it sooner, but I’m glad I insisted on waiting. It’s hard to explain what the ‘right’ time feels like, but I’m sure Bedtiming does a good job of explaining the theory behind the timing. That book is on my ‘to read’ list, but so far we’ve just been winging it. So far, so good.

  23. Wait, some people have a choice in the matter of starting or stopping co-sleeping? By people, I of course mean adults/parents. Because in my experience, it’s totally determined by the kids, because if they aren’t sleeping, we are sleeping.My daughter is 3.5 and has been starting the night off in her own crib/bed since 6 months old (minus a 2 week experiment) only to end up with us in her bed or her in our bed most nights. I often tell people that the best thing that happened for our sleep was moving her to the twin bed in her nursery at 18 months old, because when she woke up she could just come in our room and into bed with us instead of screaming for one of us to get her out of her crib. I would say 75% of the time, she crawls in bed with us and falls back asleep. More and more, like @Kate, I have no recollection of her coming in. And depending on the phase, there are many nights she sleeps through in her own bed without us. But as long as we’re getting sleep, we don’t care if she comes in ours.
    But once we transition the 16 month old to start the night in his crib at 6 months and did some sleep training, he was no longer able to cosleep at all. I know this is still true, because I tried just last night. He gets more and more awake with me lying beside him. He is snuggly at first, but then gets up and plays. So with him, he’s pretty much stopped cosleeping and I can’t convince him to go to sleep that way. Instead, it’s the walking or the rocking for SO FREAKING LONG to get him back to sleep, slip him back in the crib and sneak out the room without waking him. Doesn’t always work. In fact, I just posted a poem about just that.
    Did I mention I’m really tired today?

  24. @Jane – I say this to the pediatrician(s) (it’s a practice), “She’s still coming into bed with us at night when she wakes up (or whatever the deal is). But it’s working for us, so we’re okay with it.”I will no longer see the pediatrician in the practice who basically gave me a lecture after saying some version of that.
    For all well-visits, we see the doctor who was understanding about my daughter’s sleep issues and not judgemental about that issues or others. She has told us things like, “Well, you know we’d like for her to stop taking a bottle by X” but without judgement when I say we’ll see and make no commitment. We understand that she’s supposed to say those things, and she knows that we know and are still parenting our particular children and their needs. But because I can be honest with her, she’s become our biggest ally in sleep and other issues with my daughter. And it’s really neat to have her understand our excitement that our son is a pretty good sleeper.

  25. @caramama – “Instead, it’s the walking or the rocking for SO FREAKING LONG to get him back to sleep, slip him back in the crib and sneak out the room without waking him.” I remember those days all too well! Hang in there – sending good sleeping vibes your way!

  26. My, how timely.I’m in the process of kicking Fitz-Hume out of my bed this week.
    I have loved, srsly LOVED co-sleeping (loved it more than cheesecake and really good brownies, in fact), but when she started doing headstands in the morning and falling on my head and playing with my hair for hours on end and shoving me in the neck all morning until I woke up stiff and sore and when Milbarge, who had been out of our beds for MONTHS, started getting crabby about Fitz-Hume still being in my bed and demanding to come over and began kicking and fidgeting for an hour every morning and I started getting out of bed pissed off, tired and in pain every single morning?
    Yeah. It was time for us.
    I sat the girls down and said “It’s enough. You’re old enough to sleep in your own cribs and I am definitely old enough to sleep in my own bed. I love snuggling with you in the morning, but I need my sleep, so here’s the deal: If you need to come into my bed at night, I’m getting up as soon as I wake up and we’re all going downstairs. When you’re in my bed all night, I am too tired to snuggle and read books in the morning. If you sleep in your cribs,” (switch to happy voice) “you can come over to my bed in the morning after I wake up and we can all snuggle up under the covers and we can read books together, and WON’T THAT BE NICE?”
    For a few mornings, they woke up fussy and distressed at the magical Get In Mom’s Bed point (about 4am, or in military time, Goddamnit) and I went over and talked to them softly and told them that I was sure looking forward to snuggling with them later in the morning, but that they needed to stay in bed for a little longer. I tucked them back in and made sure they were comfortable and then faceplanted back in my pillow for a few hours.
    This morning they didn’t even wake me up for that. We all got up at 7:45. It was bliss.
    Tomorrow we’re going to have a nightlight that will come on at 7:30. If the nightlight is on, they can wake me up. If it’s not, they have to stay in bed.
    I’m curious to see how this will work out.

  27. My own early childhood was filled with co-sleeping; I slept in my parents’ bed until I was 6. My mom says she felt like I needed extra comfort more than my siblings did. Whether there is causality here is not determined, but it’s interesting that I am also the only one of the kids who went AWAY to college– and graduated. I became a very independent person, perhaps because of my very comfort-filled early years.My daughter is going to be sleeping in bed with me until she doesn’t want to be there anymore.
    Adorable anecdote: My sister’s kids are 18 months apart. They slept with mama until they were 5 and 3.5. At that point, the 5 year old decided she wanted to sleep in her bed. Within 2 weeks, the 3.5 year old decided that he wanted to sleep with his sister again, so he started sleeping on her floor. They were both very happy with that arrangement!

  28. Oh, and my mom occasionally let me go to sleep in bed with her when my dad was working nights. I was older than a pre-schooler, but still in elementary school. BUT she used to tell me that I could stay as long as I didn’t keep fidgeting. I didn’t then and don’t know think that was a bad thing. In fact, with my own fidgety daughter, I totally plan on implementing that as well.

  29. We were never co-sleepers, but since DS turned 3 it’s been happening more and more. I think it’s cuz I am too pregnant and tired to try to keep him in his bed, and also his night time issues seem so much more emotional than when he was a baby (monsters! bad dreams!. So it now seems about once a week he’s arriving in my bed somewhere between 1 and 5. It only happens when my husband is travelling (clearly he knows that DH would be more consistent about him staying in his own bed). I really don’t mind either. I love the snuggles and with only a few weeks until #2 arrives, I’m really trying to give him all the time and attention and snuggles he’s craving.He’s also a lark and frequently climbs into bed with me in the early morning where we snuggle (but don’t sleep) until it’s time to wake up.
    I find it funny that we made it through almost 3 years of no cosleeping only to have it happen now.
    Come to think of it, it may be the new baby’s impending arrival that is partially responsible for these more frequent wakeups – even if he’s not expressing it, am sure he must be feeling stressed.

  30. Our little guy started doing the whole fall asleep in his own bed and then wake up and come into our bed around 16 months or so. And then, when he was around 2.5ish, he just stopped waking up in the middle of the night.And we sang the hallelujah chorus.
    He’s almost 4 now and has only come back to bed on nights when he is sick, which I can count on one hand. Sometimes I miss it, but mainly I love the fact that no one’s foot ends up in my mouth at 2am anymore.
    Good luck!

  31. @Jane: My pediatrician is a lovely person and always uses the word “can”. As in, “You can stop nursing at night now if you want to.” and “He can drink cow’s milk now.” or “You can start using time outs at this age if you want.”, etc.So, when your ped uses the word “should”, why not just ask, “Do you mean we “can” do it if we want or do you mean we really “should”? What are you worried will happen if we don’t do XYZ right now?” Ask for evidence to back up any assertions. If they can’t come up w/ some evidence (i.e. recent studies, new consensus among medical professionals) and some consequences that matter to you, feel free to ignore the advice because your ped is clearly offering an opinion or belief, not medical advice.
    I’m fine w/ my ped offering me her opinions/advice– but I try to make the distinction between medical advice based on scientific evidence and clinical practice versus her opinions as a fellow mom who happens to deal with lots of parents and kids. A lot of docs develop a belief system and then try to cloak it as medical advice (I believe this is what the entire sleep book industry is based on) but a lot of it is (IMHO) b.s.; if you find yourself with a pediatrician who is really insistent about opinions that fall into the “beliefs” category (e.g. when to stop night nursing, when a baby should sleep through the night, use of time outs, etc.) you may want to find someone more evidence based and less opinionated!

  32. he’ll be four in 6 weeks and is still in a crib! i’ve co-slept a total of 10 or so times, all but two on vacations and those two during colds. of course, he’s not potty trained – god gets even somewhere.

  33. @Jane – What @Blue Bird Mama said exactly! I remember some really good discussion around here once about “the role of the professional” vs. “the role of the parent.” The Professional is supposed to convey the conventional wisdom, what the reputable journals are currently saying, what the scientifically-determined best practices are currently, etc. Not pull things from their asses. I think we as parents often know at a gut level when that is going on, so we often have to self-edit what we tell them, or find someone new – but not everyone has a lot of options there.However, co-sleeping is one of those areas where not every ped is going to be super comfy with going on the medical record saying “I think this is totally safe!” – even though I think it is for my family. Know what I mean? You’ve read the alarmist headlines about co-sleepers taking certain meds/drugs that made them sleep too heavily… Anyway, there is usually some CYA/defensive medicine going on at least some of the time – and in our litigious society, honestly, if I were a doc I would totally be that way, too! So, long-winded way of saying, take it with a grain of salt, like anything.

  34. I wanted to co-sleep with both of my girls badly; however it turns out that sleeping with either one of them (3.5 and 1) is like sleeping with a disgruntled bobcat. they toss, they turn, they cry, they wake up and want to play chutes and ladders at 4 am. I tried with each of them for months , but we all sleep better alone. sigh.

  35. Mouse would never co-sleep with us after 3 months or so, but at 6 1/2 she still prefers to have someone hang out with her while she falls asleep. She CAN do it on her own of course, but generally I feel like why force her? She usually asks a couple questions, tells me or Mr. C any worries she has, cuddles for a bit, then kicks us out of bed and we sit on her couch quietly until she’s out. Which, since we no longer put her to bed inappropriately early, is usually 10 minutes or something.I guess I mention this because I believe this is one of the HORRIBLE OUTCOMES that the sleep books warn you about if you don’t enforce independent sleep from an early age. (And btw @BlueBirdMama, right on!) And, um, it’s really pretty much fine. I sometimes think I ought to be embarrassed about it but aside from that “should be” I’m not really. I figure she’ll want more by-herself time once she’s reading bigger chapter books and then it will happen easily enough.

  36. @ caramama: I totally agree–the kid dictated the cosleeping for us. I was pretty much against it before she was born, but then decided cosleeping was WAY better than walking around feeling like a sleep-deprived army experiment.I think that leaves me feeling a little guilty and frustrated about cosleeping sometimes, though. There are middle-of-the-nights where I feel like we “should” be done with the nightwakings by now. Or we “should” be at the point where sleep is no longer an issue. And the sleep-book advice goes round and round my head and I think I’m ruining her or something. But then morning comes and I can usually see the light again.

  37. I am with the few others who were unable to co-sleep but would have loved it. My 2.5 year old son is a spirited tornado and only sleeps in his crib or VERY occasionally the car. Car sleep never ends well. So, he naps and sleeps in a crib here and at my mom’s for day care. We are trapped by that schedule and have never even attempted a vacation.He has his nest in his crib and needs to roll and crash and somersault himself to sleep. I am so afraid of the crib to bed switch that I am delaying it for as long as possible.
    I think the ability to co-sleep is a blessing. You can comfort your child by being there. I’ve never been able to do that and sometimes it feels really yucky to not be able to cuddle your child. He is way too busy to stop for that long.
    Enjoy your cuddles as long as you both are comfortable. Sounds wonderful to me.

  38. The “should” ped talk interests me. May be it’s because I’m Canadian and “you get what you don’t pay for” in terms of medical care but I couldn’t even imagine having sleep and nursing conversations with my family doctor. For one thing, where I live, peds are only accessible upon a referral from a family doctor – so it must be a fairly serious medical issue. I’m lucky my doc remembers me (or my son) as we haven’t had to go too often since he had his 18 month vaccine (he’s now 4.5 years), and while I trust her medical abilities and that of a ped, tell me what training in med school/and residency gives them the power or expertise to tell a mother where or how her child should sleep or when her child should stop nursing! sorry, I know others might disagree with me…you do what works for you and your children. Sorry if this offends anyone – I do respect physicians but sometimes I feel they go outside their scope of abilities and we enable them by asking for and trying to adhere to their words on matters that are not technically “medical”.

  39. I think the first thing I remember learning from Moxie was the “Everybody sleeps” rule and we quickly instituted it. The 11 month old falls asleep in our bed between 8-9 and then is put in her crib where she sleeps until 7am. It works for her. The 3yo currently wants to sleep with us and I let her. DH isn’t too excited about it, but I find it hard to argue with the 3yo’s logic. She says, “Mommy and Daddy sleep in here. Cora sleeps in here. The dog and 2 kitties sleep in here. Why I have to sleep in my room?” I really can’t compete with that. And FWIW, I’m 36 and I still sleep with my momma when I visit her!

  40. @caramama: ditto to what @mom2boy said. I used to count my rocks (I think I got to 300+ on bad nights) as it was the only way I could occupy my brain to stop me from losing it. Rocking for hours on end. Argh. I feel your pain. And the worst part is that you’re always worried you’re going to wake them up when you put them in the crib or when you walk out of the room. And some of the time you do, which means back to square one. I really do feel your pain. Hang in there.@BlueBirdMama & @Hush, Well said regarding how to handle a doctor’s ‘shoulds’. Though I don’t think our family doc says should (well maybe about when DS should not be drinking from a bottle – he seemed fixated on that), but I often feel like he’s raising an eyebrow when we’re talking about BF. I’m going to keep an eye out for exactly how he phrases things, and then address it from there for anything that makes me uncomfortable, or if it’s not clear what he is implying. Overall, I think he’s acting like a professional as described by @Hush, but the line is easily blurred between opinion/belief and scientific best practices.
    The word ‘should’ certainly does cause a lot of trouble.
    @Anne, Oh am I hoping that we will be able to sing the hallelujah chorus at 2.5.
    @marci, You’re giving me hope that we’ll actually be able to keep DS in a crib until he’s physically capable of walking up and downstairs on his own, in the semi-dark, while half asleep. Our bedroom is upstairs from DS’ and I feel like we can’t move him out of a crib until he’s mastered the stairs skill fully.

  41. Neither of my girls will co-sleep. I’m not crazy about doing it either, but have tried with both of them in attempt to get everyone in the house as much sleep as possible, as Moxie says. It has never worked. Both of them are just too distracted by my presence to actually fall and stay asleep.The latest attempt was just two nights ago, with my 9 month old kicking me and screaming as I tried in vain to soothe her beside me. It didn’t work, in fact made it worse. So then I tried the rocking chair, no go. Pacing the floor for hours on end finally, Finally, worked. For a couple hours anyway. Then start all over. Feelin’ the same pain as @caramama right now.
    @BlueBirdMama “A lot of docs develop a belief system and then try to cloak it as medical advice (I believe this is what the entire sleep book industry is based on)”… you’ve just enlightened me on my constant, 3+year trust-fail-guilt cycle with the Sleep Authorities. I think you’re right and I never thought of it that way before. I have a hard time accepting that how my baby sleeps is ok, and I think its because I’ve invested too much time and trust in the sleep books. I need to just let it go. Let. It. Go. Easier said than done. But thanks for your comment.
    And re: the doc’s “should’s”… I had a doctor tell me once that I “should not breastfeed on the breast with mastitis, just let it be.” when in fact that is the worst thing you can do when you have mastitis. I haven’t seen him since. Really, REALLY take the should’s seriously… sometimes they are just plain wrong!

  42. I LOVE LOVE LOVE sleeping with my kids (10, 8, 4). We all sleep together, and I don’t think any of us are contemplating being done with this arrangement yet.I sleep so much better when we are all together. I feel like my reptile brain can only completely relax during sleep when we are all together. If one of them isn’t there, I always feel a little section of my brain on alert.
    I am so critical of my own mothering in so many ways, and worry that I am not doing things right. This is the only aspect of my parenting that I am 100% sure I am doing perfectly.* It is especially important for us if we have had a trying day, to relax into that peaceful, oxtytocin cloud of snuggly sleep. It is a little blessing for us every night. I hope they sleep with me until they have children of their own. (But when they choose to sleep elsewhere, they will, of course, get to!!)
    * Perfectly ***for us*** — I don’t mean perfectly for you. Your perfectly is probably something different. I am just so grateful to have one perfect thing where I don’t have to second-guess myself!!!!

  43. At first we co-slept with our twin girls, and then around 4 months we did the “start the night in the crib, co-sleep when they wake” thing, and we’re still doing that here at 9 months. We used to go six hours before their first wake, but sleep has gotten crappy lately, so now they’re ready to come into our bed around 11pm. I can’t say I love it all the time, but for now, it’s the best system we have.I’m constantly rolling around bits Weissbluth/Ferber in my head, thinking that I need (or “should”) get them to learn how to fall back asleep on their own, in the cribs, but it’s always something: teething, a cold, a growth spurt, etc. And I just don’t feel ready to force them to stay in their cribs all night. It’s too much work and heartache for me and my husband, and co-sleeping isn’t bad. Yes, I wish I had more time alone with my husband, but I keep telling myself we’ll get there. Maybe around 12 mos. I’ll reassess things a bit, but for now we’ll definitely continue to co-sleep and nurse throughout the night because it makes us all happy.
    I should note, though, that many of my friends and extended family think we need to sleep train them now and get them in their cribs all night long. I feel the pain of any other moms who feel constantly bombarded by unsolicited advice. It does nothing but make you question your instincts, but you just need to remember: you’re the mom! I’ve had a really hard time with this at points, but I keep coming back to this: my girls need me right now to make them feel good and loved, so I’m going to do that as best I can and try not to care when any of my friends, family or pediatrician disagree.

  44. Just a Tale of Two Pediatricians:Ped A saw my daughter when she was very little. He was satisfied with her growth and development, told me I could put her on solids at 4 months (but didn’t have to) and then when she was 10 months told me if I didn’t nightwean her I’d make her fat (!!!) and she’d never sleep through the night. (Really? Never?) He also never picked up on her dairy sensitivity, which was the cause of her nightly screaming due to gas. That was the end of Ped A.
    Ped B made suggestions. She suggested that I nightwean when I was 7 months pg with #2. (I did, in fact), but left the decision up to me and wholeheartedly supported the idea of tandem nursing.
    Ped B was not only concerned with the growth and development of my children but also with how I was doing. Was I sleeping enough? (No, but I was ok. Usually.) Was I eating properly? (I tried.) How was my husband? How were the kids doing with each other? She of course dealt with the medical needs at hand, but was totally right in realizing that each child is part of a larger family unit that also needs “care and feeding” (as it were).
    And now I live 5,700 miles away from her. Sigh.

  45. My son is almost 8 years old and still wakes up at least once a night and wants come to sleep with us, he still needs me to lie down next to him before he falls asleep.He was 3 1/2 yrs old when we adopted him from Ethiopia, and in Africa he never slept alone before becoming part of our family.
    Our pediatrician says he will eventually grow it out, it’s been 4 years and all I can say is I can’t wait. I’m a very light sleeper and have been using lorezapam 1mg to help me.

  46. Okay, practical question here. We didn’t co-sleep with our now almost four year old. Didn’t want to, didn’t need to. But his little brother, now eight months, is a different story. He ends up with us many a night, or at least early in the morning, and I’m mostly okay with it as long as he starts out in his own bed.But here’s my worry: he’s about to start crawling (already very mobile by rolling) and when he sleeps with us, he sleeps longer than we do (we have to get up for work, he’s warm and comfy and sleeps right through the alarm). I don’t feel safe leaving him in our bed by himself, so to me that seems to mean that we have to stop co-sleeping, which I think will mean that we all get less sleep, especially him. Any words of advice from you all?

  47. I love you people! And I wish you all tons of good, solid sleep.@the milliner – Exactly! With my daughter, I used to count how many steps it took to pace the room, how many times I paced during a minute, and similar tricks. Now I write blog posts or poems in my head (hence the one I posted yesterday).
    And for what it’s worth, my boy slept through the night last night and woke up in a great mood. Molar isn’t quite through, but it must have stopped moving for one night. My daughter, OTOH, came to bed with us around 2 AM and had a freak out because the dog was “touching her!” You know, the dog who sleeps in our bed every. single. night. The dog she is used to having there all the time. The dog she snuggles with half the time. I blame Three-And-A-Half for that tantrum.

  48. @ Anne – I completely agree with you. Peds in the States seem to feel as though they’re co-parenting or something. It’s weird, and can be pretty condescending. That said, I have a super fantastic pediatrician who walks on water. (He makes house calls! For sick children and new babies, with a black physician’s bag and everything. He’s also a certified lactation consultant.)I had a fantasy of co-sleeping before DS#1 was born, but it never really worked out, once he was older than 3 months or so. We never slept well and it turned out neither did he. So he’s always been a crib sleeper, and at 7 1/2 we did a modified CIO (because he was just freaking out every night and nothing was helping – ironically, leaving him alone helped, and after 2 nights he slept through the night & has done so since). He goes to bed early, wakes up early, and can’t sleep in the same bed with me. I miss early morning cuddles, but we all sleep better. We had a misfire experiment with a big boy bed, though – after a couple of weeks (he’s 2.5, plenty old enough) we brought back the crib because it was too distracting for him. It’s the same reason he can’t sleep in our bed – he gets too distracted and stimulated and then can’t sleep. He was playing in his room for hours after being put to bed, and then was cranky all day from not enough sleep. So he sleeps on his own but perhaps will be in the crib forever??? DS#2 loves to sleep with me, and might for longer because he is cuddlier generally than his brother.
    I really like the image of kids going to sleep in their own beds and then coming in the wee hours to join mom & dad. There isn’t anything more wonderful as a child than crawling into your parents’ warm bed. I still remember this from elementary school, when sick or upset about something. We never cuddled, it was enough just being close to her.

  49. @CG – We had that issue with my daughter when she was a baby (and still do). Our bed is very high off the ground, so it’s a real concern for us. We put pillows at the edges that she might roll near, and that really takes care of it for her. I also watched her the first few times I left her alone in our bed (I could see her from my bathroom sink) to make sure that the pillows were enough. For her, they were.I know others who have put the bed rails on their own beds or pushed one side of the bed against a wall. On vacations, we’ve also put a layer of pillows on the floor in case she does fall.
    @Kristina – We transitioned my daughter to a twin bed in the nursery when she was 18 months old and were very worried about her rolling around and falling off. We put the mattresses (box spring and mattress) on the floor and lined the floor next to the bed with pillows. She fell off a couple times, but learned very quickly where the edge was and stayed on. Though we still have her mattress on the floor, we no longer bother lining the floor with pillows. Just a thought for when you are ready to transition him.

  50. I love this topic because I get a lot of negative feedback from friends and family because my 21 month old sleeps with us (and, actually – he starts out on his own and comes to our bed somewhere during the night). I feel confident that we’re doing what’s right for us – but I certainly do get tired of other people’s opinions.My question is, what do you do when you have another child? Cosleeping early on was super helpful with night nursing, but I can’t imagine my toddler sleeping inbetween us along with a newborn?

  51. @Sandia – We used the Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper for the baby right next to my side of the bed. The baby slept either in the cosleeper or between me and the cosleeper. My daughter would cosleep between my hubby and I. (The dog and sometimes cat would be at the bottom of the bed. We were very thankful to have a king-sized bed.)I know other people have done the same with their side of the bed against the wall or with a crib rail.

  52. @Anne – I don’t think the fact that you don’t discuss sleep/parenting issues with your GP is a “Canadian” thing or a “get what you pay for” thing. Our GP is WONDERFUL, supportive, uses the “can” language instead of the “should” language and always asked about nursing and sleeping – not even always for the baby’s sake but for mine (i.e. along the veins of making sure I was doing okay). A couple of times I’ve gone to her with gut-feeling concerns which she has taken very seriously (thank god) – it seems her basic philosophy is that Mothers KNOW. Love her.

  53. @Melba, OMG! I can’t believe your doc told you *not* to BF from the breast with mastitis! Argh. Totally frustrating.I must admit that when I got mastitis my first call was to La Leche. Who then referred me to a lactation consultant/chiro, who was awesome. And that lac cons referred me to an AMAZING family doctor who was very knowledgeable in BF. If she was not an hour drive away, I would totally make her my regular family doc (and may still).
    My fam doc now is OK, but I knew BF was not his specialty. He did end up prescribing me antibiotics and was very sympathetic (his wife had had mastitis several times), but didn’t offer anything extra like draining of the breast, prescription nipple cream or a referral for ultrasound to help break up the milk build up. But the care I got from the lac cons and other fam doc (see above) was really supportive and great.
    @Anne, I’m in Canada here too. Though I agree that our family doctor / paediatrician situation is greatly different from the US, I don’t really agree that doctors shouldn’t provide support and assistance with things like sleeping and BF.
    That being said, I think it’s their responsibility to deliver information in a non-judgemental way, in the way that @Hush and @BlueBirdMama outline:
    “The Professional is supposed to convey the conventional wisdom, what the reputable journals are currently saying, what the scientifically-determined best practices are currently, etc.”
    So yes, I want my doc to tell me that the WHO rec for BF is for a min of 1 year and ideally to 2 years. I also want them to tell me that conventional wisdom is that BF is a partnership between child and mother, so the decision of when to stop needs to be weighed with the needs of the each participant (i.e. you make your own decision), etc. etc. I don’t want them to tell me what to do, but I do want them to help me make an informed choice.
    Also, a family doctor has the benefit of seeing a lot of patients and I think they can relay that experience into helping patients discover other options or have an idea what their peers are doing (if it interests them).
    As @Kate said, I think good doctors “[realize] that each child is part of a larger family unit that also needs “care and feeding.” It’s the soft skills a doctor should have to go along with clinical assessments.
    Of course I say all of this realising not all doctors are great. And you can’t necessarily get a doctor that meshes with your world view. And if your doc has a completely opposite world view and is not open to yours (and you can’t get a new doctor), then you’re probably better off sticking to clinical assessments. And esp. here in Canada, doctors are sooooo overloaded and booked that you always feel like you’re being yanked out of the room after your 15 minutes is up. This frustrates me to no end. And not a lot of time for discussion on anything outside of clinical assessments.
    But I think it is a different issue than what service your doc should provide. And that we should strive towards more well rounded service & relationships with our doctors than what everything has evolved to: being treated like cattle with numbers going through a revolving door. Aaaahhh…the Canadian health system. No shortage of opinions on that… 🙂

  54. I have another question for fellow co-sleepers. What did you do when the baby started crawling? I know some people push one side of the bed against the wall or move the mattress to the floor but neither option is practical for us (king sized bed doesn’t fit in the room length-wise and the frame is too large to store elsewhere in our apartment). We are happily co-sleeping with our 5 month old but he is rolling over like crazy and starting to inch forward. I’m hesitant to leave the room when he’s in bed but I don’t want to go to sleep at 7:30pm, and I have to get up and use the bathroom at least once a night (thanks to two pregnancies!). Any other good options?

  55. I agree with Moxie et al to do what works best for you and your son! My son is 3 and we co-slept off and on his first 2 years then every single night from 2-3 he was in our bed and now he, on his own, wanted to sleep in his own room mostly. Maybe because he turned 3 or maybe because I had rearranged the furniture in a nicer way (can’t be sure.)I know what you mean about not wanting to make his own bed sound like punishment. I eventually came up with what I hoped didn’t sound like a threat in that I would say, “You seem to be having a hard time settling down tonight. Would it help you to sleep in your own bed tonight?” And sometimes he would take me up on it.
    Oh! And like many others, I still lay down with him while he falls asleep every night. No matter where he’s sleeping.

  56. I deal with the worry about leaving a mobile baby in bed by teaching the baby how to “dismount” safely. Pumpkin figured that out pretty early on. Petunia is just now starting to figure it out.But mostly, my kids wake up before I do so it is not a problem. I have early risers.
    On the cosleeping with a newborn- I also used a separate “cosleeper” for that. She was right next to me (or my husband, while I was recovering from my c-section and couldn’t sit up in bed without a major production), but we didn’t have to worry about squashing her. Now that she’s bigger, I don’t worry about squashing her. I often wake up with her half on top of me, though.

  57. @milliner – excellent points and you hit the nail on the head with docs providing advice and options based on good research and evidence (you cited WHO for eg).You also said “we should strive towards more well rounded service & relationships with our doctors than what everything has evolved to: being treated like cattle with numbers going through a revolving door. Aaaahhh…the Canadian health system.” totally agree. My comments are tempered by the above evolution.
    It’s hard when “judgment” comes from all angles – mothers (and even former mother-in-law for me), friends and colleagues, and health care professionals.

  58. @Anne, I totally share your feelings about how things have devolved here. I was in total freak out mode when I got pregnant because I didn’t have a family doctor (had been trying to get one for 5 years), and was worried I wouldn’t get an OB/GYN that I at least could stomach. Not fun.I think it’s especially disappointing when judgment comes from health care professionals – the people you hope will be a refreshing break from judgment, and will provide a healthy dose of care and compassion. It’s hard for me to let go of my ideals for this, as you can tell. I just don’t remember it being this way when I was younger. I had GREAT doctors growing up. Granted, I think I’m now in the province with (one of) the worst family doctor situations in the country, but still.

  59. @Cynthia – @CG asked the same question, and I gave my answer at the bottom of the first page of comments. Short version: We do pillows at edges of bed. You could also try a bed rail.

  60. @Kristina – My son is a spirited tornado too, and probably the worlds’ most restless sleeper. Cosleeping always ended in disaster for us. Everyone was a little bruised afterward and no one slept at all.I just wanted to give a suggestion on being afraid to take vacations with your son. I definitely had a few vacations where sleeping DID NOT GO WELL. And then we were messed up for weeks afterward. We stopped going on vacation for at least a year.
    But now that my son (20 months) is more verbal, we’ve been able to talk him through sleeping in a new place. We follow his normal rock-solid-no-deviations-bath-book-bed-routine, then give him a little extra reassurance. “We’re on vacation and are going to sleep in a new place. Mommy & Daddy will be right here to check on you. When you wake up, these are all of the wonderful things that we’re doing to do.” Then we check on him every 5 minutes that he’s protesting and remind him “you need to go to sleep so we can do XYZ tomorrow, we’ll be right here when you wake up.” Usually by the second or third check he would calm down and go to sleep.
    I was surprised that I was able to talk him through it – he’s smarter than I gave him credit for. I hope you try a vacation sometime and it goes better than expected for you too! Vacations are important 🙂

  61. On the vacations thing… our sleep has always been so crappy at home that we haven’t worried about vacations making it worse. In fact, sometimes it seems that vacations make it better. Our theory is that their little brains are so busy assimilating all of the new things they saw/did that they sleep extra deeply.But I also think that the fact that I have two good travelers might be the universe’s way of paying me back for the crappy sleep, picky eating, and refusal to use the potty to go pee.

  62. @Anne, @milliner – wow, I just haven’t had the same experience as you at all with the Canadian health care system. My last doctor’s appointment for my son (which I booked on two days notice – it was not an emergency), started on time, and lasted 40 minutes while my doctor answered probably 15 questions that I had about my son’s asthma. I wasn’t rushed and I didn’t feel like a number. I think, regardless of the system you are working in, so much of it comes down to your basic relationship with your doctor. Definitely tough if you don’t have the relationship you are looking for, and can’t find another doctor to switch to.

  63. Wow, all these comments have been really, really enlightening as well as enjoyable reading! I struggle with cosleeping like A, so I can’t offer any advice. I can’t imagine how hard nights would be without sharing the bed though. I shudder to think of it.From reading these comments, it seems that girls sleep on their own sooner or better than boys. My son is ten months old and I don’t see any end in sight for the cosleeping. My mom, Japanese lady, said my bro and her coslept and he needed it so much. But she said I liked to be alone.
    My husband comes from a crib culture, but he doesn’t mind that we share the bed. His folks think it’s abuse, but I suppose that’s a different topic altogether!

  64. Way to go Moxie! It’s about sleep. We all need sleep! If the sleep situation is working for you and your family-then don’t change it. Which, BTW, is my rule for all parenting—if it’s working—don’t change it! When it stops working then change it.If you’re being motivated by what others think, forget about it. They aren’t you, you know what’s best.
    I think parents forget one thing—If I may so bold, parents forget that they are learning too. You’re learning how to be a parent, you’re learning how your child wants to be parented, you’re learning what you want your rules to be and you’re learning how your child reacts to your rules.
    So do what’s in your heart and change when and if *you* want to change.
    Just my two cents.
    I’ve missed you guys!

  65. @CG & Cynthia – how to keep the co-sleeping babe from falling out of family bed – what @caramama said about pillows at the edges of the bed worked for us. We also used to tuck those pillows underneath the bottom sheet so they would form a more firm barrier. Babies can learn to get out of bed by sliding down feet first surprisingly soon though, so we didn’t have to do the pillow thing for long.@Sandia – “What do you do when you have another child?” Been there, done that. We had a moses basket on the floor next to the bed for our newborn DD, and our then-23-month old DS slept in between us. Unfortunately, DD hated cosleeping and was extremely restless in bed around all of us (BTW, she is a squirmy little mover in general and walked super early), so we finally tried putting her in the crib her older brother never used, and lo and behold, she loved it and slept like a champ. To each their own. But I would have loved having both of my kids in bed with us, though it was clearly not meant to be. Even newborns have sleep preferences that you can’t change. Had I had another kid with more of the snuggle to sleep tendencies like my firstborn has, co-sleeping with both kids would have been a cinch.

  66. @Melba: re: “trust-fail-guilt cycle with the Sleep Authorities”; yes, this is why all sleep books should be burned before reading (never passed on or donated to the library). My son is 3.5 now, has slept through the night pretty much since 7-8 months old (though he has had his phases of fighting bedtime… like right now, for instance) and is a reluctant napper who right now is dropping 2-3 naps a week (though most of his life he’s taken naps 6-7 days a week, albeit short naps). Even the current 3.5 y.o. disruptions, he still averages 10.5-12 hours per 24 hour cycle. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Pretty good in fact. But you know what? There is a worm named “Weissbluth” inside my brain that bores right into my anxiety center every time my son drops a nap or stays up past his bedtime and says “You know, if your child doesn’t get adequate sleep, he’ll probably end up being an ADD juvenile delinquent by the third grade.” And no matter how hard I try, even though I know the sleep books are essentially propagating various denominations of the Perfect Parenting religion (the central belief of which is that parents are here to martyr themselves for their children along the guidelines set out in the Sleep & Parenting Bible (each sect has its own version)), even though I know my kid is thriving in every way and has yet to show any criminal tendencies…STILL, the damn Weissbluth worm is there!Sorry. I really hate those sleep books. Nowadays, however, I at least understand that *I* am the one with sleep issues, not my kid.

  67. @ Cloud– I’m with you on sleep and vacations. Our daughter always seems to sleep much better when we’re not at home. We went to Ireland to visit family when she was 7 months old, and I actually felt rested for the first time since she was born. She still woke up at least 3 X a night, but would sleep in till at least 9:30, and was a whole lot less restless than at home.Even just going to my sister’s cottage for a weekend almost guarantees just 2 quick wakeups and no pulling Mommy’s hair for hours in the middle of the night. Too bad she’s selling the place, though… 🙁

  68. @BlueBirdMama – YES.@Jac, Anne, themilliner, I’ve had experiences similar to all of you (not knowing where in Canada you are…). In Calgary, preg with my first, I didn’t get an OB until 36 weeks pregnant. That’s right, I had NO DOCTOR for my pregancy until I was 1 week away from being considered full term. Calgary’s population had doubled in like 5 years and apparently none of the new people were OB’s. Then, I was in active labour in fricken triage for like 8 hours, NOT ADMITTED into the hospital even though birth was imminent, because there simply Was Not Room. Seriously? A major city in 2007 and there’s no room at the effing inn? What a stressful way to have my first child.
    In Edmonton, I had the brainless doc who told me not to BF with mastitis. But now, I love my family doctor. She’s practical, honest, is open about what is medical advice and what is her opinion (for example, told me she slept both her babies on their tummies but that her medical advice is that back is best), uses “can” not “should” and I really like her a lot.
    So we have to differentiate between flaws with the system and flaws with the people. You can still have a great person in a flawed system, and vice versa.

  69. Those wondering what to do with a crawling baby if you want to continue bed-sharing the answers are a)bed rails or co-sleeping cushions (but this still leaves the foot of the bed and pillows can move), or b) put the mattress on the floor.Please do not wait to long to figure this out. We dilly-dallied, using a bed-rail and pillows, but at around 8 months, she did fall off our high bed. Fortunately, we have carpet and she was not seriously hurt, but it left me feeling sick. The mattress went on the floor that day.
    Once she learned how to back off of furniture and started walking around 15 months, we brought the box spring, but not the frame back in.
    So, short answer, it sucks and is a pain to figure out what to do with a bed frame, but put that mattress on the floor for a while.

  70. Regarding the pediatrician: I just don’t talk to my doctor about sleep at all. When they ask I always tell them he’s sleeping fine and we move on. I feel like they are kind of there to give medical advice but to me sleep doesn’t really fall into that umbrella.

  71. @Beth…thanks for the information! My son is speech delayed so it makes total sense that as the speech gets better, so does the flexibility. We are optimistic that by next summer we can try a trip.@Elaine…I totally agree. Sometimes there are things that you can’t get into with the pediatrician. Unless the sleep issues come from a medical problem, why bother getting into the discussion? Only we know what works in our own house.
    My mom co-slept with me until I was around 5. She tells me horror stories of how she never thought I would sleep through the night by myself. Now, I can’t get enough sleep, and would prefer to sleep alone. Just don’t tell my hubby that one. 😉

  72. @cynthia – Our little co-sleeper was also an energetic roller and early crawler. We dealt with it by buying a crib for daytime naps at 6 months. She used it for a while, but never really liked it, and eventually started napping on an extra futon mattress that we put on the floor when we had friends visiting. If I had to do it again, I’d just buy a single mattress and put it on the floor for her in her room. We have tried to do the same at night, but honestly she still sleeps better in our bed (even if we aren’t in bed yet) so we dealt with that by having a bed rail, using pillows when she was rolling, graduating to laundry baskets when she was crawling, and always leaving the door open so we could hear her the minute she woke up (which sucked because we had to be quiet, but that stage didn’t last long). We were also fanatic about teaching her to turn around to get off the bed – every single time she was on the bed, we would turn her around and say ‘turn around’ and show her how to slide off. She got it surprisingly early (10 months?) and spent about a month turning around to get off everything, including when she would get to the edge of a carpet on our hard wood floors. Hilarious. Our biggest problem now that she is walking and climbing (13 months) is the bed rail – I’m just waiting for to catapult herself over it. We’ve put the crib mattress on the floor below the bed rail (glad the crib has been useful for something) but I’m still uncomfortable. But the bed rail is useful at night so that she doesn’t always have to sleep between us. So that’s my latest worry.(and yes, it took her a while to get used to it and we ). At night

  73. Co-sleeping with the 2 year-old and LOVE it. The most recent development is that she starts the night in our bed. We had originally started her out in *her* bed, but then she would wake us up in the middle of the night!Now she falls asleep quickly, and we both get enough sleep. After those godawful early days of sleep-deprivation/hallucination/grumpiness, I am SOOOOOO happy to have a full night’s sleep. I wake up GRATEFUL, amazed that I can see the world in clarity, and not through fuzz.
    I do get the judgment thing, too, and the weird reaction to the fact that we are still breast feeding. But seriously, I can take other people’s judgment much better after good sleep. Yay!
    Also, I like to cuddle.

  74. @BlueBirdMama & @Melba, On the sleep books: I can totally understand the need and desire to toss them all into the fire. For sure, if you have any worries/insecurities/concerns etc. about sleep these books can bore a hole straight through your brain to your heart and cause you to question everything you’re doing, not to mention make you feel like the worst.parent.ever. Not good.We, it should be noted, have slept through the entire night (7:30 pm – 6:30 am) all of about once. Or maybe twice. Things are way better now at almost 2.5, and night wakings are at a minimum, but I join you in the leagues of mothers who have been driven mad by sleep deprivation and the sleep patterns of their wee one.
    And now, I’m finally getting to my point. I don’t really agree that tossing all the sleep books into the fire, never lending them and never recommending them is right. At least not for everyone.
    I read most of the sleep books (except Ferber) and I must admit that I did find them helpful. Not in an ‘I’m going to take this exact approach’ way, but more of an ‘Hmmm…this is something I could try’ way. At the beginning, when I was reading them (before I found Ask Moxie), I did feel more like I wasn’t doing anything right. But once I read countless tales from the wise women here, it really helped me take it all with a grain of salt, to seperate the ‘facts’ from the ‘opinions’ and to look at the info in the book as something to consider and ultimately accept or reject for myself.
    You can see patterns across many of the books (i.e. on the RANGE of the amount of sleep a kid of x years should be getting…even if they don’t phrase it as being a range), and this really helped me have a context for everything.
    As a first time mother I was so confused about sleep because I didn’t know all of the parameters, so it was really hard to make a judgment on weather to do something or not as I felt like I didn’t know all the facts or at least a good idea regarding the info that was out there. (*Not that you need this. Some people can just go with their gut instincts. Or they can’t get the ‘shoulds’ out of their heads. etc. But I like knowing as much as I can about something to help me make the decision on where I will situate myself).
    I read Weissbluth, and I did manage to pull some relevant (to me) stuff from his book. Pantly spoke to me more personally because I really was not comfortable with CIO, esp. when DS was under 12 mos. Anyhow, I think the key was that I didn’t obsess over the books. I’m pretty good at setting boundaries, so this lessened the hold the books had on me. And seriously, I can’t say it enough, this site has saved my sanity on sleep more than once (that and another Moxite with whom I formed a mini ‘my kid doesn’t sleep’ club via e-mail. Sanity. Saving.). Everyone here keeps it real and in perspective.

  75. Very interesting to read about things in Canada. In the UK where I am I can see a general practitioner ( family doctor) within 48 hours or less. But I normally never see the same doctor twice. Can be one of 16 regular ones and assorted locums.My maternity care experience was very good, as it’s all run by midwives. You do see a doctor once to check your heart and lungs before giving birth, but you get all care from the midwives. They also refer you to ob/gyns if needed in hospital.
    Health visitors are nurse practitioners who deal with health for the under fives. Weighing babies, advice on breast-feeding sort of thing. There are so few of them where we are that you never see them in practice other than over-crowded baby weighing clinics.
    The up-side of that is that no doctor has ever shown any interest in matters of breast-feeding or where the little one sleeps.A no criticism zone.
    I could care less in any case about what others think . If I were truly deep down honest I’d admit the co-sleeping with DD 2.9 is making me miserable. Thing is it makes me less miserable than no unbroken sleep for even ninety minutes. That makes me one miserable, cranky ranting sour-puss.
    DD seemed ready for a bed of her own once she outgrew her cot which she never used for a whole night (crib) and that was early as she’s tall and she was really happy with her own slim-line single bed( narrow twin). Next to the parental bed. She was just two.
    That lasted less than a week of bad nights.
    DH used to sleep in the other room as he couldn’t work on no sleep basically. DD still napped until 18 months and I napped with her.
    Once her sleeping improved a lot, wakes two or three times but goes back to sleep against parent, DH will be in the marital bed with DD and I will be on the narrow twin those nights.
    But when he’s away, or has a lot on, or like now when we’re still sorting this house out I share with DD. She’s a very strong little girl with very solid joints. I’ve got hyper-mobile ones, too loose ligaments. She weight more than 1/4 of my body weight and is a meter high.
    During the day I can’t drag her off in tantrums, I get used as a climbing frame, I need to lift her and all the things you need to do and nights she pushes and kicks in her sleep so I wind up on the very edge of the bed with kinks in my aching lower back. Not restful. The physio-therapist told me to stop lifting DD. Hmm, not a parent. So call me the human pretzel at night.
    It beats doing the grim fandango I had to do from 8-14 months of being up with her from 2-5 AM. Moxie and Moxites saved my sanity then, honestly.
    Anyhow DH is back on Sunday so my back will get a few days off.
    Thing is I’d love a bedroom with a closed door, my bed and my DH. I would. With my underwear in drawers and not on the highest shelf etc. Really. Very much.
    More as the back gives out of course. No, she’s the light of my life and I want her more than the room with a closed door. It’s a choice my co-sleeping but born of necessity.
    In practice we will co-sleep until DD is done. Like with nursing, like with napping.

  76. We use a rail and SnugTuck pillow, and our 11-month old son is only in the bed when one of us is with him. This means that he sometimes spends the early evening napping on a blanket on the living room floor, or in the pack-n-play if we get lucky.

  77. We use a rail and SnugTuck pillow, and our 11-month old son is only in the bed when one of us is with him. This means that he sometimes spends the early evening napping on a blanket on the living room floor, or in the pack-n-play if we get lucky.

  78. My eldest (now 5 1/2) was an ardent co-sleeper, while my youngest (now 4) was not as an infant, but became more so as he got older. The oldest slept in our bed with us as an infant, while the younger slept in our room but not in our bed. We have played musical beds for years in the interest of getting enough sleep for everyone. What worked well for them as they transitioned away from sleeping with us, was to sleep with one another. We had one twin bed for a while and then bought a bed with a trundle. At this point they are mostly each sleeping in their own bed since the older deems the younger, “too noisy”. We have just allowed the sleeping to evolve and are blessed with a pediatrician who is very judicious with her suggestions.I was (unusually) intentional in my selection of a pediatrician. I’m a family practitioner (nurse) myself and wanted the additional expertise of a pediatrician. I wanted a pediatrician who would take a collaborative approach, who had some years of experience and who seemed to take a research/evidence based approach to practice. I interviewed 3 practices and am very happy with the group we chose.
    As a family practitioner, I find some of the comments very interesting. I think that a vital part of practice is to understand your own limits, and to have good referral sources. I have such limited time with each person, that I try to be very thoughtful about my questions. A question about your child’s activities may really be a question that covers motor development, possible asthma, weight, ADHD, depression etc. in addition to social sorts of issues. Questions about sleep touch on physical/psych/social issues. All that said, it is really challenging not to come across as prescriptive within a limited time frame.

  79. Reading this post is very reassuring as I have recently been doubting myself about co-sleeping. We used to get so much interrupted sleep with our little one as she would wake up frequently at night, but after comforting her she would go back to sleep in her own cot. When she was 21 months old she disliked sleeping in her cot so much it became a battle of wills. Although most nights she would start off sleeping in her cot (after much struggle) she would still wake up screaming and refused to go back to sleep in her cot. I thought it was a sign that she was ready for her own bed, but we didn’t rush out to buy one as our spare room was being used as additional storage space. We ended up co-sleeping and after a while she stopped sleeping in her cot and ended up in our bed. Since then she has slept through the night and we have had the best uninterrupted sleep ever. She even let’s us have a lie in at weekends too!We are expecting our second child soon, so have noticed that she wakes up more during the night, which may be because of her anxieties of abandonment due to the imminent arrival of her new sibling. I’m hoping this is a phase, although I’m not sure about it all as with baby no 2 on the way I am preparing for another bout of sleepless nights again anyway!
    With baby no.2 due soon we have been subjected to the recent questioning of why we haven’t moved our eldest to sleeping in her own room in her own bed. It gets so frustrating, especially since they think because you are expecting another child you ‘should’ have the eldest sleeping on her own by now, not sharing a bed with you.
    It’s difficult to even explain that as a parent I understand what my child’s needs are and our eldest is a toddler who requires lots of hugs, kisses and reassurance. People still look at you as if you are doing it completely wrong and that I will regret it when baby no.2 arrives. Is it wrong to follow my gut instinct, which tells me that our eldest prefers co-sleeping with us and is not ready to move on. Even my partner agrees with me and thinks that when she is ready she will let us know. I really began doubting myself that maybe I shouldn’t have started all this co-sleeping pattern and instead put her in her own bed when we had the chance to, but after reading this forum and other people’s experiences I truly think that I am doing the right thing for both our child and us. At least we are getting a good night’s sleep for now and she is much happier toddler after a fitful sleep! Plus, I love it when I wake up and see her smiling face looking at me, it’s the best thing in the world.

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  81. Thanks for posting. I bohugt a Sleep Number bed in 2003 and just this past weekend, in 2010 found out about the mold issue AFTER I opened my mattress. I had not opened it in years. I wanted to sell it, was never happy with it and was taking pictures. I also found mold! They NEVER contacted me or any customers and have known about the problem for years. Meanwhile, they would send me information on how to upgrade my bed and try to sell me more beds! Typical corporate thinking-money vs customers. PR and spin doctors in overdrive. SOME people are highly allergic and have weak immune systems and mold, even household mold, CAN cause them HARM. I spoke with my allergy doctor after finding the mold (yes I got sick during the time I have had the bed and have been on weekly shots). She was shocked to hear about mold in the bed. The ignorant comment from the person who claims mold is everywhere and does not hurt people obviously does not know about medicine or weak immune systems, everyone is different. If you watch the TV show “Extreme Home Makeover” they often feature homes with mold (pre destruction)and discuss how harmful it can be if people have health problems, like many featured on the show. It does not take a rocket scientist. I WILL be getting rid of this bed, IF I can find someone who will buy it. I have since found LOTS of complaints on the internet about the mold and other issues. Sorry Select Comfort took the Toyota route and purposely kept info. from their customers, waiting for them to discover the mold and contact them. That is piss poor management to say the least! I am glad you all got a refund. I will be lucky to sell mine for $200. Good riddance.

  82. The shoes thing is awesome. It cneaghs your life. We still aren’t back to the big-girl bed with AC . . . she asked for her crib back because she likes having a blanket over the top and pretending she is in an igloo (weird I know). We were more than happy to comply because she too had been experiencing a lot of failed naps.

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