Co-sleeping is common in many parts of the world, and it’s becoming more popular in countries like the United States. There are many benefits to co-sleeping, such as being close for anything your little one might need during the night. It can also be good for parent-child bonding and finding quality time to spend together. Sometimes it’s the parents who decide to start co-sleeping with their little ones, and sometimes the child makes the decision by starting to climb into their parents’ bed every night. Co-sleeping can mean sharing a bed with the whole family, but it can also mean sharing a room but sleeping in different beds.
Is it a good idea?
The ideal sleeping arrangement is different for every family. Some people sleep better knowing their children are within arm’s reach, and others need a little more space. If you think co-sleeping is right for your toddler, you just need to make sure that everyone is on board and that your bed is safe for your little one.
There are some circumstances in which co-sleeping might not be the best idea. Keep in mind that your toddler probably needs more sleep than you do, and it might be easier for them to sleep through the night in a bed by themself. It’s also important that Baby sleeps in a room with few distractions, so if you get up early or watch television at night, Baby might be better off in their own room. If you, your partner, or your little one is opposed to the idea of co-sleeping, then it’s probably not a good idea for your family. If you have any questions, talk to your healthcare provider about whether co-sleeping is a good idea for Baby.
How do I start co-sleeping?
If you, your partner, and your little one are all in favor of co-sleeping, the most important thing to consider next is safety. Not all doctors agree on whether co-sleeping is safe, and it can be dangerous for infants. Toddler co-sleeping is safer, but there are still important precautions to take. Make sure there’s enough room on your bed for everyone to sleep comfortably, and don’t keep excess pillows or blankets on the bed. You should also maintain a bedtime routine and put Baby to bed at the same time every night.
How do I stop co-sleeping?
When the time comes for you to stop co-sleeping, there are a few different strategies you can use. If Baby has just grown out of it, and all you probably need to do is set them up in their new bed and carry over your bedtime routine. There might be an adjustment period where they come back to your bed out of habit, but you can just gently guide them back to their own bed.
If ending the co-sleeping arrangement isn’t Baby‘s idea, it might be a little more difficult. Talk to them about why they are going to be sleeping in their own room or bed now. Say that you’ll still see them every night and every morning and that you’re excited for them to be a big child in the new room or bed. Most children will accept being moved to their own beds at age 2 or 3.
If Baby needs help with the transition, you can start by moving them to a temporary bed (futon, air mattress, etc.) in your room and eventually move Baby to their own bed. A special stuffed animal or a nightlight might be helpful in the transition. Sweet dreams!
- Boyse, Kyla. “Sleep Problems. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. November 2010. Web.
- “Safe Co-Sleeping.” Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. University of Notre Dame. 2017. Web.