Any tips on gently transitioning a toddler out of the family bed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-30-2012, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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We have been cosleeping with our dd since she was a newborn. She's now 18 months old, and we'd really like to start transitioning her out of our bed. It's not that we don't LIKE sleeping with her, it's just that our queen bed is having a hard time fitting two adults and a growing toddler. Even if buying a bigger bed were financially reasonable, there would hardly be any walking space left in our room, so that's not an option.


She's not our first child, but our first (now 7 years old) was kind of unusual in terms of sleeping. We coslept for three months, at which point he started consistently sleeping eight hours a night, working his way up to ten over about a month's time. We kept him in our room in a pack and play for awhile after that, but moved him to his crib because where he slept seemed to make no difference to him. We transitioned him to a twin bed shortly after he turned two with no problems at all. Basically, he's been about the easiest sleeper ever, which gives us no experience to fall back on with our daughter. 


She not only sleeps in our bed, she also still nurses a lot at night. She doesn't really seem to need the sustenance, as she just nurses for a couple minutes at a time. I think it's more like she half-wakes, smells my breasts, and thinks, "Hey, I'd like a sip." I don't lose much sleep, and it wouldn't be a big deal except that it makes it that much harder to transition her out of the bed.


I believe in child led weaning (my son nursed until he was four), so I have no plans to follow the advice of some friends and wean so that she'll sleep through the night.


Any ideas on how to transition her out of the bed? I have no problem with keeping her in our room in a separate sleeping area for awhile, but she really needs to move out of our bed before she gets too much bigger.

Happy transplanted resident of the "not so deep" Southsmile.gif. Married to a great man for 9 years and countinglove.gif. Mom to two wonderful gifts from God: DS (8) jog.gifalways moving, atypically thinking, ballet dancing boy and long-awaited DD (2) fly-by-nursing1.gifcuddly, curious, fearless, book loving girl.

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#2 of 5 Old 07-30-2012, 09:12 AM
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put a crib mattress on the floor next to your bed, then gradually move it to a different area of the room. If she comes up to snuggle, snuggle her in bed for a bit, then move her back to her own bed when she settles or falls asleep.
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#3 of 5 Old 07-31-2012, 05:08 PM
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I'm in the same situation. My little boy just turned 18 mo and I'm getting tired of nursing him back to sleep 6 times a night. We are planning to move him to his own room on a twin mattress on the floor to see if he/we would sleep better. There I could lay down nurse/sleep after his first awakening to ease the transition.


We've been preparing him by painting the room another color, putting images he likes on the wall and saying that the place is HIS room. We started to spend time in the room looking at the images, nursing, playing. I want the place to be ready before we make the move so we still need to change the lighting, transfer toys, etc. This should be done within a week or two.


I'm interested on how people will answer your question...

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#4 of 5 Old 08-02-2012, 09:34 PM
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After two years of co-sleeping, we moved DD to a crib converted to toddler bed jammed up against our bed. When she woke up she would crawl over the side of the bed. Unless you plan on night-weaning, I would expect her out of your bed the whole night.


At around 26m I night-weaned along the Jay Gordon lines. It was so simple and so non-traumatic and not a big deal. That actually was a little aggravating. She would still climb into bed but just snuggle to sleep. Within a few months her sleep periods were longer. At around 30m she moved into a twin in a shared room with her brother. She still comes into our bed often at night, but it is often closer to 4 a.m. Just turned 3.

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#5 of 5 Old 08-04-2012, 11:03 AM
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You sound just like me about a year ago!  And not that things work the same for everyone (obviously!) but I hope I can encourage you by saying that my 2.5 year old now sleeps through the night in his own bed in his own room.  It was a long, slow process, but it worked well for us and was not painful or traumatic for either party.


Since he was nursing really frequently at night, I started by cutting nursing down to 2 times per night and just snuggling any other time he woke up.  (I had to make sure I was paying attention - it's really easy to just roll over and let him nurse whenever he wanted!)  I tried just doing once per night, but he would scream for milk so I upped it back to 2 for a little longer.  (Pay attention to what they are telling you about the process!)  Of course it helped that I was pregnant and losing supply, so it was a gradual transition for him in that way.


Then we set up a toddler mattress on the floor at the foot of our bed.  I would put him to sleep there and then the first time he woke up in the night he could come to bed with us.  Eventually I started going to *him* when he woke up so he would stay in his own bed all night.


Finally we moved the little bed to his own room and we would go to him anytime he woke up at night (by this time he was fully weaned due to no milk from the pregnancy).  If he happened to wake up after 5 in the morning we'd let him into our bed to finish sleeping.


Just in the last month he's started sleeping straight through the night.  For most of this time we had to go soothe him back to sleep once or twice a night, but now he just stays asleep!  He comes to our bed for snuggles when he wakes up and we all snuggle and doze for 15 minutes or so.


I hope that gives you some ideas!

DS1 born 12-31-09, DS2 born 2-18-12

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