I've been co-sleeping with my 5 mo old since she was born and love it, but I'm not the kind of mom who wants to sleep with her LO until she is 3 or 4. Any advice on best times to transition from co-sleeping? How did you transition into own bed?
Our transition was/is very gradual. We made a room for DS at about your baby's age and put him down in a crib until he could sleep on a mattress on the floor (past 1 year old). When he was in a crib, it was really tedious to pat/rub his back while leaning over in a crib if he wasn't totally asleep when he hit the crib mattress. DS had always been fussy with sleep and needed a lot of soothing, even beyond nursing/co-sleeping, so I did this because i thought it was better than bouncing on an exercise ball every night then doing the patting and rubbing. I did this extensive patting/rubbing because of the couple hours it gave me to do my own thing before bed (or spend time with DH). Most nights it seemed worth it; but some nights it did not. This is why old cribs had a drop side, dang it, so you could sit down and do that stuff. When he was still in a crib, I would take him to our bed at night when he woke up. This was our "happy medium" between total co-sleeping and independent sleeping.
When he was in bed on the floor in his room, I would go in and sleep with him if he woke up. I would put him to bed there eventually with reading and rubbing his back/legs when I couldn't nurse him (after pregnancy my milk disappeared and DS had no interest in dry nursing, but lamented the milk leaving). Now I put a night light on and tell him he can talk to his stuffed animals and try to fall asleep and I will check on him soon. I check on him 2-3 times (after 1 minute of waiting) and he falls asleep without crying. Still wakes up at least by 5am (more often if he is sick or has a rough night for some other reason) and I go in and sleep with I'm for an extra hour and half. He's 2. I remember wishing it would all happen much faster! Making the room fun but not too exciting and spending quality time in there with bedtime stories helped us a lot. Try, but don't go nuts! It's OK to co-sleep "late" and it's OK to try to nudge your kid toward independent sleep. I don't know if it would be like this for us if I hadn't become pregnant. Maybe I would still be sleeping with him most nights after 11 or 12. Good luck to you! I hope you find a way to sleep at night that works for your family and don't feel pressured too much by all the ways of doing it.