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Are we normal? And... how to gradually stop co-sleeping?

24012 Views 31 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Kira's mom
Hi there,

My son is 14 months old. I have LOVED co-sleeping with him and I still love it for the most part, however it is getting to the point where my partner and I need some space in the bed and my son is really wild sometimes- thrashing in his sleep, climbing on us etc. So, it seems that I have to find a compromise and maybe start getting him used to the crib... Is that even possible after co-sleeping for 14 months? Anyone have experience with this?

The other issue is that he still nurses all through the night. I know some people have babies who start weaning or at least start nursing less after 12 months, but he still nurses a LOT. He also wakes up like once an hour while he's sleeping alone until I come to bed with him. Once I'm there he sleeps more deeply. I am afraid maybe I have trained him to need me there in order to sleep.

It's getting to the point though, where I think it's necessary to get him used to sleeping on his own just for our own sanity. It makes me sad and anxious to think about him sleeping by himself though! I feel like we are on a sleep-rollercoaster.

Any thoughts? I know this post is sort of all over the place. I just am feeling a bit confused about it I guess.
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Well, you asked for thoughts.... I think he's too young. A that age he needs to nurse at night and needs to be with mama. Maybe you can work on teaching him to stay in his own space at night and not bonk you too much...

What if you sidecar the crib so he has his own sleeping space, but is still close to you?
It sounds like you are going through a totally normal thing. I think all of us who have co-sleeped with our little ones find the flying elbows and feet in our face a bit cumbersome. I agree with a PP that your son is a little young to be sleeping on his own. I like suggestion of using a crib (if you have one) as a side car. Or maybe avoid a crib all together and put a twin sized mattress next to your bed. This is what we did when our almost 2 y/o needed his own sleep space to allow DH and I bit of sleeping room. Plus I was 4-5m PG with our next child so we wanted/needed more room for my expanding belly and later our newborn. My DS was still nursing through the night so i would nurse him to sleep in his bed and then I had enough space to stretch out in our own bed. He'd come to me in the middle of the night and nurse a bit more and when he was done and asleep, IF I was awake I would scoot him back into his bed... But he was a bit older than your DS and his need for me and night time nursing wasn't as great as a 14m/o would be. And nursing a 10m/o now, I know that in 4 months time he will be no where near ready to give up night time nursing. With all of the new things in their lives - walking, talking, climbing, adventuring - they often "forget" to nurse throughout the day. So night time nursing is a way for them to catch up for what they may have missed during the day. Or maybe he's going through a growth spurt??

Explore a way to expand your sleep space, whether that is side car w/ a crib or mattress on the floor next to your bed. This might help the situation.
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Both Dr. Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon have advice about weaning babies out of the family bed on their websites. I think they generally suggest the 2-3 year old age range for working on sleeping on their own. I think the websites are and

Sidecarring the crib, getting a co-sleeper, or a twin mattress are all good ideas too. Good Luck!
Thanks everybody. I agree with you all.

That brings me to this question, then...

My partner has been pretty patient with the co-sleeping and now that he is voicing his feelings (much to my dismay) I feel the need to EDUCATE him. He has just accepted it thus far without question, so he never read anything by Dr Sears or anybody else...

I will look at the websites mentioned, but if you know of any clearly written articles on the benefits of co-sleeping and the negative impact of forcing the child to sleep on their own when they're not ready it would be very helpful.
What exactly are your partner's concerns? I think if you can be a bit more specific, someone may have ideas for you.
I agree it's too early to move him out. As a mama who dealt with kicks and feet in the face for 3/5 years, you get used to it! Although I never had anyone else in bed with us to complain! I would definitely get a book by Dr. Sears and also check out his website. You could also show him some threads on MDC so he can see how many families are benefiting from sleeping with their lovelies!

There are definitely lots of people out there for whom the family bed is a new concept. There is also lots of propaganda out there saying it's bad, dangerous, and raises needy and clingy children. All hogwash of course!
I just wanted to second the idea of expanding your sleeping space. I think pushing your kiddo out of your bed may result in more negative than you really want. My son is also 14 months old. We just added an annex bed to ours and it helped alleviate my sleeplessness tremendously.
As far as resourses go- I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book Family Bed. It's all you need.

I also pat my son to sleep more and encourage him to fall asleep without nursing more and more often, but slowly.

More later, my jerk husband is begging for my attention.
Co-sleeping might be easier if he didn't nurse so much -- for what it's worth, I was able to easily night-wean my spirited ds1 when he was 15 months old using "The No-Cry Sleep Solution." I was really losing it, and being able to sleep all night made life a lot better for me.

I also think there is nothing wrong with starting to transition him out of your bed if you are not happy with the situation. If you can make it work, great! And if not, I think you can slowly, gently get him used to sleeping on his own, using some of the books PPs have mentioned. I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who wishes she had done so earlier -- my now four-year-old cannot/will not spend the night alone in his own bed. Now it's me and the baby in one bed, and dh with ds1 upstairs in the guest bed and I am pretty tired of it. Good luck!
I am the odd woman out here, but we start the transition of not co-sleeping after our babies turn one. It is really slow takes 6-8 months depending on the babe, but it has worked really well for us.

We have the pack-n-play set up at teh foot of our bed. When the baby goes to sleep for the first time at night, put them in there own bed (the pack-n-play). When they wake up bring them into bed and co-sleep the rest of the night. Sometimes they will wake up with in minutes and sometimes not for hours. We just keep this up untill they regularly sleep through the night usually around 2, then we transition them to their own bedroom the same way.

DD#3 started this about a month ago and now sleeps for 3-4 hours in her own bed at night. My DH is not a fan of co-sleeping, and this is the agreement we have come to. Also, since he is the one that wants them out, he has to get up and bring the baby to bed when she wakes up
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There are nights when I am so tired that I just don't want to nurse "one more time" that night. But if 2yo dd didn't sleep with us, I can't imagine how she'd sleep, or where she'd sleep. I do have a toddler bed set up beside the king size bed and after she goes to sleep I sometimes move her over there. That gives me/us some space, but she is right there.

Our older children moved out when they were 6yo & 4yo (we moved them out together), and then when ds2 was 4yo he moved out into ds1's room. Toddler dd is in no way ready to move out, or to wean.
I have read that a lot of little ones sleep better when dairy in their, or their nursing mother's diet is eliminated. It's worth a shot. The book Crying Baby Sleepless Nights by Jones has more helpful ideas. But sometimes they Just Can't Sleep. Molars coming in are one common reason.

Good luck, sending you sleepy vibes!
we have a five year old that still wants to sleep in our bed....and the problem is that now we have a 3 month old we need to move the five year old into her own bed without feeling like it is her new sister causing the partner wants to just get a bigger bed...instead we have been splitting up and sleeping with each of them....we had her sleeping in her own bed but that broke down when her sister was born
My DD still does quite a bit of nursing at night, when she's in our bed. She got a bed in her room when she turned 2, and I started putting her in it for naps and now I put her to bed in it in the evening. She still nurses to sleep.

When/if she wakes at night, she either comes into our room or cries and one of us goes and gets her. Her room is very close to ours, I've never worried about her wandering about the house or anything, but if I did I could gate the hallway so she only had access to our room and hers.

One night last week she slept the whole night in her own bed. The next night, she moved at 11:30 back to our bed, and last night it was about 4:30 A.M. Some nights she does insist on starting out in our bed, though.

My advice is to dispense with the crib and get your DD a twin bed. You can start it in your room--I know families who have successfully transitioned this way, esp. when a new baby came into the picture--or just with naptimes. But don't be in a rush to ban your DD from your bed, either. She may still need to nurse at night for quite a while, or she may simply not want to be alone. A gradual transition seems to be working well for us.
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My dd 5yrs still sleeps in our room we have a king size bed w/ her twin bed right next to it. She will usually stay n her bed but she also sleeps in ours. My ds almost 18mo sleeps totaly in our bed since he still nurses every hour to 2 hours at night. I hope to move ds into his bed in our room when he sleeps thru the night. If he is like dd that will be when he is 3y. My goal right now is to have dd in her own room around 10y then move ds into her old bed beside ours.

I know better than to make definate plans were sleeping is concerned. I just try to take it 1 day at a time. I do look forward to having just me and dh in there one day tho.
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Jessmcg said:
I am the odd woman out here, but we start the transition of not co-sleeping after our babies turn one. It is really slow takes 6-8 months depending on the babe, but it has worked really well for us.

We have the pack-n-play set up at teh foot of our bed. When the baby goes to sleep for the first time at night, put them in there own bed (the pack-n-play). When they wake up bring them into bed and co-sleep the rest of the night. Sometimes they will wake up with in minutes and sometimes not for hours. We just keep this up untill they regularly sleep through the night usually around 2, then we transition them to their own bedroom the same way.

Jessmcg thanks for posting this. I think I fall more into your camp and hope to begin DD's transition to her own room in the 1-3 year old age range. It's nice to hear about your experience with your babes.
natesmamma - I could have written your post. My son is 15 months and the same way (though he doesn't thrash much). He is very attached to me at night. He'll sleep for a while in his own space, but often it seems as though he sleeps lighter (and wakes up more) if I even move away from him in the bed. He usually nurses 4-5 times during the night - more if he's sick or teething.

I'm pretty sure that my son would not tolerate a crib. I can't even pick him up and put him in another bed. If he falls asleep in someone's arms, he usually can't be put down without waking up (and then needing to be nursed back to sleep). The only option I might consider would be nursing him to sleep in a bed next to mine and then moving after he falls asleep. I'd anticipate him waking within 30-60 minutes. Perhaps I'll have to try it.

I'm very wary of night weaning at this point because I think he would still wake up - and then nighttimes would be even worse. So I continue to nurse him as much as he wants during the night...for now.
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The other thing to consider at this age, 14mo, is that molars are starting to push their way out. They're big, nasty teeth. They hurt. Totally and hugely. And that's going to keep a baby waking more regularly ...

Even if you don't see 'em back there, they're coming.

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i'm going through a similar situation. although my 15mo daughter doesn't thrash about....she just nurses ALL NIGHT LONG. she starts out in her crib in our room and will stay there until the first time she wakes after we are in bed. before that dh can rock her to sleep. i really feel that most of her wakings are not related to hunger or even her desire to be with me.....but the fact that she needs to be nursed or rocked to sleep. (preferably nursed)

it is really getting to the point where i get so angry at her and then myself. my dh is practically falling off the bed, i'm uncomfortable all night. she sucks so much sometimes....i know there's no milk in there and it hurts. i want to pick her up and throw her out the window! (of course i would never)my dh hates when i say things like that! that's the point at night where i look at her cute sleeping face, stroke her hair, kiss her head and remind myself how blessed i am......just not in the sleep department.

i really don't like these reations i see in myself and dread our nights. when we move into our new house in a month dd will have her own room and we plan on night weaning her with dh's nighttime help gradually over a couple months. if she becomes sick or is obviously teething i do plan on nursing her with the realization that we may have to work hard again for a couple nights to get her back on track.

i would never let her cio in her crib alone but will tolerate her crying in daddy's arms. this is how it came to be that he can rock her to sleep now and i don't know what i'd do at this point if i didn't have his help. eventually, after bath, books, and a bedtime nursing dh or i will rock and then set her in her crib still awake but drowsy and stay with her. she may cry and if she get's hysterical we'll rock her a little more. that's our plan. i'm sure it will take time but am confident it will work and we'll be with her for every second of it.

i should note that we have on occassion put her down drowsy and she has fallen asleep with me singing or dh rubbing her back. these treats were very rare but we know she isn't totally oppossed. i believe that once she gets into the routine she'll love it (she's such a routine girl) and she'll have a better nights sleep for it.

of course you can all rub it in my face if in a few months i post a thread in total despair!

good luck natesmama
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