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When CoSleeping Means NoSleeping

Cosleeping out of desperation

Nobody Makes Good Decisions at 3:00 AM

What percentage of families who co-sleep are happy about it? Put another way, how many made the conscious parenting decision to co-sleep BEFORE their baby was born? And how many weren’t able to get baby to sleep anywhere else and thus “decided” to co-sleep because they had no other option? I don’t actually have an answer. But I know that there are lots and lots families sleeping with babies in their bed who never wanted them in there and are worried about getting them out.

Not Everybody is Happy Co-Sleeping

A brilliant episode of Raising Hope recently dealt with co-sleeping and sleep training. And since baby sleep so rarely shows up in popular culture (babies and sleep have the sex appeal of a fax machine) I thought I should take this chance to pause and enjoy.


Favorite Quote: “We always let him come into our bed. All the way to junior high school. The only good part was that I was never late for work again. Nothing motivates you to get out of bed like the sight of your 12-year-old son’s morning wood.”

I live in Vermont which is the mecca for everything attachment/organic/hippy parenting: co-sleeping, nursing, cloth diapering, making your own baby food from local organic produce, etc. Don’t come to Vermont if the sight of a woman wearing hand-made hemp shoes, snacking on local artisan cheese, and proudly nursing her 5-year-old is a problem for you.

Vermont families like to co-sleep for life and I’ve met many parents who currently sleep with all of their children like one big pile of puppies. They’ll tell you about how their first child never wanted to sleep in the crib so they just decided to embrace it. I’ve never quite figured out how they managed to produce subsequent children in that bed full of kids (theory: the shower gets lots of action) but they do and they’re happy with it and thus so am I.

Sort of.

And so I close my blinds and whisper furtively as I admit that….I’m not a big fan of co-sleeping. In fact I’ve worked with many MANY families who are co-sleeping out of desperation. Who never wanted to do it in the first place. Who don’t know how to get out of it. Who may even feel a bit resentful about it.

Let me share with you some actual conversations I’ve had with parents over the past few weeks:

“Our baby started sleeping with us when he was 2 months old because it was the only way anybody was getting any sleep. Now he is 5 and he’s the only one happy about the current sleep arrangement.”

“My husband felt our baby should sleep with us. But I can’t sleep with him on the bed. So I’ve been sleeping on the living room couch for the past 8 months.”

When Co-Sleeping Keeps You From Sleeping

“We put our baby to bed in his crib but when she wakes up at midnight the only way we can get her to go back to sleep is if we bring her into our bed. My husband can’t sleep with her so he moves into the guest room for the remainder of the night.”

“My 6 month old daughter can only sleep latched on to my breasts so she literally nurses all night long. My back is killing me and my nipples are sore, but what else can we do?”

Is Co-Sleeping Right For You?

I don’t know if co-sleeping is right for you. But I do know when it is WRONG for you. If you are thinking about bunking up with baby, first consider these simple rules for co-sleeping:

1

The vote must be unanimous.

Everybody must be 100% supportive of co-sleeping. A single “no” vote means that it isn’t the answer for your family. Sleeping in the guest room/couch counts as a “no” vote.

2

If it’s not safe, you don’t do it.

Your bed may not be a safe place for your baby. If you aren’t prepared to make an honest appraisal of the risks of co-sleeping then it’s not for you. Are you or your partner obese (let’s face it, 34% of us are)? Is anybody taking prescription medication or drinking? Smoking? Was your baby born extremely premature? Is your bed a safe environment for an infant (hint: if there is a 90 lb dog also sleeping in your bed the answer is “no”)?

3

Agree on the end-date before you start.

Are you in it for a few weeks or do you expect your child to sleep with you when they get home from the prom?

4

Have an exit strategy.

Kitties get stuck because they climb the tree without thinking about getting back down.

5

Nobody makes good decisions at 3 AM.

Everybody – EVERYBODY – has that horrible night where they pull their newborn baby into bed out of simple desperation. It’s totally OK. However if you’ve made the long-term decision to co-sleep out of desperation in the middle of the night, it’s probably not the right decision. Big decision + desperation + 3 AM = bad decision.

6

Everybody needs to get enough sleep.

Sleeping like a pile of puppies is fine as long as everybody is actually sleeping.

Still ready to go ahead with co-sleeping? Then pick up a copy of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Co-Sleeping by James J McKenna, PhD. This is a very PRO co-sleeping book and I don’t agree with everything in it. There are some glaring omissions. Like the book never discusses how to get OUT of co-sleeping (perhaps the assumption is that you’re signing up for life?). However it does have a comprehensive chapter on co-sleeping safety which is the best I’ve found.

Over the next few months I’ll be writing more on:

  • Co-sleeping and SIDS
  • When and how to stop co-sleeping
  • Co-sleeping and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP)
  • Problems solved and problems created by co-sleeping
  • Don’t judge the successful co-sleepers

Don’t miss out – use the email subscription form to the right and they’ll be sent to your email inbox. Plus it makes my day when people sign up. So thanks in advance!

{photo credits: A.A and Karen Roe}


42 Comments


  1. Too funny I wrote a post a couple months ago called Co-Sleep or No-Sleep but co-sleeping did not work for us! Good tips!

  2. I’m writin this from a bed filled up with 2 adults, 1 toddler & a baby. Thank goodness the toddler here is not too commOn but once a wk is more than enough! How do I work up the energy & courage to train baby back into his own bed?

    • Leisl,
      Welcome South Africa! (Yes I cheated and poked around your site a little). I would share a few quick thoughts to chew on:

      1) If the 2 YO sneaking in 1X a week isn’t a huge problem for you I would put a small mattress on the floor (maybe at the foot of the bed) and give him that option. That way he can choose to come in and join you but in a way that DOESN’T wake you up. When he is a little older (things get a lot easier at 3+) if you want to curtail even occasional visits you’ll have many more options to work with him on that than you do with a 2 YO.

      2) For the baby, I’ve had really great success helping get babies out of the bed by using a swing. Do they have baby swings in South Africa? (I met some pediatricians from Norway who had no idea such a device existed which is why I no longer assume any baby gear is universal.) I’m working on a series of posts on how, why, and when to use baby swings. Hopefully (!!!) they’ll be out in the next 2-3 weeks so you could check back in or subscribe to my site to get those.

      3) I hear your frustration with the conflicting advice in sleep books (I have ALL of them – honest). I don’t recommend crying for a 4 month old as you still have lots of tools to work with at that age. Also crying doesn’t tend to be very effective for younger babies and generally results in everybody being pretty unhappy. Swaddling, loud white noise, swings, etc. can all be really helpful alternatives. SOME babies will sleep through at 4 months but a realistic target is closer to 6-8 months. If you’re still up all night with an 8 month old it’s time to work on some gradual weaning.

      If you want more personal advice feel free to email me directly at Alexis at troublesometots dot com.

      Hope that helps!
      Alexis

  3. Such an informative post. I like the look of shock on the faces of the Clean House crew when it discovers a family has kids sleeping in the adults’ beds. I don’t have an opinion either way. It’s for some, not for others. There is something to be said for no nighttime tantrums.

    Thanks for signing up to be a lovelinks readers over in my space.

    • Who is the Clean House crew and how do I get them to do something about my not clean house?

      Thanks for visiting and organizing lovelinks – I think it’s a great idea!

  4. tracy Centracchio

    Loved this article! Do you have any guidelines for when to set the end date for cosleeping?

  5. Hi Tracy! Thanks for visiting 🙂

    The short answer is that you can and should end co-sleeping at whatever point you decide that it is no longer working for you (for whatever reason).

    But truthfully there are windows when it will be easier to do so. If you’re not looking to co-sleep for the long-haul then it’s easiest to transition baby to a crib and/or their own room anytime prior to 6 months.

  6. I must admit, I love co-sleeping! Had we not done it, I really don’t think we would be getting much sleep at all. But I appreciate that it doesn’t work for everyone and it does no one any good to feel forced into it.

    I intended to co-sleep right from the start. It turned out that my son didn’t like the co-sleeper crib we bought and I was too nervous to have a tiny newborn actually in the bed with us. So he slept in a snug nest at night until he was four months old and went into the cot properly.

    He won’t sleep all night in the cot though, so we ended up trying the crib again for the second half of the night and he loved it! Once he outgrew it, we invested in a co-sleeper cot and the routine continues to this day. I always try to put him back in the cot when he wakes during the night and usually this succeeds the first couple of times, but ultimately he comes back in the bedroom with us.

    Sometimes he comes into the bed with us, usually when he’s teething badly. Because the cot is at the side of the bed, I always have him on that side. Thus we have no worries about my hubby rolling onto him.

    If people are interested in the idea, but are nervous about the possible implications, I say give it a go. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, nor does it need to be for the whole night. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that a surprisingly large percentage of mums co-sleep at the end of the night, but don’t actually consider themselves co-sleepers.

    Sorry for waffling on btw, as you can probably tell, I’m quite passionate about the benefits of co-sleeping. 🙂

    • Lots of Moms find that it’s hard to get baby to fall back to sleep after the early morning feeding (usually around 4:00 am) and they end up pulling baby into bed so that everybody can get that last few hours of sleep int he morning.

      BTW – I happily support families who decide to co-sleep from the get-go and are enjoying it. It’s just that the people who call ME tend to be ones who never intended to co-sleep, don’t really want to co-sleep, and are feeling frustrated about their inability to get baby out of their bed.

      Speaking of, you’ll have to check back in and let me know how and when you get yours to sleep fully in his own bed (when you’re ready!). I’m always on the look out for successful stories to share!

      • You might be in for quite a wait if you want a success story from me lol. While my little guy is improving, I don’t think we’re going to see any sudden 8-hour stretches any time soon. Might have a heart attack in fact, if I wake up and too many hours have passed…..

        I will certainly let you know if/when things finally get better though.

  7. How do you get your baby out of your bed, and into their bassinet? My baby will not sleep in her bassinet for more than a few minutes without waking up. She will only fall asleep with me holding her, and will only stay asleep in my arms or right beside me in my bed.I would love to have 2 hours of sleep to myself.

    • I think these are two separate questions. 1) Get baby out of your bed and 2) Get baby into bassinet.

      If your baby is under 6 months I think you’ll have much better luck moving her into a baby swing which you can put next to your bed for now. Check out…
      http://www.troublesometots.com/2011/the-ultimate-baby-swing-sleep-guide-for-swing-hating-babies/

      Basically it sounds to me like the bassinet is not soothing enough for her so she wakes up shortly after so you need to pile it on – white noise, swaddle (depending on age), constant motion, etc.

      If she’s an older baby it may be a bit more complicated. But honestly the swing gives you a great way to help her stay asleep without you and a gentle tool to help her fall asleep on her own.

      Good luck!
      Ps. You ABSOLUTELY deserve 2 hours of sleep to yourself. More than 2 actually 🙂

      • Thank you for this advice C:
        Khymera is 6 weeks old. I have been trying the swing, swaddling and a radio for static. I either rock her to sleep, or she falls asleep while eating, and then I put her in the swing, turn on the radio, and leave and see if she stays asleep. often times she doesn’t so I start the whole process over again. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

        • Few thoughts…
          1) Six weeks is often the roughest time for newborn babies. It will ONLY get better.
          2) For a baby this young it is TOTALLY OK to get her to fall 100% asleep and then put her into the swing. You can work on “put down awake” when she is 3 months or so.
          3) Are you turning up the swing to high speed? Usually more speed = better for young babies. You can gradually lower the speed once she’s falling asleep more easily.
          4) Are you putting her down TOO LATE? This is most often the case (rarely do we try too early). At 6 weeks she can probably be awake no longer than ~1 hour. If she is overtired, it’ll be harder for her to sleep.
          5) When she doesn’t stay asleep – what do you do? I would turn off the swing but crouch behind it and keep it swinging with my hand (manual swinging so to speak). I would jiggle her head so that her cheeks look like jello. And I would “shush” loudly in her ear. Give it 3-4 minutes and see what happens. She may fall back asleep without you having to pick her back up.

          Good luck and best wishes!

          • Thank you C:
            Yes I am putting the swing on the highest speed.
            I might be putting her down to late, but I try to put her down as soon as she has her first yawn. Then I either feed her till seh falls asleep or rock her to sleep, then put her in the swing.
            Since I wrote this post a she has been sleeping a lot better in her swing, I have even put her down in her swing to go to the rest room, and I came back and she was asleep! That was great.I do have another question though. When does a baby’s window of being awake during the day become longer? Also, when does the witching hour stop, or does it?

        • KayLynn,

          I wanted to answer your question about when babies can stay awake longer. So I did! Check out the most recent post on Baby Sleep: What is normal (you can download the chart if it helps).

          The witching hour generally gets better around 6 weeks – 2 months so hopefully you are just about done. Yay?

  8. I admit, I co-sleep out of convience.. I can stick the baby on my breast and back to sleep I go.. So I get lots of sleep at night… BUT.. I’m becoming bitter.. I miss cuddling up with my hubby, and I miss the attention that I want from him. And as a second time Mom (5 and 5 weeks) I deserve that attention at the end of the day damnit lol Am I bitter at my baby? No.. Myself? maybe.. Either way, I want my adult bed back.

    • You absolutely deserve that attention! Frankly after carrying/nursing a baby all day long I really like the free space around my body. And the ability to read a book or talk to my husband without waking up the kids. And someday you might be interested in having sex in your own bed again.

      I think it’s totally OK to be frustrated with your situation. Good luck getting your big girl bed back 🙂

      • HA! I did!!! Last night! YAH!! I turned off my mom brain and thought, ” I need to make him a new bedtime routine” and sure enough, when I put him to bed before us, he went.. and stayed.. And at 6 weeks old, slept there from 9pm until 2am. Then he nursed, and went back in his own bed until 6am.. I hear angels singing.

        Your information has been the only information I’ve followed regarding babies and all the shoulds and should nots.. I have to say, I found your site 2 days ago. Brady is happier, I am happier. Amazing

        • While I would love to take all the credit for your 6 week old sleeping all night with only 1 feeding (I’m brilliant! I am the ultimate baby whisperer! I am awesome!) sadly I think you just got really lucky with your baby. Seriously that’s pretty incredible at 6 weeks. So Yay Brady!

  9. I found myself cosleeping unexpectedly. In the beginning, I kept our baby in a cosleeper near the bed. Frankly speaking she just looked too tiny to keep next to me. Around 4 – 5 months she started sleeping in bed with me while we were on an extended vacation. It didn’t bother me much since she was always a good sleeper. Now at 6 months, my attempts to move her to her room failed miserably. She totally rejected her crib. So she’s in our room. Some nights she sleeps in her cot in our room. Other nights she sleeps next to me. She doesn’t toss and she doesn’t wake up. Granted she was sleeping like that since she was 7 weeks old.

    My husband was more into cosleeping than I was. It hasn’t really affected our sex life to be honest. Our bedroom is the size of an apartment. We have a 2 room bathroom, living area, and nook on top of our sleep area. So when we need to ‘do the deed’ we just go to the nook area.

    Strangely our baby girl can sleep without cuddling. During the day she naps alone. She sleeps in the downstairs cot or on the floor without issue – but she definitely prefers our bed at night. My gut tells me she just isn’t ready to sleep in her own room yet….so she’s with us until she’s tired of us I guess.

    • Your bedroom has a TWO room bathroom? I can barely get my head around the concept about a multi-room bathroom. I think I have a bad case of bathroom envy now 🙂

      It sounds like co-sleeping is working for you guys so Yay for you! Also how great that you have a nookie loft handily located in your bedroom.

      It’s totally OK to wait until she’s tired of you. What if she’s not tired of you until she is 4? I’m not suggesting that to scare you but to say that you guys might want to discuss that possibility just so nobody is shocked if that does happen.

      Now I’m off to see if I can squeeze a soji screen into our bathroom so we can have a 2 room bathroom too…

  10. We have an 11 month old girl who has been co-sleeping with us ever since her first tooth came in around 6 months, and have found a million reasons to not get her back into her crib (colds, travel, teeth, just knowing bringing her into our bed will get us all some rest) even though we never planned to co-sleep with her for the long run. She has been waking several times in the night (and thanks to your posts on object permanence I now get why) and so we have a few challenges: 1) Transitioning her to her crib/room (since she is too big for a swing do we just stick her in her room and CIO? or do we gradually transition to her room and then CIO for to train her to fall asleep on her own)
    2) Getting her to fall asleep on her own (which after reading your blog, we are signed up for the CIO method
    3) Weaning night time feeds
    The main question is how to best transition her to her crib when she is too big for the swing. Many thanks in advance! We are sleepless and getting desperate!

    • Diana,
      I’m so sorry but I’m just now finding your comment. Which isn’t very helpful as at this point your daughter is probably old enough to date. But in case somebody else is reading this with the same problem here’s my answer…

      Yes she is too big for the swing. I mean it would be great if they made giant swings for older babies but they don’t. Also by almost 1, even the most ardent motion junkies have outgrown the “I want to rock” phase.

      It is possible to transition a bay to their own bed and get them to fall asleep on their own. But it’s not easy. It will require a lot of patience and consistency on your part. You’ll need to make gradual very fine adjustments probably over the course of weeks or even a few months. If that is the right answer for you, I fully support your efforts! But I always like to suggest that you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask, “Is this going to work for us?” If you’ve got a really strong willed baby and/or you’re simply exhausted and beat down, the answer might be no.

      In which case CIO is the answer. Personally, like jumping into a cold lake, this is something I suggest you do all at once. Suck up the few bad nights to get everything (sleep in crib, fall asleep alone) working at once vs. tackling one and then the other. I’ve written a post about it linked below.

      Again my apologizing for not seeing this sooner.

      • Hi Alexis,

        Thank you for responding! My daughter is now almost 15 months..and I once again came to your site for some answers, because we are still struggling!! I was so happy to see your reply! At this point, we have moved her crib into our room and have the one side down so it is attached to our bed. I have been putting her on the crib side to fall asleep which has been working not too badly the last few nights. However, she is still waking up 2-4 times a night wanting to nurse. I have tried to not respond right away, but this results in her kneeling beside me crying and begging for milk (she uses ‘please’ and ‘milk’ signs..she ends up looking like a little gorilla banging her chest while screaming). We struggle with finding a good time to suck it up and do the CIO, she’s been teething like mad and since my last post, she’s started daycare, which has meant a permanent cold/flu ever since. The other night when she woke up for the first time at 9:30pm, I waited 10 min before going in, but then she had bled all over her sheets from a nose bleed! I felt pretty awful (I couldn’t see the bleeding on the night vision camera).
        I am feeling like we are doing everything wrong when it comes to sleep and have created a snowball of errors that seems really difficult to undo! We are all running on little sleep, and my daughter is getting old enough that she is having tantrums due to overtiredness.

        Any guidance would be much much much appreciated!!!
        Thank you!!

        • Diana,
          Phew – that is a lot of stressful stuff (nosebleeds? constant flu? nursing 2-4X a night at 15 months?!?!).

          IS she napping well at daycare? Lots of babies don’t but hopefully yours is.

          All I can say is that at 15 months she doesn’t need to eat 4X a night, which is more like a newborn, and that must be punishing for you. Especially as you’re working, pumping during the day and thus can never catch a break or do anything other than “nap” between feeds.

          I don’t know how to undo the snowball of errors (like that phrase) but I do know that she’s totally capable of not eating so much at night. And the root issue is how you are going about bedtime. I’m not saying you HAVE to have her cry. But you do HAVE to stop nursing to sleep AND feeding AT bedtime. (See the post linked below for more info).

          If you can put her down awake AT bedtime without tears – AWESOME! But night weaning is going to need to start there. If tears ARE involved, obviously, the side of her crib will need to be put up. Also if you DO decide to go that route, it may be a good time to move the crib into her room (do it all at once).

          Then it’s time to close the night kitchen. You can do this gradually if you want but it really is time. Waking up repeatedly at this age is making you both tired. She’s having tantrums, you aren’t enjoying your time with her, you’re all run down. Chronic sleep deprivation is also going to work against her ability to fight off those constant colds. I’m not saying she’ll be MUCH less sick when she’s sleeping well, but you’ll definitely see an improvement on that front.

          Anyhoo – hope that helps?

          • Not the OP, but I emailed you today about a similar situation (my son is currently 9.5 months) and am happy to see your response here. This pretty much solidifies to me that we should move the crib and the whole bedtime routine upstairs to his room and get it out of our room, at the same time that we do the CIO/nighttime training. (That’s what you’re saying, right??)

            Thankfully, on nights when my husband has taken over night waking duty, he has determined that our son can go until at least 4:30 AM without eating, so I am going to try to stay strong on the night weaning front until about 5 AM.

  11. I started co-sleeping when my first son was around 3 weeks old out of convenience. We continued till he was two (hubby got kicked out –rather he preferred to leave so that we wouldn’t be all piled on top of each other). At two, We set up a big grown-up bed for him and one day, after telling him about his new grown-up bedroom, he started sleeping there never to come back to our big bed again (apart from the odd night he’s been sick). He turns five tomorrow!

    With the new baby, who’s now 5 weeks old, we just decided to co-sleep from the beginning. My hubby has already “moved out” of the big bed and yes, shower will be getting lots of action soon!!

    Love this site!! Thanks from Spain!!

    • I’m so glad you’ve got a successful system that works for you! Personally I’m not such a fan of shower sex (although frankly my husband would be delighted with that option) but at least you are conserving water by consolidating showers 😉

      Good luck with your new baby!

  12. To answer the how more babies are made when all your kids are sleeping in your bed. If they are in your bed, then their rooms and beds are empty. Just sayin, that’s how we ended up with three. . .

    That being said, my husband is totally on board with co sleeping, even though it means he sleeps in our daughters bed in the room next door. I am only a fan when I’m desperate for sleep at 3am. Thank you for the great strategies, my six month old is currently sleeping, going on an hour! After being put in his crib awake, crying, being picked up and put down again many times, and ultimately wearing himself out.

    Do you have any strategies for the stubborn two and a half year olds? We gave away her crib because she was just soooo stubborn and would scream for soooo long. She now has a bed ( the one my hubby sleeps on ). And I would really like for them to switch places! But after two years of sleeping right up on me, she seems to need that warm body next to her in order to be able to sleep.

    Thanks!

    • I think I would have a really hard time getting my sexy on my in kids bed. All their stuffed animals would be staring at me or awkwardly getting in the way. Also despite my best efforts there always seems to be an unusual amount of sand in there. Don’t ask me where the sand comes from because I honestly don’t know. *shudder*

      So kudos to you for finding a way to continue to make more babies in small, stuffed animal filled beds!

      By the time your child is 2.5/3 years old you’re really talking about behavioral modification techniques. This comes up ALL the time and I really need to write a post about it (maybe next week actually). So really it’s about incentives to go and DISincentives to stay. Things like:
      – reward charts w/ rewards
      – let her pick out a super special bed buddy who can ONLY sleep in her bed
      – talk about a timeline (in X days it’s you’re going to sleep in YOUR bed) ahead of time. Make it a celebration – countdown calendar, plan a party, etc.
      – offer a transition path (no longer can sleep in bed WITH you but can sleep on futon NEXT to you, futon gradually moves towards door, etc.)
      – make her bedroom an appealing place. Often a room that isn’t slept in isn’t played in either. Spend time in there. Decorate. Buy a special thing to hang up on the walls. Get a super special night light, fancy nancy sheets, etc.
      – talk about WHY Mommy and Daddy need this. For your health, so you can be a good Mommy, because Daddy needs to sleep WITH Mommy, etc. This is how SHE is going to help the WHOLE family.
      – Don’t make it about the “big girl” bed as this often backfires – lots of kids have really mixed feelings about getting “big”

      Put together a list of ideas that you think will work for YOUR child and put the plan into place. I mean it’s cool that your husband is happy sleeping in a little girl bed in a room by himself. But it’s been 2.5 years now and winter is coming. Wouldn’t it be nice to have him to cuddle up with again?

  13. I have a 10 wk old who only sleeps in my arms but still fights sleep. He is bottle fed (formula) I also REALLY want to stop co-sleeping and get him into his own space. He is to big for his swing. 5.94 kilos and 62 cm long! I swaddle, white noise, place my clothing close by so he still has my smell near for comfort, pacifier(but when it falls out he wakes and is fussy), tilted bed placed in pram you name it I’ve probebly tryed it. It may be because I’m not repetitive but seriously I’m struggling to get him in his own bed. I hate the crying and I cave! Need help.

  14. I realise this is a really old post now, but I can’t thank you enough for it – I am about half way along the organic-extended bf-co-sleeping spectrum and not up for CIO. All the pro-co-sleeping sources make out like once you have made the decision to co-sleep, that is it – everyone will get a good night’s sleep and live happily ever after. I have co-slept with both of my children and neither of them would sleep. No 1. finally started sleeping through the night at aged 3 and no 2. (currently 2.5) has not only never slept through the night, but wakes (me) up between 4-8 times every night then bounces out of bed at 6am. He regularly wakes from 3-5am wanting to play and feed. I am a walking zombie. Co-sleeping is wonderful if they are asleep, but it isn’t when they aren’t!!! Nobody has managed to offer me a workable alternative to this or CIO…

  15. I am reading your sleep articles. I started cosleeping because the only way to rose to sleep was to let her nurse .. now she’s 10 months and still wakes up to nurse through the night .means i don’t sleep good. I need help to get her to sleep in her crib but to stop nursing her to sleep. Help…

    • Elise,

      Check the post I link to below (on bedtime) because the root issue is what’s happening AT bedtime. It’s not super simple but at the end of the day it’s fundamentally a 2-step process:
      1) Separate nursing from your bedtime routine so that she’s not nursing TO sleep or nursing NEAR bedtime.
      2) Start gradually weaning off night feeds.

      The post below is a great starting place!

  16. I just stumbled Across your site while laying next to my 11-week old, utterly exhausted and at my wits end.

    We too, “decided” to co-sleep, after having been strongly against the notion originally. My husband has been living on the couch since and I miss snuggling with him. Baby snuggles are great, but come on, who doesn’t want to the little spoon once in a while?!

    Anyway. We started co-sleeping because I had some post-partum conplications and it was easier to do it this way. Currently, my husband is in school and working which means he’s pulling 90-100 hour weeks between his classes, homework and his shifts. I really want to be able to transition the baby out of our bed, but need to be able to do so with little to no support at night.

    Previously the little one would sleep for 3-5 hours at a time, cozy in her sleep sack next to me, but in the last ten days she has reverted to being like a newborn and has been waking up between 6-10 times (roughly every 90 minutes) to eat/comfort suck. She doesn’t take a pacifier (we tried for 8 weeks, 6 different brands) but no interest. I am totally okay with her not using a paci, but I’m not sure how to transition her. We had a bassinet set up next to the bed, but within minutes of being put down in it, (we tried drowsy but awake and also asleep) she would wake up crying for me. It’s now gotten to the point that if I try to get out of bed, even to use the loo, she wakes up and will be crying until I pop her back on the boob.

    I’m exhausted. And I am not getting anything done, because even in her swing she doesn’t sleep. She loves being worn (passes out right away), stroller walks in fresh air, or sleeping right beside me with her legs propped up on my leg. She doesn’t like being held “like a baby” and always wants to be sitting up or doing tummy time. Please please help. I would like to avoid CIO as I’ve read about how it affects her brain and how her stress level stays elevated even after she stops crying, plus I know that at 11 weeks she is much too young for CIO.

    • P.S. We have a swing so I think I’m going to start trying it, but my question is, do I leave her swinging away while she’s awake if she doesn’t fall asleep at first? How long before I let her nurse to sleep (or should I stop doing that all together). And do I leave her sleeping in the swing at night? I thought it was really unsafe to do that as their airways can get constricted the same as when they get left in a bucket seat.

      Also, she’s a very healthy weight (over 15lbs and was born at 8lbs) and is about 24.75 inches.

  17. Hello there,
    I am a happy first time co sleeping mum but I am looking into ways to transition her to her crib. She falls asleep without feeding or rocking just snuggles next to me. I have a swing but she absolutely hates it 🙁 is there any other tricks out there to help her transition.

  18. Did you write more information on coming sleeping?i would love to read.

  19. My 13month old just started displaying behaviors of separation anxiety. His grandma has been his “daycare” since he was 4months old. Now he has started to cry whenever I leave him with her for work. I understand this is normal childhood development, my concern right now is I think he’s having separation anxiety when I leave him in his crib at night. He’ll only sleep if we co-sleep in the bed together (he’s been doing since birth). I decided it was time for the transition when he was about 10months because he’s so active and I have a pretty high bed and I’m afraid he’ll fall off. His crib is in our bedroom so he’s not far (literally 2 feet away from me). He’s been doing good for about months but the past week is not going routinely. Last night was the worst, I usually let him cry if he wakes up at night and he used to go back to sleep after a little whining, but last night he cried so much he threw up.

Trackbacks

  1. How To Get Baby to Sleep Better Part 2 | Troublesome Tots
  2. 5 Reasons Your Baby Hates the Crib | Troublesome Tots
  3. Safe Baby Sleep or Hatchet Job? | Troublesome Tots
  4. What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night - Part 2 | Troublesome Tots

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