Contemplating Co-Sleeping

by Janice

I don’t co-sleep with Olivia, but lately i am reconsidering…

Susan, who co-sleeps with her two daughters, Julia and Sophia, is a huge fan of co-sleeping. Ask Susan about her sleeping choice and she will tell you that sleep sharing with her daughters is one of her favorite parts of parenting.

She often tells me, “Janice — you are missing out on this precious chance to bond with your baby at night. She will be grown up so soon. You are crazy to miss this opportunity!”

And I do love co-sleeping. Whenever I travel with Olivia, she and I enjoy our chance to snuggle throughout the night.

But when Olivia was younger, she slept fabulously in her bed. She was a star sleeper, sleeping through the night from a very early age. Without the distraction of me next to her, I think she was able to get a deep, undisturbed sleep, (not to mention that I got a great sleep that way too!).

But, the one thing I have learned as a parent, is to never get too comfortable in one stage of parenting. Cause babies whip through stages as quickly as they poop in a fresh diaper. You are only as good as your last diaper change.

I may have star sleepers when my babies are four months old – but the moment my babies learn how to sit up in their cribs, they pop up like little springs and scream like lunatics with no clue how to get back down.

And then, even after they are more than capable of lying back down, they still jump up in the night, find themselves standing up and insist I come coax them back to dreamland.

So when Olivia acquired the new skill of sitting and standing, she started to fall apart in the sleep department. It didn’t surprise me. I remembered it all too well from my experience with Jackson. I knew the honeymoon was over. The real fun of parenting was just beginning.

I then proceeded to get in the routine of standing there “holding” Olivia down as I patted her back or rocked her back and forth to get her to fall asleep. (When I took my hand off her back, she popped up and started screeching. I mean come on – logic just tells you – keep patting her back till she falls asleep. Whatever you have to do. Just stop the screaming already!)

However – this temporary solution brings a wicked backlash. Babies remember how they fell asleep. And when their little body jerks awake in the night, they panic and need the same assistance to fall back to sleep.

If they got to sleep on their own, then they can self soothe in the middle of the night too.

But if they required mommy to fall asleep in the first place – then mommy better get back there fast!

Tired of being woken numerous time every night, I recently decided to get things back under control.

So, last week, after her night-time routine, I laid Olivia down in her crib and left. Well, of course she popped up and started the frantic screaming. But I was resolved. I must somehow stop this pattern. I can’t go on this way.

I let her cry for a few minutes, then I went in, told her it was sleepy time, laid her back down and left. Then she was really angry. I continued this mad cycle for almost two hours. At times she quieted down for a few moments and I thought it had worked. But the poor tyke had simply fallen asleep standing up! That stubborn monkey would NOT lie down. She would eventually wake up and start screaming again.

The end of the torture happened when finally I laid her down and she was too tired to pop back up. She finally fell asleep.

I tried it again the next night. More of the same. That crazy little thing just would not give in and lie down! And while I know she was just having a temper tantrum on me, it still made me feel terrible listening to my precious baby cry! Finally, when I went in and laid her down for the zillionth time, she didn’t protest and fell asleep.

But the next night I caved. (Well, maybe you could say, “I was being flexible.” I was merely reassessing and making suitable adjustments to my plan.)

I stayed with her as she fell asleep. I didn’t even have to pat her back, she just wanted me near. (I mean come on! How can a mother say “no” to their baby just wanting to see them?!? It can test even the staunchest anti-co-sleeper!)

But after that, Olivia’s sleep totally fell apart. For the past week, she has woken up a minimum of six times a night! My husband and I are exhausted and I am contemplating co-sleeping.

With Jackson, I continued to do the crib battle until he was about eighteen months. Then I started bringing him in bed with us when he woke in the middle of the night. Eventually, sick of being woken at 4am every night, I just skipped the crib part and put him directly in our bed.

But even though he only saw his crib for naps or time outs, I still didn’t consider us co-sleepers until one day when he informed a visitor, “That is my bed. But I don’t sleep in it.”

So, now I am wondering. If I will eventually give in and bring Olivia into bed with me like I did with Jackson, why am I torturing all of us right now? Why not give in now and we can all get a good night’s rest.

What about you? Do/did you co-sleep with your children?

Do/did you co-sleep from infancy or do/did you just give in and let your toddlers and preschoolers crawl into your bed in the wee hours of the morning?



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mrs. H September 9, 2008 at 10:54 am

No co-sleeping here… definitely just share my bed w/ my hubby. But, all that to say, I had a great sleeper… from six weeks until now, at five years. I had to do the let-her-cry thing at first though. And like you said above, I had read so much about “once you start a bad habit, like rocking or patting, you’ll have to continue…” so I didn’t start any of those routines. Our challenge was that I had let her take so many naps in her carseat, swing, bouncy chair, etc. that she took a bit to get used to her crib at first. I also had problems getting her to sleep outside of the home… no naps when we were visiting one of our friend’s houses, etc., but when she was at home she was out at naptime and nighttime!

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2 casual friday everyday September 9, 2008 at 11:01 am

I had my babies in bed for about 3 months until they could sleep on their own. Now Nicky (4) comes into my bed nearly every night at some point and has for about a year. The 2 year old stays in his crib. If he gets to the point where he needs me at night he is welcome. I just simply follow my kids lead :)

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3 DJ September 9, 2008 at 11:01 am

I went through the same thing with my son. As a newborn he slept with me until I could no longer breastfeed (my milk started to dry up around 6 months old) and from then until he was crawling, he slept in his crib fine. Then it all changed and he would not be left alone. I tried for a while like you did but finally decided I was doing what the “books” said to do, not what my gut told me. So into my bed he came. I’m a single mom so it really was no problem to anyone else. He is now almost 4 and I can tell you that co-sleeping has been one of the most rewarding parts of being a mom. I believe it has bolstered a sense of trust between us, that will serve me well later. Recently he has been falling asleep in his own bed a few days a week while playing and spending the night there. I believe he will make the transition on his own, when he is ready. Some nights he asks me to sleep with him in his room and then I get up after he falls asleep and he is fine. Other nights if he is feeling stressed he wants to sleep in my bed.
If you want my opinion, follow your gut. You already know what works for you, so go with it.
It’s a chance to bond on a level that will lead to other good things as they grow.

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4 Jessica Stier September 9, 2008 at 11:09 am

We co-sleep until our babies are about two years old or until I can’t handle it anymore. It has always been easier from a nursing point of view. I can just roll over and feed the little muncher instead of waking up and going to their room to feed them. Then when they are ready, I transfer them to a bed of their own, usually a full sized twin, and things go pretty smoothly.

Jessica
http://www.momshots.com

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5 jenn3 September 9, 2008 at 11:15 am

My two year old has never been a good sleeper. She didn’t start sleeping through the night until close to a year old and everytime she gets another tooth, it messes things up again. She has always slept in her own bed, but it’s hard. I actually gave up and took her to bed with me a few nights ago. I thought she would be happy, but she wouldn’t sleep. She was too distracted with me being there, and wanted to play (at 2am). She was upset when I put her back in her crib, but she went to sleep. Apparently we can’t co-sleep now, even if I want to.

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6 Susan Tuten September 9, 2008 at 11:17 am

The youngest of my 5 children is now 7. Wow, where does the time go? Very early on, my husband and I decided it is not in our family’s best interest for a child to decide what is best for himself, especially an infant. They slept in my room and/or with me the first few weeks of life, and have always been ‘welcome’ during the night. Night time can be a scary time for a child’s mind and heart and there have been many times when they needed reassurance. But the patterns of falling asleep on their own were encouraged from just a few months old in all 5 of them. And to this day, they do well being alone or even sharing a bed with a sibling or sleeping somewhere else.

As infants, if their sleep pattern was changing at some stage, I would change their daytime pattern too. Like a shorter nap, more mommy time, a little more to eat at supper time or nursing after supper. The routine of bedtime ie: bath, story, prayer and song seemed to be key for all of my kids. When that was interrupted, falling asleep seemed to take longer.
I would say, to cherish these times, they go too quickly!

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7 Melanie September 9, 2008 at 11:17 am

With my #1, he was never a great sleeper, but shortly after turning 1 his sleep really took a nose dive. I attributed it to exploring more during the day – he was a very clingy child, but he started venturing out more during the day, which led to needing me more at night. Even though I never did the cry-it-out thing to start off the night, I did try some during the night. When he turned PURPLE and nearly choked on his own mucous from screaming and crying so much, that put a stop to that.

I always started him out in his own bed, but the first time he woke up, I’d move him to our bed. That way, we got our own time, and he at least tried sleeping on his own. He had to move to a big bed at only 18 months because he would crash into the crib bars and wake himself up, but we maintained the same routine. It wasn’t until I was pregnant and he was about 2 1/2 that I started making him stay in his own bed so that we could make arrangements for #2. I started sleeping in his bed when he woke up, until we got closer to the time for #2 to arrive, then I gradually cut back on the time I would stay with him, and he eventually stopped waking up at all.

#2, our daughter, co-slept almost all the time til she was 2 1/2 or older. I forget just how old she was when we transitioned her over to her own bed. They shared a room, and I didn’t want her waking her brother in the night by crying.

Co-sleeping can sometimes be tiring, but I thought it was SOOO worth it! And I loved the snuggling. Most of the time. ;-)

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8 ayla September 9, 2008 at 11:20 am

I think babies need to have us nearby in order to sleep. They’ve learned that there’s a big bad world out there, and that to stay safe, they need to stay close to mommy. So yes, we have our son in our bed. It’s made naps difficult, because he’s never slept in the crib and doesn’t like the feel of the different mattress, and I do want to get him out of it, but for now, I still feel like this is the best thing for him and for our family.

I would never let my baby cry in a room alone for longer than it took me to gather my wits.

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9 A Cowboy's Wife September 9, 2008 at 11:24 am

DON’T DO IT! It’s a hard habit to break. I prefer to share my bed with my man who already gets less time from because of the kids.

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10 Hillary - The Queen I Am Not September 9, 2008 at 11:24 am

I co-slept with my newborns for 2-3 months each. After that, they slept in their cribs. I probably would have gone longer, but our bed isn’t very big, and my husband isn’t very reliable while sleeping with his babies; he’s just too deep a sleeper.

Our older daughter has never needed to sleep with us in the middle of night, and our younger daughter is too young to know any better.

You have to do whatever works for your family. You have to do whatever you’re comfortable with.

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11 tonya September 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

I didn’t know until recently that it even had a formal “name”….CO-SLEEPING. I did “it” with my first two children until they were about a year old and then they just almost supernaturally transitioned into their own beds. I am on my third (and last) child and she is with me as well. I am struggling emotionally with moving her out but I know I need to or feel strongly that I need to for all of our sake. I just really don’t want to see that time come!

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12 The Gang's All Here! September 9, 2008 at 11:50 am

We didn’t have a hard and fast rule about it, and “DON’T DO IT!” is too blanket statement for most families, IMHO. Each kid had different sleep styles and different needs and we just tried to roll with it as we went.

And on the verge of adopting a little new one in like A WEEK (WHOOOO HOOOO, pause here for happy dancing!), we’re going in to it with the understanding that our job during her transition from foster care and orphanage care is to supply what she needs when she needs it. To cement in her heart and her mind that WE are her parents, not just caretakers. That by doing so, we will build trust and comfort and security. If that means co-sleeping for a season, bring it on. If she’s already self-comforting and able to sleep alone, I’ll try to bear that too :)

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13 Petula September 9, 2008 at 11:57 am

This is funny… well, maybe funny isn’t the right word. With four children I have done it all. My first child slept well at night, needed no coaxing and didn’t start sneaking out of her toddler bed until she was about three to come into my bed. I would awaken in the morning wondering how she got there. That was just temporary. My second child — a boy — slept with me (us) for a very long time. I was getting up every one to two hours and was so extremely exhausted. So that started the co-sleeping. I finally got him out of the bed when I got pregnant and weaned him because of the baby. The trick was putting him in the big boy bed and making such an extreme deal about it. He wasn’t two yet, but he loved it. He would still come in occassionally, but not too bad. The third one slept independently first then co-sleeped, but finally settled into her toddler bed when I was pregnant with number four who I only co-slept with for a few months. With her she cries, but settles down fairly quickly. It probably helps that she shares a room with two siblings.

I think it’s all a matter what’s best for the family as a whole as long as we aren’t enabling. :D Good luck with your sweetie.

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14 Deb - Mom of 3 Girls September 9, 2008 at 12:37 pm

We’ve never co-slept – there’s just not enough room in the bed. :) But – Becca is certainly wanting to, at age 2-1/2. We’re having our own bedtime battles. Sigh. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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15 AmyG September 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I couldn’t co-sleep because I wouldn’t get any sleep. My oldest was a good sleeper, for the most part. It was when she got to about a yr old when kept wanting me to stay in her room with her. After a few nights, I figured out why. We lived in an apartment & the neighbors had kids that liked to beat on the wall, or whatever they were doing. No wonder she couldn’t go to sleep. Anyway, I would sit in a chair next to the crib until she fell asleep. But that got old after a while, so I got her a music CD with lullabies & that worked wonders.

Now my youngest, oh, she’s a different story. There were nights she would scream for 2 hrs before finally settling down. She still wakes up at least once a night, but I just hug & kiss her & she’ll lay down & go back to sleep.

There have been a couple of times the kids slept with me when they were sick. And let me tell you, no matter the age, they learn quickly what they can get away with. At 4 1/2, my oldest wanted to sleep up me when she’d have a nightmare. I dealt with it for about 3 weeks when I finally had enough & when she’d wake up, I’d walk her back to her room, hug & kiss her & tell her needed to stay in her own bed. Cruel to some, but I’m not a happy camper if I’m overtired.

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16 Kathleen September 9, 2008 at 12:39 pm

We co-slept with all of our kids from birth until they were ready to be independent. Now at 12, 9 and 6 they head off to bed on their own and sleep like rocks. However, there was a time when we had five people in a king sized bed each night! I’m so glad those days (nights) are over!!!

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17 Tonya September 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I haven’t co-slept with my children. However, if they wake up in the middle of the night I will bring them into bed with me until they fall back asleep. Hopefully I stay awake long enough to move them back into their beds again but there is the occasional night that they end up spending a few hours there because I’ve nodded off.

I could never bring myself to co-sleep with the twins because I was terrified that if I didn’t hold onto both of them during the night then they’d roll off the bed. Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often that they wake at the same time during the night so I only occasionally need to rock them both back to sleep before moving them back to their cribs.

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18 Erica M September 9, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Our little one has only slept with us twice, when he was too sick to know where he was. Otherwise, he thinks being in mommy and daddy’s bed means it’s time to PLAY!!!

We had the bedtime/sleeping through the night struggle too. Every time I went in to console him it got worse. Finally we decided to just put him to bed and leave him. No going in every few minutes to console him. It was hard at first. He cried a lot, and long, but once he got used to the idea, he did great! Now if he wakes in the middle of the night he goes back to sleep on his own, unless something is actually wrong. I can tell now, by the sound of his cry, if he’s upset, or if he’s hurt. Once he got his leg caught in the crib rails and I had to rescue him. :) Another time he bumped his head on the side of the crib and it scared him. I don’t mind consoling him if he’s hurt or scared!!! I just don’t want to be up every hour at the beck and call of a whiny little boy who thinks he shouldn’t have to be alone.

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19 Geri C September 9, 2008 at 12:52 pm

My oldest was such a great sleeper from the day he was born. he likes having his own bed and his own place to stretch out and sleep. My youngest has been a battle since Day 1, he just doesn’t require a lot of sleep and he really needs lots of physical contact. He’s a cuddle bug and it’s really hard for him to relax unless he’s got someone to snuggle up to. He would not cry himself to sleep, he would just cry! All night! So…he did end up in bed with us some nights as a baby/toddler and at 6 years old, he still needs someone to help him relax before bedtime and every once in awile he will find his way to our bed if he wakes up at night. He’s getting there, we just have to make sure our bedtime routine includes some time for cuddling and backrubs. You know, in the end, every parent has to decide what works best for his/her family and each child.

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20 Paper Bridges September 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm

I would bring my baby into bed to nurse, but I never got a sound sleep with him/her bed with me. I think snuggling on the sofa with a good book is just as effective as snuggling in bed. (Sorry, Susan)

Monica

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21 mama k September 9, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I’m a firm beliver in being flexible. If what you are doing is not working, try cosleeping and see if that works better for you. And if and when that doesn’t work for you, you can change it again. :)

This whole notion of forcing a baby and parent to go through these tiring rituals night after night.. all the tears and stress… and for what? Your kid is not going to be sleeping with you forever. And as you sister said, they are only little for so long. The end result is the same. They will eventually be sleeping in their own bed and learn to put themselves back to sleep when they wake, just as all of us adults learned to do. And when they are little they go through legitimate stages of separation anxiety. They NEED their parents to reassure them that they are there for them. It’s how they learn to trust people at an early age.
That’s my 2 cents.

For us, we coslept for the first 6 months. After that, DS was more moblie and didn’t want us so close to him. We are not tiny people and the queen sized bed was not giving us all enough space. So even though DH and I enjoyed cosleeping, it was time to adjust our plan. So we started putting him to bed in his own crib and then he’d come into bed with us at some point during the night. So we did part-time cosleeping until he was a little over a year old. At that point he was basically night weaned and sleeping through the night. So even though my orginal plan was to cosleep, we learned to be flexible and sensitive to everyone’s needs. And I’m sure if we have another baby the game will change again!

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22 Carol September 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Not a fan of co-sleeping at all. I enjoy having time with just my husband and I want to be left alone while I sleep. My DD tosses all night so, who ever sleeps with her gets punched and kicked. DS is a great little cuddle bug but if he had the chance to stay in my bed all night, I think he would talk all night and not get any sleep. I think sleeping is a great time for some privacy. Time to think to yourself. Time to just be alone. Not something I get very much of outside of my sleeping hours.

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23 brandie September 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

while it is good to ask others’ opinions and learn from their experiences, it can also make the situation more complicated! YOU are the expert on your child. YOU know what she needs. don’t be afraid of listening to her. don’t be afraid of listening to your instincts/heart/mommy-gut. don’t be afraid that you will somehow ruin her by doing this or that. your mothering is bigger than one aspect of parenting.

we always followed the “do whatever works” for people to sleep approach. my kids are now half grown and guess what? they are good sleepers and well adjusted children. their sleep patterns have ebbed and flowed over the years, but that had more to do with other circumstances (moving, illness) than with what i did when they were babies. other than this one thing: i made certain that going to sleep was a pleasant process for them. they never associated it with anything ‘bad’ or ‘uncomfortable’ so there was never anything to fight.

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24 Tracey September 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm

No cosleeping for us…did a post recently….http://gracecomesbyhearing.blogspot.com/2008/08/cosleeping-not-for-me.html

NO thanks!!! Too many danger issues.

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25 Jennifer, Snapshot September 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I will take the wise Steph’s advise that you recently shared in the blogging relationships video and answer only because you asked. . . .

I don’t co-sleep. My husband and I decided it was something we didn’t want to do. That said, when people ask me, I share some advice that a very wise friend gave me when my first child was born, “Don’t just do an easy fix. Think that you may be doing it for years.”

So, when people talk about bringing a baby into bed, if it’s what you want, as Susan does, then do it if it works for you and your family. If you don’t want to have to break that cycle, don’t do it.

My kids have always been fantastic sleepers, but when Amanda moved to a bed, she would come to my room when she waked. Because I knew we didn’t want her in our bed, I never let her stay “just this once.” I walked her back to her bed, and she went back to sleep. Soon she stopped coming to me.

I’m not sure how it work with you and Olivia, because you don’t even sleep!!

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26 heather u September 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm

We had a similar situation when our little one learned to sit and stand. Out of sheer exhaustion, we started co-sleeping when she was about 10 months old.

We love it! I agree with your sister – they grow up too quickly and I want to spend as many of those moments with her as possible. I’m so glad we made the switch to co-sleeping, in spite of the negativity from family members. It works for us and we get the sleep that we all need!

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27 melissa l. September 9, 2008 at 2:51 pm

First off, I think that you have to find what works for you.

Secondly, I personally don’t agree with co-sleeping. I believe that kids need to sleep on their own. I’d also much rather share a bed with my hubby than with an active little person!

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28 Corrie Wilder September 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I thoroughly enjoy the nights my little one wakes up and needs me and snuggles for a few hours before I have to get up and go to work. Same goes for my older daughter, who will visit us to alleviate the fear of an occasional nightmare and is old enough to sleep straight up-and-down in the bed (instead of diagonally or upside down or directly on top of my husband or I like the baby).

Would I want to co-sleep regularly? Probably not, my husband and I like our time alone in our bed at night, it gives us a chance to reconnect…with us both working and my side business and the girls we find that bedtime is our only time to have an uninterrupted conversation!

That said, I do understand why many families do co-sleep and thinking about my little girls’ faces sleeping so peacefully always makes me smile.

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29 katy September 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

People say, “Don’t let them sleep with you.They have to learn to be on their own. You can’t go with them to college.”
Well, from experience, my kids are in college now, and they have long since been weaned from my bed. It’s not a hard habit to break when their age and maturity reaches the proper level. It’s like potty training. You can kill yourself trying to train them at an early age. Some kids can do it, but some are just not ready. But when they are, they are potty trained in a day.
I believe babies need the comfort, security, and love of a parent to nurture them.
Co-sleeping does it make hard on the hubby and your marriage. You have to make special efforts and make sure your hubby is not left out.

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30 Casey September 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I have two boys. The first slept in his crib almost from day one. He never spent a minute in my bed. I regret that very much. In fact, he’s almost 3 now, and I sometimes lay in bed and wish that he would come into our room and climb in with us. My second is 14 months. He started off sleeping in his bassinet, but he was a terrible sleeper. It got to the point where I was almost unable to function. I had to make a decision. Something had to change. To me, it was about doing what was best for him both at the moment and in the long run.

For us, the answer was to co-sleep. It wasn’t something we “fell into” or something that just happened. It was an option on our list. We thought about it, prayed about it, and researched it. We decided it was best for him and committed to it. He slept in our bed with us for 6+ months. I loved it. It is a time I would never give up. When he was about 11 months old, I got sick and wasn’t able to sleep in bed with him so he had to go back into his bassinet. He did so wonderfully well with the change that we didn’t think it was fair to bring him *back* into bed with us for a 4th sleeping change when he didn’t seem to be struggling. I miss him. :)

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31 SarahHub September 9, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I have written several posts about this.

I go back and forth. Evie has slept in her own crib, and with us. Right now, she’s with us!

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32 Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life September 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm

OH I feel your pain!! There is nothing more miserable than a bad sleeping phase, or a high maintenance one. And I remember all too well when mine learned how to stand up in her crib but couldn’t get back down.
However, I may be selfish, but I need and crave my alone time too much, needing that time, even if I’m asleep, to be “just me”, not Mommy. So we worked and worked and worked on it, and thankfully with lots of success. Mine is 20 months old now and has had no trouble sleeping for quite some time. For us, it was not always easy during the midst of a sleep crisis, but it was definitely worth it for the long term solution.

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33 Jessica September 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm

My son co-slept with me from 4months to about 15 months. I was so exhausted that I had to move him to his bed. I did similar to you. I let him cry it out. Every 5 minutes I or my husband would go to his room and tell him he was okay and lay him back down. The first night was about an hour, the second 45 minutes, and so on and so on. Soon after that he loved his crib. He would ask to go to bed. It was amazing. It was hard to hear him cry, trust me! Now he is nearly 3 and in a big boy bed. Different bed time battles now. :)

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34 Blessed September 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm

We co-slept exclusively until our little one was about 6 months old, now I put her to sleep and then lay her in her crib and she stays there until she wakes up – anytime between midnight and 8 in the morning. If we’re still in bed, she comes to bed with us. Most of the time it works pretty well!

Good luck – I know there are downsides to any solution!

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35 se7en September 9, 2008 at 5:58 pm

We co-sleep and love it, they are only small for a time. A family bed has worked really well for us. I never have to get up in the night and go to a child they were right there and felt secure and went back to sleep. I love when people say your kids will never leave your bed, they’ll never stop nursing, they will never get out of diapers… Actually they will… most people don’t wear diapers forever, nurse forever or sleep in their parents bed forever!!!

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36 Adventures In Babywearing September 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm

We do co-sleep but it’s something that kind of worked out on its own. My first two didn’t cosleep with us and did fine on their own. I will say that it definitely made sleeping better and breastfeeding easier with Gray, and I’m really looking forward to cosleeping with the new baby! I wouldn’t force anything- go with your gut and what works for both you AND baby- whichever way you’ll both get the best sleep and rest and comfort!

Steph

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37 Tara September 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

We co-sleep more often than not. We always put the baby down in her crib, but she often wakes up and wants to be held and cuddled. I’m not going to sit in her room in a chair and cuddle with her to the detriment of my own sleep, but I can’t just let her cry. We tried to let her just cry twice, and both attempts ended in disaster. Like your daughter, she cried herself into hysteria. Eventually, she made herself throw up. The stress outweighs whatever benefits there would be.

So, the short version is that we bring her over to our bed when she cries at night. She likes it, and it has been happening more and more often. I like waking up to her smiling face, so it’s okay with me.

I do wonder about the end of co-sleeping. How and when will she go back to her own bed for the whole night? Not sure of any good answers.

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38 brandy September 9, 2008 at 8:28 pm

i was the same way, my hubby was in iraq. the safest place i felt for my baby was in my bed. i now refret it because now as a toddler, she crawls into my bed everynight. no alone time with my husband. do not give in, she;ll learn

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39 Elizabeth...MommyETC September 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

While I love the cuddling on an off night or when we’re in a strange place…I really prefer her to sleep in her crib. Co-sleeping is not for me…though I know several families who find it works for them. If I had a husband away (my hubby is military so if he were deployed) maybe I’d rethink if Tulip was an infant…but at this stage…the best place for her is her crib. :-) FYI…she’s 16 1/2 mos old.

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40 Hannah September 9, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Our first two slept with us, because that’s what worked for our family. And our new baby will sleep with us as well. It makes nursing easier in the beginning, and with toddlers I think it’s reassuring for them to have mommy and daddy nearby. And it’s not impossible to change things when you need to. Once we needed to move our daughter to her own room, it was no big deal. Just took a little planning and a little time to get a new routine in place.

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41 Tammy September 9, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I’ve always had my babies at arm’s reach when they were little. But not in bed with me.

We do drag a mattress into Parker’s safe room each night for either Reed or I to sleep on while Parker sleeps in his crib.

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42 dayna September 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm

With our first child, we rocked him to sleep each night and when he woke, we brought him to our bed. Amateurs, lol.

Twins were next and we figured there was no way we’d get any sleep if we did the same thing, so we quickly realized that things needed to change. Enter the book, “Becoming Baby Wise” which was an absolute lifesaver and a requisite baby shower gift thereafter. It does depend on the family, and I’m sure there are benefits to co-sleeping but in our case, we have bond with our children during waking hours and feel that a good night’s sleep is essential and best done alone. Our new baby slept in a bassinet by our bed until she was 5 months old and able to sleep through the night. She was scheduled and accustomed to being laid down awake so the crib transition wasn’t traumatic – she goes down like a champ and sleeps for 12 uninterrupted hours every night. Every child is different but seriously… if you take the Baby Wise approach, the entire household benefits from good solid sleep.

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43 Jenileigh September 9, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Co-sleepers here. My dd is 7 and she transitioned to her bed just fine. I was ready and so was she. I loved having her in my bed and I miss her snuggles but she was just too big! Dh and I needed our space back too!

I didn’t cosleep with my oldest dd and I regret and so does she. She still remembers her fears from then, I always tell her I’m sorry that I made her sleep alone. My other two never had nightmares the way she did. Time just goes by too quickly. This dd is 18 now. WoW!

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44 Butterfly Mama September 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm

“Cause babies whip through stages as quickly as they poop in a fresh diaper. You are only as good as your last diaper change.” Fabulous, love it!!!

Yes I cosleep/slept with both of mine. With our son we (similar to your experience) tried to get him to go into the crib at a few months old. Only to bring him into our bed after a stretch of sleep. With our daughter now we just recently tried the crib battle – she just turned one and it’s not for me. (Plus she’s teething.)

I’m all for whatever gets all of us the most sleep – for now, that’s cosleeping, when that stops being the case then we’ll consider another remedy. With my son he was between 18 months to 2 when we made the switch to his bed for the entire night so I’m assuming in the next year we’ll get our bed back but for now I love waking next to my sleeping beauty!

Hugs,
Heidi

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45 Tara R. September 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm

I did co-sleep at first with my extremely colicky firstborn son… but he moved to his crib at about 3 months. I didn’t co-sleep at all with my second son. I have been co-sleeping with my daughter since day one. She is now 20 months old. I love it. I wish I had done it with my sons. I am also SIGNIFICANTLY less sleep deprived.
The only reason I didn’t with my sons is because I felt guilty and judged for doing it. So I caved instead of going with my gut.

Plus I needed sleep.

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46 wayfarer September 9, 2008 at 10:12 pm

When we moved, my son was 18 months and refusing to sleep in his crib and to help with the transition and scary new home, i let him sleep with us. He wouldn’t go back after that. Now he’s almost 3 and he starts half the time in his room and half in ours. I sort of let him decide. Some days he just needs it more than others. I hope he will transition himself out of it. I just can’t make him cry at this age and there’s no real way to contain him either since his bed is a regular one. I have a baby coming now though and he’s a light sleeper so i have no idea what i’m going to do here in a few months. I have to admit i love sleeping with him even if he is a huge bed hog. :-)

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47 MommyWizdom September 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I co-slept w/my babies until they stopped nursing, then it was in the crib, in their own room. Teaching children to sleep on their own is soooo soo important. Co-sleeping might be good for you now, but you may want to stop that in a few years and your child may not be so amenable.

If you’re going to let your child cry it out, you CANNOT GO BACK INTO THE ROOM. Every time you show back up you’re giving them false hope that you’ll come back. So, essentially, you’re keeping them awake longer than necessary by doing this. A couple of nights of letting them cry it out and NOT coming back at all – not even tip toeing, is all you need. Soon your baby will be fast asleep and will learn how to self soothe at night. Also, you must make sure that they are getting enough sleep during the day or they become over tired to sleep at night (which results in the jack-in-the-box phenomenon you described).

For more sleep information check out the book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. Great, great information on sleep in there! Good luck!

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48 Heather September 9, 2008 at 11:11 pm

I have done (am doing) some form of cosleeping with all 3 of my kids. The older two sleep just fine in their own beds in their own rooms now (at 6 years and 4 years) and have for a while. I can’t recall when we stopped cosleeping I guess. We just did it until they didn’t need it anymore. (Yes, we occasionally still have a guest in our room.)

The baby is only 3 months old and sleeps in a basinette in our bedroom still.

I figured they wouldn’t be 15 and still wanting to sleep in Mom and Dad’s room so what did it hurt?

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49 Christine September 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Looking back, at the sleeping habits with my older children, my 14yo I didn’t cosleep with, until she was about 4. When her dad would be on out of town business, she’d crawl into bed with me.
My 8yo son didn’t either as a baby, until he was about 3 1/2 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and I wanted him close, so he slept with us.
With my 5yo, she didn’t sleep with us, until she was 1 1/2, because she was scared of her new room. Her crib was in our room, so it was only natural she’d react this way to new surroundings.
The same thing with the 2 1/2 yo now, she’s scared to sleep in the same room, even if her sisters in there.
One of the memories I have when I was about 8yo, was crawling into bed with my mother, when my dad went to work the graveyard shift, and on days she took powernaps, and even though I was old enough not to want to take naps, there was something warm and comforting about cuddeling up with her, and then we both took a nap.

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50 Sweet Serendipity September 10, 2008 at 12:00 am

We co-sleep and have from the start. My oldest, now 6, slept in our bed until about 2 1/2. My second was 2 when she was put into her own bed because baby 3 was coming. She was happy to be in a room with her older brother (not the same bed). Now my third baby is 12 mos and still co-sleeping. We bought a mini co-sleeper that attaches to our bed. I love it! Wouldn’t change a thing.

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51 KC September 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm

with 7 kids I’ve done about the same with each of them. they sleep beside my bed in a cradle or pack n play until they sleep through the night. then I move them into a crib in the next room with a baby monitor. when occasionally one sleeps with me I don’t fall asleep soundly and am so exhausted. but each mother needs to do what works best for their family!

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52 Melissa September 10, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I read Ezzo’s Baby Wise book but didn’t agree entirely with all his points. I did however see the main message that the family is a team. You do what is best for the whole family, not just one person.
We knew it was important for my husband and I to have our own time, our own bed, so that meant the girls started off right away sleeping in the cradle, the crib and now big girl bed. There were some difficult nights around 7-8 months, but that was a short struggle in exchange for many nights of rest and guaranteed time with just my husband.

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53 Jennifer September 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm

We have co-slept since the beginning with all three of our girls. It would drive me crazy to do otherwise. I don’t think I could function getting up in the night, putting baby back to sleep, then trying to get back to sleep myself. This way I only need to roll over to feed the baby and we all go back to sleep. Aaaah, peace! Wouldn’t have it any other way!

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54 Sara September 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Our daughter “arrived” at 8 months and the adoption was finalized at 13 months. While we never chose to co-sleep, once she was in her toddler bed, she decided to come into our bed almost every night after 4:00 am or so. About 7 months ago, she had her tonsils out (3 years old) and since then she slept in our room on a crib mattress on the floor because she was scared to sleep in her room. She ended up in our bed every night, without fail. She is a very restless sleeper – kicking and moving around a lot. We do not get any sleep when she sleeps with us.

At any rate, about a week or two ago we decided to try to move her back into her room. She and I rearranged it how she wanted it (she just got potty trained and we were able to get the changing table our of there) and I think that made a big difference. Now she still wants to sleep in our room, and most mornings she still comes into our room, but at least we have time alone.

For us, it was almost detrimental to our relationship that she was sleeping with us for that long. We had nowhere to be alone together. It made it very difficult for us to get a good night’s sleep because she was so restless and even though she had her mattress 10 feet away from our bed, she still came into our bed. Now we have some private time and we can be husband and wife again, instead of just daddy and mommy all the time.

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55 Bailey's Leaf September 10, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I’m not a co-sleeper. Wasn’t and wouldn’t be. My feeling is that hubs and I need a place to be together. It is no crime to enjoy snuggling with the hubs.

However, especially when our daughter was getting eye teeth in (which, BTW took a beloved sweet forever), I ended up sleeping on her floor next to her bed. I did that when she had her first shots, to make certain that she was okay. I did that with chicken pox.

Do you play soft music for her at night? K- enjoys her music and has had it played since day one.

I’m certainly not in your position, but on the evenings that it seemed never-ending, camping out on the floor worked for me. I should also add that my husband has some very difficult digestive problems and if he doesn’t sleep, he falls apart. We also had a waterbed at the time (hubs brought it into the marriage. It was not my choice.) We were afraid to have her in the bed with us, for fear that we would roll over her or suffocate her.

Good luck.

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56 spaghettipie September 10, 2008 at 11:28 pm

I have strong opinions on this subject, and I’m extremely sensitive to the struggle having gone through sleep issues with my little one and receiving lots of thinly veiled judgment from others.

The bottom line is co-sleeping or not is not a right or wrong issue. It’s about your choice in how you decide to parent. It may be better to ask yourself, what is my goal here? Is sleep my number one priority? Is teaching my daughter to be independent of me at night my priority? Is showing her who’s boss and “not giving in” (as some have mentioned) the priority? I think the answer to that will drive your decision. And whatever that answer is for your family is fine.

Also, put the issue of co-sleeping into global context. We, as Westerners and especially Americans, have a high value of independence that we try to instill in our children from a very young age. The majority of the other cultures in the world do not do so to the same degree. And (although I don’t have hard data) I’m going to assume many of those other cultures have no issue with co-sleeping . . . and their kids are not any better or worse than ours as a result.

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57 Happy Mama September 11, 2008 at 10:00 am

Our kids inadvertently co-sleep with us..they start out in their beds and sneak into ours half way through the night. We don’t mind per se but…we are not fans of the kicking..digging little toes into ribs and the constant squirming that Lady bug does CONSTANTLY!!!! Not to mention laying on my hair…getting whomped in the nose eye…I even woke up one morning with a bruise on my face from our oldest who sat up and just fell back on my face..kinda like a wet noodle…but a whole lot heavier Needless to say I woke up and he went back to his bed….There are some not so fun parts too!

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58 bee September 11, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I’m a total wuss! I give in and let him come to bed with us. He always goes right back to sleep. I figure none of us are any good if we’re not sleeping and maybe we can break him of the habit by college! :-)

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59 Krystyn September 12, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Yep, I’m co-sleeping with my 7 month old boy. Tried to let him cry it out in his crib one night, but we made it only 15 minutes – that’s not the method for us. We all sleep better now co-sleeping, so that’s the way it’s going to have to be – at least for now. Like you said, things change quickly with babies. :-) Thanks for this post!!

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