Does co-sleeping create bad habits later?

Erica - posted on 08/30/2012 ( 48 moms have responded )

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My husband and I disagree about this subject. I have been bringing our 4 week in the bed with us for few hours in the morning. By about 5 am he starts to fuss but if he is sleeping with us I'll get another 2 to 3 hours of sleep ( every little bit helps!) I dont want to cosleep exclusively as I have been known to sleep walk in the middle of the night (never in the AM) so he sleeps in the bassinet next to the bed. Opinions?

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Sally - posted on 09/15/2012

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Bed sharing has been the norm for almost all of human history and still is the norm for almost all of the world. Babies are not biologically designed to sleep by themselves.

Our culture thinks it will "ruin" a child because a few decades ago a few "scientists" decided that placing a child's needs ahead of a parent's wants would "spoil" the child. People who wanted to sell bigger houses, more furniture (especially expensive short term baby furniture) , and nursery decorating jumped on the idea and promoted it strongly.

Now sadly we expect babies to sleep in ways that are not natural (and often are not safe) because we're told it's the "right thing to do". It's very sad and the sooner people get educated and stop doing it, the healthier our society will be.

While the modern western bed has become a smothering and falling hazard over the years, those problems are easy to correct. Safe co-sleeping (especially when used to facilitate nursing) lowers your SIDS risk about 50%, co-sleeping babies nurse more often which promotes health in many, many ways AND are less likely to cry or cling than their sleep trained peers, and co-sleeping moms report getting more and better rest. While some co-sleeping children never want to give up the family bed (which is the norm in most of the world), most of them are begging for their own room at a younger age than most sleep trained children are sneaking into your room hoping you'll be too tired to send them back.

Bekki - posted on 09/11/2012

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Ii don't recommend co sleeping. I personally have never done it and never would. My LO knows she has her own room and doesn't know any different. A lot of my friends have done it and have a lot of problems now that their children are older. My LO is 5 months old and sleeps awesome, in her own room.

Mikka - posted on 10/15/2012

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I co-slept with all three of my kids. There really was no trick to transitioning, and the way you are describing your routine, I dont believe you will have trouble transitioning either. They started out in their own beds, and would come into our bed when they woke up to feed... so as they stopped waking up throughout the night, they stopped coming into our bed and slept in their own. I have a 6 year old, a 2 year old and a 1 year old... and ALL are sleeping peacefully in their own beds with no issues.

Sharmila - posted on 09/12/2012

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just a question.....



if a baby, who has not learned to walk or talk yet, is put in separate room and she is not able to breathe suddenly due to nose block or choking, how is she supposed to solve her problem?



A. clear her own nose

B. do first aid on herself to stop choking

C. just practise holding breath (this will help in swimming lessons later in life-as one mom put it-whatever baby is going to need to learn later, she might as well start doing it now, BIG or SMALL...)

D. scream to get her Mom's attention.....oops she forgot to take an appointment with her

E. scheme how to gain control of her mother so that she can get what she wants



Baby should not control a mother's life? I dont know who the baby is supposed to look upto other than parents when scared or needing something at night.... GOD? if someone was not ready to forgo a bit of privacy till the child is able to take care of herself and can wake someone for help, do not have a baby....she doesnt deserve this....may be you did...



This is my first post and i joined this forum to write this if not more....and ofcourse i will co sleep till my 9 month old is ready and comfortable....

Amanda - posted on 09/11/2012

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It doesn't necessarily create bad habits later on, that's up to you. That is the only way my oldest would sleep. If he was put in his crib, he'd just cry and cry and cry. He's 3 now and sleeps in his own room/bed. We sing him a song or read a story at bed time and that's that. It took weaning, of course, but you need to sleep and if that's the only way to get it, I say go for it. My husband was also very against it at the start, but no sleep changes your mind pretty quickly.

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Chris - posted on 10/29/2012

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Ladies, I have two children, one biological and one blended through re-marriage. I am a little biased on this subject. My biological child only ever slept with me when she had a bad dream or was sick. At that time, I always went to her room to comfort. My blended child who is a 9 year old "young man" lives with my husband and me half time and his mother half time. Prior to that his mom kept him in the bed with her every night. Eventually, it caused marital problems and they divorced. My blended son still sleeps with his mom but sleeps on his own in his own "guy" room when he is with us. At first, it was an adjustment with lots of crying and coming out of his room several times during the first two hours or so but he adjusted and we commended him for his accomplishment. We also taught him to tie his shoes, ride his bike, and start riding the bus home from school. Up until he learned to sleep in his own room at our house, he was afraid to try new activities, new foods, or go to new places. For his emotional development and better self-esteem, my husband asked his ex-wife numerous times to please put son in his own room/bed so he can grow but she refused saying that was the time she bonded with him. My blended son had complained to us that he had a hard time getting good sleep because his mom kept the light on so she could read during that time.



About nine months ago, he experienced his first "mornng surprise." My husband talked with him briefly about it expecting to discuss in more detail in the near future. Just last week, we found hand drawn comics of naked boys and girls on beds, etc. with captions that make it clear that he is developing sexually. Again, my husband informed his ex-wife of these developments and that it was high time son slept on his while with her but to date, no response from her.



I just don't know what else to say about this topic expect for my own personal experience and it has not been a good one. This is just one child and one ex-wife but it is apparent that she cares more about her needs than that of her sons.



I wish all of you better luck than this!

Martina - posted on 10/22/2012

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My mum co slept with me and i was still getting into her bed until age 11 (when my step dad came on the scene) and now at age 25 i can't sleep alone infact I've never slept alone when there hasn't been a man on the scene id sleep in a chair stay at friends houses or have a pet in bed with me or just not sleep even now if my hubbys not home i let our dogs sleep on the bedroom floor! In spite of this i still co slept with my boys only up to a certain age tho there's definitely a cut off point!

Jennifer - posted on 10/21/2012

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My first daughter slept with us in our bed until she was about 3 months. After that she slept in her pack and play beside of our bed until she was 6 months (our "apartment" was the lower level of a house so it was a bit chilly in her nursery during the winter months). After it warmed up she was moved to her nursery and slept fine. My second daughter slept in our bed until she was about 9 months (she was a frequent nurser). After that she has slept in her crib in our bedroom (we only have a 2 bedroom house). Sometimes co-sleeping can be beneficial and sometimes it's not. It just depends on the temperament of the child and what works for each family. What works for others may or may not work for you. Each child and family is different. If you notice a "bad habit" forming, slowly adjust what you're doing until you find something that works.

Marne - posted on 10/11/2012

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In my opinion your baby is to young to pick up bad habits, start to worry at 3 or 4 months... but enjoy this time and cudle as much as you want... Remember that baby was in you for 9 months and it is only natural for him to need you so soon after birth. My son also slept with us for some time and he is now almost 6 months and sleeps in his crib just fine (in our room still though) and when he wakes up he mostly keeps himself busy.

Jen - posted on 10/10/2012

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I do the exact same thing as you... as you say a few extra hours in the morning are awesome, i figure as long as she doesn't fall asleep in my bed and spends most of the night sleeping in her own crib, and its kinda a special thing not done all the time, what's the harm?

Alba - posted on 10/10/2012

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I never remember sleep with my mom and dad but once i went to sleep with my mom for a little while i was about 10 or 11 years old the feeling that I had being close to her so cozy and warm was so special i felt loved and protected but my father kiked me out. I never forget that feeling.

I used to sleep with my sisters went we were groing up and I don't now any bad habit rather than sleep in.

Deborah - posted on 10/09/2012

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YES it does! Only time a lil one can "Climb into bed, is if there is a terrible storm outside" Even then, I'd say the adult should go to the child's room until they fall asleep, but I know parental laziness would preclude that. Otherwise, the child will continuoulsy think they can show up at the foot of the bed and jump in .... They have a bed and a bedroom .. they need to start understanding boundaries ... they need to stay in their on bed!

Bonnie - posted on 10/09/2012

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The question was "does co-sleeping create bad habits later?" This question isn't about everyone's opinion on whether co-sleeping is best for mom or the family. Is there a real answer to this? Who knows...

Hope - posted on 10/05/2012

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With a baby as little as 4 weeks, I wouldn't worry about the co-sleeping issue. I don't think that a few hours in the early morning will do much of anything to ruin him sleeping in his own bassonet/crib. If you are breastfeeding, every mom does that! I had my son sleep with me when he was a few weeks, but as he got older I started making sure he got back in his own bed (convienently next to mine) just so he'd understand that was HIS bed. I think the only time you need to be concerned is when your 3-7 year old is demanding to sleep with you all through the night. Then you've got issues and your child might never get used to sleeping on his/her own. I mean, I understand that some parents like to do that- but teaching your child that independence makes your life as a parent A LOT easier (and you get more sleep!). I'm a gal who needs her sleep. When my little guy sleeps with me, he kicks/hits etc. and I can't get any shuteye.

Janice - posted on 09/24/2012

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Every child is different. Some become so attached that breaking the habit is very difficult, while others transition easily. My daughter was in our bed from midnight till morning until she was 10/11months. It was a rough transition but then she was fine for over a year. Last april she was sick which is rare and started crawling in our bed in the middle of the night and the habit has stuck. But she is so quiet that hubby and I dont even notice till the AM sometimes. She will be 3 in a month. Now my son spent some time as a newborn in our bed but seemed to sleep better on his own. So even though we co-slept much like you are, my son transitioned to sleeping solely in his crib no problem. He is almost 10months.

I think if its helping you get a few extra hours and you are extremely careful concerning blankets and such then its no big deal.

Carly - posted on 09/22/2012

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I don't really like it but definately did it with my now 9 month old baby. You do what you need to to just get through. I think the first 3-4 months are the hardest. All I can tell you is it does get better so set your routine now if possible.



I would persist with popping the dummy in until I think around 3 am hit (and it wasnt even everynight) then pop Tilly in with us after that.



Now, I cant even remember the last time she slept with us it would have to be at least 3 months ago. My hubby loves it and says 'they wont want to do it for long' thats fine luv but have you seen what I turn into with no sleep and now I dont really sleep well with her in the bed little wiggle worm.



I hope it gets better for you...

Sue - posted on 09/19/2012

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Perfectly said Sherri! I would say as long as the kids are taken care we all as parents are doing a great job!!

Lauren - posted on 09/17/2012

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Dont cosleep. I did with my forst child as I breastfed, and fell asleep with him. He slept on my chest every night after the 10pm feeding and then once he got bigger he moved between my husband and I. By the age of 1 1/2 I was pregnant with my 2nd and knew if I let him stay in bed with us he would think we were kicking him out when his soon to be brother would enter the world. So we made him a bed on the floor next to our bed, but he still wanted to sleep with us. It is a ver hard habit to break. Its one thing if its for a few minutes but minutes turn to hours and days and months. The longer they stay the longer and more difficult it is to get them into their own bed when they've slept sidewaus between you and your partner. I loved sleeping with mine, but like I said there comes a time when they'll be kicking you out of your own bed and then its worse to try and get them into their own bed.

Sharmila - posted on 09/16/2012

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Thanks Sally, you wrote what was on my mind about furniture companies brainwashing mommies on whats natural to be a 'bad' habit...thanks Lise too for highlighting that CRYING is the only way baby communicates...



Thanks Sherri for your response too but i disagree and am not going to apologise but will surely clarify, maybe you took my post to heart and hence feel guilty, if so i can only suggest cosleep with your baby or at least have her in the same room as you...



Yes all babies are different and so are parenting styles, but a baby needing mother's warmth and milk is UNIVERSAL TRUTH, there can be no baby who does not want these....



Children do deserve their own space, but that is when they grow up a little and know it and can tell you the same. Also, by cosleeping i do not mean not giving the baby any space to sleep..



A baby can choke on her own spit up or saliva particularly if she is lying on her back...google and see, for sample: http://community.babycenter.com/post/a24...



Great that your kids did not have any such issues...and i never said children who dont cosleep with their mother do not love her or vice versa, my points on control and scheming were in response to an earlier post which said that we should not let a baby control our life..



I do want to add that though i believe m doing some things right, i also have made mistakes in choosing for my baby and the right thing is to correct what one can when you realise....

Lise - posted on 09/13/2012

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I don't think co-sleeping is for everyone. Absolutely not. Not only is it not for every parent, it's not for every BABY. One friend co-slept with her first and was so sad that her second just did not want to do it. Her second was in his own crib, in his own room, by the time he was a week old and it worked for the family.



I think the point I would make is that for a child who cannot do ANYTHING about their situation, it's not fair to put them in another room and cry themselves to sleep. Maybe they are in pain, uncomfortable, hot, cold, etc. My dd runs so much hotter than dh or I. She woke at 10 last night and walked into our room, and though we were comfortable, she was SWEATING. If your baby is not in your bed/your room and you respond to their tears, that's great. If you and your baby sleep just as well (or better) apart than together, then stay apart. It just kills me to think of parents shuttling their infants to another room and letting them cry (i.e., communicate) when that infant cannot change his or her environment.

Lise - posted on 09/13/2012

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Sharmila, totally agree. One thing to keep in mind is that crying is your baby's only method of communication. ONLY. And for a little baby who cannot crawl, roll, walk, pull self up, etc. this is especially important to remember. When we are uncomfortable, we move. I move ALL THE TIME at night - on my side, my back, move my blanket, too warm, too cool, etc. I can't help it. Babies cannot do this. If they get too warm or too cool, get a cramp, have an itch, whatever - there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. So they cry, because they know that the person who can help them responds to the crying, as we should. If they cannot help themselves, which they can't, there needs to be someone there who can help. Even when we get to them, they still have no way of being able to tell us what's wrong. I'm sure it is just as frustrating for them as it can be for us - they are crying out "help! help!" with their tears and cannot explain it any further.



It's also very hard to determine what your lo needs at any given moment. Yes, there are differences in how those tears sound - I recognize an "I'm tired" whine versus an "I'm hungry" whine even - but for infants, those needs are all related. Nursing can be food, comfort, safety, happiness, love - all rolled into one. Your little one may not be hungry, but that doesn't mean that nursing in that moment isn't a NEED (like me with caffeine - it serves the function of quenching my thirst, but also tastes amazing and removes my caffeine-headache ).



Personally, I am not a fan of determining an infant or child's needs when they cannot tell you. For the moms on here who are pregnant or have been, you know what a huge growth spurt is like - you are in the middle of one. When I woke up in the middle of the night and NEEDED ice (it was my big craving), I would have gladly punched anyone who said, "You just drank; you don't need ice." When I felt so hot and turned on the a/c, I would have cried if DH had said, "Well, technically the temperature is at a comfortable temp - don't turn that on." When pregnant, we go through big growth spurts and babies go through that all the time. They are constantly growing, learning, changing. No one knows their needs like they do.

Kelly - posted on 09/12/2012

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both my kids went into their own cot/bassinette and their own room immediately... they know that is their bed and where they sleep....I used to bring my 2nd baby into bed with me in themorning to get extra sleep if she woke at 5am (she was a very very fussy baby) but as soon as she started to be more settled I stopped it immediately - i didn't want kids in my bed or thinking they can come to our bed - they both know their own rooms and their own beds at 10mo and 2yrs old.... the earlier you stop bad habits and stick to good habits the easier things will be later on :) Good luck :)

Lise - posted on 09/10/2012

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I always swore I would never co-sleep and ended up doing it and loving it. A few months ago, my daughter asked to sleep in her own room ("I want to sleep in MY bed in MY room!"). She is 2, and has been in there ever since. I really think it was just what she needed and she moved out when she was ready - no tears, no stress, etc.

User - posted on 09/10/2012

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It may also be a difference of bottle vs breastfeeding. I breastfeed and work full-time. Co-sleeping is easiest because it allows all of us to be rested for the next day.

Leslie - posted on 09/10/2012

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i co-sleep till she was five months old cause she was too big and heavy to sleep on my belly. she was 27in and 20lbs. now she is 21months, 34in and 28lbs.

Lori - posted on 09/09/2012

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All three of my sons have co-slept with us. My oldest transitioned to a bed at about 2 1/2, my second son at 3 1/2, my youngest is almost 38 months old and still co sleeping. I think a lot of it is just personal preference, as long as you are co-sleeping safely. :)

Amanda - posted on 09/09/2012

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If a parent is able to take 2-3 hrs to get their child to sleep in their own room great! But when both parents work full time and you have a new baby it is NOT possible for you to do a NO cry bedtime with a 2 yr old. Trust me we did the whole laying down with my oldest & not having her cry. My husband had to lay down with her & most nights fell asleep with her himself. Then when we tried NOT staying she would scream her head off...so that was when we decided we couldn't continue that way & were loving but firm. NOT FUN! Much easier when I had the babies in their own rooms. My kids are 4, 2 1/2 and 10 months and all sleep in their own beds. My husband and I are much closer now that we have our bed to ourselves. Our kids have us ALL day to cuddle! Mom's and Dad's need time to connect. All this new age parenting where parents don't believe in kids crying is leading to Mom's and Dad's that are distancing themselves from one another. I'm NOT saying EVERYONE....but look at how much the divorce rates have risen. When I was a kid there were 1 or 2 divorced kids in my class...now it's more than doubled. You don't need to loose sleep or have kids sleep with you to create a close bond. My parents would let us cuddle in there bed but at bed time we went in our own beds...they had 5 kids and are still happily married after 32years.

Terra - posted on 09/09/2012

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Where were all these tears when I moved my co-sleepers to their own bed? Nonexsitant that's where! There are perfectly gentle ways to help transition your co-sleeping children to their own rooms and own beds. It doesn't have to include tears just patience and love. I've had no problem going from co-sleeping to not co-sleeping and my two children are great independent little sleepers now that have never once cried themselves to sleep. They very happily go to bed at night, are asleep within 15min of getting in bed and sleep 10-12 hours a night. They both co-slept until right around 2 when I was finally ready to move them into their own rooms. Co-sleeping does not create bad habits, parents do. You have to create bed times routines and be consistent and loving. You can't expect a child to go from co-sleeping to sleeping independently in a single night. It just isn't in human nature to change something they have been doing for your whole life in one night. If you gently begin to move them into their own rooms, take it slow and do it in a loving way (leaving them to scream their heads off is only going to create negative sleep associations and CAUSE them have trouble sleeping in their own rooms not help the situation in any way shape or form) you'll have no problems at all. You would never expect an adult to just give up something they love and enjoy in a single night so why would you expect that of a tiny child that hasn't know any different from the day they were born? Why would you expect that they could just instantly give up the warmth and love of the family bed? It just takes a little common sense to know that you'll need to make the transition a gentle loving experience so that they won't be afraid or feel pushed out and abandoned.

Tinker1987 - posted on 09/09/2012

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It is totally a bad idea. your starting a habbit and going too cause alo of grief and crying and less sleep for the both of you when it comes time to really making your child sleep in his or her own room. the first few weeks my son slept either in the playpen bassinet swing or vibrating chair i had a bad delivery and needed surgery so i slept in the living room for the first few weeks it was easier then getting in my big bed. but after i got more mobile he slept no problem in his crib. he perfers it. i tried letting him slepe with me when he was a year and a few months because he had a terrible cold and he was more restless until i put him back in his own crib.

Amanda - posted on 09/09/2012

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I did co-sleeping with my oldest of 3 till she was 22 months......this was a bad idea. Took me two weeks of her screaming at bed time to get her to sleep alone....and every night was still a hassle till just recently now that she's 4. Babies 2 & 3 slept in there own rooms from 4-5 weeks of age.....and would sleep through the night. Easier to start how you intend to continue:)

Sue - posted on 09/08/2012

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I think if they newborn it's ok. I think it's silly that a 2-3yr needs to sleep with thier parents. Now it will be a fight to keep them in their own crib or bed. But to each thier own but don't complain about your kids sleeping issues if you were a part of them.

Andrea - posted on 09/08/2012

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I am definitely a proponent of co-sleeping but I will say that if co-sleeping doesn't let everyone in your family get the most sleep, then don't do it. It has helped me be more in tune with my baby's needs (feeding, etc), even at night, while being able to get some much needed rest. Like you said, every little bit helps! I think children's needs change as they grow, including night-time needs, and at this stage of his life, we feel that this is the right choice for us.

User - posted on 09/08/2012

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It's not about control. But to each their own. Other cultures think it is wrong to make a child sleep by themselves in a dark room. Family sleeping has been around since the beginning of time. I co-slept with my parents along with my brothers. By the time a new child came around I was 2 and was asking for my own bed. Kids become independent on their own terms.

Sue - posted on 09/07/2012

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My daughter slept in her crib in her bedroom the very first night she came home and has never slept in our bedroom. Our bedroom belongs to momy and daddy. I think letting kids sleep in the bed is just asking for many issues later. Remember you are the parent, the kids should not control you! They will be ok in their own bed!

Jessica - posted on 09/07/2012

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I am a huge believer in co-sleeping. My now 6 month old starts in his crib, but he has always woken up startled by what I can only conceive to be night tremors, and will come to my bed at that point. We all go to bed around 10pm with co sleeping we are able to have him sleep till 8:30-9am and that is a blessing in itself since I am a full time working and breastfeeding mommy.

Torri - posted on 09/05/2012

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I did the same thing with my daughter as you are doing with yours. She usually ended up in bed with me at about 4 or 5 in the morning mostly because i was so tired at that point it was easier for me. She sleeps on her own and has since she was 8 months old (about the time she started sleeping through the night). Hope this helps!

Julie - posted on 09/04/2012

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I co-sleep with my 8 week old. He sleeps in his crib till his middle of the night feeding, then sleeps in bed with me. So far he sleeps ok in his crib when I put him in.

My Mom also co-slept with her last four babies till they were about 4 months old. None of them had any problems sleeping in their own bed...

Sarah - posted on 09/04/2012

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I'm curious as well. My daughter is 4 weeks and she sleeps in the bed with us every night. I'm a very light sleeper and wake up when she's squirming around looking for a boob, whereas I wouldn't be able to tell when she was in a bassinet beside the bed and I wouldn't wake up until she was crying. I love co-sleeping. And I plan to stop when we're both ready.

Lori - posted on 09/02/2012

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It depends on the child. Our 3 year old daughter never slept with us or even in our room and she is fine. Our almost 5 month old son was in a bassinet in our room when we brought him home from the NICU. We didn't have the crib back in the house yet so we borrowed a bassinet. He had some issues sleeping here and there and I would put him in bed with us, more with me since we have a HUGE bed, and get about another hour or so of sleep out of him. We moved him into his own crib a few weeks ago when we had to return the bassinet. He is doing really well sleeping in his own bed in his own room, I think daycare has helped with that. Not everyone can co-sleep. If you are a light sleeper it is better. Not that I would recommend co-sleeping to everyone. If it is once in a while and not a continuous thing I don't see too much harm in it. You just don't want your child to get used to it and still be sleeping with you when they are older.

Amanda - posted on 09/01/2012

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I don't think it will be a problem. He is sleeping by himself and you are getting some much needed rest in the morning. I did the same thing with my currently 6 month old baby. I still take him into bed when I night feed and in the morning, but there are times when he gets fussy and would rather sleep in his crib.

Terra - posted on 09/01/2012

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I've co-slept with both of children. My daughter is 6 and has been sleeping in her own bed for years. My son is almost and sleeps most night in his bed but occasionally he'll wake in the middle of the night and spend the rest of the night with us. It's not a problem at all since he has his own place to sleep when with us (our crib is sidecared next to our bed). I know that he'll eventually stop having these night wakings and sleep all night in his bed just like his sister. He goes down in his own bed without a fight at all. I am very, very pro co-sleeping. If it's working for you and baby then enjoy it. There will come a time when you are ready to transition him to his own bed. Just realize that it WILL take time. Do it gently and lovingly and consistently and you won't have a problem. Make sure you make the transition an enjoyable one (i.e. don't let him just cry himself to sleep) and he won't have any negative associations with his own bed to make yours look more appealing. We use a full size bed on the floor and I lay and snuggle with him and sing to him until he falls asleep (take about 15-20mins). We sing to our daughter as well but she goes to sleep by herself most night now after our bed time routine and songs.

Amy - posted on 08/31/2012

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I think it depends on the child, some kids are just more independent than others. I think at 4 weeks old you don't need to worry about what long term habits you are creating. With my daughter she was in our room till about 3 months old and easily transitioned to her crib, my son is 6 and an anxiety filled child who still comes into our bed every night in the middle of the night.

Jenny - posted on 08/31/2012

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My 3 week old sleeps in bassinet next to my bed and shes doing just fine for now. I dont recomend co sleeping. I have a 7 that still sleeps with us! Its because we started her in bed with us and now she needs to snuggle to go to sleep. So just think of the future. Its up to you.

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