Any advise on getting my son to stop co-sleeping?

Danielle - posted on 02/23/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )




My son has been co-sleeping with us since he was born.I have tried several times to get him to sleep by himself, so far nothing has worked. He is now 14 months and is now way to big to be sleeping with us. Please help....


Katherine - posted on 02/24/2011




First, start out by understanding that while children are generally resistant to change, they are also extremely adaptable. So you should definitely expect some resistance, but don’t give up hope that the change is ever going to happen. With gentle guidance – along with consistency – you can help your children learn almost anything.

When it’s time to stop co-sleeping, you can set the stage for your child by letting them pick out a cool new big-kid bed and bedding. Make a big deal about what a nice, cozy bed it is. Sit in it with them and read a book or tell stories so that they have pleasant feelings about being in bed. Then let them give the bed a “test run” by having them take their daytime naps there.

Incidentally, a “toddler bed” – a tiny kid-sized bed with built-in rails – isn’t the best choice when you’re trying to end co-sleeping. Your little one is probably better off with a full-length twin bed that will allow you to lie down next to your child if he or she needs extra reassurance at night. You can choose a low platform-style bed that will allow even small toddlers to climb in and out easily. Just make sure you use a safety guard on the side of the bed.

Next, help them select a soft, cozy security object. It could be a blanket, a stuffed animal, or even an old t-shirt from mom or dad, as long as it has some comfort value to your child. Then get them in the habit of snuggling and sleeping with it at night.

It may also help to wean them from nighttime nursing so that when they wake up in the middle of the night, they are not looking for mom to nurse. Get them used to having a reassuring pat or gentle “shushing” to go back to sleep.

When it’s time to make the change, follow the exact same bedtime routine that you have always had, except follow the routine in their bed in their room. If they wake up in the middle of the night, try to go to where they are to reassure them before they come to you.

If they come to your bed in the middle of the night, you have two choices. The first approach is to calmly and quietly walk them back to their bed and make it as boring and predictable a routine as possible. The idea is that if they wake up they know that they will always get the same thing: a quiet walk back to their own bed. The second approach is to give them their own mattress on the floor of your room and let them crawl onto that bed in the middle of the night. Ideally, they will get used to sleeping through the night so that they come into your room less and less all the time. If and when they make it through the night without coming into your room, lavish them with praise.

Whichever technique you use, ending co-sleeping is not going to end overnight. Think of it as a process that may take a few weeks or months. But once you help your kids realize that they can do it, they will rise to the occasion – and most likely they will surprise you with what good sleepers they can be on their own.

Louise - posted on 02/24/2011




This is a really hard habit to break but the sooner you do it the easier it will be. Decorate his room as brightly as possible and make it a nice place for him to be. Start with encouraging him to take one particular toy or blanket to bed with him in the day. Rub this item around your skin so it smells like you and encourage him to hold it. It will take at least three nights for your son to get the idea that you are not going to let him into your bed so make sure you get a rest during the day so that you can sleep. Put him to bed and leave the room, when he cries go back in and settle him again. When he cries again go in but do not talk to him or give him eye contact and leave the room. He will eventually go to sleep, keep to this routine, keep going back in give hime the bear or blanket and leave the room. This is not an easy thing to do but do not give up he will eventually learn that crying for you is not getting him what he wants so he will give up. Just remember you are trying to break a habit of 14 months so this will take time.

Stay strong and once you have committed to breaking this habit keep it up as you need to gain control of your bed and reinforce good sleeping habits for your son.


View replies by

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms