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  1. #1

    Does Cosleeping have a Time Limit?

    What are your thoughts on cosleeping and older children? Do you think that the family bed has an age restriction? I have heard both sides of the argument and honestly I do not know where I stand right now.

    My oldest two children hardly coslept at all. My youngest two, however, have coslept since day one. I now have a one-year-old in my bed every night and a two-year-old in my bed most nights. Sometimes I think I would like to have a night alone with my husband. Clearly, this is not something you can just end, at least not in a gentle way. I coslept until I was an adolescent and I know I definitely want to be alone with my husband before my kids reach that age.

    If you do think cosleeping has an age limit when do you think it occurs? Furthermore, how did you/do you plan on convincing your kids that it is time to move to their own bed?

  2. #2
    Hi mom2many,

    We co-slept with 4 of our 5 children. They all slept in our bed for different lengths of time and transitioned out of the bed for different reasons.

    Sometimes we transitioned them out because I was pregnant with the next child and really wanted to get a good, full night's sleep without waking up, so I didn't have to feel the "all day and all night" sickness I had those first few months of pregnancy.

    I have some ideas and suggestions for you, but first I'd like to know if your one and two year olds take a nap in their own bed or if they do all of their sleeping in your bed.

    Let me know and then I'll post back with some ideas on how to get more "alone" time in your bed without traumetizing your children.

    Warm regards,

    Kate
    Last edited by 5Homebirths4Kate; 20th February 2012 at 07:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Hey Kate,

    Thank you for the reply!

    My one-year-old does not nap or sleep by herself at all. My two-year-old naps by himself and sometimes sleeps in bed with my four-year-old at night instead of us, though he usually ends up in our bed by 4 or 5.

    The two-year-old is weaned but the one-year-old is still breastfeeding.

    I would really like to have a child-free bed sometime in the next year or so but not at the cost of traumatizing my little ones. I'd love to hear your advice.

    -Angela

  4. #4
    Hi Angela,

    If I were in your shoes, I would start with the 2 year old being that he already takes a nap by himself and sometimes sleeps with his 4 year old brother.

    This would just involve being consistent and lovingly firm. Start putting him to bed with his brother every night. If he gets up at 4 or 5 to come and see you, let this happen for about a week. Once he realizes that every night he will be put to bed with his older brother, then you can transition to the next phase which would involve encouraging him to stay in his bed all night.

    At that point you would just tell him that you want him to stay in his bed all night. Tell him that if he wakes up in the middle of the night he should stay in his bed and close his eyes and go back to sleep. If he comes into your room, have daddy take him back to his bed. If he's groggy he might just go back to sleep. If he starts to balk, then daddy could bring him back to your bed and he could sleep on the other side of Daddy (so that Daddy is between you and him). This might mean coming up with a creative way to keep baby from rolling off of Daddy's side of the bed, but if you have a regular mattress and box spring, then you could just use a bed railing on Daddy's side.

    I would give that a try for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. If Daddy doesn't support this (he's too tired to deal with him at night) then you could do what I suggested above, and if the 2 year old balks, bring him to Daddy and have him sleep on Daddy's side of the bed. If your son balks at this (and wants to be closer to you) then just tell him you're going to take him back to his bed if he doesn't stop crying. My guess is that he will choose to sleep in your bed with Daddy over sleeping back in his bed with his older brother.

    Once you have him sleeping on Daddy's bed then you can work on having him stay in his own bed all night. I'm guessing that if you really work on tiring him out during the day, that he may just sleep all night long without waking up. You could also try this for a week - making plans to do things with him that will tire him out more (take him to the park every day for a week, walk around the zoo - things that make him expend more energy so he's really tired and will tend to sleep all night).

    You can also try giving him a protein snack before bed so that you're sure he's not going to wake up because he's hungry. Peanut Butter on crackers with milk works well or you might try little pieces of chicken.

    If your 2 year old complains that the 1 year old gets to sleep with you, just explain that you are still breast feeding her at night. He should understand that.

    As for the one year old I would start with transitioning her to naps in her own bed. This could mean breast feeding her until she goes to sleep and then trying to lay her down. If she wakes up, just be firm, and lay her back down and pat her back. If she still tries to get up let her know that if she gets up, you will leave the room, and you may have to do that to let her know that you're serious. But always come back in after a minute or two and lay her back down and try rubbing her back again.

    My guess is that you know how to transition a child from your bed to their own bed for nap time because you did it with your 2 year old, but others may need some ideas on how this is done.

    Once you have your child taking a nap on their own, it becomes easier to transition them out of your bed.

    And if you just want some intimate time with your husband before the two children are fully out of your bed, the easiest time for this might be when you first go to bed at night. Put the 2 year old in with the 4 year old, and lay down on the floor with the 1 year old. Breastfeed her to sleep on the floor. Then you can hop into bed with your husband and when she wakes up (hopefully 2 hours later) bring her into bed. Or do what I used to do, which was bring her into bed when you're done with your private time with your husband, before you fall asleep (I didn't want to have to get out of bed once I was asleep).

    Feel free to post back if you want more suggestions or if you have any questions. Maybe you could get the 2 year old to sleep through the night in his own bed, AND the 1 year old to go down for a nap in her own bed if you try to tire them both out each the morning for a week. Just make sure they don't fall asleep in the car on the way home from your outing. Cat naps don't help with this plan ;-)

  5. #5
    Thank you Kate. I am definitely going to start working on some of these suggestions. You've pointed out some things that I definitely have not thought about. For instance, I do think the two-year-old may be waking up because he is hungry. I don't know why I did not think about that. He is waking up around four every morning and climbing in bed with me, which is around the time he was taking his last feeding before he weaned. For a little while he stayed in bed all night with his brother but then he reverted and he has clearly been going through a growth spurt.

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