Co sleepers, how long did you do it for and how did you stop?

(29 Posts)
babysaurus Tue 12-Feb-13 22:29:33

I co-sleep with my 8 month old DS and have done, gradually more and more, since he was about five months. It works for us for the time being, but he can wake up a lot in the evening if I am not there which means I don't get much baby free time. This also can be a pain if we have visitors as I am often rushing up and down the stairs.

I have come to realise that sleeping in the same bed as your baby is viewed as nuts by many and while I'd like to say this doesn't bother me (DS is very sociable, not remotely clingy etc) it does a bit, especially if those who are critical spend an evening at ours where I am up and down the stairs ('told you so!') Also, at some point soon-ish I may start to put him down in his cot as he'll be moving soon which could create all manner of problems if he wakes up before me! (Possibly anyway, though I am a pretty light sleeper these days.)

It would be good to hear the experiences others have had with co sleeping, and also, if you are no longer doing it when and why did you stop (and how!)

sparklekitty Wed 13-Feb-13 08:32:30

Ooo, marking my place here. Absolutely no advice I'm afraid. We're co-sleeping with my almost 5 mo, she has a bedside crib but isn't keen on it atm as we have just (hopefully) come out the other side of sleep regression.

I'd like her to go into her own room at 6 mo but dreading the move. She still wakes every 2/3 hours for a feed (and she does feed, shes obviously hungry)

babysaurus Wed 13-Feb-13 19:34:33

Looks like its just you and me for the time being Kitty; hopefully someone will come along soon. It can't be that unusual a problem, surely?

With your DD, do you often have to go back up to her if she wakes up and realises you're not there?

jellybeans Wed 13-Feb-13 19:38:26

All my 5 DC coslept. 4YO still does. Older 4 were between 2 and 6 and are fine and independant etc. so didn't do any harm at all. They just sort of were ready to go in their own beds in own rooms and we made it fun by having their favourite duvets etc and saying they were growing up so needed more space etc. It was no problem at all.

Ds is 17 months and we kind of fell into co-sleeping as a manner of survival. Anyway for the last few months he has settled deeply enough to be left at 7.30 once cuddled to sleep hmm and I can then finally get an evening. I figure that the next stage will be back in his own bed but at the moment I'll just enjoy the cuddles and do that when I can get him a bed and bedroom set that he will be excited about.

Ps -I also had the friends situation and felt very odd. Rise above it and try and just remember it won't last. Like I said before Christmas was up and down like a yo yo-now much more settled. <touch wood>

Snusmumriken Wed 13-Feb-13 20:23:43

DS is almost 16 months and sleeps with my DH and I. I assume this arrangement will continue for some time. I was known to sneak into my parents bed until I was a pre- teen. This was considered completely normal in the country that I am from ( a scandi land).

I just don't see why children are made to sleep alone. Especially considering the fact that as adults we ( most of us) are so desperate to find someone to share our beds with!

InvaderZim Wed 13-Feb-13 20:24:56

We did it for 2 years, although DD always had a bed next to ours so didn't bedshare for the whole night! Our mattress has always been on the floor (futon stylee) and DD's mattress (a cot mattress) fitted between our bed and the wall. It was also only 4 inches high so not too many worried about rolling out!

She was pretty keen to have her own bedroom, got to choose the colour of the sheets and everything. grin

She still wakes up most nights and joins us - anywhere from 2am to 6am. (yawn) Sleeps until 7 or 8 am.

amirah85 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:34:29

My first was with us till 3.5,we had a bedside cot,so she wouldn't always be in our bed.DS was 2 when he went in his sister's room,same thing,started in our bed then bedside cot.sometime he comes in with us,but we had no problems at all with them settling down in their own room.

McNo Wed 13-Feb-13 20:39:24

My dd 22 months slept in our bed until a month ago when she decided she wanted her own space. One night she cried when we brought her through to our bed when she woke up so I put her back in her cot bed and has slept there ever since.

I imagined she'd still be sleeping in our bed until we could bribe her otherwise wink

LakeFlyPie Wed 13-Feb-13 20:43:07

Probably not what you want to hear but I've always co slept with DS2, didn't plan to, he just settled better that way and is still doing it 2 yrs later shock

He also had bedside cot, but preferred to be on me for the 1st few months.
Managed to get him to settle for next to me rather than on me for the next few months.
He has had a cot next to our bed since 6months-ish which he settles in at bedtime but usually wakes anytime between 11 and 1 and comes in with me.

We keep talking about moving him out but he's a reasonable bedfellow and clearly enjoys the comfort of co sleeping.

Although DS1 (4.8) never co slept he sometimes quietly joins us in the night (i.e. he's there on the pillow next to me in the morning, usually with furry crocodile).

I've come to the conclusion they're small for such a short amount of time that I should enjoy the cuddles and sleep rather than battle to keep everyone in their own bed against their will during the night. I believe they'll stay there when they're ready.

Am glad we chose a king size when we got our new bed, wish the room was big enough for a superking but we manage smile

If it works for you enjoy it and try not to worry about what other people think.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Wed 13-Feb-13 20:44:12

My DS sleeps in his cot, in his own room & I'm up and down constantly if that makes you feel any better!

In fact, I wish we had just continued to co-sleep. At 5 months we put him in his own room after co-sleeping before. He slept brilliantly for two months. We were really chuffed and thought he definitely slept better without us disturbing him, it was the right time etc, etc.

Then he got ill with coughs & colds, had tummy trouble, teething, developmental leaps, separation anxiety and is waking up 3-6 times a night. This has gone on for the last 3 months, with the occasional sleep throughs (just to confuse us).

I'm about to do one last ditch attempt in the cot before I go back to co-sleeping. I'm knackered beyond words. Getting of bed, in the cold to shh, cuddle and all that when they could just be next to you....I must be bonkers. I really thought he would go back to sleeping again.

You are right, people think you're mad to co-sleep and I've had lots of comments on how awful it is. Nothing is more awful than sleep deprivation IMO. If my last attempt doesn't work, it's back to the snuggles smile

HappyAsASandboy Wed 13-Feb-13 20:57:11

We cosleep with our 2y4m old twins. They're cuddled to sleep the put into cots in our room for the evening (or left on the bed with bed rail on bed and stair gate on stairs). When they each wake the first time, they come into our bed (normally somewhere between 11pm and 1am).

We stumbled into bed sharing when DTs were about 4 months old. DH was sleeping in the spare room, and it was just easier for me if I didn't have to get up to reach them (its hard to cross a room and comfort a crying baby whilst Breastfeeding the other to sleep! On the bed all together worked so much better!).

I've no idea when we'll stop. It has felt right to move then to their room a few times in the last year, but illness/lack of heating/lack of curtains in nursery etc have stopped it each time. I'm currently in a phase where it seems daft to move them out smile

LadyMetroland Wed 13-Feb-13 20:58:14

Dd1 - coslept for around 9 months, then when she reached rolling off the bed age, we bought her a futon mattress for her own room and I would lie next to her until she fell asleep. Same as what I'd done when she was in my bed. Would normally wake up once in night but started sleeping through around 12mths.

Dd2: coslept til around 7 months, but she is a different character and would happily sleep part of the night in her cot. Not as needy as dd1 so a lot easier to convince her to sleep alone.

Will def cosleep with dc3. No getting up for night feeds - and so lovely when they wake up next to you and smile.

Every child is so different, there's no one solution for getting them to sleep alone - if that's what you want to do!

babysaurus Wed 13-Feb-13 21:59:13

Thank you all ever so much for the replies!
I need to play things by ear, I reckon, and see how things pan out. Like I say, apart from the frequent waking,the number of tunes varies, this arrangement does currently suit me. I find it strange why so many people react is if its totally weird, tbh. Also, our bed is a super king so it's not like we are all squashed either! However, saying all this, feeling judged or disapproved of does grate after a while.

Fazerina Wed 13-Feb-13 23:36:31

Another Scandi co-sleeper heresmile.

DS is 21 months and we started co-sleeping somewhere around the 4-month mark and the classic sleep regression and never looked back. Until a few months back he was still in bed with us and then we took down one side of his cot and pushed it against our bed and he now sleeps there. We both enjoy the fact that there's a bit more space and he usually rolls all the way over 'to his side' and then occasionally reaches his arm over to make sure I'm still there.

To be honest with you, most people in the world co-sleep, as they don't have separate beds and rooms for every individual member of the family, so this whole 'baby in their own bed and room'-thing is globally thinking probably more of an oddity than co-sleeping.. I'm sure when they're 15 you wish they would still want to be close to you so just enjoy the cuddles while you cansmile..

Fazerina Wed 13-Feb-13 23:42:37

Oh, I forgot to say that if there's anything I regret about co-sleeping, I would say that it's the fact that DS will not sleep on his own at all (!) And that really spoils our evenings. So if there's something I would have done differently, it would be to teach DC to sleep alone in his cot in the evening and only come in with us when he first woke.

At the moment, DS takes an hour to go to sleep (with either me or DH, although most evenings it's a joint effort) and then wakes after about every 20-30 minutes until we all go to sleep, which is a complete nightmare..

chaosagain Wed 13-Feb-13 23:52:22

I didn't really cosleep very much with DC1 and had awful sleep deprivation. I did cosleep DC2 just so that everyone got as much sleep as possible - me especially. It was really lovely in many ways.

When DC2 got to about 9 months I started to find it less lovely. This was in part because I noticed he was getting completely habitualised to feeding every 90 mins through the night and that meant I was starting to get nights that were more disturbed as time went on. Feeding him changed too - he'd bite, bat at me and (really annoyingly) twist the nipple he wasn't feeding from. Ouch! His evening waking increased, it took longer to resettle him and I didn't rest easily in the evenings when I wasn't with him as he was so mobile I was waiting for him to crawl into trouble.

I reached a bit of a snap point with it. Prior to this if I'd ever thought about not cosleeping it was about other people's views. When we got to about 9 months I realised it was about my ability to rest and therefore parent both children as best I could and that our cosleeping days were numbered.

I initially moved him to a cot in our room and would try gentle gradual withdrawal techniques to re-settle him until about 1am and co-slept from there on. I slowly extended this so that he was just co-sleeping from about 3am-7am ish.

We moved him into his own room around 10 or 10.5 months and slowly cut back his night feeds which didn't work too well. Eventually DH went to him in the night for 3 nights to resettle him (and armed with a bottle of expressed milk if really needed). I didn't go to him in the night at all for 3 nights. His uninterrupted sleeps suddenly dramatically extended and before long he was only waking once in the night, around 4.30am, having a bottle (which he'd previously refused) and going back to sleep until around 7.30am. So by around 11.5 months things were different and he seemed less cranky in the day too. He also became interested in daytime milk having previously ONLY breastfed in the night and refused the breast in the day (but loved his solids).

My 2 key learning points were these: you need to do what's right for your baby and your family, balancing needs where necessary and stuff anyone else's view. If your motivation to change co-sleeping is really about your family's needs, then I also found it helpful to take things v slowly and offer DC a lot of reassurance and cuddles along the way, no sudden drastic changes..

babysaurus Thu 14-Feb-13 00:17:11

fazerina I realise that more people co sleep than not, and not just due to economic necessity either. Which makes the shocked or whatever reactions I get even odder.

I am getting the impression that babies don't sleep we'll when they are alone if they co sleep at night. Understandable but a shame! It can spoil evenings sometimes, although only occasionally like if we have friends round. Can I ask, what happens if you are staying elsewhere, like with friends? This is the only proper downside of it for me really, the lack of baby free time in the evenings. Everything else is lovely

gaelicsheep Thu 14-Feb-13 00:20:56

Ages, and I can't remember.

That doesn't really help does it?

Still co-sleeping with my 3 year old. He has recently weaned from bf, so may see if he wants to go in his own room soon.

I'm a single mum, and he's in my bed next to me. l love it, plus he keeps me warm!

He has always slept in with me when visiting. The only time we had trouble was when we spent a night at ex's mum's house. She couldn't get her head round it,was determined to make up ds a bed on the floor, rather tham him sleep in a bed with ex & me. Strange woman.

babysaurus Thu 14-Feb-13 00:30:48

http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/sep/13/family2

This is quite a good article on this crazy practice we all insist on wink

Oopla Thu 14-Feb-13 03:00:31

Hi babysaurus smile

DS is almost 1 and has slept in our bed every night of his life, didn't plan it that way! Re-baby free evenings we always put him in his cot at 'bedtime' and he usually manages 1 or 2 wake ups before he decides its time for me to come to bed.
I REALLY wish we had a bigger bed, it's a smallish double and there is just no comfortable way to all sleep together. Currently DP is on the sofa. hmm I miss him!

Fazerina Thu 14-Feb-13 10:35:50

We haven't stayed overnight at friends so far so don't have experiences with that, but I would imagine it wouldn't be much funsad.. We're now going away to visit my my mom next week so that'll be the first time we're not sleeping at home for DS. My mom knows we co-sleep though, and as she's currently living in a very small flat, there wouldn't really be a separate room for DS anywaysmile! Still, I'm a bit concerned about the evenings and trying to get DS to sleep.. We shall see what happens..

HappyAsASandboy Thu 21-Feb-13 06:57:16

Regarding visiting friends, we make the best of however 'our' room is set up.

I take two travel cots and two bed rails with me (inviting us to stay is very like inviting us to move in). I then settle the toddlers either in the cots or on the double bed with guards or in the travel cots. Then have to baby proof the room and close the door if they're on the bed (so must take monitor because of closed door!).

We then aim for at least one of them to spend at least some if the night in the travel cots so there's space for DH in the bed. He neat always ends up on the floor for at least some of the night. My sister leaves extra bedding out for us, if it was someone I didn't want to ask for extra bedding, we'd take a sleeping bag.

Our main problem with staying away from home is that most people have double beds in their guest rooms. At home we have a king sized and single pushed together, so we're used to 8' of bed for the four of us!

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