I’d Love Someone To Explain The Family Bed Because It Makes No Sense To Me

200414629-008You probably arrived to this article in a fit of rage, assuming that I would be bashing co-sleeping, but I promise you I am not. I actually have some legit questions about co-sleeping and the family bed—a few logistical things I just don’t understand.

I never co-slept with my two sons, now two years and eight months old. I’m not opposed to co-sleeping in the least, but I’m also really possessive about my personal sleeping space and my sleep. We used a non-cruel scheduling and sleep training method for both kids so that they were sleeping 12 hours through the night in their own cribs from about six months on.

The schedule itself was really hard, but the results were well worth it. Now I don’t have to worry about either kid in their baby crib “cage” all night long, and I can go back to getting my beauty rest so I can chase a toddler and a baby around the next day.

But back to co-sleeping. I know a lot of new moms prefer co-sleeping because they can nurse at night and don’t have to get up with a baby. I also know several friends on Facebook that use the family bed concept.

So, what I’m wondering is this. When we put our kids to bed at night, we always put them down for 12 hours: 7 PM to 7 AM. As young babies, they did get up to eat several times in the night, but now they sleep 12 hours straight. Does this same concept work with co-sleeping? Does this mean that you have to go to bed really early with your baby so that they get enough sleep when they sleep in your bed? Or do you put them in their crib for the early part of the night and then transfer them into your bed with you when you go to sleep at 10 PM or so?

Also, how long does a baby or toddler share the bed before transitioning into their own crib? Is this a temporary or semi-permanent arrangement?

I would love it if someone could explain co-sleeping to me because there are a few details that I’ve never understood. I’m genuinely intrigued. I’m not planning on having any more kids, but I’m not sure if I could be a co-sleeper if I did. I usually kick my husband if he gets on my side of the bed, and I’m also a very light sleeper. In my personal situation, it seems like co-sleeping would have done more harm than good.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    If your kids are sleeping 12 hours a night – I have no idea why you would EVEN CONSIDER any other sleeping arrangement, because you are clearly the queen of sleep. Don’t mess with perfection. Also – can you come over and get my kids to sleep for 12 hours?

    • Andrea

      THAT’S WHAT I SAID!!! How in the hell did you get an 8 month old to sleep for 12 hrs STRAIGHT????? You get the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Emmy, the Novel prize and everything else in Parenting!!!!

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL I only mention that because we worked really, really hard to break their spirits so that they have no choice but to sleep. Like, we were obsessed with their sleep. But the baby has been kinda fussy/irritable at night from teething and woke my husband up last night.

    • EX

      I, too, am obsessed with sleep. When my daughter was born I had no intention of co-sleeping but then I did it out of desperation because she Would. Not. Sleep if I wasn’t right next to her (actually I couldn’t even put her down awake or asleep without her screaming bloody murder for the first ~3 months of her life). Anyway, it was miserable for me. I am a very light sleeper and I was so worried about her safety in the bed with me that I never fell into a deep sleep. For, like, 9 months (between months 4-8 she started with ear infections which put sleep training on hold). Long story short at 9 months I started sleep training (in her own crib/own room). By the second night she slept 11 hours straight (prior to that she’d been nursing every 3 hours all night). It was the most amazing day ever and she’s been a great sleeper since (thanks to a lot of effort on my part along the way). Anyway, I am determined not to go down the co-sleeping road again with baby #2 so I am always interested in hearing what others did. What sleep training method did you use?

    • Bethany Ramos

      We went with The Contented Baby Book by Gina Ford. I don’t find it cruel in any way, but it does allow for a little bit of crying in the crib so that the baby learns to self-soothe. She also includes the most detailed schedule that you could ever imagine to work with what she believes are a baby’s natural sleep rhythms. I’m a believer!

    • Lackadaisical

      For me I assume it was gigantic babies that were fairly developed at birth (my kids never quite looked very newborn). Not fun to give birth to but being larger they had larger stomachs that would hold more milk, which meant they could go longer without getting so hungry they would cry. My smallest kid was the one who took longest to sleep through/ not cry when she woke up before going back to sleep. I would be all smug about childrearing skills but I honestly think it is more down to luck and the baby rather than the parents. It’s all swings and roundabouts anyway, my kids slept through early but I bet your kids were easier / more advanced at something else that made me want to cry.

    • Guest

      Anecdotally, my guy was born 2 weeks early at 5.5 pounds and was 3rd percentile for weight when he was discharged. He slept through the night (about 6-8 hours) by 12 weeks, sleeps 12 hours overnight now at nine months.

      I do strongly think individual things about the baby play into it, I just disagree with your weight hypothesis. I don’t know what it is. I don’t think it’s 100% parenting, though I do think routine and consistency help a lot that claim is based only on the two good-sleeping kids I have had. One biologically mine, the other adopted.

      I always wonder if sensitivity to melatonin, circadian rhythms, etc, play a role. Both my kids were formula fed for different reasons, and I have heard anecdotally that formula feeding helps with longer sleep at a younger age.

    • Harriet Meadow

      My son’s been sleeping 12 hours straight at night since six months, as well. Honestly, it’s mostly pure luck, BUT putting him in his own room and in a crib actually helped, since he wasn’t waking up when he heard us getting up/coming to bed, etc (before that he was in a little “snuggle nest” between us on the bed, for ease of nursing). Of course, now that’s sort of not working out so well because he’s teething and just started crawling around so he’s hungry again, but he still only wakes up once per night to nurse (or not at all). I always respond to him if he needs something, even if it’s just his pacifier or a cuddle, but I swear having him in his own room has helped him – and us! – sleep better.

    • Guest

      I agree. My nine month old sleeps 12 hours without getting up, and I can’t imagine how he would do this if he had to sleep around our snoring, my insomnia and tossing and turning, the dogs coming in and out of the room etc. Having him in his own, quiet, consistent space has been integral to him, in his individual unique person in our individual unique family.

      Also, I like to have … private time … with my husband. We can’t be Mommy and Daddy all the time, sometimes it’s important to be husband and wife.

    • rrlo

      You know it really depends on the kid and the parents. Some kids wake up, see their parents, get energized and want to play. Others, wake up, see their parents, feel comforted and fall back asleep. Some parents love the sweet, little faces of their babies near them when they sleep and don’t mind the occasional kick in the back, while others toss and turn because they want their space.

      I think the important thing is that (and you are doing it already as well) is to recognize what that particular kid needs and balance it with the parents own needs. Rest just works itself out. Eventually all kids move into their own space and sleep on their own.

    • leeannabelle

      My son started sleeping 11-12 hours at night at 12 weeks old. I have no idea how. He just…started doing it one night. (To be fair, he was formula fed from 4 weeks on, and I think that makes a difference.) Of course my husband and I spent the entire first night fretting over it, but once we realized it was his new sleeping habit, we were overjoyed. I never brag about it to people, but I always chime in when people are trying to scare new parents (“YOU’LL SLEEP WHEN SHE’S 18…GET USED TO IT!!!!”) to let them know that there is hope that they’ll sleep soon. :)

  • Jessie

    You must be descended from Hypnos, the god of sleep, because clearly you have some kind of sleep magic that no other possesses if you have a toddler and an eight-month-old who sleep for twelve hours solid. Goddess bless, I can’t even get that much sleep as an adult! o_o

  • Andrea

    I’m gonna hate myself for saying this, but…
    How do you have sex if you are co-sleeping? I have asked this question many times and I always get vague responses of “getting creative”, “it’s not a problem!”, and the like but never any specifics!
    So…do you go to other rooms? Do you put the baby to the side and go at it quietly (eww)? Do you just not do it for a while?
    The other thing for me personally is that I’m like the author, I NEEDZ my space. The bedroom is our private, special place. Not just for sex, but talking, cuddling, massaging, watching TV, etc. No way I could give that up.

    • Bunny Lucia

      I’m pretty sure that that is when mommy and daddy go to the family mini van…

    • Andrea

      Don’t knock it though. I’ve been there (not due to co-sleeping though) and it can be pretty awesome.

    • Bunny Lucia

      Yeah, I have made the joke that people who own mini vans are total freaks. You can do anything in one of those

    • Andrea


    • Bethany Ramos

      That makes me think of the Californication episode with the porn van.

    • Kelly

      I’ve asked that too and I always get either vague or insulting, defensive replies. I mean, I’m capable of having sex outside of my bedroom and often do but that private room with no kids and a locking door makes it pretty damn convenient.

      It might not hamper some people’s sex lives but it would hamper ours. I like to wake up around midnight now and then during the week and just jump my husband. I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that with kids in the bed and trying to drag his sleeping body into the guest room would kill the mood.

    • Jayamama

      Well, you may think I’m gross, but you want a straight answer, so here you go. With my first daughter, we had a little crib in our room that we could put her in, or we used her swing, if we wanted the bed to ourselves for a time. The problem was that she didn’t really like them, so she would often wake up if we transferred her, but it was an option. Otherwise, we moved her to one side of our queen-sized bed and put a pillow between her and the edge, then went at it on the other side. We didn’t have a problem with it in the first few months because they’re so unaware of pretty much anything. As she got older, we would move her or utilize other areas of the house for our business, and even the bedroom floor once in a while. We bought a bedside sleeper for my second daughter, and we just move her there when we want to get it on.

      It does sometimes mean having to adapt, but the main thing is that both of you are understanding and patient with the situation, and willing to put your own needs aside if the baby suddenly decides that she’d rather have your attention right now. It sounds like, in your situation, it’d be best to preserve your bedroom as your own space, since it means so much to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t think I could ever have my baby sleep in another room, so far away, and I don’t think that’s wrong, either. I cried the first night we moved my older daughter’s crib into another room, but that was a few days after we gave birth to my second daughter and realized that it wouldn’t work to have them in the same room, so it could have been the post-partum hormones.

  • Jessica

    I only coslept when my son was very young or when he’s sick or teething, but I know that some parents do go to bed when their kids go to bed, but they’ll stay up reading or watching TV depending on how tired they are. I think the more typical situation is that the kids start the night in their cribs or are put to sleep in the bed, which would either have a safety rail or just be a mattress on the floor, while the parent sneaks away until returning to sleep with the kid later. How long a family cosleeps for is going to vary a lot. Some parents wait until their kid actively wants to sleep alone, usually around three or four, but I think most parents just wait until the kid is sleeping slightly more independently, i.e. they will roll over and sleep not touching the parent, and then transition the child to their own sleeping surface, which may or may not be in the parent’s room.
    Even though my son sleeps in his own room, at almost two, he never sleeps 12 hours (10 to 11 is his average) and still wakes at least once a night most nights. But we don’t do sleep training, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you for answering my questions!!

  • Toaster

    Would you mind sharing your non-cruel sleep training method? My 8-month old is currently going through and every two hours phase and I’m ready to eat my own hand with frustration.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This may not work for everyone, but we went HAM on The Contented Baby book by Gina Ford. She isn’t totally CIO, but she does advocate really hard-core scheduling that will probably disrupt anyone’s life. But I feel like it has worked for us. She also talks about making positive sleep associations from a young age, and I feel like both of my kids are pretty comfortable in their cribs. Best of luck to you!!! Sleep deprivation is pretty much the worst.

    • Toaster

      See, that’s the thing.. he’s been in his crib from a week old and is perfectly happy there, we stick to a strict schedule that does disrupt our lives because I am not willing to sacrifice any of his naps at this point, AND he puts himself to sleep for naps and when he initially go down at night! I read all these sleep books and it’s like yeah, we already do that! I think we’ve been unlucky with teething, illness, and learning to crawl and pull up all at the same time. My older son has always been an awesome sleeper so this is all new to us :(

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      Our kids would jump from sleeping fine in crib to waking up more frequently. These are the various things that worked for us. You may have tried them already but maybe there is something new.

      At certain times in baby’s lives, they go through growth spurts and eat more frequently such as every 2 hours. I think the spurts are supposed to be around 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months? Maybe this might be happening. In this case, just feed the baby bottle/breast and wait month to see what happens.

      Sometimes the baby learns a new skill like sitting up, crawling, standing with help, cruising, walking and just can’t wait to try it out or practice so resists sleep.

      Then of course teething, illness. All you can do is give Tylenol, comfort, breast feed.

      One thing we always tried to do is keep it dark at night. This helps the circadian rhythm regulate so nights are for sleeping days are for playing.

      Try to not take the baby from the room at night. If they wake at night, go into the room, comfort, caress, maybe feed, pat the back, sing a song, keep the lights off and then try to leave again. If you are able, don’t even pick the baby up. Speak in soft voices. If the baby cries, come back in 5 minutes or however you can last and do it again. For my eldest I would have to go in once or twice and she would sleep. For my youngest this never worked. She would cry for an hour until I fed her. When I went back to work at 9 months, I lasted feeding her twice a night until I actually fell asleep at work and I had to do cry it out. When I went in to comfort her, she would just kick it up a notch and start all over. It was really difficult.

      Turn off the baby monitor. I found with my youngest she was a really noisy sleeper, and had vivid dreams. I would run into her room for every peep only to find she is asleep and dreaming. If I could hear her without the monitor, she was usually actually awake and crying so there was less wasted wake ups.

      Make the days very active and bright. Go outside. Lots of stimulation.

      You said you don’t want to cut down on naps, but this is another thing that can cause issues. Mine went from 3 naps to 2 naps at 9 months. The second child was on one nap coordinated with my older child at 9 months. Maybe he just doesn’t need that much sleep.

      On the other hand, some books say put the baby to bed 1/2 hour earlier so there is that.

      If he seems to be in a pain, you can always get him checked out by a doctor. Maybe something is bugging him.

      On days when the baby just would not sleep, I would take them to the guest bed, or couch and sleep while nursing.

      I remember how difficult those periods were. You will get through it, hopefully sooner rather than later. These things usually go in phases. Do what you can to try and stay sane.

  • humblestofbrags


    I’d love to hear about this “non cruel” sleep training method. Is it called Ferberizing by any chance?

  • DeliciousIroning

    Co-sleeping is an individual arrangement. I’ve had three kids who all co-slept with us to a different degree. My daughter only lasted about a year while my middle child decided he’d just move in until college. Our youngest, seven months old now, was given the boot a month ago when it became clear he needed a LOT more space to sprawl. As soon as we moved him from the middle of the big bed to his own crib, he slept 12 hours a night, easy. I often find him on his head with his feet halfway up the crib but, hey to each there own comfort.

  • lin

    I didn’t intend to cosleep, but ended up doing so with both kids. My son had serious sleep issues – he often woke up every 20 minutes, sometimes would sleep as long as 2 hours, but never longer than that. We tried everything, including sleep training, nothing worked. I co-slept for a few months, buy then thought he *should* be in his crib. It was such a nightmare for 2 years. By 3 he was only waking up 2 or 3 times a night, so he started in his bed, but eventually ended up in ours around midnight.
    My daughter co-slept from day one. I wasn’t going through hell again. Moved her to her own crib/room by 15 months no problems.
    As for sex – there are other rooms in the house. Even if it weren’t for the kids, I doubt we would only have sex at bedtime, in the bedroom. I always thought that was an odd concen for people!

  • MarisaEarl

    We had no plans to bed-share, but circumstances beyond our control prevailed: I could not immediately afford a crib (and did not receive one as a gift), and the broken tailbone I sustained delivering made it almost impossible for me to get up and down the 500 times a night my son insisted on nursing, at least for the first 2-3 months. I have really enjoyed him sleeping in between my boyfriend and I, both logistically, and because as a first time mom, I literally obsessed over him stopping breathing in the night (or something) and found so much peace in feeling his little body pressed up against me in the night. He’s always been fairly advanced developmentally (in terms of motor skills — verbally, not so much), so I didn’t have a lot of fears about blankets and pillows, etc. Neither my boyfriend nor myself use drugs or alcohol, and I consider them a deal breaker for bed-sharing. Most nights my son is ready for bed between 7-8 and sleeps until 11-12, when he awakens for his first of two (now one) night feeding. We take this as our opportunity to call it a night and get everyone situated without disturbing him unnecessarily. We started transitioning him to his crib at around 7 and a half months when his elbows and knees started ending up in my rib cage from all his tossing and turning like I was freaking pregnant again. He seems to like having his own space and I’m happy to be cuddling with my boyfriend again…however, we both agreed we’d do the same thing with our next child, if it made sense, and our sex life never really suffered anymore than most couple’s those first few months post-partum. We have a bed in our second bedroom and a couch…which I’m nearly positive is where we made a baby in the first place.

  • G.E. Phillips

    I “family bed” with Face, but I think our circumstances are a little different. I only nursed him for the first 2 months, and I didn’t start bringing him to bed with me until he was about 6 or 7 months old. At that point, we were living with my parents, I was working full time, and he was still waking up once in the night for a bottle. The only way he would go back to sleep and not wake the rest of the house up was if I brought him in bed with me, so that’s how that started. We’ve been in our own place for a few years now, but he’s still in bed with me, partly because we only have a 1 bedroom apartment and I like my bed and refuse to sleep on the couch, and partly because I don’t mind sleeping with him. I believe he sleeps better as a result of co-sleeping (I could be wrong, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Now, he’s almost 4, but the plan is that by the time he’s 5, we’ll be renting a house that my family owns and he’ll have his own room, so that will be the end of that. But until then, I don’t mind the snuggles…not at all.
    I would imagine it’s a little harder when there’s, you know, a husband-type person around, although during a brief-and-disastrous trial reconciliation period in 2012, the three of us shared a bed and it was actually really, really cozy. As for sex, that only happened during the day, with Face in his high chair watching an episode of Blue’s Clues. “Let’s go, we’ve got exactly 22 minutes!” I’m sure many of you can relate, family bed or not :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Scheduled sex during naps – hear, hear!

  • aCongaLine

    I also have a 2 year old and an 8 month old (girls!). Both are ridiculously good sleepers, and have been for months. Currently, the baby sleeps 12 hours, and the toddler sleeps 15 (growth spurts, what what!) In their own beds. And they go willingly and happily.

    I wish I knew how it happened- but really, I just feel lucky. I’d like to credit our sleep success with our insistence that the girls sleep in their own space, but it’s pure speculation. Our toddler was sleeping in her bassinet in her own room since since she was 2 months, and our baby was in her own room at 6 weeks.

    THey have their space, and we have ours. THere is no way our marriage would survive, or be as healthy as it is, if we didn’t have time to be together alone. We watch Adam-12 (horrible 60s cop show) on netflix and drink wine and talk about our day. It’s amazing, and awesome, and it makes me feel like a real adult, and not just the attendant that deals with the tiny humans.

    I firmly believe hat everyone needs their own space. Tiny humans are no exception. It works for us, and because of that, I wouldn’t fuck with it, ever.

  • Erin

    We’ve done some degree of bed sharing since our little one came home from the NICU. For me, it’s a combination of sleep preservation (I’m not blessed with a good sleeper like you are – and we do follow a very strict sleep schedule) and loving to be near my son whenever I can. We also not let our child cry at all if possible, so do not do any sleep training other than the schedule.

    We put him down at 7pm in his crib every night. When he wakes up, we bring him into bed with us (he’s now 22 months). The time in his crib is increasing and the time in our bed is decreasing. I think the time is coming soon where he’s in his own bed all night long. And quite honestly, I’ll miss him next to me.

    I work full-time and hubby is a very sound sleeper, so I would have to do all the night wakings. It’s easier to just bring him into bed and sleep the rest of the night instead of trying to calm him down and put him back in his crib in the middle of the night. I also love the extra cuddle time and how he wakes me up with sweet cheek kisses in the mornings too.

    As for the s-e-x question; hubby and I have a few hours of adult time every night after our son goes to sleep. Plus nap time on the weekends. It’s seriously never been an issue for us.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks for explaining the logistics!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    We co-slept from birth until 8 months, when we transitioned my kid into her own floor bed. Then the summer came and because we live in a 100 year old low-rise with weirdo windows, the only room with an a/c unit is our bedroom. Her room was impossible to keep cool, so we brought her back in with us until the fall. We still sometimes co-sleep when travelling if it makes sense (like if we’re staying at someone else’s house and beds are at a premium) but the rest of the time, she’s in her own room.

    We always intended to co-sleep and it worked well for us, particularly in the first few months when I was nursing a lot. Once she grew out of the newborn phase and started having a more regular schedule, we’d put her to bed in our room at 8pm, with pillows around the bed in case she fell (we don’t have a bedframe, so it wouldn’t be a long fall anyway). She never did.

  • Marie

    It sounds like our arrangement was pretty much exactly like the author’s and I had always wondered exactly the same thing. I also always found it a bit amusing when people expressed amazement that our kids both slept through the night for 12 hours from about 5 or 6 months on. So many people either didn’t believe us or assumed we were cruel parents who heartlessly let our children cry until their spirits were broken. Here’s the secret. Like every other thing in life a little hard work at the start pays off in the end. From birth to three months or so we resisted the urge to take the easy road and bring the baby to bed in the night or doze and nurse all night. We responded as soon as the baby cried and fed them every time they were hungry, then each and every time we held the baby and stayed up with them until they were settled and sleeping again in their own bed. Sometimes we were up all night long doing it over and over. Then at 2-3 months we started waiting a minute before jumping up and putting them to bed while they weren’t quite 100% asleep. We would respond as soon as real crying started, but gradually they started learning to settle themselves. It was incredibly hard work for the first few months, but the first few months are hard no matter what. The real payoff came between 3 and 5 months when the night time wakings tapered off and they started sleeping longer and longer until we had a 6 month old that went to bed every night at 7 pm and didn’t make a peep until 7 am. So there you go. No crying, no cruelty. Just putting in the hard work at the beginning for a payoff in the end.

    • Paul White

      We tried something pretty similar. It hasn’t worked at all for Sam :X

    • SoTiredOfCrapLikeThis

      Aw, congratulations to you for being willing to put in sooo much more work than the lazy, undisciplined parents who choose to co-sleep (the horror).

    • Marie

      Actually, I think I put in a lot less work than any of my friends or relatives who co-sleep. As far as I can tell, co-sleeping is a lot less work for the first 3-4 months, then a lot more work for the next 3-4 years plus. So I’m the lazy one, I just chose to put in a bit more work at the beginning then take it easy after that. (Adult time all evening, every evening? Yes please!) And there’s nothing horrifying about co-sleeping as long as you’re happy and it’s working for you.

    • rrlo

      I think it really depends on the family and the baby. Picking a methodology/sleep strategy that works in conjunction with the parents wishes and babies personality will always be easier than going against it.

      I guess problems arise when parents blindly follow a way (whether co-sleeping, ferberizing etc.) because they think it is the “right” thing to do – and suffer needlessly as a result.

    • Jayamama

      Honestly, I did cosleep in the beginning because it was easier. But once I started transferring my daughter to her own bed around six months, it still wasn’t that hard. There was one month (when she was eight months old) where she woke up every few hours every night, but that was probably because we had gone on a long trip, and she was teething, etc. One thing after another. But she woke up once a night on average until she was about a year old, and she’s been a great sleeper since then. She’s two now, and we get about 8-8 and one 2 hour nap a day.

    • Snarktopus

      I’m going to sound like I’m bragging (again. Thanks, teething article yesterday), but my baby girl just…stopped waking up in the night. At about three or four months. On her own. We’d put her down for bed around 7:30, 8 o clock, and we wouldn’t hear from her until the next morning. It was kind of scary at first, but after the first week or so, it was like, alright, she’s not losing weight, and we get actual sleep. Score.

  • val97

    I don’t even share a bed with my own husband – that’s how much I like my space. When my kids were infants, I had them in a little crib right next to my bed for easy nursing, but that was only for the first few months. I guess I’m old school.

    • Psych Student

      I’m with you! I don’t even share a room with my wife, since we like very different sleeping environments and have decided there’s no way to compromise.

  • Véronique Houde

    I co-slept at the beginning, simply because I didn’t know better – my baby liked to cuddle and preferred to sleep on us. We were all miserable that way – uncomfortable and prone to waking up often whenever someone moved around. We would try putting her in her bed, but she would end up waking up and we would move her to our bed…

    At the 5 month mark, she started waking up intentionally and it was more a want than a need, so I read the Sleep Sense program. It’s not CIO, and involves a few steps to transition the baby to sleeping on their own – routines, schedules, and ways to encourage baby to self-soothe to sleep.

    It’s been a work in progress since then due to intense teething fits, but now she falls asleep on her own (and when we ask her if she wants to go to bed, (she’s 14 months old), she grabs her blankie and happily makes her way to the stairs with a smile on her face), and sleeps for 11-12 hours. I’ve noticed that when she doesn’t sleep as well during naptime, she has a harder time overnight.

    Co-sleeping didn’t work for us. Next baby, I’ll probably use the Sleep Sense program from birth for my own mental health ;). Having a baby that sleeps well without your needing to constantly step in is awesome.

    • WhyCantYouBeJustLikeMeeeee

      What’s with the co-sleep shame and “because I didn’t know better” stuff? It’s NOT for everyone but it IS a perfectly valid option.

    • rrlo

      Co-sleep shame? I don’t mean to speak for Veronique but it sounds like she didn’t know better that it wouldn’t work for her family – not there is anything wrong with co-sleeping.

      Considering that many cultures around the world exclusively co-sleep with young children – there is no such thing as co-sleep shame.

    • Véronique Houde

      Thanks rrlo Yeah that’s exactly what I meant – I had no other idea about how to cope with my child waking up in the middle of the night. And no, it didn’t work for us. I have no issues with people co-sleeping – if it works for you, awesome. My back, and my brain couldn’t handle it, and my daughter slept better on her own too.

  • rrlo

    I “co-slept” with my son for a few months (around 6/7 month) when he slept much better while sleeping with me. Then we went through a phase where if we woke up in the middle of the night (usually 3/4 am) I would just bring him over to our bed. My husband doesn’t mind having him with us. My son does not move around too much at night – so it was fine.

    We didn’t really sleep train – just implemented a semi-flexible sleep routine and schedule. Since I was off work the first year of his life – waking up a couple of times at night wasn’t that big of a deal.

    I found that round the 9 month mark – he naturally became a better sleeper – which kind of told me that most of this is out of my control.

    These days my son falls asleep in our bed – where usually all three of us read books, cuddle, chit chat – which we all enjoy. Then once he is really sleepy or actually asleep – we put him back in his own bed – where he stays until the morning.

    In my culture, sleeping with young kids is very common. So I didn’t really sweat it. As long as we weren’t really tired the next day, we pretty much went with the path of least resistance.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This sounds very sweet. :) And I love your attitude about it all.

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  • Jallun-Keatres

    Right now our 6 week old won’t sleep unless she is held, or touching us. She sleeps in the crack between a long body pillow in the middle and my pillow at the mo, and is slowly getting used to being on her back (which she hated; she started off sleeping on my chest on her tummy but is getting too big for that). It works great but she kicks me in the boobs… lol If my husband wants to cuddle her he takes her to his side of the bed and has her across his arm.

    Eventually I’m hoping to get her in her pack n play that is next to our bed but for now this works great. We go to bed much later, and get up much later than most (like 1am to 10-noon) and she’s starting to have a predictable schedule of sleeping around 11 and getting up about every 5 hours to eat, then going back to sleep. She always gets up between 6 and 8 for an hour so I change her on the bed. Sometimes my husband will take her and cuddle with her while he plays Pokemon during this time so I can sleep.
    As for le sexytimes, she’s young and we put her in a corner of the bed away from where we are. If it becomes a problem we’ll stick her in her crib. It’s not a big problem so far.

  • Whitney

    He would sleep in his own space in our room when he was an infant, and once he woke up we’d move him into our bed. it just wasn’t worth the fight to get him back down on his own. Eventually we decided to commit to co-sleeping full time, and we’ve slept baby-mommy-daddy since. Works really well, and he’s slept through the night since 7 or 8 months, with obvious exceptions for teething, growth spurts, and sickness. He goes to bed late for a 2 year old (9 pm), but we always start him by himself. As he got older, we let him have blankets, pillows, or the occasional stuffed animal. He’s a pretty sound sleeper, so if he’s moved to the center of the bed when I’m ready to go to sleep, I can just pick him up and move him or toss on the floor the fifty toys he needed to fall asleep. Since I’m finishing my dissertation in March, I have absolutely zero intentions of messing with our sleep until then. We’ll just move him into his own double bed because it’s just not worth the effort (sensing a theme in my parenting style?) to teach him to sleep in a toddler bed then go through the process again for a big bed. As far as sex goes, you have to time that anyway with a toddler.

  • etbmm

    Toddler goes to bed at toddler’s bedtime (around 8:30 these days). Mommy or Daddy lays with toddler until the kid is asleep in the bed. Then Mommy or Daddy returns to the world of grown ups, and a peaceful evening ensues. At bedtime, Mommy and Daddy go to bed. Toddler is asleep in the bed already. When Toddler wakes up in the morning, everyone gets up (unless we were already awake).

    Sometimes Toddler wakes up before we have come to bed, and one of us goes in to soothe the toddler into going back to sleep. In the middle of the night Toddler nurses as much or little as desired. “Couple time” happens in other parts of the house. Night-weaning will commence shortly but the co-sleeping probably won’t.

  • freemane

    Sheesh, I’ve never even slept 12 hours straight! You win! To actually answer your questions: We co-sleep w/ our baby twins and used to co-sleep w/ our toddler. One or both of us would lie down w/ them as they fell asleep. If the grown up had the energy to get up, after the baby(ies) went to sleep they would. Our toddler started sleeping in his bed around 2 years old. He still comes to our bed for comfort, but mostly stays in his. I started co-sleeping because I’m such a lousy sleeper. With my first in his crib, every time he made any noise I woke up completely and was up for hours. With him in the bed, I could crack open an eye, see that he was fine, and go back to sleep ( or pop a boob in his mouth.)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you – that makes a lot of sense! I hate, hate, hate night waking too because I have a hard time going back to sleep, but now we seem to be in a good place. :)

  • mrsmorgan

    My three year old daughter has co-slept with me since she was about a year old…before that I was one of those crazy THE BABY WILL STOP BREATHING IF I DONT HAVE HER IN SIGHT moms, so I just had her bassinet pulled up right next to the bed. This way I could lay my hand in there and touch her if I wanted (aka make sure she was still breathing), and didn’t actually even have to stand up to get her in bed with me to feed, which was a bonus. The bassinet also rocked, so I could lay in bed all zombie-like and push it back and forth to soothe her back to sleep.

    She eventually got too big for the bassinet, and that was when the trouble started. She just didn’t like her crib. I think it was because she was so used to the movement of the rocking bassinet, and so that big non-rocking crib just felt like sleeping on a damn brick. Idk she didn’t tell me her reasons, she just wouldn’t sleep in it.

    So, I did what (at the time) I admitted to no other mom…I let my baby sleep every single night in her bouncy chair. This started because she had pretty bad acid reflux…the doc said she had to be sitting up for 30 minutes after every feeding if we didn’t want her to puke all over, which we didn’t. This presented a logistical problem because my 3 month old baby could not sit up. So, we popped her in the ole bouncy chair, strapped her in, and always intended for her to just say in there the mandated 30 minutes…but EVERY TIME around the 10 minute mark…she would fall asleep. And who the hail is gonna move their sleeping baby just to put them in a brick crib because its normal? Not this lady. So she woke up, she fed, and back in the bouncy chair she went! Then it got to the point where she wasn’t waking up to feed any more…she just slept allnightlong in the chair. It got to the point where she had clearly outgrown it…as soon as we sat her down in it, her butt sank the whole thing down to where it was touching the ground and we had to prop pillows underneath the top of it, but it was my only hope! I could have allowed her to stay sleeping in the bouncy chair until she was a teenager, but my husband realized we were spending asinine amounts of money on AAA batteries. So he like hid it or got rid of it or something.

    While she still wasn’t a fan of the crib, she decided “Well, shit, my chair’s gone (thanks, Dad), so I guess I will just bunk up with them!”

    As far as those logistics go, I slept in the middle, and hubby and daughter slept on either side of me.

    If we felt like we wanted some ~*action*~ we either went to another room, or laid her to sleep in her pack & play in the playroom. It never really caused a problem!

    So to wrap up my short novel, my husband then left for a year and a month to live with good ole Uncle Sam on an army base 5 states away, and me and baby girl had the whole bed to ourselves (we weren’t allowed to live on base with him because of the training he was doing). When he came home, we just went back to sharing again. She now sleeps basically wherever I put her. My bed, her bed, couch, floor, grass, wherever. My husband works 3rd, so on his nights off we sleep in our bed together, and she sleeps in her room.

    Boy, I never realized I had so much to say about our sleeping arrangements…

  • Kheldarson

    I co-sleep with my kid. We didn’t mean to, but when he was born we were still in the trailer (thank God we moved out before the winter hit!) and there literally was no room for a crib (400 square foot trailer. We barely had room for our shit). We tried the pack n’ play as a substitute, but he’d doze for 20 minutes and then wake up for a hour. Then back. But he’d sleep like a log for several hours on my tummy, so we resorted to that.

    We sorta began breaking him of the habit when I started back to work (I work nights) but he’s never liked sleeping on his back, so my husband would sit up with him while he slept on his stomach on the couch. I’d get home in time for his mid-night feeding (usually around 2 am) and then we’d troop to bed where I could get 2 hour cycles of sleep between feedings at that point.

    After we moved to the new house, which was around 3 months or so?, we noticed that he was starting to sleep longer through the night. By the time we got his crib up, he was sleeping straight through. So now I co-sleep for naps (because I still need decent sleep at some point, so he gets one long nap if I can pull it off), and will co-sleep to start his night sleep. My hubs moves him to his crib when he’s fully out, after I’ve gone to work. He stays there until he wakes up in the morning.

  • Jayamama

    With my first, I didn’t plan to cosleep, but once I figured out that getting out of bed to breastfeed when I was still sore from giving birth was really not convenient, we fell into it pretty easily. I loved it, until she was about six months old and rather restless in her sleep. I realized that neither of us were getting good sleep anymore, so I started transitioning her to her own bed. She was already sleeping in her crib for naps, so I just started putting her down in her bed to go to sleep, but keeping her in bed with me once I got her for her early morning feeding. Before that, she would just fall asleep in her swing or boppy pillow around 9 or 10, and I’d take her to bed with me when I went.

    My second daughter is two months old. I never planned to cosleep with her because we now have a memory foam topper on our bed, and it’s not as safe. I bought a little bedside sleeper for her to sleep in until she can sleep longer at night and we can transition her to a crib, but she doesn’t really like it. I’ve gotten her to the point that she can fall asleep in her sleeper bed, but she’ll still wake up wanting to sleep with me in the middle of the night. It’s a long, exhausting process, but I can’t imagine not having my babies close by. And honestly, I’d like to know how parents who put their babies in cribs in another room ever get any sleep. :)