Co Sleeping With Baby and Toddler: Can It Be Done?
Do you have a toddler and a new baby both at home?
Does your toddler show no sign of being interested in going to his or her own bed?
Would you and your children both like to practice co-sleeping all together?
Are you having trouble figuring out how that can work?
Co sleeping with baby and toddler can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible! There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when you’re planning to practice sleeping with both of your children in the same bed, but as long as you keep these specifications in mind, you should be able to make it happen without any trouble.
Co-sleeping has become very popular in recent years as a way to keep your child close to you during the night, which in turn makes everyone in the household sleep a little bit better. However, there are some health risks associated with co-sleeping that you will also need to keep in mind when deciding whether or not this is the right practice for you.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to everything you need to know about safe cosleeping with toddler and baby. You’ll learn how to correctly go about this method of sleeping and how to tell if it’s right for you.
Remember that the right sleeping situation for you and your children may differ from other families, and that’s okay. However, if you’re interested in co-sleeping, read on to learn more.
Co Sleeping with Toddlers and New Babies Together
There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re thinking about co-sleeping at all, much less co sleeping with infant and toddler both. Before we dive into the specifics of this particular type of co-sleeping, however, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand the basics.
To begin with, there are technically three different types of co-sleeping, although some will argue that they don’t all fall into the same overarching category. These types include:
Co-sleeping in the bed
This is just what it sounds like. One or both parents or caregivers sleep in the same bed with the infant, toddler, or both. Everyone shares the same bed until the child is old enough to go to his or her own room, which may be different for each child. This can be the coziest option, but also the riskiest.
Co-sleeping in a cot attachment
Infants can co-sleep in a crib or cot attachment that can be set to either side of the bed. This way, the caregiver or parent closest to the baby can simply roll over during the night and reach the child without having to get out of bed. This is a safe alternative to bed sharing, but it only works for a little while, as these cot attachments usually can’t hold much weight.
Co-sleeping in the same room
Last but not least, babies and toddlers often co-sleep in the same room with their caregivers or parents. The child may have his or her own crib or cot next to or near the adults’ bed. Some people don’t believe this is true co-sleeping, but it is different from the child having a separate room, so for our purposes, we will consider it part of the co-sleeping options you have.
Sometimes, parents will have a toddler at home when the second child is on the way. These parents may want to co-sleep with the newborn infant, but the toddler may be uninterested in leaving for his or her own room. In some situations, there may not even be enough space in the home for the toddler to have his or her own room.
So what can you do if this happens?
Whatever you want, within reason!
In the following sections, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about cosleeping with toddler and newborn together. This also applies to children around the same ages, including infants and kids up to around the age of four.
This information should help you be better able to decide which type of co-sleeping is right for you and your family, and whether or not you should try to co-sleep with your toddler and infant together. Read on to learn more.
Should you continue to co-sleep with both children?
It’s important to remember that the answer to this question depends entirely on your, your children, and any other members of the household who may be involved (such as your partner or any other older kids in the family). If you ask ten different parents or caregivers this question you’re likely to get ten different answers and just as many different scenarios!
However, there are a few things you can keep in mind when trying to decide if co-sleeping with both children is right for you.
- Consider the size and layout of your room. If you have a very small, cramped room or one that has a lot of furniture, it may simply feel too crowded for anyone to get a good night’s sleep if there are four people sleeping in the same bed. The size of your room may also dictate whether or not you’re able to get a larger bed, which you will likely need if you’re planning to co-sleep with two little ones instead of just one.
Tip: A king-size bed upgrade can make a big difference if you plan to keep co-sleeping well into your child’s older years!
- Consider the positioning of your bed. Think hard about different layouts you might set up in your room. Some parents have reported having good luck by positioning a mattress on the floor so that the sides are flush with the walls, which can help keep little ones from rolling off the bed during the night and reduce fall risks significantly. Others get the same results with bed rails.
Tip: You may need to remove some furniture from your bedroom to get the bed in the right place for the safest possible co-sleeping setup.
- Think about room sharing instead of bed sharing. If you have a large enough room (or you can rearrange your house so that everyone is sharing a large enough room), you may want to put one of your children in a separate bed in the same space as everyone else. You may want to upgrade your toddler to a small cot or toddler bed next to the bed everyone else is sharing.
On the other hand, this may be too upsetting for your toddler. You may have better luck putting your baby in a separate crib and allowing the current co-sleeping setup to continue as-is for the time being.
- Consider your toddler’s sleep schedule. Your children should be your number one concern when deciding whether or not co-sleeping is right for your family. Your toddler may be the one most affected by this new change, so consider his or her sleep schedule. Will the new baby wake up your toddler too much during the night for co-sleeping to work well?
Although many toddlers can adjust to being awoken by the baby during the night, some will continue to be grumpy and unrested for too long. A trial period is fine, but be prepared to make sleeping arrangement changes as needed.
Should you wean your toddler from co-sleeping?
If you’ve got a new baby on the way, you may be wondering if it’s time to wean your older child away from co-sleeping with you. This depends a lot on where your toddler is with the co-sleeping experience. There are quite a few tips you can keep in mind to help make this transition go much more smoothly for your toddler, as well as to help you determine whether or not weaning your toddler out of your bed sharing setup is necessary.
- If your toddler is talking about wanting a bed or even his or her own room, this usually means it’s time to start weaning off of co-sleeping. Some toddlers are a lot more interested in this than others, and some may take to having their own space right away. Others, however, may be scared or sad if they feel like they’ve been thrown out of co-sleeping too suddenly.
- Even if your toddler is ready for his or her own bed or room, try room sharing for a while to see how it goes. Put a toddler bed in your room near your bed and try this for a little while before the new baby arrives.
- Do not wait until the baby is born to make changes to your sleeping arrangement. If you bring home a new baby and move your toddler to a separate room on the same day, the toddler is going to feel hurt, resentful, and angry toward the new baby. That’s not a good way to start a sibling relationship!
- Start this process at least a couple of months before the new baby arrives to give your toddler plenty of time to adjust.
- If your toddler is unable to sleep in a separate bed or room, that’s okay. There’s no need to force it. You can usually make co-sleeping work with a baby and a toddler both as long as you’re willing to put forth some effort into keeping your children safe and comfortable.
What if your toddler isn’t ready for a separate bed?
In some cases, you may try room sharing and find that it just isn’t going to work. Your toddler may be completely unwilling to give up co-sleeping with his or her parents or caregivers, and if this is the case, it just isn’t time to push the matter. Instead, it’s up to you to figure out a creative solution that works well for everyone in the family.
Here are some tips to help you figure out how to work around bringing home a new baby while your toddler is still co-sleeping with you.
- Put your baby in a co-sleeper cot. These cots are specially designed to attach to the bed and give you quick, safe, easy access to your little one throughout the night.
This is only a temporary solution, however, and you will have to work on what to do with your toddler when your baby outgrows the co-sleeper cot attachment.
- Try two separate mattresses (or two pushed together). If you’re all co-sleeping on mattresses on the floor, which is a common practice, you may need two mattresses on separate sides of the room to get the job done.
You can also push two queen mattresses together to make a big bed everyone can share. Just be sure an adult is in the middle so no children risk falling between the mattresses during the night if things get moved around.
- Split up parents or caregivers between rooms. Although it isn’t always ideal, it is possible to split up two parents or caregivers into separate rooms. Parents can take turns co-sleeping with children each night or every few nights so no one feels left out.
Both parents or caregivers should be in absolute agreement with this plan if you choose to go this route.
- Put the baby in a separate crib in the same room. We touched on this one a little bit earlier, but once again, if your toddler can’t or won’t leave the co-sleeping setup you have now, you may need to put the baby in a crib in the same room with the rest of the family for the time being.
Once your baby reaches one year of age, you can usually move him or her into the co-sleeping situation more safely, even if your toddler still isn’t ready to leave the bed.
What is the best way to co-sleep with a baby and a toddler?
The best option for co-sleeping with your toddler and baby together is to keep them as separate as possible, even if you’re still all in the same bed. Although this may seem like quite a difficult feat to accomplish, it doesn’t have to be!
Below are some suggestions for the best way to keep your toddler and infant separated during co-sleeping. Keep these in mind when figuring out the right sleeping arrangements for you and your family.
- If you have a partner who will also be sharing the same bed, the best setup is usually your partner, toddler, you, and baby on the outside next to you with a sturdy bed rail. You can also alter this setup slightly so that both children are on the outside and both parents or caregivers are on the inside, but be sure to use a second sturdy bed rail if your toddler will also be sleeping on the outside.
- You can also utilize a separate co-sleeper cot for your infant to make this work until your baby is a little bit older. The setup would be the same, but your baby would be in the co-sleeper cot instead of in the bed with everyone else.
- Talk to your toddler and make sure he or she knows not to move around and get too close to the baby during the night.
- Consider using the method of pushing two mattresses together to make this setup work a little bit better for everyone involved.
What are some safety tips for co-sleeping with a baby and a toddler?
Many of the best co-sleeping safety tips work no matter how many children you have in the bed with you. However, there are also a few that are specific to the situation of co-sleeping with a toddler and a baby together in the same bed.
In this section, we’ll explain the safest options for co-sleeping and how you can ensure that there’s no risk to your children. Remember to change your sleeping arrangements immediately if you feel that there’s any cause for concern for the safety of your little ones.
- Be sure everyone involved agrees on the sleeping arrangements. If your toddler or your partner are not okay with the baby being involved with the co-sleeping setup, it may be time to figure something else out.
If your partner is on board but your toddler isn’t, you may be able to talk to your child about this and convince him or her to give it a try.
- Check for any places in or around your bed where your baby could become trapped or could suffocate. Even your toddler should be safe and secure in your bed without the risk of getting hurt between the headboard and mattress, footboard and mattress, or other areas of your bed.
- Use only a single light cover and never use heavy blankets. This could cause your baby to be unable to breathe well during the night and may also overheat your toddler.
- Do not use too many pillows. Pillows can potentially suffocate your baby or even your toddler in the wrong circumstance.
- Do not let your toddler sleep next to your infant. Your toddler is unable to control his or her sleep habits and therefore may cause harm to your infant accidentally.
- Consider filming your sleep for a few nights to see if anything unsafe is going on. You might be surprised to find out how close you or your partner may come to rolling over onto one or both children during the night. Your toddler may even be moving closer to the baby during the night without you realizing it!
By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of co sleeping with toddler and newborn or older infants. You should be able to determine whether or not this is the right idea for you and your family, and it should be a little easier for you to figure out how to go about this practice safely so as to prevent any risks for your children.
However, you may still be wondering if co sleeping toddler new baby on way is really recommended. Although some specialists will argue that it should never be done and others will say it’s always a good idea, the true answer is that it’s entirely up to you and your children. You should never practice co-sleeping if you or your little ones don’t feel comfortable with it. However, by keeping the tips and information listed above in mind, you’ll be able to co-sleep as much as you like without any cause for concern.
If you’re able to make it happen, co-sleeping can be very beneficial for you and your children. It can form closer bonds between your whole family and help everyone sleep more soundly. Give it a try if you feel prepared—you’re sure to be pleased with the results!