How Old Is Too Old For Co Sleeping?
Are you co sleeping with your child and wondering if he or she may be getting too old for the experience?
Are you concerned about the difficulties you may face in weaning your baby from co sleeping later on in his or her life?
Do you find yourself wishing the end of your co sleeping experience was in sight so you and your partner could get back to sleeping on your own terms again?
There are many different reasons why you might be wondering how long to co sleep with baby, but whichever reason brings you here, we hope to help you answer this difficult question.
We understand that circumstances eventually do change and that co sleeping isn’t forever. When it comes to co sleeping how long to keep doing it can be one of the toughest aspects to figure out, and it’s not always going to have a clear-cut answer.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the timing of your co sleeping experience. You’ll learn to recognize the reasons why timing is crucial as well as how to tell if your little one is ready to move on to his or her own separate sleeping experience.
You’ll also find some suggestions for how to make the weaning process work for you and your baby. Whether you’re trying to transition your child from co sleeping to room sharing or from co sleeping to separate sleeping arrangements altogether, you’ll learn how to figure out which one is best for you and your little one.
You’ll also find out how to explain the end of the co sleeping experience to your little one. As your baby gets older, he or she will be able to better understand how you explain the end of this time you’ve spent together, so this is an important step in the process that shouldn’t be overlooked.
How old is too old for co sleeping? Read on to find out!
Why is Timing Essential for Weaning a Baby from Co Sleeping?
Weaning a baby from co sleeping depends largely on picking the right time to get started. This is different for every baby and for every family, and the right choice for you may depend on one of several factors. Below are some of the most common scenarios in which you may begin moving your child out of the co sleeping habit and into his or her own bed or room. Although these won’t all be true of you and your situation, at least one of them will probably ring true for you.
1. Wean your baby from nursing before you begin weaning from co sleeping.
As early as possible, start teaching your baby about structure at bedtime. Brush his or her teeth, put on pajamas together, read a book or sing a favorite song, and spend the same amount of time cuddling and loving on your baby every night. Do all of these activities in the same order each night but don’t be afraid to let your partner help out some nights as well. Eventually, your child will start associating this familiar and comfortable routine with bedtime instead of expecting your presence as part of his or her sleep readiness.
2. Get your baby into a routine before you change the sleeping arrangements.
If your baby is still waking up during the night looking for a breastfeeding session with you, he or she is never going to want to sleep in a separate room. Although it may not always be feasible to wait this long to stop co sleeping, if it’s at all possible, this can help set you and your child up for greater success from the very beginning of the experience.
3. If another baby is on the way, get started transitioning your sleeping arrangements as soon as possible.
You may want to talk to your child separately about how to handle a new baby in the family, but as soon as you find out you’re expecting, try to start moving your little one to his or her own bed or own room. This way, when the new baby does arrive, your child won’t have to adjust to so many things at once!
4. If you or your partner are miserable, you should stop co sleeping on your own time.
There’s no reason to keep yourself or your partner restless and sleepless for months or even years just because of your baby. If it’s something you think you can get used to or work around, then by all means, keep trying! But if not, there’s no harm in starting to transition your baby when you feel the time is right.
5. If your baby is telling you, either in words or in body language, that he or she is ready to stop co sleeping, it’s time to stop!
You should always respect your baby’s comfort, both physically and emotionally. If your child is expressing interest in having his or her own bed or own room, it’s time to start thinking about making that happen. If your little one is uncomfortable, gets overheated easily, or tosses and turns all night, then co sleeping may no longer be working out.
How long can baby sleep in co sleep product?
Sleeping in a co sleeping product is a popular method for little babies to enjoy the co sleeping experience. However, co sleep beds can only be used for a short part of your baby’s life. After your child outgrows the co sleeping bed, you’ll need to decide where to go from there.
How long can a baby sleep in a co sleep bed or attachment?
This depends a lot on the size of the product itself. If your co sleeping bed is the same size as a traditional crib but simply attaches to your bed in some way, then you may be able to use it up until about a year easily, give or take a month or two. However, if your baby can crawl around and runs the risk of falling out of the sleeper attachment, he or she needs to transition to a more secure option.
Some sleeper attachments are “mini” sized, which means they’re only going to work for a short time. Most of these will work until your child is anywhere between 15 and 25 pounds, depending on the sleeper.
Should your baby move to bed sharing or to a separate bed?
This is entirely up to you, your baby, and the rest of your family. If you feel like bed sharing will be an easier transition, go for it! But if you think your child is ready for his or her own bed, then give that a try, too. There’s no right answer to this question when you’re moving your child out of a co sleeping attachment, so it can pay to talk it over with your partner and any other affected members of your family to figure out which option is best for you.
How long should I co sleep with my baby?
Your baby may want to keep co sleeping a lot longer than you do, or you may want to keep up with these sleeping arrangements long after your child is no longer comfortable. Sometimes your timing doesn’t match with your baby’s, but it’s always important to understand when it’s time to stop co sleeping.
How do you know it’s time to stop?
There are quite a few ways you can tell when it’s time to stop co sleeping with your baby. Some babies will make this much more obvious than others will, but there are always some key points you should be on the lookout for when you’re trying to figure this out.
Should your readiness take precedence over your baby’s?
You may feel guilty if you think it’s time for you to stop co sleeping before your baby is ready to stop. However, if this is the case, try not to let it bother you. Remember that stopping co sleeping when you are no longer having a positive experience is a great way to ensure the safety of your baby. Co sleeping when you don’t feel like it can be a health and safety risk for your child.
Should you set a deadline?
You can, but you don’t have to. If you find that it works better in your situation to set a deadline for the end of co sleeping, go for it. For example, if you’re expecting another baby, you may want your deadline to be two months before the new baby comes. However, some families continue co sleeping until their children are two, four, or even ten years old. Some don’t stop co sleeping until the child reaches puberty. It all depends on what’s best for you and your little one.
Tips for Explaining the End of Co Sleeping to Your Baby
Your child can understand more than you may realize, and explaining the end of this time to your little one is an important step toward helping him or her move to sleeping in a separate arrangement altogether. There are several tips you can follow to better help your child comprehend this change in his or her lifestyle. Just remember that, depending on the age of your little one, you may need to alter the way in which you communicate to help get the point across. Your baby will understand your body language and facial expressions as much as your words, if not more, so keep this in mind as well.
1. Explain to your baby that nighttime is for sleeping and that everyone else will be asleep at night.
Although your child may want to stay with you because he or she expects you to be providing attention, make sure your baby knows that you and your partner will be sound asleep when nighttime rolls around. Teach your child, too, that other members of the family go to sleep at night, and even the family dog or cat is probably going to do the same thing. If your baby feels as though there’s no big exciting reason to stay awake or that he or she won’t be getting any attention during the night, this may encourage him or her to try sleeping in a separate bed or separate room.
2. If you have older children, tell your baby about how they sleep through the night.
Invite your baby to view your older children sleeping at night (or mimicking sleeping, if you don’t want to actually awaken them). Explain that sleeping through the night in a separate bed is part of being a big kid and that you’ll be very proud when he or she can do this. You may even look up pictures of children sleeping soundly in their own beds to show your baby, too.
3. Let your baby know how happy you are when he or she sleeps in his or her own bed (or crib).
If your child even takes a nap without your presence during the day, be very excited about what a good job he or she did. Explain that you and your partner both feel happy, relaxed, and energetic when you get to sleep through the night, too. Tell your baby that you will have more energy for playing and having fun together during the day when you’re able to get enough sleep throughout the night.
4. Be encouraging with every little bit of progress your child makes.
Even if you feel like you’re not making any progress at all with getting your baby to sleep in his or her own room, you can gently encourage by praising your child for small victories. For example, if your child helps you pick out a big kid bed he or she likes or chooses a fun piece of décor for the room, you can make a big deal out of that. Let your child know you’re happy he or she is taking an interest in having a separate bed or room.
5. Look for books about babies sleeping all night long.
One of the best ways you can teach your child, especially at this age, is to read to him or her about experiences that are familiar. If you can, bring home some library books or purchase some new additions to your baby’s library that focus on the experience of sleeping through the night or getting a separate bedroom. Help your child understand that every little one has to go through this at some point and that he or she is not alone. Be sure to offer lots of cuddling and love while you’re reading!
How long should you co sleep with your baby? We hope that we’ve helped you to figure out more about the right answer to this question for you and your family. The answer is different for everyone, and there’s no one set answer that works for everyone across the board. However, the more you think about your situation and consider the options and aspects of it, the easier it should be for you to determine the right time to stop co sleeping for you and your little one.
Remember, too, that co sleeping doesn’t necessarily have to stop just because the type of bed your baby has been using needs to change. You may choose to transition from a co sleeping bed to a different co sleeping experience for a few more months or even for a few years until your child is ready to sleep in his or her own room.
Some families find that it works well to let the child decide when to stop co sleeping, while others find it’s best for the parents to choose. Just remember that it’s time to stop co sleeping as soon as any one party involved in the arrangement no longer is happy, safe, or comfortable.
Good luck with your co sleeping experience!