Are you thinking about trying co sleeping with your baby but find it an overwhelming prospect?
Are you searching for information about proper and safe co sleeping no matter what age your baby might have reached?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an idea of what to expect at every stage of the co sleeping process?
For all the information you could want about how to co sleep with your child from birth to one year of age, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll walk you through every stage of the co sleeping process. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about what to expect from every month of your child’s life throughout the first year, and by the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be well on your way to safe and happy co sleeping no matter what.
Within each section, you’ll find a co sleeping how to guide that will explain how much sleep your child needs as well as what you should look for in terms of co sleeping cots, other equipment, and of course, safety suggestions.
Get ready to learn everything you need to practice safe and successful co sleeping with your little one from day one!
At this stage, your baby will only sleep from 2 to 4 hours at a time without waking up in between.
It’s generally not recommended to co sleep with babies in a bed sharing situation when they are at the 0 months stage. For the most part, it’s considered unsafe to do this because of the many health and safety risks associated with the process.
Bassinets and cot attachments are best for this stage. You can put your baby to sleep in a cot attachment that you can affix to your side of the bed, or you can use a bassinet that hangs over your side of the bed.
You may also want to use a snuggle sleeper, which can be placed directly in the bed with you and your partner but provides plenty of separation so your baby always has a safe surface to sleep on.
With that said, many families do bed share at this stage with no trouble. The success of co sleeping with a newborn all depends on how much you’re willing to focus on safety and how attentive you can be when you are awake as well as when you’re asleep.
At this point, you can use a newborn bassinet, which your baby may outgrow quickly. This is the same as the snuggle sleeper mentioned in the previous section. Your baby will only be able to use it for a couple of months, but it can be a sound safety investment.
Always use bed rails when bed sharing with an infant. No matter what age your baby is, if your co sleeping situation involves a raised adult bed, use bed rails.
Never use more than one single thin sheet when co sleeping with your baby in a bed sharing environment. This will prevent any risk of suffocation or choking while your baby is sleeping.
Put your baby to sleep on his or her back. This is the safest position for all babies, regardless of sleeping arrangements, and it can reduce the risk of SIDS.
Do not put your baby between both adults in the bed. Doing so may cause your baby to become smothered or may put your child at risk for being rolled onto during the night. Generally speaking, mothers are more attentive to their babies’ needs, so it is safest to put the baby on the mother’s side of the bed in most situations.
At one month, your baby will probably be sleeping about 6 hours at night.
There aren’t a lot of differences between 0 months and one month in terms of co sleeping. Once again, bed sharing isn’t the safest option here. A 1-month-old baby isn’t far removed from being a newborn and still has many of the same safety concerns that a newborn baby has.
Your baby may soon outgrow a bassinet sleeper. Try a cot attachment at this point. It’s best to get your child used to sleeping in attachment sleeper if you’re going to go that route, so the sooner you transition your little one to this type of sleeping from a snuggle sleeper, the better off everyone will be.
You may choose to use a hanging crib or sleeper that can be moved around the home throughout the day. These are portable cribs that you can position with the bassinet portion hanging over your side of the bed to provide some support and security for your baby while keeping him or her at arm’s reach all night long. You can also bring them around the house with you during the day for easy care.
You might also want to try a separate crib. Co sleeping doesn’t have to mean bed sharing, and with a separate crib in place, you and your baby can sleep just a few inches away from each other without you having to worry about nearly as many health and safety concerns.
Never overheat your baby at night—whether co sleeping or not. Always make sure your baby is kept cool and not dressed in heavy layers of pajamas or placed under too many blankets.
Always triple check to make sure there are no choking or strangling hazards present in the bed space. This includes pillows, blankets, dangling cords, plush toys, spare clothes, and any other areas of concern.
By two months, your baby should be sleeping between 6 and 8 hours at night.
At the two-month stage, your baby should be co sleeping in a cot attachment if at all possible. This is still the safest option at this point of your child’s life.
A separate crib may also be a great solution at this stage. If you didn’t transition your child at one month, two months may be a great time to get started moving your little one to a separate crib in the same room as yours.
Many families do co sleep successfully at 2 months in a bed sharing situation. The older your baby gets, the fewer safety concerns you’ll have about your child sleeping in the bed with you. However, 2 months is still quite young, so if possible, it’s best to choose another co sleeping option at this time.
Never forget your bed rails when co sleeping with an infant at any age. Always stuff towels, foam, or pillows in between your mattress and the bed rails to ensure that your child can’t get wedged between the two. If possible, bed share with your bed pushed against one wall for best results.
If you’re using an attachment sleeper, don’t forget your baby-safe bedding! You should never dress an attachment sleeper cot with adult bedding. Instead, stick to the sheets and blankets designed for safe use by little ones.
Control the temperature in your home rather than trying to warm up or cool down you and your baby using bedding. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping your baby from overheating throughout the night.
Do not co sleep if anyone in the situation is uncomfortable or unwilling—including your partner. Two months is a great time to check in and see how your partner is feeling about the situation and to consider how you’re feeling, too. If everyone’s still on board, great!
A three-month-old needs around 7 hours of sleep at night.
Your baby is getting bigger, but bed sharing is still not the safest option. Continue using a crib or co sleep attachment if at all possible.
At three months, many babies may be close to outgrowing a cot attachment, but not quite yet. You should still be able to use your attachment sleeper for a little longer.
Use a portable co sleep bed whenever possible until your baby outgrows it. These are some of the most beneficial co sleeping cots since they allow you to bring your baby around with you for nap time throughout the house all day long, too.
If you’re breastfeeding, keep everything you need for nighttime nursing close at hand to make your experience even easier. Co sleeping is a moot point if you have to get up to walk to another room for nursing supplies throughout the night.
Always fill in any gaps between your cot attachment and your bed with sheets, towels, or foam. Don’t forget this crucial step, and make sure you check on this every night as part of your bedtime routine when you’re bed sharing or using a sleeper.
Place lots of pillows and blankets around the bed on the floor as your child starts to become more active during the night. A wriggly child is more likely to fall out of bed, but if you have bed rails and pillows in place, there won’t be any harm if this does happen.
A four-month-old baby needs about 8 hours of sleep per night.
By this stage, some of the risks of bed sharing are starting to taper off. This is one of the points at which parents sometimes begin inviting their babies to try bed sharing.
You can probably still continue to use a co sleep attachment for a little bit longer at this point. Your child shouldn’t have outgrown your attachment sleeper just yet.
Be sure that, if you’re transitioning to a bed sharing situation, you have a very firm mattress. Your adult bed needs to be as firm as possible to prevent suffocation hazards for your little one and to encourage healthy spine development as well.
You may want to invest in a co sleep attachment that can be converted to a standalone crib later on. These tend to work better with bigger babies and can be used for much longer, too.
Never use a crib for any purpose other than its intended one. Unless you have the skills to complete a DIY project to improve your crib’s safety, don’t just remove one wall of the crib and expect it to work like a co sleeping attachment. This is a project that takes some work.
Do not let the family pet sleep in the bed while you’re bed sharing with your child. It can be tempting to invite your dog or cat back to the bed with you at this stage, but they can pose a suffocation hazard.
Co sleeping with 5 month old means your child will sleep for 9 to 10 hours at night.
Your child will probably start outgrowing a cot attachment at this point. If so, you have several other options to work with.
Try co sleeping in a separate crib or cot in the same room if you’re concerned about safety risks. If you’ve been using a sleeper attachment until now and don’t want to move to bed sharing, you don’t have to.
Bed sharing at this age is much safer than bed sharing at earlier stages. You can move your baby to a bed sharing arrangement if you choose at this point, too.
You may be able to find baby-safe “bumpers” to put in the bed to keep your child a little more separated at this stage. These will help create a space that belongs solely to your baby and will discourage any adults from rolling over into the child’s space during the night.
Don’t forget your bed rails!
If you want to start transitioning to a separate sleeping arrangement, now is a great time to get started.
If your baby starts being kicky or a rough sleeper but you still want to bed share, resist the urge to put any pillows or blankets between you and your child.
When co sleeping with 6 month old you can expect 9 to 10 hours of sleep at night.
Co sleeping at 6 months requires less in terms of co sleep products. You can bed share fairly safely at this age.
You may also want to try a crib within arm’s reach from your bed at this point if you haven’t already.
At this point, you’ll need to ensure bed rails are in place and there are no gaps since your child will be moving around a lot more. Keep your baby safe from fall risks at all times.
Some parents prefer to swaddle at this stage while others do not. Swaddling during sleep can encourage your child to sleep better through the night but may also pose a suffocation hazard. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician if you’re not sure which is better for your situation.
Check in with your partner to be sure he or she is still on board with co sleeping. Taking time to check in every few months is a great way to ensure that everyone is still happy with the sleeping arrangements and doesn’t need anything to change.
Consider your private time with your partner now, as well, and decide if it’s time to start moving toward separate sleeping arrangements with your child. If you and your partner have been feeling the strain of a lack of intimacy in your bed, that’s a good sign that it’s nearly time to change your sleeping arrangements.
Co sleeping after 6 months means your baby will sleep for about 10 hours per night.
You can safely bed share at this stage if you choose to.
This is a good stage to start moving toward a separate crib as well if you haven’t tried this already.
When co sleeping with 7 month old babies, you don’t need much extra in terms of products or add-ons. Any pre-existing co sleeping arrangement is still safe enough for your child at this point.
You do still need bed rails. As long as you’re bed sharing, you will continue to need bed rails to ensure the safety of your little one.
Your child will be moving more at night, so ensure that there are absolutely no fall risks. Keep piling pillows and blankets on the floor and filling in any gaps around your bed as you have been.
If your child is getting fussier throughout the night, you may need to start transitioning to separate sleeping by this stage. Sometimes, children around this point stop being able to sleep well in a bed sharing or co sleeping environment. If this is happening with your child, your little one may be telling you that he or she is done with co sleeping.
An eight-month-old needs between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night.
When you’re co sleeping with 8 month old baby, bed sharing is a great option. Your child should be old enough to handle bed sharing without too much cause for concern at this stage.
A separate crib in the room with you can work just as well. Your little one may be ready to try sleeping in a separate space with a little encouragement from you.
By 8 months, you shouldn’t need anything additional for co sleeping other than bed rails. Your little one should have far fewer safety concerns at this point, and as long as you keep up with previous co sleeping safety tips and suggestions, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
This is a stage at which many parents transition their children to separate sleeping arrangements. Consider if this schedule is also right for you. If you decide that you, your partner, and your little one are all still happy co sleeping in the same arrangement, there’s no need to start transitioning unless you just want to.
Co sleeping with 9 month old can mean your baby will sleep for 10 to 11 hours per night.
You can safely bed share at 9 months of age. Just like at the 8-month mark, there’s nothing too much to worry about as long as you continue following safety guidelines for co sleeping.
Crib sleeping in the same room may work too, but pay attention to ensure your child isn’t outgrowing his or her crib. Your baby shouldn’t be large enough to outgrow a crib just yet at this point, but he or she may be nearing that stage.
You shouldn’t need anything extra for co sleeping at this stage other than bed rails. 9 months isn’t much different from 8 months when it comes to safety concerns during co sleeping.
When co sleeping at 9 months, you may notice your child moving around a lot during the night or getting up and trying to get out of bed. If this is happening a lot, you may need to rearrange your room to ensure that your child can’t do that. This may mean moving your bed so that it’s flush with as many walls as possible or otherwise making changes for your child’s safety.
Try co sleeping on a king-sized mattress on the floor. This is a great option at any stage of your baby’s co sleeping life, but if your child is getting up out of bed (or trying to) throughout the night, he or she won’t be hurt crawling out of a mattress that’s already on the floor.
If you do this, make sure you move any large pieces of furniture away from the areas your baby may be able to access from the floor of the room.
At ten months, your child needs 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
As with the previous stages, bed sharing and crib sleeping are both safe at this stage. Many parents believe that bed sharing should be stopped around 10 months of age, but if it’s still working for you and your family, there’s no reason why you have to suddenly bring it to an end at this point unless you feel this is the right decision for you.
For safe and successful co sleeping with 10 month old babies, you really only need to prevent fall risks. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor can accomplish this, but anything else you’ve been using up until this point to keep your baby from falling will continue to work.
Invest in some childproof locks for your bedroom! As your baby gets better at getting out of bed during the night, you want to be sure he or she can’t “escape” the room while you’re sleeping. This won’t be a problem just yet, but it’s a good time to get prepared for the future.
This is another stage at which many parents start transitioning their children to separate sleeping. Take some time to think about your arrangement at this stage as well. If you feel that you or your child are not getting a restful night of sleep anymore, this may mean your bed sharing days should come to an end. This doesn’t mean you have to stop co sleeping altogether, however. Just take a moment to regroup and think about what’s working and what might need to be changed.
Check in with your partner again at this stage as well. Have a “family meeting” about co sleeping and figure out whether or not it’s best to continue as-is or make any changes for your partner’s needs.
An 11-month-old baby needs 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night.
At this stage, bed sharing is still a safe option. Your baby may be getting bigger, however, so you may find that bed sharing is no longer comfortable for everyone involved. If you end up being one of the families who has one adult pushed out of the bed by a growing child, you should rethink your co sleeping arrangements at this point.
Your child may be close to outgrowing his or her crib, depending on the type you have. If this is the case, you’ll soon need to decide if it’s time to stop co sleeping or move to bed sharing instead.
A mattress on the floor can be very helpful at this stage if you haven’t tried it already, especially as your child is getting more active.
Be safe co sleeping with 11 month old babies by continuing previous safety practices from earlier stages. These will continue to help you provide a safe sleeping environment for your little one for as long as you continue the co sleeping arrangements.
If you have any other children, remember not to invite them to bed share with you and your baby until your little one has reached the toddler stage. By this point, you may have decided to have another baby in the near future, too. If this is the case, make sure you finish co sleeping with your current baby before inviting anyone else into the sleeping arrangements.
As a side note, you can co sleep in the same room with as many children as you like as long as they all have separate beds and understand that they cannot all sleep in the same bed with you at any given time.
Children above the toddler age can usually safely co sleep with older kids and adults if this is necessary.
At 12 months, your child needs 11 hours of sleep at night.
You can safely bed share with a 1-year-old baby. Many families do this with no cause for concern.
You may also heavily consider transitioning to a crib, toddler bed, or separate room at this point.
Getting your baby’s separate room set up is a great step to take around his or her first birthday. A lot of co sleeping families set the one-year mark as their goal for the end of co sleeping. You don’t have to stop co sleeping at one year, and there are families that keep it up as far as kindergarten and sometimes even longer. However, this is a great time to think about moving your child to a different sleeping setup, especially if you’ve been bed sharing.
Keep your bed pushed against the wall firmly to prevent your baby from being able to fall out. A one-year-old baby is very active, even at night!
If your child is waking up too much during the night at this stage, you’ll need to consider transitioning to different sleeping arrangements. Some babies will stop responding well to co sleeping arrangements around this stage. This usually just means that your child needs to be in his or her own sleeping situation by this point.
Have you learned a little bit about co sleeping with baby in bed with you? Or have you figured out a better arrangement that works well for you and your family? We hope that this article has helped guide you through the stages of co sleeping in a way that makes sense and works for you. Co sleeping can be challenging when you’re trying to get it right, but with the correct practice and plenty of information to back you up, you can make it work beautifully for you and your child as well.
But how do you co sleep when you need to get enough rest as a parent? Sometimes, your sleep may suffer quite a lot while you’re getting the hang of co sleeping with your little one. It’s important to give yourself and your child time to adjust, but it’s also important to remember that you’re not bad or failing if you need to stop co sleeping for your own well-being. Your child’s safety and happiness are important, but yours are as well, and if you go several weeks without sleep you should think about making some changes. Don’t forget to try several different sleeping arrangements and, if all else fails, try sleeping with your child in a cot or crib in the same room with your bed for best results.
Good luck, and happy sleeping!