How Do I Stop Co Sleeping With My Baby? (Step-by-Step Guide According to Age)
Is it time to stop co-sleeping with your baby or older child?
Do you find yourself faced with a struggle every time you bring up the possibility of stopping co-sleeping?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way to go about this process?
If you’re having trouble and want to know how to break co sleeping habit problems with your child, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll give you twenty different helpful hints and tips to help you learn how to end co sleeping once and for all. Even if you’ve never had success stopping this habit in the past, these tips are sure to help you figure out the best way to end this practice in your household.
Depending on the age of your child, you may need to try one or more different types of strategies to make this really work. Because of this, we’ve separated our tips into four distinct sections to help you narrow down the ones that are most likely to work well for you and your family.
We understand that co-sleeping can be a tough habit to break for parents as well as for children, but eventually the time will come when this process needs to stop. Although it might not be a lot of fun for everyone involved, we’ll be sure you’re able to face the end of co-sleeping with as much helpful information as possible to make it go smoothly.
So let’s get started!
Is it Better to Wait?
“How do I stop co sleeping with my baby?”
This is a question all co-sleeping parents and caregivers ask eventually. However, regardless of what age your child is, it’s a good idea to first figure out if you’re stopping the co-sleeping process at the right time. It may be difficult to determine whether or not it’s better to stop this habit when your baby is still young or keep it going until the toddler stage or beyond.
So which one is best? Will it be harder to learn how to stop cosleeping as your baby ages, or will it be too tough with a young baby?
- The final decision depends entirely on your individual child as well as your whole family. There’s no one right answer to this question, but there are ways you can figure out which option is right for you.
- Is there still enough space for everyone to sleep comfortably and safely? If so, you may be better off waiting until your child gets older to stop co-sleeping. If your young infant is thrashing around and taking up a lot of space despite still being small, it may be better to stop co-sleeping sooner rather than later.
- Is your child over a year old? If your child has reached his or her first birthday, the risk of SIDS decreases greatly, which means a couple of things. First of all, it may be safer for your child to sleep in his or her own bed after this point. On the other hand, it’s also safer to keep your child in bed with you at this point too. Age alone isn’t a good indicator of when it’s time to stop co-sleeping, but you can take it into consideration.
- Is everyone waking up refreshed and getting through the day well? If you, your partner, or your child seem to be groggy and sleepy in the mornings or throughout the day, this may be a sign it’s time to stop co-sleeping because your child is keeping everyone awake too much during the night. On the other hand, if everyone is getting a peaceful sleep, there’s no reason to worry about stopping co-sleeping just yet.
- Is everyone sleeping soundly through the night? Once again, if not, then it’s probably time to stop co-sleeping. While one bad night’s sleep doesn’t mean you automatically have to stop co-sleeping right away, you should be on the lookout for a pattern of poor sleep that could mean it’s time to learn how to stop co sleeping with baby.
How to Stop Co-Sleeping with Young Babies
If you’re wondering how to stop co sleeping with infant children, these tips are sure to help you get started. Remember that this stage may be too early to stop co-sleeping unless there’s some pressing reason you need to change your sleeping arrangements, so be ready for the possibility that you’ll need to wait a little longer if these tips don’t work for you.
1. Keep your baby just arm’s length away.
Just because you stop bed sharing doesn’t mean you have to stop co-sleeping in the same room altogether. At this age, especially, it may be much easier for your baby to start getting used to sleeping in his or her own bed while you’re still close by.
a. This can also be beneficial to you. If your baby wakes up during the night and needs attention, it’s easier for you to reach him or her for nightly nursing and other needs if you keep him or her in the same room for a while longer.
2. Start with solo naptimes.
Getting your baby used to sleeping without you being in the same room is a great step toward ending co-sleeping at a young age. When your baby can get through naptimes without your presence, it’s probably a good time to move on to breaking the habit at night, too.
3. Get your partner and other family members involved in baby care.
If your baby only associates you with feeding, comfort, and security, it will be harder for you to break the habit of keeping your child close by all night long. If your partner and other adult members of your family—like a grandparent, aunt or uncle—can help take care of your baby now and then, this will help your child realize that he or she is safe and secure even if you aren’t close by.
4. Give your baby something that smells like you.
Sometimes your child may be missing your smell when you put him or her in a separate room. If you aren’t keeping your baby in the same room with you while transitioning to solo sleeping, consider putting a piece of a favorite old shirt in the crib with your child.
a. Note: Be careful not to use a piece of fabric that’s too large and could pose a choking or smothering hazard for your baby. Some parents have had good luck hanging a piece of fabric from the wall near the crib or placing an old piece of clothing elsewhere in the baby’s room as well.
5. Set up a new nighttime routine.
Since your child is still young at this stage, you may not have set up a nightly routine just yet. This is a great time to get your baby used to the idea that a certain routine means bedtime. A bedtime story, a song, and a little cuddle time in his or her own room can be a great way to get your child to adapt to solo sleeping in no time.
How to Stop Co-sleeping with 6-Month-Olds
Many families decide the 6-month milestone is a good time to stop co-sleeping. In this section, you’ll learn some helpful tips for how to stop co sleeping with 6 month old children. By this time, you’re probably starting your child on the beginning of the weaning process, so it’s a good idea to consider helping move him or her to a separate bed at this stage as well.
1. Soothe your baby without picking him or her up.
Your older baby is likely to wake up and be fretful during the night when you aren’t nearby. If you hear your baby crying, you can go to him or her, but try not to pick up your child unless absolutely necessary. This way, your baby can feel soothed without needing to be cuddled or held, which is a good step toward solo sleeping.
2. Stick to your plan and be consistent.
Your baby is not going to be happy about sleeping alone for a while, and that’s okay. Just because your child cries, that doesn’t mean you have to back down on your plan. Stick to it for a couple of weeks before you regroup and try to decide if it’s best to wait a little while longer or not. Chances are good that your determination will have positive effects on your baby, too.
3. Leave the room as your baby is falling asleep.
Instead of waiting until he or she has completely fallen asleep, start leaving the room as your baby is dozing off instead. Move the time forward a little bit more every few nights until you’re leaving before your baby starts to fall asleep at all.
a. Another option is to start moving closer and closer to the door as your baby is dozing off so that he or she can tell you’re about to leave the room. This will help your child get used to the idea of you leaving while he or she is still awake.
4. Stagger solo sleeping between weaning stages.
You may be weaning your baby from breastfeeding or starting baby-led weaning onto solid foods around this time as well. If so, be sure you stagger milestones so that you aren’t piling a lot of drastic lifestyle changes on your baby all at once.
a. For example, start weaning one week, and wait a week or two before you start trying to move your child to a separate sleeping arrangement. Be prepared for fussiness if you’re doing both at the same time.
5. Remember your baby could be teething.
It’s possible your child is waking up during the night because of pain from teething, so take some time to rule out that possibility before you focus more on stopping the co-sleeping habit.
How to Stop Co-sleeping with 1-Year-Olds
As your child ages, his or her sleeping arrangement needs may change. Understanding how to stop co sleeping with 1 year old children may be a different matter than learning how to stop this habit with younger babies. However, when you follow these tips, you should have no trouble breaking this habit even with your older baby.
1. Give your baby another source of comfort.
This is a great time to introduce a crib-safe baby blanket or stuffed toy that may become a new favorite source of comfort for your baby. You may also want to give a pacifier to your child at this time, but be careful, because you may be starting another habit that will be hard to break in the future.
a. Be careful to choose a stuffed toy or blanket that won’t pose a choking or smothering hazard to your baby. A one-year-old baby is less likely to have these problems, but you should still keep health risks in mind.
2. Set up your child’s room before it’s time to stop co-sleeping.
If your child doesn’t already have a separate room set up, he or she may be startled by this sudden change to the house. Get the room set up ahead of time and get your child used to playing or even napping in that space before you try solo sleeping at night.
3. Be sure the nightly routine takes place in your child’s room.
Even if your child is still going to be co-sleeping with you a little longer, get the whole nightly routine started in his or her room. This will make the transition much easier later on.
4. Consider sleeping in your child’s bed with him or her for a few nights—but only a few nights.
If you’ll be putting your child in his or her own bed instead of a crib, you may want to join your baby for the first few nights of sleep in a separate room. But be careful that your child doesn’t get used to this as well.
a. If you do this, you may want to get up and leave after your baby falls asleep so you can establish the separate sleeping rules much more thoroughly.
5. Go slowly.
It’s very important to take your time with this process as your child gets older because he or she will need more time to break habits that have become instilled. Be patient and take your time. Be sure to let your child take his or her time as well.
How to Stop Co-sleeping with Toddlers
Toddlers are different from younger babies in that they can understand more and respond better to questions and ideas, as well. If you need to learn how to stop co sleeping with toddler aged kids, be sure you can keep an open mind about communicating with your child throughout the process. You may be surprised to learn about his or her thoughts and feelings on the subject as you work through it together.
1. Talk openly to your toddler about this change.
Toddlers can understand much more than babies can, so be sure to communicate well with your child about what’s going to be expected throughout this change. Let your child know that he or she will be getting a separate room and a big kid bed and that this is a time to be excited and not scared.
a. It’s also good to reassure your child that you aren’t mad or making this change because of any negative reasons. Even if your personal reason is that you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, be sure your child knows that it’s because he or she is getting a bed and a room. Frame the change positively.
2. Move naptime to earlier times of the day.
When your child is sleepier at bedtime, he or she will be better able to fall asleep even when the circumstances aren’t ideal. Make sure your child is taking naps in his or her own room and separate bed as well, and you’ll be able to establish a healthy sleeping arrangement in no time.
a. Your child may be grumpy for a few days while adjusting to the new, earlier naptime, so you may want to wait a couple of days before starting on breaking the co-sleeping habit.
3. Get your toddler involved in picking out bedroom décor and bedding.
When moving to a separate room is something exciting for your toddler, he or she will be much happier trying it out. If you explain the process of setting up your toddler’s separate room and bed and then let your child help pick out some furnishings or bed sheets, you’ll be building a positive environment in that room from day one.
a. Your child will be much more excited to go to sleep on bed sheets he or she picked out, so even if they aren’t to your taste, let your toddler have some fun with this!
4. Put a mattress on the floor or try a toddler bed.
Your toddler is getting bigger and doesn’t need to be sleeping in a crib anymore. You may have more trouble moving your child from a bed to a crib and then back to a bed again, so why not skip the crib stage altogether? This is a great time to get your toddler used to sleeping solo on a mattress.
a. While toddler beds are good options, so are mattresses on the floor. This keeps your child from being able to fall a long way to the floor when sleeping solo, and it also mimics the type of mattress he or she has been sleeping on with you all this time.
5. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
Aside from encouraging your child to help out with the room decorating decisions, you can reinforce solo sleeping with rewards. When your child reaches milestones—like two nights in a row of solo sleeping—offer a favorite snack or a toy he or she has been wanting.
a. When your child can go a week or more without co-sleeping, consider throwing a little party so he or she knows this is good behavior. This will help reinforce the idea that solo sleeping is good and that he or she is doing a good job by sleeping in a separate room.
We hope this article has helped you learn some helpful strategies and taught you how to stop co sleeping with infants as well as with older kids. Although some families have reported having good luck with co-sleeping all the way until puberty, this usually isn’t the right option for most families, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about co-sleeping by the toddler stage if you haven’t already.
No matter which stage of life your child reaches before it’s time to stop co-sleeping, it’s important to remember that success depends on you and your partner being ready for the process as well as your child’s readiness. It also depends on you and your partner being patient and understanding with your little one as he or she tries to adjust to this new independent way of sleeping.
Some children will take to sleeping alone very quickly, while others may need a little extra time and help to get used to it. Eventually, however, all children will be able to sleep on their own successfully throughout the night. When this happens for a few nights in a row, be sure to celebrate and offer some positive reinforcement—you and your child both deserve it!