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Attachment Parenting

Long-Term Co-Sleepers
From Our AP Forum Archives
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From Maura ~ We co-sleep with Gus (26 months) and, while we're happy with the way things are now, we've recently begun to think about transitioning him to his own room. We'll be TTC #2 in a few months and aren't sure if we want to co-sleep with two kids.

An additional twist is that, at this moment, Gus doesn't have his own room. We have a two bedroom apartment, I work from home some days and DH is in school. Since we decided to co-sleep from the beginning, we never bothered to convert our home office into Gus' bedroom. We really really like having the home office but also realize that we'll want Gus to have his own room and eventually share it with a sibling (and it'd be nice to have somewhere to put the toys that have taken over the living room, too!).

So, long-term cosleepers, tell me your story! How long did you co-sleep? What was your setup? What's it like co-sleeping with a 3.5 year old and a newborn -- will the newborn wake the preschooler up incessantly? Any wisdom on whether it's better to transition before getting pregnant with number two, during pregnancy or after the birth?

For those who've transitioned a preschooler into his/her own room, how did you do it? I'm thinking we will do a twin mattress directly on the floor (with an eye to bunk beds later). Did they get up and wander the house while everyone's asleep, or attempt death-defying feats in their room while no one was watching? Those are my main insane worries, though Gus is not a death-defying guy normally.

And, did you ever sleep again? The doors to our rooms are only four feet apart, but I know I will have a hard time sleeping until I get used to both the idea and the reality of Gus sleeping in the other room.

From pxmommy ~ DS slept in our bed and then in a mattress next to our bed (with me) up until about 20 months, when we moved him into a separate bedroom. Still a mattress on the floor, still with me. (we shoved his old crib mattress (never used!) up against it so there's a little overflow space, since the two of us on a twin mattress is a little cramped).

We night weaned at about two years, but I'm still sleeping in there until this month. We've launched the next step. This week, every night, I plan to lie down with him and tell him stories (that's how he goes to sleep), and then leave and go sleep across the hall in the master bedroom (with DH! Yeah!). At his first wakeup, I'll go back in and stay the rest of the night.

Second week, the plan is to go back in at first wakeup, then back to the master bedroom until the second. Then stay. Third week, a little longer. Hopefully, by the end of the month, he'll be waking less and sleeping all night in the room by himself.

Also, hopefully, I'll be more accustomed to sleeping away from him and won't be staying half-awake all night listening for him (my biggest concern). We're planning on using the monitor so that I hear him faster and can go in to calm him back to sleep before he has a chance to fully wake up.

Anyway, that's the plan. Since I'm pretty hugely pregnant at this point, it will be nice to be in a higher-up bed that has more room to spread out. And since I'm waking up a lot at night anyway, I figure it won't lose me much more sleep than I am now.

From JanB ~ Your situation is identical to what ours was, except that we made the transition when Zeke was around 19 months. We also had a 2-bedroom apartment, with one of the bedrooms set up as a home office. When we decided to make the transition to having Zeke sleep in his own room, we ran a baby gate along the length of the home office, bisecting it. On one side was a long table with all our computer equipment; on the other side was a futon mattress on the floor for Zeke and a dresser and toybox for his stuff.

The first week or so, one of us would sleep on the futon mattress with him all night. It's a queen-size, so there was plenty of room. Then we started just lying down with him to get him to sleep, then getting up and going across the hall into our own bedroom for the rest of the night. We left the hall light on, and both bedroom doors open, to allow him to come into our room if he woke and needed to find us. As it turned out, that was a non-issue, because whenever he woke in the night, he just made noise (usually a questioning "Dah?") to let us know he was awake.

Zeke really didn't have any trouble transitioning at all, but then he has always been a child who really likes having his personal space. I think he was ready to have his own sleeping space. So it was not really traumatic or a big deal for him at all. We've never had trouble with him getting up and wandering the house randomly, either; even now, when he wakes in the night, he either makes noise to let us know, or he comes to us directly to find us. (We moved out of the apartment and are currently living in a finished basement room at my mom's house, so Zeke will typically come upstairs to the living room to look for us if we're not in the room when he wakes -- which is rare.)

As far as timing, it's really up to you. We made the decision to do it when we did, because like you, I was pregnant with our second baby and didn't want to co-sleep with two kids at once. We transitioned Zeke to his own room very soon after finding out the news, because I wanted him to be very used to sleeping in his own space before the baby came, so he didn't have resentment issues about the new baby kicking him out of his familiar bed.

It was a big adjustment for all of us at first, and I did feel very nervous, not having him right there next to me all night long. But he was old enough to be able to let us know if there was a problem, and could walk from his room to our room if he wanted to, which helped reassure me. And, like you, the doors to our rooms were only about four feet apart.

From Raven ~ We co-slept with DS until around, actually a little after, his third birthday. At that point we transitioned him to his own bed next to ours. Durring that time we had DD#1 and she slept with us, and still does, but also sleeps at least part of the night in her own bed in our room. Now we have DD#2 who is co-sleeping with us as well.

In our experience the newborn really doesn't wake a toddler/preschooler. We haven't tried the transition to another room yet for our oldest as we really have no room and I'm using the rapid loss of space in our room as leverage against DH to get him motivated to get a better job and then buy us a house.

From divinebovine ~ We're trying to transition Bennett now - he's almost three. He's got his own room and we have a mattress on the floor in there for whatever adult gets to keep him company. He goes to sleep in his own bed and when he wakes up (when, not "if," unfortunately) someone is right there to comfort him - sometimes just knowing there is someone else in the room is enough for him to go back to sleep. He's not real happy about it yet, but this is probably because the new baby is co-sleeping with me, and because life is chaotic at our house right now - I have a MIL who comes for interminable visits (driving me crazy, upsetting the routine), and he's potty training and starting pre-school - a lot of stuff all at once.

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