Co Sleeping Age Limit: Will My Toddler Grow Out of Co Sleeping

Many parents who co-sleep with their infants worry about keeping them in a family bed too long. You probably have worries about your child becoming too attached or that a toddler will affect your marital relationship.

Many families continue to co-sleep with their older children, who grow up to become healthy and well adjusted. Just as with infants, co-sleeping makes a child feel safe and loved. The real question should not be whether or not co-sleeping is a good idea, but rather whether or not it is a good idea for your family.

Co Sleeping With Toddler Pros and Cons

Truly this question can only be answered according to our culture. In many cultures bed sharing is the absolute norm and isn’t something anyone even thinks about. But in our modern day culture, co-sleeping isn’t always given a seal of approval by experts. In fact, it can be a very controversial subject. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your toddler.

First the pros:

  1. It creates a sense of security for your child. She needs you, and you are close to calm her fears through the night.
  2. If your toddler doesn’t sleep through the night, then co-sleeping might be an easy answer. It will save you from getting up and down all night long to soothe your little one to sleep.
  3. It makes breastfeeding easier. If you still nurse your toddler at night, then dreams feedings are a snap. You don’t really have to wake up much to nurse.
  4. It could allow you to get more sleep. Having your toddler with you in bed might mean that she sleeps better, resulting in more sleep for you. (It also may not, so keep that in mind! Not everyone can sleep well with a little person in their bed!) 

Next the cons:

  1. Sleeping with your child could interfere with your marital relationship. Obviously if a child is in bed with you, then intimacy gets a little more tricky.
  2. It could create a dependent relationship between you and your toddler. Having your little one in bed with you might make it difficult to transition her to her own bedroom.
  3. If not done properly, it could be unsafe. If you are going to share the bed with your toddler, then you must take proper precautions to ensure her safety.
  4. You might feel sleep deprived. Having someone else snuggled up against you in bed maybe make it more difficult for you to sleep well.

Benefits of Co Sleeping With Your Child

By allowing your toddler to come into your bed, you are establishing a safe and secure bond with your child. To me, that supersedes any amount of sleep I might lose. I want my child to feel safe and know she can depend on me for security. If you choose to allow your toddler to co sleep with you, it can bring a sense of closeness between you and your child. As I mentioned above, it may also result in more sleep for the both of you.

Toddler Loves Co Sleeping

If your toddler loves co-sleeping, then please let me take the weight off of you and help you not to feel guilty. For some reason this seems to be such a controversial topic in our culture and it is really a question that only you can answer for your family.

If your toddler loves co-sleeping, and you are okay with it, then go with it. Don’t listen to the voices telling you what’s best for you and your family. However, if your toddler loves co-sleeping and you are not so into it, then there are steps you can take to help get your baby sleep in her own room.

Tips for Co Sleeping With Toddler

If you do decide to  co-sleep with your toddler, then here are some tips to help make co-sleeping more pleasant and safe for both of you.

  • Make sure you have set up a safe environment for your little one.
  • Keep a bed rail around the perimeters of the bed so she doesn’t fall out in the middle of the night.
  • Check for gaps between the headboard and the wall or even eliminate your headboard completely.
  • Make sure your spouse is aware that you have a toddler in bed with you. I like to use something like a baby sleep wedge between my husband and our baby so he doesn’t accidentally roll on top of him in the middle of the night.
  • Keep your blankets light and consider eliminating the sheet to prevent strangulation.
  • Dress your toddler in light enough clothes so he doesn’t overheat.
  • Never, ever bring your toddler into bed with you if you are under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
  • Relax and remember that your kids are only little once.

Co Sleeping Options for Toddlers

The beauty of co-sleeping with a toddler is that there are a lot more options than with an infant. With babies, the child usually sleeps in the bed, or in a sleeper attached to the bed. Here are the options for co-sleeping with toddlers. You’ll probably find one that works well for your family.

  • Occasional co-sleep. This is the arrangement most people have in their households. The parents and children have their own rooms and beds, but the kids are free to join mom and dad if they have a bad dream or can’t sleep.
  • Family bed. Children sleep in the bed with mom and dad. This can become a strain on the marriage, but many couples make do by going to another room after the children fall asleep.
  • Musical Beds. In this arrangement, there are several beds in the house that are not assigned to specific people. The sleeping arrangement for the night depends on the situation.
  • Two beds for mom. This is where there are two beds, one for mom to sleep with the kids, and one for mom to sleep with dad. This way, children get the benefit of co-sleeping, but they know when mom and dad are to be left alone.
  • Sharing a room. Instead of having the child in a family bed, they have their own bed, futon, or mattress in the same room as mom and dad.
  • Sibling bed. This is when brothers and sisters share a bed instead of with the parents. If you have a younger child who has been co-sleeping, this is a good way to get them used to sleeping on their own.

Co Sleeping Toddler Safety

You should be wary of having a baby and a toddler sleeping in the same bed. Since they are mobile, but unaware of safety hazards; a toddler could unknowingly endanger an infant. If you do choose to have more than one child in the bed, be sure they are separated and that the toddler is well aware of the rules.

To stay safe without alienating your toddler, you could consider bringing a bed or mattress into your room for him to sleep on. This way he can remain close to you without endangering your other child. If your toddler has older siblings, you may consider a sibling bed so the baby can be safe with you.

Toddler Co-sleeping Problems

One of the biggest problems of having a toddler code sleep in your bed is perhaps, not getting enough sleep yourself. When I have a child in bed with me, I find I tend to sleep lighter because I’m aware of my baby and I’m instinctively aware of his well-being.

Sleeplessness might become a problem for you. You may also have to consider your spouse’s wishes. My husband has a difficult time sleeping when he knows there’s a child in bed with us. Co-sleeping with your toddler might also create marriage problems. if that’s the case, then it’s worthwhile to consider how to wean your toddler from co-sleeping.

Toddler Still Co-sleeping

If your toddler is still co-sleeping, remember that this too shall pass. If you’re unhappy about the fact that your toddler is still in bed with you, you can follow these simple steps to begin transitioning him to his own room. In my experience of almost 18 years of parenting, I have come to realize that the things I fret about pass all too quickly. Your toddler may still be co-sleeping with you today, but it won’t be long and he will be uninterested in sleeping in your bed with you, and you may find that you really miss it!

Weaning Toddler from Co-sleeping

The biggest thing to be aware of when weaning your toddler from co-sleeping, is that it is a process that takes time. It would be cruel and harsh to one day pluck your baby out of your bed and put him in his own room alone and quiet. Here are some tips for weaning your  toddler from co-sleeping:

  1. Prepare a new bed for her in her own room and make her a part of the process.
  2. Get her excited about her own space.
  3. Consider purchasing her a new stuffed animal or blanket that she can use for comfort.
  4. Let her know that just because she’s not in bed with you doesn’t mean you’re not available.
  5. Sleep with her in her room for a few nights.
  6. Gradually start weaning yourself from sleeping with her, but stay with her as she falls asleep but then head back to your own bed for the night.

Products for Safely Sleeping with Your Toddler

However long you choose to let your little one sleep with you, you might find some aids to help you make co sleep more safe and enjoyable for both of you.

Do What Works Best for Your Family

When choosing sleeping arrangements in your house, be sure to choose what works best for your family. Everyone around you will probably have an opinion on your choice; you need to choose what’s best for your family, not everyone else.

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Co Sleeping Age Limit: Will My Toddler Grow Out of Co Sleeping

 

 

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