How Extended Co-Sleeping Happens

by Martha on November 21, 2012

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Extended co-sleeping seems to be one of those things most parents don’t really plan on. When I hear talk of co-sleeping, it’s usually about babies. But there is a large contingent of parents who co-sleep indefinitely with their children. It makes life so much easier. Research shows that extended co-sleeping is more common than many might suspect.

It’s funny. I never thought much about co-sleeping in terms of baby vs toddler vs preschooler. When Annika was an infant, I just assumed she would have moved to her own bed by now (age 4.5). I had no idea how it was going to happen, but in my head, it did.

Unfortunately, when it comes to parenting, it’s rarely that simple.

I tried to move Annika into her own bed off and on. Once around 4 months, we attempted to move her back into her crib, in my bedroom. She’d just stiffen up and scream bloody murder every time I tried to lay her down.

Again, around 8 months, I tried side-carring the crib against my bed. It worked. For one night. She slept for a heavenly six hours alone, and I stretched out luxuriously in my own bed inches away from her.

The second night, she was on to me, and refused to stay sleeping in the crib, waking after only about an hour and refusing to go back down without me close enough to touch.

The early events were traumatic enough on both of us that I gave up and realized I’d be sleeping with my babe for a while.

Around age 2, I made up a bed for her and pushed it up against my bed. She slept in twice sometime around age 2 or 3. At this point I don’t really remember when it happened. Because it hasn’t happened since.

Her dad (my ex) wishes I would harder at getting her in her own bed. As much as I’d like to sleep alone again, I don’t see any way to get her into her own bed. I’ve tried just about everything. We’ve had so many issues surrounding sleep, what with constant night wakings, all-night nursing marathons, night weaning, napping on me, nightmares, potty training, and missing me during overnights with dad.

And finally, finally, (knock on wood) we are finally at a place where we both get good enough sleep. I am finally able to put her to sleep in my bed, and get up for a few me-hours in the evening without screams of terror every 45 minutes.

I am not getting awoken throughout the night for feedings or linen changes. After four years of constant wakings at night, I’m sleeping very regularly now. Sure, with a gangly, long-legged 4.5 year old pushing up against me all night and using me as a body pillow. But still, it’s the best sleep I’ve had since I was pregnant. I thought that was bad. Boy was I wrong.

She has her own room, with her own bed. She’s even attempted to sleep in there a couple of times. But overall, she’s just not ready.

So, I’ll wait her out. And that’s how it happens.

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Martha (8 Posts)

Martha is an attached work-at-home mom in Austin, Tx. She blogs at

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