Co-sleeping: They Say So Much

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Next month, she’ll turn 3. And yes, she is still in our bed.

They say she’ll never become independent. They say she’ll never learn to sleep on her own. They say we’ll never get her out of our bed.

They say a lot of things.

But they aren’t there at night, when her heartbeat and mine start beating in sync, our own song of love. They aren’t there in the morning, when she wakes up with a smile and confidence from knowing she belongs.

Because right now, at this time in her life, this is where she belongs.

It will change, and probably soon. The signs are already there. So, despite what they say, she will continue to be welcome into our bed for as long as she wants.

They can say what they want, but it won’t change a thing. She is where she belongs.

Shelly is a WAHM to two girls. You can find her daily at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother.

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Author: shelly

Shelly is a mother of two and a birth and postpartum doula. When not blogging, she homeschools her children and is involved with her local La Leche League chapter. You can find her daily here:

13 thoughts on “Co-sleeping: They Say So Much”

  1. My firstborn was in my bed until he was around 6 (don’t remember the exact age). I do know he would not sleep unless he was in full-body contact with me until he was over a year old, was still nursing every 2 hours when he was 2 years old. I am sure if I had of talked to the wrong people about this, I would have heard how I was “making” him too dependent, but I chose my confidants carefully and went forward with what felt right to me. I trusted that meeting his needs when he was young would give him a solid base to go forward from.

    My “baby” is now 16 and started college last week. He is living in a dorm a seven hour drive from home. The only contact we have had since I dropped him off a week ago has been initiated by me. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great relationship. He just does not need me on a daily basis at this point in his life. He is supremely confident, happy in his new world. He is where he belongs.

  2. Our almost 4 yr. old and 18 month old are still in bed with us and I feel because our 3 yr. old has the freedom, she feels comfortable enough to go to her big bed and not feel forced. sometimes she stays sometimes she doesn’t, but like her older siblings, I am sure she will go when she is ready and that time came around 4 for everyone. thanks for sharing, also my 18 month old still nurses frequently and she’s amazing.


  3. My 21 month old son is still in our bed and nurses through the night most nights. We never planned on co-sleeping, but it was what worked best for our family…starting when he was 4 months old. I wish I had brought him to bed sooner…would have given both of us a lot more rest and a lot less stress those first few months. There are times my husband and I wish we had our bed back to ourselves…but every morning we are so happy to wake up to a happy confident toddler who knows he’s loved and adored.

  4. Prior to becoming a parent I never thought that I would co-sleep. I had a tainted view-point of co-sleeping from the mounds of parenting books I was reading during my pregnancy… “Oohhh, the Danger!” Poppycock! When my little man was born ALL my preconceived notions went out the window because my heart opened up and my maternal instincts kicked in. Don’t get me wrong I tried to take everyone’s warnings, “Don’t let him sleep with you because if you do you’ll never get him out of your bed… it will be TERRIBLE!” So I tried to place him in the bassinet beside me at night but he would open his sleepy little eyes and show me the confusion he felt as to why I was leaving him. When I would place him between my husband and I he wouldn’t even open his eyes, how would just snuggle right in and fall deeper asleep. How could I ignore that? I couldn’t! But still, I tried for the first month of his life (not respecting my own instincts and what he was telling me), so sometimes I would successfully place him in the bassinet without him waking, but he never slept as well. There was a MAJOR difference for him. So I listened. He prefers to be with us and I don’t blame him! Jayden is now 10 months old and he is the best sleeper I know! I often get snide remarks from other parents that “he is too old to need to eat during the night,” “you are creating this sleep problem yourself.” So what if my co-sleeping baby eats a couple of times. All I do is turn over let him nurse for 5-10 minutes and we are both sound asleep again without barely waking. He is happy, his belly is warm and full and he wakes after 11 hours of night sleep with the best attitude! Funny thing is that those same people that have made snide remarks about my parenting have the crabbiest kids! They barely take naps, they scream when it is time for nap and when they wake, they wake through the night anyways and it usually includes an hour of crying before they “soothe” themselves back to sleep. “Soothe” that is such a load. My friend was letting her 6 month old “soothe” herself to sleep last night when after 2 hours of straight crying my friend went into the baby’s room and she had been so worked up she had vomited on herself (it wasn’t spit-up either). I am not judging other mothers, it is not my place, i just can’t understand how mothers can ignore the person that they love more than anything else in the world and are 100% responsible for the happiness and well-being and instead they ignore the most basic requests of their children? Already I see a difference between Jayden and children his age. He is the most secure and content person. He goes every where with my and is always the same brave confident young man. He enjoys meeting new people and going to new places. As a mother that is my job, to some day be like Susan, the writer of the previous entry whose son just left for college. My job is to create a confident, happy young man that can venture out into the world secure and ready to contribute positively. If that means that my little man sleeps with mom and dad for the first few years then SO BE IT! He will always be welcome with us.

  5. As the momma of a college-aged son, a teenage daughter, and two current co-sleepers, I can assure the collective “they” that secure, healthy, trusting kids do indeed grow up to be independent and do indeed leave your bed eventually. And trust me, as far as my teens go, they certainly KNOW how to sleep on their own…sometimes I think that is ALL that they do!

    For us, the magic number has varied from 3 years up to 6 years (and counting).We’ve always let them decide when they are ready…and we have yet to regret spending all of that time together, or receiving all of the extra snuggles through the years! Trust your instincts and feel secure in the fact that you have chosen to do what millions and millions of parents all over the world have chosen to do throughout history! As a matter of fact, a researcher in the UK is publishing a study about co-sleeping calling for cry-it-out parenting to be considered harmful to children under 5 years old:

  6. “they” really say it everytime we say we cosleep, too!but it’s so sweet to share the family bed…
    and i think it will make you with “no regrets” when the baby is a child and he wants to fly with is own wings!

    (sorry for my bad english^^)

  7. My baby boy will be 3 in November and he’s right there with us, too. He’s starting to stay in his own bed longer and longer each night….but I would never turn his sleepy snuggles away.

  8. My husband goes to bed about about 9 pm every night and takes our 3-year-old with him, while my night owl of a 22-month-old stays up with me. I rock her to sleep as we watch some nature show on TV. Both of my kids sometimes choose to sleep on their own, but they’re always welcome to sleep with me, too. It makes me sad to think of a time when my kids aren’t going to want to sleep with me at all!

    Bedtimes are soooo nice when you cosleep, too. I talk to other parents who don’t cosleep and bedtime is a battle every night with a crying kid who doesn’t want to go to bed yet. They’re amazed when I say my kids actually look forward to bedtime!

  9. My daughter is almost two, and we are so glad to have co-slept. We wouldn’t have done anything else, and we will do the same if we’re blessed with a second child. We are, though, attempting to transition her to her bed (not a crib), which is located in our bedroom. She is 32 lbs and 33 inches. Co-sleeping continues to facilitate attachment, but she is getting too big, especially her little elbows and legs (this morning, I was elbowed in the face and have a bruise on my cheekbone…ouch. This is getting to be the norm, though). So, we’re frustrated at transitioning her because she starts out in her bed but wakes up an hour later wanting to come in with us. My heart melts, but then I end up pushed out of the bed and getting elbowed in the face or torso (very tender parts 🙂 by the morning. I am reading every book I can, and hopefully we will have some luck soon. She is welcome back anytime, but I’d like to have a night or two of good sleep before we start trying for a second child. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Thanks.

  10. Since I pushed my son out 3 years ago he has slept with me. Even in the hospital I refused to have him in the nursery. It was the right choice for us from day one, and my motherly instincts confirmed that. I’ve never understood this “letting children cry it out” notion…it’s absurd to me…infants and children NEED their parents. Infants are completely helpless…if they cry…they need you…end of story.

    My son and I sleep wonderfully together…we both get full night sleeps and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world.

    Also, to any new moms reading this…my son was on the bottle (and yes…there was formula in the bottle not regular milk) until he was 2 and a half. I wasn’t going to force him off anything…he took himself off the bottle when he was ready and he now sleeps through the night at 3. He still has a pacifier as well…just at night though. He can go all day without it and he’s fine….but he wants it to fall asleep…so I don’t fight him…he’ll tell me when he’s ready to be done with that I’m sure. 🙂

    Works for us….and I believe co-sleeping would work for any mother and child. Your babies NEED their mommies….remember that.

  11. My experience with co-sleeping comes from having a child with heart problems. It was back in the dark ages and they wouldn’t let me stay in the hospital with her unless she was breastfeeding. Well, she had several surgeries and one stroke and I wasn’t about to leave her , so we breastfed ‘WAY longer than naysayers would have liked. Then, when my second daughter came along, we breastfed for years too. Our first daughter had a child of her own and passed away after a heart transplant. Our second daughter is now in Dental School. I would say, I would have many regrets if I hadn’t given so much time and energy to my girls at times when they needed me so much. Time with our children when they are little is SO FLEETING, so allow yourselves to savor each and every minute.

  12. ‘well my daughter is 25 today. She co-slept with me and my husband for 4.5 years. We had her help us decorate her new room. Many nights she’d say”Why do I have to sleep alone? I’d tell her because she is a big girl now. But” you and daddy have each other, who do I have, so we got her a puppy. That solved the problem. lights were left on and the door open. Slowly she allowed me to close the light, but we always kept the door open. Today she is a very independent woman with alot of self esteem and confidence. Her little boy now is three and he is still in her bed. Looks like he will be co-sleeping for another year. They already have the puppy LOL

  13. We have a 16 month old and although she doesn’t sleep in our bed, she sleeps in her crib in our room. My husband and I are hard sleepers and the danger of that kept my angel in a safe place where she could still be with us but be secure. I couldn’t imagine putting her in (her) room by herself. I am currently 20 weeks along with our second child, and I fully intend on keeping them both in our room when he arrives. We are fortunate enough to have a big bedroom, where our king bed, two full sized cribs and of course my life saver, our recliner, I picked out when she was an infant. I can say that was a well-worth purchase, I’ve spent many a nights with her in that rocker, safe and sound and cuddled up warm and cozy. I couldn’t imagine having my angels in other rooms, we are comforted by each others snoring, coughing and any other noises we may make throughout the night… Wouldn’t be able to sleep without them!!!

    Great Post!!! Thanks

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