Whole Parenting Family

Ousting the Co-Sleeper from Our Bed: SweetPea Sorta Leaves

I’m an advocate of co-sleeping. Big time. But for us, that means, when the baby is little. So as SweetPea is almost 6 months, I’m ready to have her start and end her night in her own room. Developmentally is this healthiest for her? The studies point both way, but to be safe, I’ll say she benefits greatly from sleeping by us. Trouble is, I’m not sure I can take any more all-night-looking-to-nurse-but-don’t-really-have-to-maybe-I-will-thank-you-very-kindly sessions.

Night nursing? Absolutely. I’ll get up twice a night if necessary. Why? Because she nurses on demand during the day so sometimes that may mean she doesn’t get enough. And why else? Oh, yes, because breastfeeding during the night is an almost sure-fire way to keep your menstrual cycle from coming back.

But sharing a bed all night long, I think it’s time. So we are doing it gradually. I find two steps are necessary to ease a co-sleeper out into the wild of their own space. We’re not through with the transition yet (case in point, she came back to our bed at 11pm last night because she awakened 4 times in 3 hours with a stuffy nose, crying).

1) From the bed to NEAR the bed.

Wait as long as possible. Keep your child in the room as long as possible. Babies sleep better near their mamas. PLEASE don’t put a newborn in a different room! So much harder for him. So much harder to respond to his instantaneous needs.

Start baby in your bed, or in a basinet or pack & play  or cosleeper right near you so you can easily nurse or soothe at night. Once your baby is either not nursing as frequently at night, or doesn’t stay sleeping through the din of your normal activities in your share space (of any variety).

2) Move to adjacent room.

As close as possible that’s not your bedroom. Or a closet. You can still tend to little one at night, but one of the parents can have uninterrupted sleep! If the options are your room or baby’s room, at this point go for baby’s room.

We have a twin mattress floor bed in our nursery (now that SweetPea is semi-sleeping there). It means I can pass out and cosleep with her in there whilst nursing at 1am. Or I can nurse her to sleep laying down. It also means that when she’s teething (oh, the joys. See section here on Teething), I can be in there all night long if necessary (not if, when) and AA can still sleep in our bedroom and not the guest room/bathroom floor/closet/wherever he’s been sleeping.

All this being said, cosleeping works long term for many, many families. Check out the post on cosleeping by my sister who has done it now for 13 months, here. Also see the comments on that one–it works for lots of people! But for some people, it only works part time. That’s where the gentle ousting comes in.

Bear in mind, baby gets sick, baby teethes, you’re too tired to a) go to another room so baby returns to your bed or b) go to another room so baby cries it out. Anything can happen. Be flexible. Nothing is written in wet cement here, folks.

I’m sharing in Small Town Simplicity’s Mindful Mothering Mondays today. See more here.



  1. Molly on October 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    We are at a point where we either ease baby V into her own bed..(floor mattress? Crib? Tot bed?) or get a king. The night nursing is still a factor – more like 6am nursing which is night in my book. And also practicing EC requires that you be there to take your little one to the toilet when she wakes. It’s complicated. Change is harder than just continuing to cosleep until she’s 21. 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on October 9, 2012 at 4:52 am

      It’s much more work to change what is presently, sorta, kinda, working. Luckily, the EC gets easier as she gets older, I’d imagine, insofar as she will have better bladder control. SuperBoy is not wetting at night at all anymore and wants to snuggle and play in his floor bed when he wakes up, and doesn’t appear to need to run to the toilet.

      What about a wall-to-wall bed? Then there’s room for everyone!

  2. […] to cosleeping to appropriate levels of alcohol when nursing to more on sleeping (you know me and my sleep issues–an update on this front soon). Liz answered questions, dispelled rumors, and facilitated […]