Co-Sleeping with a Baby and an Older Child

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Co-sleeping with 2-y-o and infant

December 2002

We have a family bed with our two year old but are not sure what to do when our second child arrives in late May. How have other people handled co-sleeping with a toddler and an infant? We love having our 2 year old in the bed and want to find a situation that allows him to stay while we also want to share our bed with our new baby. Any ideas?

Hi, When I was pregnant with my second child, we weaned our first from our bed. It took a long time and was very emotional. She slept in a crib in our room. When the new baby was born we started to feel like she was in a cage across the room while the three of us were snuggling and warm. We brought her back to the bed after all the pain of weaning. Yes, we have some regrets--there is no room half the time. But all in all I think it was the best decision we could have made. You just have to make sure that the toddler and baby are not next to each other. Now that the new one is a year they sleep next to each other and love waking up together. I hope this helps. I know it is a really hard decision. Any way you decide will be good for you children because you gave it a lot of consideration. Good Luck and may want to consider trading your queen or double for a King! Bene
When our second joined the family bed our biggest problem was that he woke up the first child, leaving her sleep deprived and grumpy during the day! But if you think you can make it work, I'd recommend putting a toddler bed or mattress next to your bed for the toddler (with the newborn in between the parents), or a co-sleeper for the newborn (with the toddler in the middle of the parents). It seems unsafe to have them sleeping next to each other. Good luck! anon.
Our 2nd child joined the bed when child # 1 was 3.5 years old. It was not a difficult transition though took some adjustment for #1 to give up the spot next to mama. Our 3rd child joined the bed when child #2 was 4 years old. (Child #1, then 8, moved out because it was ''too crowded...though occasionally he visited up through age 12.) Our youngest two (now 5.5 and 10 years old) are still in the bed (though the 10 year old chooses to sleep in ''his own bed'' from time to time). It's a very happy scene. My husband and I have a romantic outpost elsewhere in the house. The kids are affectionate with us and each other. Our youngest is very comfortable snuggling with his brothers for comfort. I believe its made a difference in the intimacy of all of relationships. Co-sleeping has worked for our family. anonymous
I don't know how tall you are, but here's what we did: We bought a king-sized mattress and turned it sideways. Most of the kings they have here are ''California Kings'', which means they are longer than most kings. This gives you an extra few inches, and boy, do they make a difference! In any case, the width of a king is pretty close to the length of many mattresses, so it becomes positively roomy for four when turned sideways.

Since we sleep on the floor, and are both 5'8'', this works well for us. I'm sure you could do it off the floor as well, perhaps with one of those bed frames or even with a bed with a head/foot (which, come to think of it, would keep people from rolling out).

My husband and I have separate quilts; I share mine with the baby, and he shares his with the toddler. Otherwise it just gets to be too much of a tug-of-war, and I worry about the baby. Good luck! Hope this helps. A happy mom

With our first child we were all in a king size bed and loved it. We knew, however, with a baby that bed would not be big enough so we bought a twin and put it right next to our bed (the twin was a few inches shorter) and put a store bought bed rail on the open side. 2 or so months before the second one came we introduced the bed (big girl bed) to our toddler so she got used to sleeping next to us but in her own bed. It worked out GREAT and we are still at it (children are 4 and 7). We still love waking up in each others company and arms. Mary

Family bed with spirited 4-y-o and baby

October 2002

I have a ''spirited'' 4.5 year old (as defined in the Raising your spirited child book), and a ''normal'' 1.5 year old, both boys. We have a family bed, mostly because this is the only way my older son can sleep through the night. My question is for any parents that may have a simliar situation. A spirited child does not follow the normal rules. My older son has always, since birth, needed a body to sleep next to if he is going to sleep for more than 30-60 minutes. This has always been a problem, especially at daycare (which he has been in since he's 3 month old), and in the mornings when I want to get up before him. Currently, my youngest wakes earlier, and I would like to get up with him, and play with him one on one before the oldest wakes. But if I leave the bed, the oldest wakes within 10 minutes (this happens if I leave the bed anytime, and has always happened since his birth, and he will not go back to sleep, and he will have a bad day). So Dad gets up with the younger and they march through the morning routine without much joy. My younger son goes to bed about 1.5 hours before my older, and my older should sleep another hour after the younger gets up. I get one on one time with my older everynight before bed.

So, my questions are, (for parents of sleep problem spirited kids) can I teach my older to sleep on his own? At what age? Please understand that he resisted ferberizing for a whole month when he was a baby- and I have tried numerous times to teach him to sleep in his own bed. I have talked to Helen Neville, and my own thearapist, read numerous books and tried numerous methods to get him to sleep in his own bed, and it is not that he is resistant, it is just that he wakes every 10 -30 minutes, and we both get too exhausted after a few weeks- yes weeks- of trying this. Thus, the family bed, which I am not opposed to. I am pretty relaxed, and try not to get upset about this.

Should I just put them both to sleep at the same time, and wake at the same time? How do you put two kids to sleep at the same time? Esp in a family bed? Is there a better solution? I would like to have time alone with each child everyday, as they both go full time to daycare. Thanks for any help A patient but tired Mom

Sounds tough, as life with a ''spirited'' child must be in many ways. Thank goodness for the differences in people, that's all I have to say!! I'm sure your 4-yr old will be a wonderful and interesting adult. But, about time with your younger one, why not try to schedule time with him during the day and avoid the whole conflict in the waking part of the day. Your older son is clearly in need of a person with him in bed, meeting that need will prevent a whole host of problems throughout the day. But negotiate with him, let him know that to be with him in the mornings you need your special time with your younger son during the day (or evening). Then both boys will feel special by you and that their needs are heard. Good luck. Wendy