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Co-Sleeping 101: How to Sleep Comfortably with a Child

Updated on November 24, 2017
Putting kids to bed a night can look like a game of Wack-a-Mole.  Once you put one down, another 'pops' up.
Putting kids to bed a night can look like a game of Wack-a-Mole. Once you put one down, another 'pops' up. | Source

Cosleeping with Children

If you are a parent, most likely a baby or child has wiggled themselves into your sleeping space. Some parents sleep with their children because they are raising their children in attachment style parenting. Attachment parenting often suggestions co-sleeping with your infant, baby or even child.

Other parents sleep with their children because it just seems easier than to be up all night trying to put children back to bed. For some parents nighttime looks like a game of 'Wack-a-Mole.' Once one child settles into their bed another one comes into the hallway and says, "Mommmmm or Daddddd," in the most irritating whinny voice. The parent puts this child to bed and then another pops up in the hallway. The 'Wack-a-Mole' bedtime ritual is in full force. For some parents it is exhausting to put children to bed all night and find it easier to sleep together as a family than in separate chambers.

Or parents put their kids to bed and sometime during the bleakest hour of the night the children creep down and sleuth into their slumbering parent's bed. In spite all the good efforts and following parent books children still find a way to make a family of co-sleepers.

Whatever the reason parents co-sleep it is important to find ways to be comfortable throughout the night, so you, as the parent can get your sleep.

Cosleeping with A Baby

Co-sleeping with a baby can be a beautiful bonding experience. Most parents co-sleep with their infant to facilitate nighttime breastfeeding and bonding. However, precautions must be taken so the baby remains safe.

  • Put the mattress on the floor so the baby cannot roll off
  • Or push the bed against the wall
  • Use rolled towels to make sure there are no spaces between the bed and the wall
  • Buy a co-sleeper
  • Use bedrails
  • Do not use soft bedding
  • Lay baby on his or her back to reduce SIDS
  • Never put pillows, stuffed animals or blankets near the baby's face
  • Do not go to bed intoxicated
  • Never smoke in bed with a baby

Buy a Co-Sleeper

A co-sleeper is a type of bassinet that attaches to your bed. The baby is right next to you but in their own little sleeping arena. The co-sleeper attaches securely to the top mattress of any adult bed. The baby is in arms reach throughout the night. If the baby needs to be breastfed the mother can easily reach in for her baby and position herself to breastfeed without ever getting out of bed.

Co-sleepers helps mom and dad get their sleep because it provides a safe alternative for the baby to lay next to them without the fear of suffocating your baby. Plus, having the baby sleep in a co-sleeper keeps the same amount of square inches in your bed as you had before. You do not have to compromise your space for the baby when they are in a co-sleeper.


Make the Sleeping Space Bigger

When the baby grows out of the co-sleeper they will either move into their own room and sleep in their crib or move on into your bed. Most often, it ends up being a combination of both. To help you and your little one rest through the whole night it is necessary to make your sleeping space bigger. The more people you have in bed, the more room you will need.

If you can afford to purchase a bigger bed, then it is recommended to buy a larger bed like a queen or king size. However, if you cannot afford a bigger bed, or you are already in a king size bed there are other options to expand your sleeping space.

Here are some ideas:

  • Push two beds together
  • Put the bed on the floor and remove the frame boxsprings from the room add additional mattresses and pillows.
  • Add a lounge chair in the room for an older child, and tell them this is their sleeping space.

Invest In a Good Dog Bed

Yes, you read it right, invest in a good dog bed. A premium dog bed is 100% water resistant. That means it is also resistant to children's toileting accidents. Dog beds are thick and some are made with an orthopedic memory foam padding. They also have a soft zippered cover that can be removed and washed.

A premium dog bed is much cheaper than buying a toddler's co-sleeping bed, another bed for your room or a lounge chair.

The dog bed can rest right next to your bed. Tell your children they can sleep in your room but in their own sleeping space. You will also need to teach the dog to not to sleep on the dog bed, because it is being used for a child instead.

Note: It is opptional to tell your child they are sleeping on a dog bed. You can be creative and say, this is a toddler bed, your special bed, or a bed made for living beings under 50 lbs.

Build a Pillow Fort

Somehow, after you purchased the dog bed, made your bed bigger, the children still find ways to be right next to you. You wake up with a foot in your face or get thwacked in the head by a wandering hand.

In order to sleep comfortably through the night with a child glued to your side is to build a barricade. The safest and most comfortable barricade for co-sleeping can be built with pillows.

Building a nest of pillows around you can act as a child buffer and give you more room. You can put a pillow behind your head and then put one next to you in the middle of the bed. The pillow becomes your shield from toddler movements.

If making your bed bigger, investing in a dog bed, or making a pillow fort does not help, then you would appreciate the book below. Go to F**k to Sleep.

Go To F**K to Sleep

Go to F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Parents can appreciate wanting to rip their hair out sometimes to get their children to sleep so they can comfortably sleep through the night. Adam Mansbach wrote a satire on this very feeling called, Go to F**k to Sleep. The book is a satire and not meant to be hurtful to children or families. If you do not like profanity, then do not purchase the book.

The book is written for adults as a humorous way to illustrate how difficult it can be to get your child to go to sleep.

Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.

At what age did your children sleep through the night in their own bed and room, and have not come back to co-sleep?

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    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 12 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      I love it! We're a bed-sharing family most of the time. My girls have their own adorable bed but always end up in ours before morning. Since we have a king-sized mattress it mostly works - though sometimes I end up sleeping at the foot of the bed with our cat. *Sigh* All in the name of love.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Cute! I co-slept with my daughter until she was weaned part of the time. She still has her crib in my room, and although she sleeps across the room some nights we have to move the (heavy a**) crib next to the bed so she can hold my hand. She could probably sleep in her own room, but we assembled the crib in our room and can't get it out unless we take it apart. We are too lazy, I guess. Well...and my husband isn't quite ready to have her "so far away". The dog bed is actually a really good idea. We could have used one of those between us when she was a baby so she wouldn't have had to sleep on the edge all the time against the rail. Will remember that for the next baby!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Karen, my kids used the dog bed! LOL.

    • karenfritz profile image

      Karen Fritzemeier 4 years ago

      I have never heard of the dog bed idea! That is fascinating, and I wish I had known it when my kids were younger. Seems like a great solution!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Nell that sounds so sweet, holding hands and falling to sleep.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      You have some great ideas here! the dog bed sounds perfect. I had my sons basinet right next to the bed, in fact when he was a very small baby we used to go to sleep holding hands! lol!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thank you Barbat!!!

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 4 years ago from Connnecticut

      Loved your hub! and the creative problem solving! Thanks for your writing!!!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thanks for stopping by Bill. I enjoy it sometimes, but other times I crave for my own space.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I loved those days, having my child snuggled up next to me in bed....just one of the great joys of parenthood. :)