For many families, bed sharing with their baby is the healthiest and most natural sleeping arrangement. But, like all good things, bed sharing will eventually come to an end as a child grows into toddlerhood or beyond. If you're currently bed sharing with your baby, toddler, or older child and have decided it's time to stop, learning how to stop bed sharing in the smoothest and healthiest way possible will make your night's much more restful for everyone.
There are a wide variety of reasons for wanting to stop bed sharing. Among them are simply wanting your bed to yourself (nothing wrong with not enjoying being kicked in the face all night long,) wanting to establish healthy habits that allow your child to sleep in their own room later on, and many more. But whatever your reasoning behind stopping is, you're not a bad parent for wanting to give bed sharing the boot. There are numerous benefits to co-sleeping and bed sharing, but it doesn't have to last forever, especially as your child get older and more independent.
Stopping doesn't have to be a traumatic process either. It likely won't happen overnight, but with a little patience, practice, and consistency, you'll both have your own beds in no time.
1. Start With Room Sharing In A Different Bed
If you don't want to start your child in their own room right away, letting them sleep in a separate bed in your room is a great way to ease the transition, according to Parenting. If they're too young for a toddler bed, you can even put a crib in your room for a few weeks until they get used to sleeping without you right next to them.
2. Try Night Weaning
If your baby or toddler is still nursing at night, weaning them at night before making the transition will be the easiest way to help them sleep through the night, according to Baby Center.
3. Give Them A Substitute Comfort Item
More than likely, your presence is incredibly comforting to your child at night. Parents noted that when you're trying to ease the transition from bed sharing to sleeping in their own bed, giving them a special item that smells like you or reminds them of you will keep them from waking as often.
4. Make A Cozy Bedroom Just For Them
Setting a predictable bedtime routine and making them a relaxing space in their bedroom will help them form healthy sleep associations and get excited about sleeping in their own room according to Dr. Sears.
5. Keep It Consistent
Changing your child's sleep habits won't happen overnight, but being consistent is key to making it stick, according to Dr. Craig Campari of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center.