As soon as parents begin to consider co-sleeping as the sleep practice that will best support their family’s peaceful and restful sleep, there’s one question that always seems to come up: what age is co-sleeping safe for my baby?
To answer this question fully (and give your family all the tools you need to get full nights of stress-free sleep), there are a few important things to cover, ones like:
- How co-sleeping is different from room sharing or bed sharing (and why that difference matters)
- What tools are available to help support your co-sleeping journey…and how parents use them to help their baby get more sleep (while getting more sleep themselves)
- How your baby’s sleep set-up might change at the 5 or 6 month mark (and why this change is an exciting sign of healthy growth)
- What co-sleeping might look like past the 1-year mark (and how to safely sleep as your little one grows older)
We’re going to break it all down so that you can skip straight past the struggle of “trying to figure it all out” and get to the part where you’re getting more restful nights of sleep. While also helping your little one soak in all the co-sleeping benefits each night.
What Is Co-Sleeping and Why Does “What It Is” Matter So Much?
As soon as baby is born, most parents invite their newborn into their bedroom to sleep nearby for a form of co-sleeping called “room sharing.”
Experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that room sharing is the safest method of caring for your newborn during the first 6 months of their life (and ideally the first year).
Unlike with some other forms of co-sleeping that involve inviting your baby into your bed to share a mattress, room sharing describes the practice of sleeping close to your baby while still giving them a sleep space all their own. One expertly-engineered to support their comfort and safety.
Choosing to sleep near your baby — while still giving them a space to rest that’s designed for them — lets you experience all the bonding and better rest-giving benefits of traditional forms of co-sleeping/ While also reducing the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
How Co-Sleeping Tools Give You the Best of Both Sleeping Worlds
If you think that “room sharing” means giving up on your co-sleeping dreams and simply popping a crib in your shared sleep space…think again.
Co-sleeping tools like bedside sleepers have made it possible to get the sleep closeness you want at night, without having to worry about the safety of sharing a bed with your little one.
You won’t have to reach over bars…leave your bed…or walk across the room to put a loving hand on your baby’s back. And you won’t have to choose between soaking up co-sleeping benefits or keeping your little one in a crib.
By taking advantage of the sleep innovation that has come in the last few years from co-sleeping tools, caring for your little one is as easy as reaching over from where you’re comfortably cuddled in the sheets yourself.
How Bedside Co-Sleepers Get Involved in the Safe Sleep Conversation
Bedside co-sleepers are expertly-designed to offer you and baby a safe co-sleeping solution to maximize rest time, emotional bonding, and healthy development during the oh-so-important first months of their life.
They do this by giving your little one a firm, stable surface away from the plush and not-baby-friendly softness of your own mattress and blankets — while keeping them within arm’s reach of you all through the night.
There are several reasons why room sharing and separate surface co-sleeping take top prize when it comes to co-sleeping with your newborn during their first few months, ones that remain fully focused on safety and comfort:
Reason #1: It makes it easier to adjust to your baby’s sleep patterns (which makes sleep easier for you both)
When your baby is first born, they aren’t quite oriented to the differences between day and night. This is a truth that easily wreaks havoc on their (and your!) sleep schedule.
Until your baby develops their circadian rhythm — the 24-hour clock within all of us that regulates our patterns of sleepiness and alertness — your baby will have a hard time sleeping for more than a few hours at a time.
Being able to care for their every need (whether that means putting a comforting hand on them during a crisis call or helping them with nighttime feeding them when the times comes) without even leaving your bed can make it easier for you to give care without interrupting your own sleep.
Which means you can get more rest each night, while feeling less grogginess when you wake up in the morning.
Reason #2: It makes nighttime nursing easier.
When babies are first born, they have very tiny tummies. Combine that tiny tummy with all the energy they’re expending growing big and strong and you have the perfect recipe for needing to frequently feed.
Though every baby is different, your baby might call out for feeding every 2-4 hours. And while this might feel like a lot to keep up with during the day, it can feel even more challenging at night.
Choosing separate surface co-sleeping during your baby’s first days, weeks, and months (by choosing to use a bedside co-sleeper) can help you catch some much-needed extra shut-eye while quickly responding to baby’s every nursing need.
You’ll be able to provide them with milk that will help them grow big and strong without even getting out of bed. Which ends up being a win-win for them and you — because you’ll be keeping them happy and healthy while getting extra hours of sleep yourself.
Reason #3: Separate surface co-sleeping uniquely supports mommas post c-section.
Getting sleep after a c-section can be a challenge for some moms.
Just because c-sections are one of the most common ways to deliver a baby today (with c-sections accounting for 1 in 3 births in the US), that doesn’t mean they aren’t major surgery.
Moms need to rest after a c-section. And luckily, safe co-sleeping is one of the best ways for them to support their baby with nighttime feeding while still caring for their body by limiting how much movement they need to do.
Instead of reaching over crib bars or having to roll over and walk to another room in the house, bedside co-sleepers and other safe co-sleeping tools help mothers care for their little one right where they are — while supporting the needs of their still-healing body.
This makes them a no-brainer for many families who are getting back into the swing of things post c-section, and a no-brainer for many moms who find that the crib they purchased (with high bars they have to reach over multiple times a night) just isn’t a comfy enough solution as they heal.
How to Safely Co-Sleep with a 6-Month Old
Throughout Europe, models of bedside co-sleepers are endorsed for and regularly enjoyed by parents and baby up through one year of age. That means parents can support their little one with worry-free co-sleeping throughout all the early stages of their baby’s life.
(In fact, some pretty cool people like Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and German pro soccer player Sebastian Jung have been known to sleep with a babybay by their bedside during these important first months.)
Though the US only tests co-sleepers up through 5 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continuing to room share with your baby through at least the 6-month mark.
For parents who want to continue to reap the emotional-bonding and healthy-growth benefits of co-sleeping past that 5-6 month mark, this might be a good time to convert your safe co-sleeper into a bedside bassinet that stays right by your bedside.
A bedside bassinet will take all the guesswork out of how to safely co-sleep with a 6-month old, while still giving them new room to grow their independence in a sleep space all their own.
How to Safely Co-Sleep with a 9-Month Old
By 9 months, your baby will be becoming increasingly independent. No longer content to simply lay on their back all through the night, they’ll likely feel the urge to move and crawl around during any break from sleep.
As your baby continues to explore their own mobility, your co-sleeping environment may need to be adapted to support their needs.
Though by now your baby is full of the adventurous spirit and can-do attitude they need to turn your mattress into a fun-filled playground, it’s better to save that kind of exploring for when you’re awake and watching.
The truth is, your baby might still be too young to be fully supported by the softness of your comfy-as-can-be mattress, blankets, and pillows. The wrong roll, twist, or turn during the night can leave baby struck with no clue how to get themselves out.
To keep baby safe, make sure that you move them to a space of their own by converting your safe co-sleeper into a bedside bassinet or standalone crib as soon as baby starts being filled with that must-move, must-dance, must-explore spirit.
The “How To” and Benefits of Co-Sleeping with a 1-Year-Old
As Dr. James J. McKenna — founder and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame — discovered, co-sleeping supports babies by helping them breathe more regularly, maintain a consistent body temperature, use energy more efficiently to grow strong, and experience less stress.
Though these remain some key benefits of co-sleeping with a 1-year old, it’s also important to remember that every child is unique. The safety of different sleep set-ups will largely depend on your child’s developmental stages and how they line up with your needs as parents.
Between one to two years of age, your child will grow from a tiny bundle of joy into a free-moving and free-exploring adventurer who doesn’t just know how to get themselves into some fun-filled situations…but how to get out of them safely as well.
By this time, your child should be able to naturally be able to move out of, roll over, and free themselves from any kind of restraining blanket, pillow, or comfy comforter that comes their way. Which might give you reason to adjust your sleep set-up to suit.
The Big Takeaway When It Comes to Safe Co-Sleeping for Your Baby
Certain sleep tools like the babybay co-sleeper bassinet are expertly-designed to safely support your baby through their first several months of life (and take all the second-guessing out of answering the question: What age is co-sleeping safe?). But you’ll ultimately have to use your own judgement when deciding when your baby is ready to leave their co-sleeper and crib behind to try out a different sleep set-up.
(Because just like in everything when it comes to parenting, the only one who truly can decide what works best for your family is you.)
But until the day coms when it’s time to transition your baby to a crib, you can be confident that c0-sleeping is giving your child the emotional and physical support they need to grow independent and strong. Supported by a sleep practice that has been nurturing babies like yours for thousands of years.
Your co sleeping journey begins way before your baby sleeps on their made-just-for-them baby bedside co sleeper for the first time.
It starts the moment you look around online for the best baby bedside sleeper on the market (hint: you’ve stumbled upon the right page!), chat with fellow parents about bedside crib and bedside bassinet models they love, and click the “Choose Your Babybay” button so that we can get your brand new co sleeper shipped straight to your door.
Because when it comes to choosing co sleepers, it’s not just about finding one that will provide you with feelings of ease after your baby arrives. It’s about choosing a bedside co sleeper that is easy to unbox, easy to assemble, and easy to make a part of your and your baby’s soon-to-be shared bedroom space.
That’s why when we designed babybay, we had ease in mind. And we carry that ease through every step of the assembly process.
Take an inside look at one family’s experience unboxing their brand-new babybay cosleeper:
Properly assembling your babybay so that your co sleeper attaches to the bed takes just 12 steps, all easily accomplished with tools you already have at home (no trips to the hardware store needed!).
And though the assembly time might be short and simple, that doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing a single ounce of safety or security. Each babybay co sleeper has been given a gold-star for safety from top safety certification organizations (including ASTM International, TÜV Rheinland, and Confidence in Textiles Oeko-Tex), which means you’ll have confidence that your baby is peacefully sleeping safe and secure while catching Z’s of your own with full peace of mind.
How to Customize Your Baby Co Sleeper For Fullest Comfort
Your little one is unique, and so is your family. That is why we made it our mission to offer plenty of accessories and customizable color options that will make your bedside co sleeper easily blend into your home (or stand out in your home, if that’s more your style!).
Though all babybay bedside sleepers are made of 100% eco-friendly and fully sustainable beechwood (because we believe that caring for the Earth is just as important as caring for your family), you can easily choose untreated, walnut, white, or gray color options to help you personalize your co sleeper so it feels part of your space.
(Don’t worry—we never use the harmful glues, chemicals, or paints that you’ll find in most cribs. With us, it’s all-natural, all the time.)
You can even deck your baby co sleeper out with a colorful canopy that creates a pop of cute with stars or polka dots. So that by the time you’re finished putting together your babybay, you feel fully ready to welcome your baby home with a soft space all their own!
Convert to a Crib With a Bedside Bassinet Conversion Kit
Straight out of the box, your baby co sleeper attaches to bed and keeps your baby secure by sitting flush against your own mattress. But for families who want to have options when it comes to converting their bedside crib into a moveable bassinet, the bedside bassinet conversion kit is here to help!
The bedside bassinet conversion kit has a wooden guard rail that can be installed in minutes with wooden locking clips, allowing your baby to sleep soundly—even if your bedside co sleeper isn’t right next to your bed.
This is a perfect choice for families who have nursery space where their baby can nap (because yep–with the bassinet conversion kit and attachable roller casters you can easily roll your new standalone crib to another room), or who want to have options for how they use their bedside sleeper throughout their journey.
After Unboxing: What to Remember As You Start Co Sleeping
Your bond with babybay doesn’t end the moment that your bedside co sleeper is unboxed!
We’re here to support you and be by your (bed)side — see what we did there? — through all stages of your co sleeping journey.
Which means if the time ever comes when you feel like your babybay needs a little extra accessorizing — like a breathable, moisture-regulating, mattress pad upgrade or all-natural 100% organic cotton sheets — know that we’ll be here to help you out.
Which is our way of saying, we’re here to help you for the long haul.
Already ordered your babybay? It’s time to accessorize!
Just getting started on your babybay journey?
How to start, when to stop co-sleeping: every co-sleeping family will have a slightly different journey. That’s because every family is unique, and so is every family’s needs.
But no matter the ins-and-outs of your family’s uniqueness, most people start here: when your baby first comes home, the ideal place for them to sleep soundly is by your side in a bedside co-sleeper or other safe sleep tool specially designed to keep them safe, secure, and enveloped in a hug of love all through the night.
(Why is a safe sleep tool like a bedside sleeper preferred? Because too-soft bedding can pose risks when your baby hasn’t quite hit the developmental milestones to easily roll out of it yet.)
But over the next few months, your baby will grow from a newborn into a crawling, playing, keep-you-on-your-toes toddler. And when that time comes, you may begin thinking about the best age to transition from co-sleeping with your family’s own special timeline in mind.
How Your Co-Sleeping Family’s Journey Will Be Unique
Every baby is unique, and so is every co-sleeping family. That means that every co-sleeping journey will look a little different.
But no matter your family’s special co-sleeping timeline, it can be helpful to check in at different milestones during your baby’s first few months to stay aware of both baby’s development (as well as your family’s needs).
Checking in during these early months can help you make decisions about the best age to transition from co-sleeping down the road. (Even if that time still feels far, far off for you right now!)
No matter when you decide to stop co-sleeping, the good news is that co-sleeping with your baby during their early life has left them well-prepared to take on sleeping (and the world, while they’re at it!) all on their own.
Co-sleeping helps your baby develop sensory awareness, meaning that they’ll easily be able to tell the difference between comfort or crisis and rest—or call for your help—accordingly.
Your baby has also had plenty of time to nurture a deep and meaningful relationship with you, which means they will feel surrounded and supported by your love even if you’re sleeping farther than an arm’s length away.
This means when the time to transition from co-sleeping comes, you and baby will be more than ready to tackle all the nights of snoozes and sweet dreams ahead.
When to Stop Co-Sleeping: The 5 Month Milestone
Baby’s first few months set the stage for a lifetime of healthy growth.
That’s why co-sleeping during this part of baby’s life is such an important tool in their grow-big-and-strong toolkit.
By catching their first few months of z’s in a designed-just-for-them bedside co-sleeper that fits flush against your bed (meaning you’re always close by!), baby will benefit from a boosted immune system and better supported emotional and physical development.
That’s why it’s important to take full advantage of all the co-sleeping benefits your bedside co-sleeper can offer in these early months of baby’s life.
Though Europe tests and endorses bedside co-sleepers through baby’s first year, the United States has yet to expand their testing and endorsement procedures past five months of age.
However, experts agree that sleeping close to your baby is still best practice through the first year of their life.
That means around five months might be the right time to start taking stock of how baby has grown and decide whether it might be time to start transitioning your baby into a crib or convert your co-sleeper into a bedside bassinet or whether they’re still comfy-as-can-be where they are.
When to Stop Co-Sleeping: The 9 Month Milestone
When it comes time to fully decide when to stop co-sleeping, developmental stages and family needs are more important indicators than age.
That’s because all babies are unique, and their growth stages are going to be just as unique as they are.
Likewise, no two families are the same. What works well for one family might cause nights of restless tossing and turning for another.
It’s a good idea to check in with your baby at the 9 month milestone to make sure that co-sleeping is still the best sleeping solution for them (and you!).
If baby has started feeling confident enough in their mobility to move from the safe space of their bedside co-sleeper into the maze of blankets and pillows that you keep on your own bed, it might be time to think about keeping baby more secure with a standalone baby bassinet or crib.
Those blankets and pillows you love to curl up in and keep close can quickly become a safety hazard to baby. Though baby might be learning to be a confident crawler at this age, they still haven’t quite figured out the art of being an escape artist.
(Ready to learn more about how to co-sleep safely? We’ve got you covered!)
And when it comes to plush bedding that can easily wrap around them or cover their head, those escape artist skills are much-needed to assure fully safe sleeping throughout the night.
But remember: at the end of the day, only you know the co-sleeping timeline that works best for your family.
The Big Takeaway
The day when it’s time to stop co-sleeping with baby will come.
But when it does, be excited to walk with baby toward their next milestone!
Because baby has been co-sleeping all life long, their body and mind are ready to take full advantage of all the developmental benefits and conquer every new adventure that comes their way during nights ahead.
And just because baby is ready to transition their bedside co sleeper into a bedside bassinet or sleep in a crib all their own doesn’t mean they have to go far.
If you choose to stop co-sleeping around one of these early milestones, you can still help support baby’s next stage of sleep by positioning their baby bassinet or bedside crib right against your bed, or moving it no more than a step or two away from your own mattress.
That way, baby will still be able to feel your loving presence offering comfort from close by, even as they adjust to the feeling of sleeping in this new space that is fully their own.
As baby becomes more comfortable in their bedside bassinet or crib (and as space in your bedroom allows), you can slowly move baby’s sleeping space farther and farther from your own bed. This will help baby gradually develop confidence and awareness that you’re nearby to help, even when you’ve stopped co-sleeping and are farther than an arm’s length or two away.
And on the day you decide it’s finally time to stop wondering when to stop co-sleeping and start really moving your baby to a crib and room of their own: just know they’ll feel well-prepped for this next important step.