When it becomes time to transition baby from co-sleeping to a crib or room of their own, here’s the first thing you should know: there’s no one perfect way to stop co-sleeping, just like there’s no perfect timeline of when to do it.
At the end of the day, only you know what’s best for your family.
Instead of trying to learn every little thing there is to know about how to stop co-sleeping, prepare for this next important milestone by taking stock of where your baby is in their developmental journey and why your family believes that transitioning from co-sleeping is the right next step.
Being aware of your where and why will help you put a plan in place that will smooth the transition. That way, you can avoid weeks or months of exhaustion and frustration as you try out whatever method a well-meaning relative or friend told you is “right” (with little to no success, we might add!).
How to Stop Co-sleeping: Know Your Where
For some families, the time to stop co-sleeping comes when baby becomes mobile enough to easily crawl, roll, or scoot out of their safe bedside cosleeper and into the bedding, blankets, and pillows of their parents’ own space.
Though bedside co sleepers are designed to nurture baby in the protective and supported embrace of made-just-for-them mattresses, the oh-so-plush materials that adults prefer (we’re talking down feathers, pillow tops, cushy mattress pads, and layers of snuggly warmth) can easily wrap around baby or leave their body unsupported through the night.
If you’re transitioning away from co-sleeping, you might want to try methods for stopping co-sleeping that still keep baby close.
Here’s how to ease that transition.
Push your baby’s baby bassinet or crib against your bed and let baby spend a few nights getting used to the feeling of having their own space while still being by your side.
Once baby is comfortable with their new setup, move their crib or bassinet farther and farther across the room until they feel confident that having you out of reach doesn’t mean that they aren’t being looked after and loved all night long.
Other families might find that moving slow and steady by preparing their child early with books or chats that discuss the many exciting aspects of moving from cosleeping—A room of their own! A new crib!—can set their child up for success.
Stirring up excitement in advance by showing and explaining to your child what they can expect as they transition away from co-sleeping—and why this is an exciting time in their life, rather than a scary one—can also make moving into a crib or room of their own feel like a natural (and much-awaited!) next step are they grow big and strong.
How to Stop Co-sleeping: Know Your Why
There are many reasons why parents might decide that now is the time to stop co-sleeping.
Whether you’re looking for a little more privacy during the night, are worried that your child has outgrown your current co sleeping method, or just feel like the time is “right,” knowing the reasoning behind your decision will help you choose a method for stopping co sleeping that works.
Parents looking for a little more privacy might be more inclined to try the “cold turkey” method, where one night your bedroom simply becomes “off the table” as a sleeping option.
Though going “cold turkey” might leave you rocking and rolling through some resistance the first few nights, being firm and consistent in your decision to stop co-sleeping will help your baby soon learn that their new room is a safe and secure space to sleep (even if you aren’t always right by their side).
On the other hand, parents who have been prepping for a transition away from co-sleeping for a while now might find that a slower and more methodical approach (like slowly moving your baby’s crib or baby more and more distanced from your own) leads to quieter and less stressful nights of rest for all.
If you’re not in a rush to quit co-sleeping, then coming up with a game plan—by outlining how and when you’ll slowly transition baby away from co-sleeping—can help make the process a smooth one.
Plan out small changes you can make each night that will ultimately build to baby’s full sleeping independence.
This might mean deciding how far you’ll move their crib from your bed every night, or coming up with a plan to sleep on a mattress beside baby’s crib for a few nights before leaving them to try out their new space fully on their own.
No matter when you make the transition, know one thing: how to stop co-sleeping depends on the needs of your baby and family.
So rather than looking for the “right” method, simply continue to ask yourself: is this plan right for us?
Keeping that question at the top of your mind will make sure that this next step in your co-sleeping journey is a smooth and exciting time for all.