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Co-Sleeping Eviction

Co-Sleeping Eviction

By Amalah

Hi!

I have a question regarding my 5 month old baby girl. We are currently co-sleeping because I decided early on not to fight it like I did with my son. My plan was always to sleep train at 6 months. Well, she is 5 months old and I am dying. She nurses all night long, she wakes up for 2-3 hours at a time and just wants to be cute, and the worst problem- she is ready to go to bed around 7, but doesn’t want to sleep alone. I was able to lay down with her or just put her down asleep and walk away, but not anymore. So, I’m basically carrying her around while she fusses at night until I can go lay down around 8-8:30, which is still earlier than I would like to lay down.

We have already arranged for my 2.5 year old son to be gone for 3 nights the weekend my daughter turns 6 months old but is there anything I should be doing until then? I’m so worried that she’s not going to have a clue that she’s supposed to sleep when we put her in the crib (we will do Ferber), and I also don’t know if I can survive another 4 weeks of keeping her up late in the evenings. Should I start putting her in the bouncy chair to sleep at 7 just to get her used to a bedtime routine and sleeping alone?? She goes to daycare full-time and naps in a bouncy chair there and naps on me or in a bouncy chair on the weekends. We were much stricter and had a bedtime and routine with my son by this age, but with 2 kids, it’s just been so chaotic. And sleep training him was a nightmare. I’m dreading it with her, but I know it’s necessary.

Please help! Thanks!!
K

Yep. Yep yep yep! I hit this EXACT wall with co-sleeping, every time.  Around 4/5 months, it abruptly stopped “working,” so to speak. In the beginning, it really was the easiest way for us all to get the most sleep with a newborn who needed round-the-clock access to boobs. And then a couple months later I had a baby who no longer needed to nurse that often, but hey, since they’re RIGHT THERE, he might as well start demanding them every hour or so. Plus all the wiggling and grunting and moving and noise-making! Gahhhh, nope. Sorry, baby. Bed eviction notice SERVED.

And so we did. I would say stop looking at the six-month mark as some super firm, serious deadline for This Is When We Shall Sleep Train And Not A Minute Before. Just…try putting her in the crib and see what happens. Tonight! Or during her next naptime! Go for it!

The worst thing that can happen is that she doesn’t go to sleep and you take her back out of the crib and co-sleep another night. But it’s still worth trying.

You don’t have to go Full Ferber. You just need to start putting her in the crib whenever she’s tired. If she fusses, touch and talk to her (maybe turn on a mobile or crib soother) but try to refrain from picking her up. If she amps up and really starts screaming, pick her up and rock her or sing to her until she’s calm, then put her back in the crib. Rinse and repeat as necessary, or until you’re like, eh, that’s enough for tonight, back to our bed I guess.

She might totally surprise you. Or you might spend the next couple weeks in a weird sleep-training limbo, but I still think it’ll make “real” sleep training easier if you ease her into it rather than try to just flip a switch at six months.

And yeah, she needs a consistent bedtime routine. Believe me, I totally get how messy and chaotic the second (or third!) kid bedtime routine thing can get. What worked for us was splitting up the bedtimes, either by actual time or just by parent. Baby either went to to bed earlier or later than the older ones, or we did a strict division of kid duty where I put the baby to bed and my husband handled the rest. Instead of trying to get sleeping training done all in one weekend at six months, commit to creating a consistent routine for her NOW and prioritize it in spite of the chaos. Ferber is definitely one of the gentler methods of sleep training, but you can make it even gentler on her with 1) a consistent, familiar, cozy routine in place BEFORE attempting extinction, and 2) introducing the crib ahead of time.

I would definitely enlist her daycare in this — she’s really too old to be napping or spending much time in a bouncy seat, anyway, from a safety perspective. She could start sitting up independently at any time now, which can make a bouncer tip over. Ask them to start having her nap in a crib instead. Same at home. Six months is the top age limit for most bouncers, so she should ONLY be in it at this point if you’re around and watching her. If you think she needs a middle step between co-sleeping and the crib, I’d suggest a pack-n-play in your room instead of a bouncer or swing.

Good luck! And may the Sleep Be With You.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • Ali

    This was my 2nd child to a T!  I was EXHAUSTED and felt like I couldn’t make the time to sleep train…all he wanted was to be held, held, held.  The good news though–when I finally sucked it up and decided a few nights of torture would be worth it (around 5 1/2 months), I put him in his crib, by himself…and after about 15 minutes, he slept…and slept…and slept.  I had built it up in my mind to be a huge “thing,” then it was really a nonevent once we did it.  I say just try it and see!  I really felt terrible that I didn’t sleep train earlier because obviously my little guy was ready, I had just been holding him back.  And now he is getting WAY more sleep than he was before (and he obviously needs the more sleep).  Good luck!    Hope you are sleeping well again soon!!

    • Ali

      I also should’ve added—we definitely split up the bedtime routine here and it has worked for us.  Daddy takes the oldest, mommy takes the youngest.  It gives each child good one-on-one time and decreases the craziness that is bedtime!!   

  • Myriam

    We were there, to a T, but a 7 months. We went with http://www.sleepyplanet.com method. Is there a specific reason you went with 6 months for training? Do you plan on night-weaning or use dream-feeding? I don’t think I would’ve been able to follow Amy’s advice. I like consistency, and don’t like the wishy-washy approach for a month. I would go for sleep-training now…

  • I didn’t exclusively co-sleep with either of my babies, but we did have them room in with us in a pack and play and I realized while reading this that it was exactly around 4 months with both of them when that went from working great to suddenly being a DISASTER (the baby would wake any time it heard my husband or I stir, and then it’d KNOW we were there and be all upset or just totally wide awake and want to be entertained. It made getting ready for bed impossible and the baby didn’t sleep well either). They both transitioned pretty easily to a crib at that point, so I unfortunately don’t have any great words of wisdom. But I did find the timing of it all very interesting. It seems like no matter how you choose to sleep with your baby, the 4-5 month mark is when they stop being as easy to sleep near or with 😉 Good luck!

  • Rebecca C

    The possibly worst sleep regression during the first year takes place around 4 months. Babies who already sleep in a crib go through it too, but it does make cosleeping frustrating for a couple months.

  • leslie

    I agree with others. Why wait? If you’re miserable now, get started on the transition. Just try it and see! I ousted my daughter around 4 months, and it was a super easy transition. She pretty much didn’t bat an eye (though she wasn’t waking up nearly as often as your kiddo). I also agree with Amy that you need to get daycare on board with this. She shouldn’t be sleeping in the bouncy seat anymore. Crib or PnP. In a quiet room. Good luck!