19 Co-Sleeping Tips from Moms Who Swear By It

Considering sleeping in the same bed with your baby or child? See how these seasoned moms make it work.

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It doesn't have to be one or the other

"01_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/Yuri_ArcursI like the comfort of co-sleeping but I also want to teach my son independence. To compromise, I put him in his bed at the start of the night. If he wakes up I just move him in bed with us." Morgan D., 35, Moore, Oklahoma

Use a sleep nest

02_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/skynesher"When my daughter was first born I made her a little 'sleep nest' out of a breathable surround sleeper in the middle of the bed my husband and I slept in. It helped me stay in tune with what she needed, especially in those early days." Robyn S., 30, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Got a little bitty one yourself? Read up on these 16 things parents of young children want you to know.)

Forget about age limits

03_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/YakobchukOlena"I co-slept with my son until he was 16 years old and I am really happy about it. Co-sleeping until near adulthood was the norm for most of human history, so as long as your kids wants to do it, let them." Emma S., 42, Stockholm, Sweden (Want more "rules" you can forget? Read these 52 of the worst parenting tips ever.)

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Stay aware of your child's health

04_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/Imgorthand"Sometimes it's best for their health to keep them close. We co-slept on and off, but when my daughter was sick she was always in my bed. That way I knew instantly, rather than later, that she was ill and needed help. I could tell right away when she was vomiting. And when she had a terrible cold, co-sleeping helped her get rest in an upright position." Angela S., 35, Las Vegas, Nevada

Learn how to breastfeed while lying down

05_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/parinyabinsuk"We end up co-sleeping every night with our two boys, 3 and 1, and love it. One of the biggest perks is how easy it makes breastfeeding at night. My one-year-old now will put his arm around me while we lay down together. It is amazing to have him in bed with me and saves a lot of sanity. The best part is we all sleep through the night, every night." Marcie M., 28, Orting, Washington. (Check out these 21 other tricks parents wish they'd known before having kids!)

Consider individual bedding

06_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/a40757"My husband and I sleep with two separate twin top sheets and our own twin blankets so the baby can't get tangled up in king sized bedding. We also use smaller pillows too, and just one for each of our heads." Emma P., 40, Kyle, Texas

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Or ditch the bedding altogether

07_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/greenp"Eventually I moved to sleeping with my daughter on a mattress on the floor of the nursery. For safety's sake I used one fitted sheet, one pillow and no blankets. I just made sure that both she and I wore warm enough pajamas that we wouldn't need a blanket. The arrangement sounds funny but it helped both of us get so much more sleep and made nighttime breastfeeding a snap." Robyn S., 30, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Here's how to buy the perfect mattress to have every snoozing peacefully.)

Use a co-sleeping attachment for the best of both worlds

08_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/becon"We co-sleep with my 18-month-old and have since day one. We built an adorable co-sleeper attachment that hooks on to the side of our bed but has railings on three sides do prevent him from rolling off. (If you're not up for DIY, you can buy one). It keeps him close but it also feels like we each have our own space." Becky M., 27, Willows, California

Talk to your spouse

09_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/izusek"My husband was totally on board with the idea of co-sleeping from the beginning, but it took some time to work out what was best for our family. When our baby was in the bed with us, my husband felt like he couldn't sleep deeply for fear of rolling over onto the baby. So we moved a mattress to the floor of the nursery where I slept with her. It's true that meant my husband and I weren't sleeping together, but we both knew it was temporary, and because I was getting more sleep I was able to be a better wife and mother. What works for one family won't necessarily work for another; communication is key." Robyn S., 30, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Keep communication lines open with a little humor by sharing one of these hilarious quotes about sleep.)

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Offer alternatives

010_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/Weekend-Images-Inc"Our daughter co-slept with us in our bed until she was 2 but at that point we all agreed we needed our own beds. We transitioned her to a toddler bed in her own room but we have a standing agreement that any morning that she wakes up before me, she is welcome to come crawl in bed with me still. That has made the transition so much easier on both of us." Mickela C., 40, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Start the night off right by reading your little guy one of the 10 best children's books for bedtime.)

Let your child lead the way

011_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/Bodler"I co-slept with my daughter until she was nine months old. I would have been okay going longer but by then she actually wanted to sleep in her own crib. It was important to me to let her make that choice, and ultimately we both sleep a lot better." Aubrynne H., 24, Provo, Utah. (Toddler still being rowdy? Maybe you're missing some of these early signs of ADHD.)

Know each child's individual needs

012_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/filadendron"I didn't co-sleep with my first two babies because they didn't seem to need it. But my third child was different and so I adapted to what she needed at night by co-sleeping with her. Honestly it was great—I wasn't ever a 'zombie newborn mom' with her. It's still hard, but co-sleeping means we both get enough sleep. I'll kick her out when her sleep starts hindering our sleep more than helping it." Emma P., 40, Kyle, Texas

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And know your own needs

013_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/filadendron"I loved co-sleeping from the beginning and enjoyed doing it with all three of my kids—my youngest still climbs into bed with us every night. But it's not for everyone. I know that I need to be close to my little ones at night to sleep well but other women need their babies to have a separate sleeping space to get the rest they need. It's really individual so be honest about what you need, not just what you think your kids need." Jeni S., 36, Lakeville, Minnesota. (Check out these 12 tips to create your very own sleep haven.)

Buy a family-sized bed

014_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/BraunS"I love sharing a bed with our 2-year-old and 5-month-old but realistically that meant we needed a bigger bed. We now have a California king size bed, so we each have enough room." Taylor J., 29, Los Angeles, California. (If you do invest in a bigger bed, make sure you know these 4 tips to make your mattress last longer.)

Use it as a tool to transition your child to their own bed

015_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/evgenyatamanenko"At first I was nervous about the idea of co-sleeping but then we had to move into a one bedroom rental while our house was being built. It was so cozy in one big bed with my husband, our 2.5 year old, and me pregnant with twins! We just moved into our new place and got our toddler a full-size bed, and she transitioned so smoothly! She loves it and has slept in her own bed for a three weeks now. I think that closeness with us during that time helped her feel ready to go off on her own." Becci P., 33, Pine City, Minnesota

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Divide and conquer

016_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/LPETTET"My 2.5-year-old sleeps with Daddy in a queen bed while the baby sleeps with me in another queen. We simply don't have enough space to co-sleep with everyone but it is important to us to make it work in our own way. For one thing, baby breastfeeds so much more easily. Then big sister comes in in the morning and gives us all kisses. I hope that cosleeping makes them feel safe so they will be comfortable moving to their own beds in their own time." Melissa T., 30, Denver, Colorado

Just enjoy the process

017_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/Wavebreakmedia"I was a Babywise mom with all my kids until the last one. She is just so sweet and cuddly and the nursery was all the way upstairs. She is my last baby, so I have wanted to savor every moment. She is 21-months-old now and I can't imagine sleeping without her. She is my squishy delicious pillow!" Diana W., 35, Bountiful, Utah. (Want some cultural inspiration? Here's why Finnish babies don't sleep in cribs.)

Be patient

018_Co-sleeping_tips_istock/SolStock"Every time I'm tempted to rush the process of sleeping alone I remind myself that she'll only be tiny and precious and smell like a sugar cookie for such a short time, so I should appreciate these moments with her now." Becci P., 33, Pine City, Minnesota. (And when you are ready? Brush up on these 7 tips for getting your toddler to sleep on their own.)

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Monitor your own mental health

019_Co-sleeping_tipsistock/Stefan_S"Co-sleeping is really stressful for some moms and that can make for worse sleep. But for me I found co-sleeping helped calm my anxiety. I have had a few panic attacks that subside much much faster when my daughter is right there next to me in bed. Once I had a horrific sleep paralysis nightmare and having her near stopped it almost instantaneously." Angela S., 35, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Psst... Don't forget your physical needs to by checking for these 9 sneaky signs of sleep apnea.)

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