How to Wean a Cosleeping Baby from Your Bed

By Amber Keefer
Transitioning your baby from your bed to his crib can take time.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, cosleeping in the same bed puts a baby at risk of suffocation or strangulation. Still, parents and health care professionals who advocate the practice say children can benefit from this type of sleeping arrangement. Despite the differing opinions surrounding both the potential risks and benefits associated with cosleeping, the time eventually comes to wean a child to his own bed or own room.

Place a crib or bassinet in your bedroom. As your baby becomes more comfortable sleeping on his own, you can try moving the crib into the nursery. If you want your baby close without the dangers of cosleeping, you can buy a bassinet that attaches to your bed; your baby would still have the security of being with you without sharing the same bed.

Put your baby in her crib while she is still awake, recommends the National Sleep Foundation. Once you are ready for your child to make the transition out of your bed, you can still bring her in bed with you when you nurse her. But return her to her crib before she is fully asleep.

Give your child something he can sleep with at night (if he is old enough enough to sleep with it safely) to help make the transition easier, suggests Cleveland Clinic. Babies often develop an attachment to a special blanket or favorite stuffed toy that gives them a sense of security. Include the lovey in your child’s regular bedtime routine, even if he isn’t sleeping in a crib or his own room yet.

Sleep on the floor or on a cot in your baby’s room for a few days while she gets used to her new sleep environment. Keep her bedtime routine the same as it has always been. The only difference should be that you are tucking her into her own bed instead of into your bed. Try to be consistent in your baby’s bedtime routine, even when activities out of the ordinary interfere with her normal sleep schedule.

Use the "chair shuffle" sleep-training method. Sit in a chair next to your baby’s crib while he goes to sleep. Work on moving the chair farther away from the crib until you no longer have to be in the room while he falls asleep. Kim West, a licensed family therapist and founder of SleepLady.com, suggests moving the chair every three days. Avoid rushing the process to give your baby time to adjust to falling asleep without you.

Include your toddler -- if your baby is bit older -- in the planning as you get ready to move him to his own bed or room. If your child is transitioning to a toddler bed, take him with you when you select a bed. Allowing him to help in getting his room ready may get him excited about sleeping there.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.