Sheryl Jesin

Co-Sleeping with a 2 yr old


Our co-sleeping routine has changed and developed through time as Dylan has grown older.  A lot of people ask me how it works – who sleeps where, what time we go to bed, etc.   So I thought I’d share the details of our current routine.

Usually around 6:30 or so we start our bedtime routine.  If we are home and have enough time, this involves a bath, followed by getting into jammies and brushing teeth.  What comes after varies – usually we turn on Dylan’s sound machine (set to ocean waves) and then Jake, Dylan and I lie together in Dylan’s bed.  This usually happens around 7:30 0r so. We have a double mattress on top of a boxspring directly on the floor – it isn’t very high and Dylan doesn’t roll around much so we haven’t put up any bed rails.  If Dylan isn’t too tired, we read a couple of books, talk a bit, and then turn off the lights.

Most of the time, Dylan nurses to sleep.  This can take anywhere between 5 minutes to an hour.  His preference is for both Jake and I to stay with him when he falls asleep.  Obviously I need to be there if he is nursing, but he likes having his daddy there too, and we are OK with that!  It gives both Jake and myself some time to unwind after our busy days, and allows the three of us to spend some extra time together.

Up until recently, Dylan would wake up fairly often unless I stayed beside him.  I could always sneak away once he had fallen asleep, but he’d wake up usually around an hour or an hour and a half later. I’d hear him on the monitor and come back to his room quickly and nurse him back to sleep again and then sneak out again if necessary, or just bring him into our room if I was ready to go to bed.

I’ve found lately that Dylan is going for longer stretches by himself in his bed, without any coaxing from me and without my doing anything differently.  These days, he will stay in his bed for anywhere between 2-5 hours without waking up.  This is huge for him!

When I’m ready to go to bed (usually around 11 or so), I sometimes bring Dylan into our bed right away, or I sometimes go to sleep and leave the doors open in between our rooms.  When Dylan wakes up in his room, he comes into our room and climbs into bed with me.   I find it unbelievably cute to watch him run into our room, and don’t mind being woken up.  Sometimes I nurse him when he comes into bed with me, and sometimes he just falls asleep with some cuddling.   We have a king size bed in our room and there is plenty of room for me, Jake and Dylan.  In fact, the three of us often end up cuddling and only taking up a third to a half of the bed.  I should add that Jake often falls asleep watching TV on the couch downstairs, and joins us in bed anywhere between 12 – 5 am.

I’m never really sure what happens for the rest of the night, once Dylan joins me in bed.  I think he nurses occasionally, but I couldn’t really tell you how often or for how long.  We generally wake up for the day around 7 or 7:30 am.

There is nothing sweeter than watching a 2 yr old toddler sleeping.  I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to do it on a daily basis.  I truly feel lucky!  I cherish our time together at night even more now than I did when he was younger.  I know that at some point he won’t want to be in our bed anymore.   Also, on the days I am at work, it gives me a chance to make up for the cuddles and kisses that we missed during the daytime.   I don’t think I could work if we didn’t co-sleep.  I’d miss him too much!

Many people are genuinely surprised when I tell them we still co-sleep.  Many people think that 2 yr olds should be sleeping on their own in their bed all night without waking up.  And they also think that a 2 yr old should be falling asleep on their own.  I don’t think there are any hard fast rules about how any of us “should” sleep, toddlers included.  Each family has to do what works for them.  As long as everyone gets some rest and is happy, then anything goes!

What is your current sleep routine like?

10 thoughts on “Co-Sleeping with a 2 yr old

  1. The waking w/o mama sounds like our house. Kieran used to wake every 40-45 minutes like clockwork. Now we’re getting longer stretches – up to 2 hrs sometimes, which is SO nice!

    I don’t see ending our family bed at any time in the near future. We’re waiting until Kieran expresses an interest.

    • It’s amazing how heavenly those 2 hour stretches can feel!
      I also don’t see our family bed ending anytime soon. We all enjoy it too much for it to change!

  2. That sounds how our routine used to be. We have transitioned into our oldest sleeping in his bed all night, but he still wakes up a few times. I have always found the need for kids to “sleep through the night” very interesting. Why this is the mark of a good parent is beyond me. I have a few friends that will call me on the phone and complain about a “bad night” where their kid woke up constantly, but then will hear them exclaim in public how wonderful their children sleep. It’s very interesting.

    • I agree that the whole sleeping through the night thing is overrated! What adult sleeps through the night? I know I wake up to have a sip of water or to pee…why should a baby be any different?

  3. Baby is only 8 months old so he always nurses to sleep cuddled next to me in my bed. Daddy is far too exciting though-he has to stay out of the bedroom until Baby is asleep or he’s too much of a distraction.

  4. Our 2 year old falls asleep in his bed, next to daddy. Last night I was happily surprised that he slept for four hours before waking and joining us in our bed. I’m not worried… some nights we’re a bit cramped and somebody gets an elbow in their back, but I know that eventually he’ll sleep longer and longer in his own space… and that will be ok, but I know I’ll miss the morning cuddles with him, too! 🙂

  5. I have a 3 month old daughter who we have been co-sleeping with since she was born. Before I had her, I assumed she would sleep in her pack and play bassinet for a few months, then transition into her crib in her room.
    After I delivered her, however, I couldn’t stand to have to “so far away” (in the pack and play a few feet from my bed). I followed my instincts and let her sleep next to me.
    We have developed a routine finally. Around 10pm (we’re night owls!), I lay down with Avie and we nurse. I have been reading while she settles into a deep sleep. I usually get up for awhile and have some mommy time. My husband gets home from work around 11:30pm, so sometimes I’m still in bed with the baby. She tends to suckle for a long time after falling asleep and sometimes it can be hard to get away. 😀
    When we’re ready for bed, I put her in her bassinet. I found I sleep more soundly when she’s not sleeping with me and I need a few hours of good sleep. She usually will sleep there from 2-5 hours. When she wakes up to eat, I bring her back to bed with me and she stays there till morning. I know she nurses throughout the night, but like you, I don’t know how often or for how long.
    She’s the happiest thing ever when she wakes up. I love morning time now!

    I feel like this is the perfect combination for us. I get some good sleep and snuggle time with Daddy and we all love sleeping together as well. I keep imagining what it will be like when we have another baby…I think I will have to upgrade my queen bed for a king!

    • I highly recommend the king bed! We got about 6 months ago and it has been fantastic!
      Thanks for sharing your co-sleeping experience. Sounds like things are going really well!

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