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How to stop co-sleeping

18th December 2023 • 4 min read
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While co-sleeping may work for you and your child in the short-term, here’s what to do when it starts to disrupt your sleep.

Sleep disturbances are pretty much par for the course when you have children. Whether they’re prodding you awake for a glass of water, seeking comfort after a bad dream, or requesting yet another bedtime story, it can be difficult to get the hours of uninterrupted sleep you need.

To help limit the number of night-time awakenings, many parents choose to co-sleep with their kids. Others simply fall into the habit as a matter of convenience. But if you’re ready to transition your child to their own safe sleep space, we’ve got some strategies that’ll encourage them to sleep independently. 

What is co-sleeping?

Co-sleeping is an umbrella term, but it’s most often associated with sharing a bed or a ‘sleep surface’ – and it’s something many parents around the world do. In Australia, research estimates around 75 per cent of infants spend at least some time co-sleeping in the first 3-6 months of life.

There are many reasons why parents might choose to co-sleep, from monitoring their child’s needs to establishing a closer bond. For those who are breastfeeding, co-sleeping can help them respond to their baby quicker and may reduce the impact of multiple prolonged night-time wakings.

It's important to note, however, that infant co-sleeping has been associated with a greater risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) in some circumstances. For this reason, Red Nose – Australia’s leading authority on safe sleep and safer pregnancy advice – recommends children have their own sleep space in their parent or caregiver’s room for the first six months of life. If you do choose to co-sleep, there are certain steps you should take to ensure it’s done safely.

Of course, it’s not only infants that struggle to sleep soundly. Around one third of Australian parents report that their child’s sleep is a problem for them, which may lead to co-sleeping.

Problems with co-sleeping 

While co-sleeping may work for you in the short-term, sharing a bed with your child can begin to impact other aspects of life. You may feel you have less time for yourself or that you’re missing out on quality time with your partner. 

Co-sleeping can also disrupt your sleep. If your child moves around a lot, hogs the covers or clings so tightly they practically cut off your circulation, you may find yourself waking up throughout the night. When this happens, you run the risk of waking your child unintentionally, too. 

If you’re finding the negatives are outweighing the benefits, it might be time to transition your child to their own bedroom or an independent bed or cot in your room.

Plenty of parents have experience with co-sleeping (just check out our video below), but here are some tips for how to stop.

Transitioning to independent sleep

Establishing a positive sleep routine will encourage your child to fall asleep in their own space. Consistency is key – a regular series of predictable bedtime activities will signal to your child that sleep time is approaching and help them wind down from their day. 

Activities should start at a similar time each night and include quiet, relaxing tasks like having a bath, brushing their teeth, and reading or listening to a story. What you include in your child’s bedtime routine is up to you, but it’s best to avoid stimulating activities like watching TV or running around in the garden. 

Another way to help kids feel at ease on their own is to make their bedroom a calm, tranquil space. The new range of Boori furniture exclusive to Forty Winks is a great place to start. Featuring neutral shades and soothing, earthy tones, this stunning selection of bedroom furnishings can create restful and relaxing environments for children of all ages. 

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The Boori Corindi Cot Bed will have your little ones snoozing in no time.

The Forty Winks Boori Corindi Cot Bed provides optimum comfort and safety for babies and toddlers, and the frame can be adjusted to suit growing children, while the Boori Altona Bed – which is available in a range of sizes – will have the older ones snoozing in no time. Clear away the clutter and make your child’s bedroom a distraction-free zone with the matching Boori Kids Universal Under Bed Storage Drawer, Boori Clovelly Bedside Table, Boori Clovelly 3 Drawer Chest and Boori Corindi Desk.

It may take a few weeks before your child settles easily on their own, so be patient. Your child’s sleep will continue to change throughout their life, so don’t be concerned if you encounter a few speed bumps along the way. Once you’ve established good sleep habits and routines it can be easy to get back on track with independent sleep. 

Take it one step at a time and a good night’s sleep will soon be yours!

Ready to give your child a better night’s sleep? Explore our Boori range here.

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