Un-Bed Sharing


When is it no longer “cry it out” (CIO)? I have heard my crunchy mom friends say, “Oh he’s two, it’s not called CIO anymore, it’s called ‘go the f to sleep.'” When does that happen though?

I lay here with my beautiful and precocious boy and wonder. I want him to be happy, I don’t want him to cry, but I look at my bed and know that he can’t sleep here forever. In the beginning, I didn’t want to cosleep, but then Atticus decided that bed sharing is what he needed as a wee one. His snuggles and cuddles have always been quite pleasant, but he is now┬ánine months old and not only kicks and punches in the night, he crawls around like a mad man. It’s not safe. He could easily fall off the bed or punch one of us in the eye.


I have attempted putting him in his crib, and it never lasts more than a few hours. He still nurses through the night and I think night weaning is going to happen soon as I am getting a bit worn out from the night feedings. Cosleeping makes those feeds easier, but physically getting out of bed to feed him multiple times per night is not appealing.

But even if he did sleep through the night, how do I get him to stay asleep in his crib? I nurse him to sleep in our bed, then, when he is fast asleep, I lift him into his crib, but it’s like he knows it’s coming. The moment I set him down, he starts to whimper. I try to soothe him with a gentle back rub or shushing, bur it rarely works, so I bring him back to bed where he instantly falls asleep. He doesn’t even require the boob half the time.


I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’ve tried everything and I don’t want to just let him cry. I don’t think–actually, I know–that that is not the solution. What did you do to help your little one sleep in his or her own space?


About the author

Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

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  1. Allison -  August 30, 2012 - 8:10 am

    We were lucky and found that Isaac slept much better if he was in his own crib…at 3 days old! It’s a bit sad and sometimes I worry about him feeling lonely, but he usually only wakes up once, nurses, and goes back to sleep. If we try to rock or cuddle him to sleep on the couch, then transfer him to his crib, he does the wimper thing and we have to start all over, too. My suggestion is to start rocking him or nursing him to sleep in his room to get him used to being in that environment. It probably won’t work right away, but even if he goes to sleep at night in his crib then wakes up, nurses, and you put him in your bed, it’s a start and you’re introducing the new sleeping place to him. Is this even making sense? I feel like I’m rambling. But if we rock Isaac in his room as opposed to the living room he doesn’t get up when transfering him to the crib. We also try to put him in when he’s relaxed but still awake, that way when he wakes up at night he’s not afraid that we’re not there since the last thing he saw was his bed, not us. Best of luck and keep us updated!

  2. Amber -  August 30, 2012 - 8:38 am

    We do the same thing as pp does. We rock her to sleep in her room opposed to our room or the living room. If we get her to sleep in another room she never makes TE transfer. I would suggest making a bed time routine in his room so that he gets used to relaxing in there instead of your room. The transition will probably take some time but if that’s what you think is best then stick to it!

  3. Jessica Murphy -  August 30, 2012 - 8:54 am

    From the Skeptical Mother:
    “CIO is letting young babies cry for prolonged periods of time over several days to several weeks. CIO is when a baby is left to *scream* in a crib for 15 or 20 minutes or even longer while the parent is in the other room trying to ignore it. CIO is when the parent says, ” Shhh” or “It’s okay” from the doorway to a baby who has no idea what that means, only to leave again for another 15 minutes as
    the baby screams. CIO is when the parent lets the crying go on for hours through the night. CIO is when the crying/screaming is VERY intense. CIO is when your baby is obviously stressed and shrieking and their cries escalate not soften. CIO is when any baby is being sleep trained under 6 months old.

    CIO is NOT
    -letting an older baby/toddler cry/fuss for ten minutes as they settle down.
    -rubbing your older baby/toddler’s back as they cry in bed.
    -leaving a 10 month baby to *fuss* for five minutes as they unwind and softly cry.
    -Letting a 1 year old cry loudly for five minutes in their crib as you sing a song to them and stroke their hair.
    -Putting an 8 month old baby down in the crib for a few minutes as you gather yourself for a moment and breathe.

    What *I* am and am *not* referring to when I mention CIO.”

  4. Alicia -  August 30, 2012 - 9:25 am

    Xza, you are not alone… We are working on this with my now 8 month old. I’ve read the “No Cry Sleep Solution” book and have learned a lot about why her sleeping patterns are the way they are but, like you said, she has started to “dream crawl” as I call it, and its just not safe anymore. I do rock her to sleep in her room and place her in her crib, this only lasts a few hours (2) at best. Somedays, like today, it only lasts a half an hour. I try to nurse her back to sleep and place her in her pack n play beside my bed but it doesn’t last long there either. If you find a solution, please let me in on this deep dark secret!!

  5. Erin -  August 31, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    This to me is one of the best solutions to the no sleep night nurser refuse their own bed syndrome. We have been struggling with Lennon and this dilemma since day one. She wouldn’t even sleep off of me or James for the first 2 months! But now, at 20 months, she is cognitively aware of what it means when we tell her and ask her to try to sleep by herself. To lay down and close her eyes and fall asleep. No nursing. No rocking. No singing. I really think the problem arises from the fact that everyone awakens many times throughout the night. Adults roll over, go pee, drink water, or whatever to help them through the next shift. Babies often rely on nursing to get them through these shifts from one sleep cycle to the next. When we first tried at 15 months it didn’t work. She was too young and unsure of what we were doing. Now, she understands and is willing to try. We are seeing improvements. Good luck, Xza, I know how trying and exhausting it is being up all night!

  6. Elizabeth -  September 3, 2012 - 5:55 pm

    I went through the same thing. My LO just wasn’t ready for the crib. So we made a side car out of it. It gives us more space, keeps the nursings nice and easy, and he is surrounded by three walls and a parent on the other side. Good luck!

  7. Christina -  September 3, 2012 - 10:29 pm

    We had the same problem with our son when he was 9 – he would only sleep in our bed and was up every hour to nurse! I started with the crib as a side car: took off one wall and butted it up next to our bed. This is kind of the best of both worlds, as you don’t have to get up to nurse and baby doesn’t wake up every time you roll over! Then we moved the crib a foot or so away from the bed and put the rail back on it, then we moved it a bit farther away, then into the baby’s room. This took almost a month, but it did work!
    For the all night nursing, we’re still working on it at 11 months and I’d love suggestions, too! We’ve started making sure that the before bed feed is as full as possible, and then for the first 2-3 hours after baby goes down, it’s Dad’s shift; he puts the baby back to bed, even if there’s a bit of crying involved. After a few days, baby just started sleeping through Dad’s shift! But he’s still up every couple of hours for the rest of the night…Sigh. Someday we will all get some sleep.

  8. Jeannie B -  October 3, 2012 - 9:53 am

    Maybe he is like my youngest niece, she never liked the crib from day one. By the time she was 10 months old we had her in a toddler bed, low to the ground, with side rails on the bed. She almost never had a problem sleeping again. It is a bed like Mommys that she was used to sleeping in,but had safety rails so if she night crawled she didnt get hurt.

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