Why My 2.5 Year Old Is Still Sleeping In Our Bed, (And Why We Have No Plans To Change That!)

I am lying in the dark, listening to my son’s breathing becoming heavy with sleep as he drifts off to a world I cannot see. His chubby hand rests protectively over my face, as my own fingers rhythmically stroke his silky soft hair. Gently kissing him on his soft, warm cheek, I breath “I love you” into his ear, before climbing out of bed to head downstairs for the evening. I know that in a few short hours I will be back in bed, snuggled up between my little angel on one side, his daddy on the other.


Some people gasp in shock when they hear that at two and a half years old, not only have my son and I never spent a night apart, but he is still not even in his own bed. Even more shockingly, they discover that it is not an ongoing battle between the three of us, but a conscious choice. We don’t even have a bed in the room we call his “bedroom.” We haven’t tried and “given in,” we are simply happy with the way things are.

So why have we chosen this unconventional path? The reasons are numerous.

When we first began co-sleeping, we talked frequently about when we should stop. It was a big source of stress: thinking about it, trying to keep in control of the situation. When he reached one year old, an age we had had in the back of our minds to move him to his own bed (though still in our room) we realised that none of us were ready. Things were going fine, we were all settled and happy and when we really thought about our reasons for kicking him out, it really came down to one simple point :

Because society demands it.

The final push for me was realising that I had my husband’s full support in continuing as we were. Knowing that there was no way I was going to climb out of bed numerous times a night to attend to our son, he could foresee his nights becoming very disturbed as he was roped in to helping with the night time duties.

As far as we could see, there was entirely no benefit to moving him, and a huge list of reasons not to do it, such as less sleep for all of us, missing him immeasurably, and perhaps most importantly, letting go of the incredible connection and bond we had forged from sleeping together as a family. From that moment we let go of trying to be in control, and simply enjoyed the present. We knew he wouldn’t want to stay in our bed forever, and that one day he would feel ready to move in to his own space.

It is a child’s job to fly the nest, not the mother’s responsibility to push him.

In Japan, co-sleeping is the norm and children will often sleep with a parent up until their teens. Rather than being psychologically damaging or holding them back, the security and connection co-sleeping brings with it, actually enables children to feel more confident in themselves. It is not unusual for these children to display what typical westerners may consider a very surprising amount of independence in their daily tasks.

Bed-sharing is how the majority of families in the world sleep, and from trying it myself, I can easily understand why.

So when people ask in shock, horror and occasionally disgust why we haven’t moved him out of our room, or even our bed, I simply reply with a smile:

“Because we are happy as things are.”

*************************************

Did you choose to co-sleep with your child? How do you feel it affected your connection as a family?

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45 thoughts on “Why My 2.5 Year Old Is Still Sleeping In Our Bed, (And Why We Have No Plans To Change That!)”

  1. I love that picture Sam. We co-sleep, we didn’t intend to but at 11 months we still are and there are no plans to stop yet.

  2. We still bed share with our 15 month old. Each step along the way has has it’s new challenges, such as when she’s having trouble with teething or lately has been tossing and turning a lot, but ultimately I am 100% happy we do it. It’s been the best choice for our family. I continue to nurse at night and it’s extra cuddle time that has been decreasing during the day due to an increasingly independent toddler.

    1. I agree, it’s not all smooth sailing, but I always try to remind myself when he is teething and waking loads, that not only is he getting so much out of the nursing and closeness, but there is no guarantee he wouldn’t be waking loads in his own room anyway, and at least this way I dont have to get up!

  3. I really admire you for this. I LOVE it when my little lad (nearly two) ends up in our bed. It is very special and I have always said that the day will come when he will be pushing me out of his bedroom in a teenage mood – so best to make the most it now x

  4. My son is nearing 3.5 and in our (small double *sigh) bed 🙂 We went through different co-sleeping phases – early newborn (out of desperation for sleep and, perhaps, unusually baby slept with dad, not me), then basket beside our bed till 5 months, cot beside our bed till 7 and then full-time co-sleeping from 7 months (we moved city and cot didn’t fit into the van so arrived later…but I was already enjoying extra sleep (also finally learned to nurse lying down – yay!). We are happy as we are (although I wish we had a bigger bed) and he does not have any desire to move himself yet. Whenever I bring it up he gets confused as to why he would sleep by himself, while I don’t :)) Also he is in daycare since 18 months and I really feel that extra contact during the night helps us reconnect.

    1. Yes, it can be such a great way to reconnect after a day apart, I am amazed you manage in a standard double though – I already find that the two boys roll towards me, and have to defend my space so I don’t get squashed!

      1. It probably helps that it’s the mattress on the floor (+ his old cot mattress by the side, he used it a couple of times and now me or my husband sleep on it if not enough space in bed 🙂 ). If we were not renting I would invest in the largest possible bed and enjoy the cuddles when I can. I have to say co-sleeping with a toddler is much nicer than with a little baby – no fear of squashing or covering them by accident or over/under heating. Toddlers are just so solid and cuddly and can fend for themselves if they need/don’t need a blanket. My favourite times are when he sleepily shuffles over to dad for some milk instead of me. “Why is your face hairy? oh…no milk” :DDD

  5. We bought my son a twin and put the mattress next to ours around 15 months. It was more a decision to appease my husband, who is ok with the bedsharing but I am not sure he loves it like I do. Now at 21 months he goes to his bed after i rock him to sleep but then either moves to ours or I join him at the first wake up. I am in no rush, except we are thinking of baby#2 and I am not sure how it will work pregnant/when a new baby comes? We will take it as it comes I guess.

  6. You’d be surprised that in Singapore (in Asia) where I live, this arrangement is very uncommon! I have 3 littles ones aged 4, 2 & 4mths. We bed-share with all of them! The 4yo slept in our bed till she was almost 3yo. when we offered her her own bed – she jumped at the exciting prospect. One of us slept with her in her new room. This helped save our sleep because when my 2yo was born, we all shared the same King sized bed for 9mths but the kids were waking each other up. So we changed things. My son slept in our bed with me while DH slept in my daughter’s room. DH & I swapped rooms before my 3rd was born so my son sleeps with him in our bed now. When my 4mo was born, we moved to a new house. The current arrangement is that I sleep with our two daughters and DH sleeps with our son. I’m very lucky to have a DH who is totally on board with things. And he understands that we all get more sleep this way.

    1. It does make such a difference to know you are supported, I would find it so difficult if I didn’t have that. Sound’s like the hotbedding is really working for you all!

  7. My son is nearly 22 months, and I still cosleep with him, and love it. My husband sleeps in another room and has done since Monkey was born. Monkey still wakes up 3-4+ times a night, and Hubs does not cope well without sleep, so this is what works best for our family. Its nobodies business but ours! And I will be very sad the day I stop cosleeping with my baby.

  8. Love this post and reading the comments!
    My 3.5 year-old still nurses which has been my “excuse” to keep co-sleeping. We stopped nursing in the middle of the night several months ago as the frequent night wakings were really getting to me but I love that he still nurses to sleep and wakes up asking for milk. I’m so sad these days are probably numbered.
    It helped me get to the point where I’m confident about my choice to co-sleep though and I don’t plan to stop until my son wants to leave. He does have a bed in his room (since we never really planned to co-sleep) and sometimes chooses to fall asleep there on the rare occasion that we aren’t home when he falls asleep. My husband is gone a lot though and it is really lonely in an empty bed – I hated it and as long as he prefers to sleep in bed with me, why change anything?
    Interestingly, my husband really pushed to move our son to his own bed when he was little (and teething!) but now he really enjoys the snuggles and extra time since he is gone so much.

  9. My 19 month old still sleeps with me. My oldest slept in my room until she was4,and my middle until he was3. the older ones decided to move into their own room on their own times. Is that his crib next to your bed, because I like that set up.

    1. Yes it is Leslie – we have never used it as a cot though. We bought it because it had a completely removable side and the mattress was the exact same height as the bed so it’s totally flush. I love that it gives us a bit more space to move and he enjoys having his “bed” but we still get to cuddle all night long. It was also really useful as a barrier to prevent him rolling out when he was younger.

      1. Where did you get it from, if you don’t mind me asking? We have a crib that converts to a toddler bed, then to a big boy bed. once he nurses himself to sleep, I put him in his crib, which is in our room, for a few hours until he wakes that way my husband and I can get some time to ourselves and a little bit of sleep since my son is a kicker, slapper, and over all a restless sleeper,(which is very tiring and exhausting), something like this would be so great! He usually is only in his crib for about 2-3 hours, then he’s back in our bed to nurse to sleep again. I was thinking about moving him into his room, but both my husband and I got overwhelmed with the idea since it’s not the baby’s idea to move out. we don’t want to push him, he’s ready when he’s ready.

  10. Thanks for writing what a lot of us probably don’t want to say out loud 🙂 my son is 17mo and we’ve never spent a night apart. Nice post! Thanks again.

  11. Love this!! And I love sleeping with my three year old – it will be over before I know it (by her choice) and I will always cherish the years we had sleeping together ❤ thank you for sharing 🙂

  12. Thank you for this. We never planned on bed-sharing but it was the only thing that felt right. Our son just turned a year and every night I am so thankful we listened to and trusted our gut. We plan to bed-share until he decides he’s done.

  13. Thank you for sharing – this is us exactly! Unfortunately with my other two girls I bowed to convention as I didn’t have the support or ‘knowledge’ that is was OK to do it. Now, as soon as my 8 and 10 years old girls wake up they’re bouncing through to jump in out (luckily) king size bed. But the cuddling hours with my 18month old are very precious. I actually sometimes climb into bed with my other two at their bedtime and fall asleep with them, to try and recapture what I ‘lost’ with them.
    On a different note I heard a brilliant retort to a common comment –
    “Oh, your baby is still in your bed? Shame, so you and your husband aren’t having sex?”
    Reply – “Do you and your husband only have sex in bed at night? Shame”
    Haha

  14. My Son Is 2 And A Half :- This Was Wonderful To Read As IM Snuggled Between My Husband And Out Son! Judging By How He Sleeps I Can Tell Alot About What He Is Going Through. If He Is Entering A Growth Spurt Or Getting Sick. I Love My Cuddles AndWhen I GetOut Of Bed He Curls To His Daddy And I Get The Cutest Pictures!! We Have No Plans On When We Are Stopping, The Idea Makes ME Really Sad. I Love Waking Up To His Sweet FacE, Mass Of Curls. My Sweetie And I Joke About How He Takes Up More Room On The Bed Than We Do!! He May Be Small But He ConqueRs Alot Of Territory!

  15. Yes, we co-sleep and it is one of those things that ended up being a magical moment for me as a mother and us as a family. It is such a great feeling to know your baby is right beside you and you are there to comfort them at a moments notice. I feel like it is one of the reasons my baby sleeps so well in the night. Even though I wake up to a little foot in my forehead every once in awhile now at 9months, I wouldn’t change that for the world. Seeing those cute little morning eyes and hearing mama as soon as you wake up….priceless.

  16. When my water broke before labor started with my second child, I crawled back into bed to attempt to sleep snuggled next to my oldest, who had just turned 5 a few months earlier 🙂 That night she finally agreed she was too big to be in bed with us next to her newborn sister so she moved to her own mattress next to ours. A little under 2 years later she was in her own room. That little baby is now 3 1/2 and sleeps between her daddy and myself with her baby brother between the wall and me. If I get out of bed at night, I’m almost guaranteed to return to see them holding hands in their sleep. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

  17. I have 2 children, a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. We chose not to co-sleep – not because of society rules, but because of sleep and sanity! I found that after 3 nights of sleeping in the same room with my each of my newborns, that I had to have them out of my room so I could sleep in peace! They were (and still are!) noisy sleepers and I’d lay awake wondering if I should feed them or if they are just going from one sleep pattern to another ( I suppose that wouldn’t have been such a problem if I was actually in bed with them).
    I did try feeding my 2nd to sleep while I lay down (having finally learnt the art), but this didn’t work for me as I couldn’t relax enough to have a decent sleep afterwards – again with the noises and bad dreams of smothering to death my newborn (those VERY real dreams – scary).
    I did have reservations with my children being out of the room that I wouldn’t wake to them, but I guess we are designed with a special sense or something, because usually I’d wake just before my babies made their wake up noise, and could hear them from the other end of the house even!! (although my husband was not so blessed!).
    My babies both sleep through the night (usually) and therefore so do we. They sleep in the same room and I really like that they are together and can hear each other breathing and know that the other is there. I have occasionally slept in my 2 1/2 year old’s bed with him (again for sleep and sanity reasons!ha) and do enjoy the snuggles and listening to him breathing. I do not however enjoy it when he doesn’t want to snuggle or sleep – as he ends up kicking me and generally annoying me.
    Every morning we hear the pitter-patter of little feet and enjoy a cuddle from our big baby and the biggest smile from our little baby – I don’t feel like we’re missing out. I actually think that we may be even giving a little – we are allowing the grandparents to experience this too when their grandbabies are visiting. If the grandparents choose to co-sleep when they are visiting – that’s their choice.

    I do have a few friends who co-sleep with their babies and respect their decision to do so – I understand why you would want to, and I hope they understand why I don’t.

  18. I still sleep with my 2.5 year old and the choice for her own bed wlll surely be her own. I would sleep with her forever.

  19. It’s far more common than anyone would think. It’s the minority of people who never have their kids in their bed – they just happen to be the most vocal. Enjoy cuddle time, they won’t want mummy cuddles forever.

  20. We co-sleep with our 4 and 2.5 year old kids. Another one due on October and we don’t plan to change that. We do have their own bed room and beds. We spend a lot of time in their room because all of their stuffs (toys, clothes) are there. So it is up to them when they want their own space.

  21. So my question is when did you have time for sex with your wife? Did you have a sex while he was in the bed asleep? That seems odd.

    1. Daniel, I’m the wife actually, and that’s a very personal question, but I appreciate your curiosity. In our home beds are for sleeping. Sex and beds do not have to go together and we manage just fine elsewhere around the house.

    2. As I wrote before:

      “Oh, your baby is still in your bed? Shame, so you and your husband aren’t having sex?”
      Reply – “Do you and your husband only have sex in bed at night? Shame”
      Haha

  22. And can I add how awesome is it being woken up by a happy smiling toddler (ours being 15mnths) rather then crying out for you 🙂 I gave up on the stresses of trying to force him to sleep in a cot alone a long time ago, although I do worry for baby number two 😁

  23. About the sex life, as I say “when there s a will there s a way”, who said it has to be done at night in the bed! for us sharing the bed with our toddler is brilliant! we wake up in the morning and we play and talk in bed for 15 min, and at night sometimes I watch her sleep, it s amazing, I think co-sleeping creates an amazing bond.

  24. My husband and I are big fans of co-sleeping. At 8 months, our son is having a really hard time staying asleep when we first put him down. As soon as he wakes up and realizes there’s no one there beside him, he cries until one of us lies down with him again…don’t want to stop co-sleeping, but also don’t want to go to bed at 7:30 every night. I’m back working part-time and after he goes to sleep is really my only chance to get work done. Any suggestions?? Thanks! Love your blog.

  25. Brilliant. I thought we where the only family that did this. My son is now two and a half. We are all so happy and content. Who cares if he is in the same room? We have a toddler cotbed adjoined onto our double bed in our room and my little man sleeps there. Quite happily. When he awakens in the night just gets in with me and goes off to sleep. No stress of “controlled crying” me and my partner find its best for us all. Altho, family members do not agree with it at all. Shame really. As who are we hurting really? Nobody. I’d rather a nice full nights sleep than a grouchy two year old who is frightened to go to bed. I know this isnt going to last forever which is fine. 😄

  26. We still co sleep with our 4.5 year old DD. I was getting to a point where I felt like giving in to what everyone says” she needs to be in her own bed”. Then I realized that I need to do what feels right in my heart. She can sleep in my bed as long as she wants, because one day she is gonna think she hates me.

  27. We are currently co-sleeping with our 2 yo ODD and 3.5 mo YDD. It’s not both of them at the same time all the time, or even every night, but then again, sometimes it is me and DH and both girls in the same bed the whole night. We’re flexible like that, whatever the girls need at the time. We do have a bassinet and a toddler mattress in our room that we can put the girls in and they will sometimes sleep there instead of our bed. And we’ve tried getting ODD to sleep in her own bed in her own room at night, but she is clearly not ready to be away from us yet. It wasn’t worth the stress to us or to our DD. We figure she will sleep in her own room when she is ready. I’m glad that many parents are starting to see things this way, too. Thank you for your post!

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