No. You can’t.
Let’s be straight, the answer is a huge NO.
Sorry to be blunt but that is the answer.
As we move along we can go into more details, but I just thought I’d put the answer out there for those who simply wanted a simple yes or no answer.
So, here’s why I believe that sleep training and co-sleep cannot co-exist.
When I hop onto a call with a potential client who has been sharing a bed with their child, they’re usually belong to one of 2 groups:
- Parents who are looking at ways to get their child out of their bed
- Parents who still want to co-sleep but also have their child sleep better.
For the parents in the first group who want to move their child out of their beds, I have a few approaches which I customize to meet the family’s needs.
For the second group, I unfortunately only have one approach – I am ready to support you only when you feel you are all ready to have your child move into their own bed or crib.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way a wicked witch or not supporting attachment parenting. NOT AT ALL. And to be clear, the reason I prefer not to work with families who co-sleep is because I believe that trying to sleep train while co-sleep is extremely confusing for the child.
In a co-sleeping scenario babies usually have access to the breast whenever they want and we know that the breast is probably the biggest and best sleep prop. And because of this, when your child wakes during the night and through no fault of their own, they will search for the breast even in cases when they aren’t hungry because they associate it with getting to sleep.
As adults we also follow a similar pattern but we have developed ways to get yourself back to sleep at night. Things like shuffling the pillow, taking a sip of water or covering our feet with a blanket.
So, now you feel ready to help your baby learn to sleep or get back to sleep without being nursed, you also need to understand that you need to break the association between breast and sleep. And the only real way this can happen is by supporting your little one to learn a new skill without you around. And honestly it won’t be easy because nursing to sleep is the way your baby knows how to fall asleep why they see you so close by.
If however you’re not quite ready to move them out of your room, you can consider using a crib in the room. Unfortunately there isn’t any way to teach your child not to nurse to sleep if you’re right by their side.
And before I end off, I see many people all over social media saying things like, “don’t rush them”, “children will leave your room on their own”. And if this setup works for you and your family, I would be happy for you! But we do see the kids who are still co-sleeping at the age of 8. Don’t believe that all children just one day decide that they one day want to sleep on their own.
Sleep habits are often the hardest to unlearn for children, so the day your child starts sleeping in their own space will probably be because you’d have told them to.
But here’s the good news…
Once your child has move into their own sleep space and mastered those ever important sleep skills, they’ll be sleeping better and for much longer. And this means more happy, healthy nights of sleep for the whole family.