Skip to content

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night Alone

Sharing is Caring!
  • 577
  • 4
  • 1
  •  
  •  
    582
    Shares

Are you tired of co-sleeping or bed-sharing with your child? (Co-sleeping means in your room. Bed-sharing means in your bed.)

I must admit, I loved the extra loving and snuggling with my little one in bed, but after a few weeks of co-sleeping, I got a good glimpse of my future.

It was going to be the three of us sharing a bed. That didn’t sound so good.

I liked my sleep. And so did my husband.

From my days as a teacher, I knew one thing for sure-repetition created habits. You start the way you want to end up. That is when I decided to move our little baby boy into his crib.

Over the next couple of years, I listened to many of my friends’ nighttime soap operas that included the “family bed” while I got a good night of sleep most nights. He slept through at six weeks thanks to Babywise.

For those of you who are happy with your co-sleeping situation, by all means, keep doing it! But if you are looking for a change, check out this post. 

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

I heard Keriann MacElroy, a certified pediatric sleep consultant, speak at our MOPS group. Here are some of her tips to get your baby to sleep through the night…alone.

By the way, she says to avoid co-sleeping or bed-sharing. 

1. Create a routine

Start day one on a routine. Yep, a habit. This will help your baby regulate his circadian rhythm. Did you know we all make melatonin? It goes from about 7 pm – 7 am. Work with it!

Eat, play, nap, and have a bedtime routine about the same time every day. Make the days you are off your routine an exception. Not the rule.

Us News says, “Researchers also found that one of the three family routines for preschoolers – a regular bedtime schedule – might be the most important of all.”

2. Early bedtime

Your child naturally starts making melatonin at about 6-8 pm depending on age. If you don’t put your child to bed during this time, he/she will get a second wind a little later.

Staying up late actually prohibits a body from making melatonin.

I’m sure you have witnessed your child late at night bouncing off the walls when he/she is overtired. Cortisol kicked in. EEK.

And you triggered it by keeping him/her up. Wow. 

3. Dark room

We all sleep better in the dark. Make your child’s space as dark as possible during nap time and bedtime. Get blackout curtains or heavy shades to help block out the light.

Don’t use a night light. If you have to get one, use only one. And make sure it is yellow or amber light. Blue and green lights inhibit melatonin more than any other shade of light.

Watch out for alarm clocks, phones, and iPads. They are all stimulants and can inhibit sleep.

4. Boring bed

Your child is there to sleep. Nothing else. Don’t put toys, animals or books in bed if it is sleep time. It is a distraction.

5. White noise

Keriann said a noise machine is okay. Her test is that if your child can take it to college, then he can have it now. Great way to decide if it is okay. Start where you want to end up.

6. Cool temperature

Keriann said to have the house between 68 degrees to 72 degrees. It needs to be comfortable.

7. Set clear boundaries

Your child needs to understand that she is not allowed to get out of bed. Make sure there is a meaningful consequence in place if the child decides to test you. ENFORCE it. You will not get a decent night sleep if you don’t do this. Sickness and loud storms are an exception.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

Pin me for later!

Does It Really Work?

I did all of the things Keriann suggested when I had babies, and it worked. I used Babywise. It was the BEST thing I ever did.

I am so glad I did it earlier rather than later. It would have been much harder to transition a toddler or elementary-age child than a baby.  He was so young, he didn’t know the difference.

What Will You Do?

What will you do? I know many other cultures and even people in America co-sleep/bed share. They say things are fine. And it may be for you.

But if you are looking for a change, then try these steps to get your child to sleep in his own bed.  It may be hard at first, but once the transition is made, you will have a much better night’s sleep. And you may find it also improves your marriage.

Do you co-sleep or bed-share? And by the way, you are not a bad mom if you do!

Book on Family Estrangement from a Biblical Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking to each other. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.

Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

Check Out Pinterest

For Parenting Tips, Crafts, Baby Care, Pre-School, Teens, Family Activities, And Much More!

Posted in ,

Julie Plagens

41 Comments

  1. Karen on February 24, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    My first son nursed every 2 hours around the clock. So the only way to get some decent sleep was to cosleep. At around 18 months he transitioned to his own bed very easily without making him “cry it out”. My second son slept with us till he was around 18 months as well with no problems transitioning. I will never regret having that time with them. They are only that little once. But I read a great book about sleeping with your kids and every family has to find what works best for them and find what is going to give everyone the best night of sleep.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Karen, I am glad it worked out for you. It seems like the earlier that baby moves the better it is. Good luck with your parenting.

  2. Stac on December 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

    This is a horrible article. I feel bad for any woman/mother who reads this and takes it to heart. Number 7 titled obesity. your following words have nothing to do with your title. maybe it should have been titled routine. To say co sleeping causes obesity is ridiculous. Also your evidence is based on a news report about preschoolers (not babies) that have a routine and those that don’t. The article had nothing to do with co sleeping. Co sleeping and routine are different things. To try and scare women to thinking co sleeping can cause obesity is horrible. Maybe you should have wrote an opinion article about reasons you did not co sleep instead of trying to tell women not to cosleep with untrue ill researched facts.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      Stac, I am so glad co-sleeping worked for you. All of my points come straight from a sleep specialist. She is the one who brought up the obesity point when she talked to a group of moms at MOPS. Get on her site and read. https://www.dreamfactorysleep.com/ or contact her.
      If you read the article on obesity that I linked to, it says that kids who are not on a regular bedtime schedule have a bigger chance of being obese later. It is a lot harder to have a regular bedtime when a child is in bed with the parents. I am assuming you did not read the links. https://www.usnews.com/news/at-the-edge/articles/2017-04-24/children-with-set-meal-times-bedtimes-and-limited-screen-time-less-likely-to-be-obese-study-finds
      There is also a connection with not learning to self soothe if in bed with mommy for years. Food becomes a way to self soothe later.
      The last point I want to make is that many parents are exhausted because they are not getting enough sleep. More power to you if you never had any of these problems. Unfortunately, many other moms are not as fortunate. There wouldn’t be sleep specialists if this weren’t the case. One of the first things she recommends is to get the baby out of your bed and into his own bed in his room.
      Co-sleeping is a personal choice. Read the links before you blast me.

  3. Grandma on December 2, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I’m a Grandma so way out of your usual league, but when my children started using the word ‘co-sleeping’ I thought it very indulgent and unnecessary! As babies themselves, they were in their own cots and beds long before they were a year old! And look – they are all well-adjusted adults, mature, and amazing parents themselves (except for taking on this fad of co-sleeping with my grandchildren!) I agree with all your reasons, except the obesity one – that doesn’t make sense at all!! As a Grandma I cannot tell my kids how to live; I can just watch them be constantly tired, with attending to a four or five year old who still doesn’t sleep through the night, and they think that’s ok :O . It was refreshing to read your article. Thank you! Thank goodness there’s still some modern mums with common sense! x

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      The obesity issue didn’t make sense to me until I heard a sleep specialist talk to a MOPS group. She said that kids who stay with mommy in bed for years do not learn to self soothe in their own bed. Later, it transfers to other habits such as food. It can cause obesity. I also linked an article from US News about how important it is for kids to have a consistent bedtime every night. It says that kids who don’t have a set routine have a bigger chance for obesity. https://www.usnews.com/news/at-the-edge/articles/2017-04-24/children-with-set-meal-times-bedtimes-and-limited-screen-time-less-likely-to-be-obese-study-finds
      Many kids who co-sleep don’t have a set bedtime.
      As a teacher, I can say that I have seen a shift in the way parents go about their parenting. It is child-centered in so many ways. In my opinion, co-sleeping is one sign that a parent will continue to cater to their kids too much and not push them to independence and responsibility. Thanks for your comments! I appreciate your words.

  4. Julia on November 30, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Am I selfish saying that point 1 was the great reason for me? We tried bed-sharing but it did not turned out as expected. I mean – having her in our bed was amazing, but all the logistics… I just didn’t like it and never felt safe enough. We ended up co-sleeping with a bassinet by the bed and that was fine. Lately, at 6mo, our brave girl was taught how to sleep on her own – in her very own princess bedroom. We did not exactly had a problem with falling alseep, but changing a room and waking up alone was an issue. We used Susan Urban’s sleep training for the transition and it went really smoothly I must say! So if anyone needs – that’s the method: https://parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      It sounds like this was a great way for you to do things. You worked towards moving your child into his own bed. Kudos to you. I am just offering another way to do things for those who are exhausted and need an alternative. The sleep specialist who talked to our MOPS group was the one who brought up all the points I listed. https://www.dreamfactorysleep.com/about-me I happen to agree with her as I found these points to be the same conclusion when I had babies. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Cosleeping mom on October 17, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I disagree with every one of your points and I’m finding that the more people that think this way is because they haven’t experienced co-sleeping. So what are you basing your opinions from? I do agree it’s not for everyone; but some of these reasons why not to are silly. I have co-slept with my son for almost 3 years now and we all 3 sleep great every night. He’s definitely on a routine every night, including the same bedtime. He is a very obedient toddler. There are other beds/places in the house for daddy and I to get busy. My son is very active and not obese by any means. And there is definitely not a power struggle in the house. He is the child, we are the parents. How does that even come from him feeling safe sleeping beside us at night to thinking he runs the house?
    I appreciate different opinions on the subject, just giving mine as well from actual experience.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Cosleeping mom,
      These are all points from a sleep specialist who does nothing but help parents get their kids to sleep through the night in their own bed. She spoke to our MOPS group. https://www.dreamfactorysleep.com/about-me.
      The power struggle comes when you transition your child into his own bed. I am assuming you plan on moving your child to his own bed eventually. If your child keeps coming back to your bed after you move him, you have a power struggle.

      The obesity issue comes from not learning to self-soothe as mommy is always there to soothe when anything is wrong. Years later it comes out in self-soothing with food because the skill was not learned early.

      I did try cosleeping, and it did not work for me. I couldn’t sleep and neither could my husband. And I knew it was not a habit I wanted to break later. There is an end date to co-sleeping, and it is hard on everyone when the transition happens.

      I am glad it hasn’t been a problem for you. Unfortunately, there are many moms who are exhausted and their marriage is suffering greatly because a baby is in the bed.
      As a teacher, I am seeing parents who cater to their kids way too much. In my opinion, cosleeping is the beginning of child-centered parenting.

      I am so happy that you have been able to maintain great boundaries, and you are clearly in charge. I hope that continues as you transition your child into his own bed someday. I wish you great success.

  6. Tonya on October 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    I honestly have to disagree on this. I have 5 babies, co-slept with all and bed shared with all. I put them all in their own bed around 3 years old in their own room as well with absolutely NO issues. By co-sleep I mean, they were in a bassinet directly next to me until they could move on to bigger. Then it would be an infant to toddler rocker for a couple because they had issues sleeping on their backs. Then onto the play pen right next to me. At 18 months they end up in my bed and around 3 when the SIDS risk is completely over they go to their own bed. Never had a problem of any kind. All independent. Never clingy. Nothing. No marital problems either, married 10 years, together 17 years. My kids are 12, 9, 7, 5 and 10 months old. My oldest bonus daughter is 16…

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Tonya, it sounds like co-sleeping worked perfectly for you. This post is for parents who are struggling with sleep deprivation and the marriage is suffering. I wish you well as you continue parenting your children. One question… I am just wondering if you have asked your husband if he would enjoy having you in bed alone without any children in the bed or in the room. Ask him to be completely honest. You might be surprised by his answer.

  7. Sydney Meek on October 3, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    This is so interesting! When we plan to have kids, I wasn’t planning to co-sleep for my own reasons, but your post opened my eyes!

    • Julie Plagens on October 3, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I am glad you are thinking about this. It is a hard decision.

  8. Mihaela Echols on October 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    YES! our baby is due in a few weeks or any day now and we have agreed to not co sleep with him. We have his basinet in our room but we want him safe and we see it as he is our child hes not in our marriage. The marriage bed is for the married couple. I also think we will sleep better and not be up worrying about squishing him.

    • Julie Plagens on October 3, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      That is great! Hope you have a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Congratulations.

  9. Heather Johnson on October 3, 2018 at 12:00 am

    To each their own. What works for one family is not right for another. Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are great in my house for many reasons including breastfeeding, snoring, and weird work schedules.

    (Also, the bed is not the only place for intimacy. I say as a co-sleeping mom this three kids in. Wink wink.)

    • Julie Plagens on October 3, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Ha ha! I am glad that it is working for you. Thanks for reading.

  10. Ashley on October 1, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I’ve heard co-sleeping can turn into the worst decision ever for parents. Thankfully I haven’t had to cross this bridge yet. Sleep well 😉

    • Julie Plagens on October 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Yes, it can. Some parents transition fine, but many times things don’t go well. There can be side effects like obesity that many parents don’t realize is a risk.

  11. Sarah on October 1, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    I feel like i disagree with almost all of these. I cosleep with one of my kids. She 100% self aware she can sleep on her own now when ever she wants. Our bond is super strong but neither of us have separation anxiety.. she is border line under and normal weight. She lays down at 730 every night sometimes I lay with her at 730 other times i come in later… and sex with her father definitly still happens intimacy doesnt always have to be in 1 bed have fun with it ?

    • Heather Johnson on October 3, 2018 at 12:02 am

      My oldest transitioned to her own bed quite easily. I love co-sleeping with my babies. My husband and I never would have gotten any sleep had our first not slept with me. And now we have three kiddos, so intamacy does not have to be affected by co-sleeping lol!

    • Julie Plagens on October 5, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Thanks for your thoughts. I know many people swear by it. It is a gamble. I am glad it has worked out so far.

  12. Echo on October 1, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I think that co-sleeping can be a double-edged sword, but I also think that it comes down to personal preference and what the family/child wants/needs. I do think you have some great points and tips in here though!

  13. Traci on October 1, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I never tried co-sleeping, once my little ones outgrew the bassinet I bumped them into their own room in the crib. It did make me really sad but I knew before they were even born that I wanted to do it that way. My sister who had experience in parenting before me did co-sleeping and her daughter slept in her bed until she was 5. Then she went on to have 3 more and they ALL slept in her bed lol! I don’t know how she did it. I think the 2 youngest are still with her and her husband. Nothing wrong with that, just not for me! I was always too scared to share a bed because my husband moves a lot in his sleep.

    • Julie Plagens on October 2, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      Yes, you never know how it is going to end up when you start it. It is a risk to consider when you start it

  14. Sudipta Dev Chakraborti on October 1, 2018 at 4:38 am

    A good sleep is one of the greatest blessings for anyone. I am happy to come across your informative post about good sleeping habits. It is helpful.

    • Julie Plagens on October 2, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Sleep is so important that is for sure!

  15. Sarah Fatima on October 1, 2018 at 2:26 am

    I don’ t have a child so I don’t know more about this but I can say that it is good to avoid co-sleeping. It is hard but important too. As you say regular beds are not safe and self-soothing is also important. I agree with all your points and these points are helpful to develop happy and healthy sleep habit in your child.

    • Julie Plagens on October 2, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      It is a very emotional topic as it is so nice to snuggle with your baby. But it does delay the child from learning how to be alone and self-soothe. You can end up with a child in your bed for years if you don’t make the transition sooner than later.

  16. TessaG on September 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Co-sleeping is a personal choice. While you make some good points here, studies have shown that co-sleeping can be highly beneficial. For us, we had no choice but to co-sleep – my son simply wouldn’t sleep without being with me. I won’t say I didn’t wake up with a crick in my neck some days, but he had severe GERD, so most of the time he slept on my chest with me in a semi-sitting postition – WHEN he slept lol! Great discusssion!

    • Julie Plagens on September 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Oh, my goodness. That is really tough. I am so sorry you had to do that. I am sure you were exhausted. I know the sleep specialist I listened to deals with this problem. If you have that problem again, it might be worth contacting her. She has saved a lot of families a lot of grief and sleepless nights. Thanks for your comment.

  17. Elizevent on September 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    We went through a co-sleeping with our first child… It had both sides of the coin, for sure… Lately, she went to her own new bed easily and with no issues at all when she was 5yo…no fear and without visiting us during the nights. It all went well for us… but I won’t do it again with my second child… And I like your points! They all absolutely make sense to me.

    • Julie Plagens on September 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      I think experience is the best teacher. You don’t really know if it is a good thing until you try it out. The thing about co-sleeping is that you can stop and slowly move your child out. Some people have no problems but if you do, there are options. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Malounami on September 30, 2018 at 1:00 am

    I thought it was really interesting to read about your personal connection to this article. You started with co-sleeping but soon changed your mind. The reasons you list make sense and will be a good read for many parents pondering about whether or not to co-sleep.

    • JPlagens on September 30, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Thanks for your comment. Yeah, it was really tempting. I’m glad I didn’t do it!

  19. Ashley on September 29, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Love this!!! It’s something my hubby and I have debated, but ultimately agreed not to. It’s encouraging reading your post that we made the eighth decision!!

    • jplagens on September 30, 2018 at 7:29 am

      I am glad you decided not to. Many people do it, and it eventually works out, but there is is a lot of pain getting the child to sleep alone. Thanks for reading!

  20. Zelma on September 29, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    I agree with this completely. My son never slept in our bed when he was born. He had his own crib right beside my bed, and once he was able to sleep 5 hours straight, I transferred him to his own room. He was just 2 months old and I was heartbroken, but it had to be done. It all worked perfectly until he was 6 years old. Then all of a sudden he was afraid of his room and wanted to sleep with us. Needless to say, we refused time and time again, but we had YEARS of struggles, fights, meltdowns, not getting enough sleep – there were so many nights when we were all still up at 2am because of his screaming and crying, and we had school and work the next day. It affected his health and his schoolwork. We had to come up with a system, approved by his psychologist, that worked for us. And yes, he slept with us for many nights, unfortunately. Now he’s 11 and he’s finally maturing and weaning back into his own bed. So in conclusion, not everything goes as planned. But I agree with all your points and believe in them completely. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie Plagens on September 29, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      I am so sorry about this. I think this is a really hard problem. I can see how hard this has been for you. We started having the same problems. I may be oversimplifying this but we backed off on the amount of TV and electronics. It worked like magic. My child was being exposed to too much stuff on TV and it was affecting him and making him fearful.
      I am glad you have been able to wean your child back to his room. Don’t give up. He will get through it.

Leave a Comment