One of the charges frequently made against co-sleeping is that the child will always be in the parents’ bed. In my experience, this simply isn’t true. Charlotte just turned four. She’s had her own bed since she was two, though she usually crawled into our bed at some point in the night. That is, she did that until a few weeks ago, when she just started sleeping all night in her bed. I did give a reward, but she hadn’t known I’d do that in advance (and when I’d tried that in the past, it hadn’t worked, because she simply wasn’t ready). While she still wakes up in the night, she just needs a little help going to the toilet and then can be resettled in her own bed. We never pushed her, just offered the option of her own bed. The only exception is when we first got her her bed, but her being upset then was more at the sudden weaning when the milk disappeared, and we were both a bit traumatized.
Leo is 18 months old. When Charlotte got her new twin bed for her birthday, we moved the toddler bed back into our room for when he would want it. For quite a while, it was just there. I’d refer to it as Leo’s bed, and ask if he wanted to sleep in it. The answer was invariably no, so I didn’t push it. Lately, though, he’s been more interested in it. In fact, last night I was putting him to bed and he indicated that he wanted to sleep in his own bed. So he got his bear and laid down, and I managed to squeeze in to nurse him a little. I know he’ll still be in our bed most of the time at this point, and that’s fine. But he’s also making his own steps towards independence.