Co-Sleeping in the Cottage

Note: Please consult professional sources and keep safety as the top priority when making sleep decisions with and for your child. I am neither advocating for or against bed-sharing via this blog post. I am simply sharing our personal experience in case it helps anyone else on their journey. 

We receive lots of questions about how we manage the family’s sleep situation in our tiny home. Where does West sleep? What about the pups? How do we handle noise and keep from disturbing one another? What are our plans for the future? Would we recommend bed-sharing to other new parents living in small spaces?

Left: WEST In the DockATot Deluxe in the Cottage bedroom. Right: West In THE mini-crib in our tiny house nursery nook.

Left: WEST In the DockATot Deluxe in the Cottage bedroom. Right: West In THE mini-crib in our tiny house nursery nook.

Adam and I never had a sleep plan in place for our life with the baby. We decided to go with what felt natural for us, day by day. The short story is that we’ve co-slept for the past 16 months. The longer version involves many more layers, including a DockATot, mini-crib, and convertible toddler bed.

Months 1-12

Our Baby:
For the first year with West, we had a mini-crib. When our son was a newborn, he would take his naps there, or in his MamaRoo or the small DockATot. He would also begin his nights in the crib.

I worked full-time throughout my entire pregnancy and after our son was born, and I simply felt too tired to get in and out of bed for each feeding. As such, we would bring West into bed with us after his mid-night wakeups. At that point, he slept safely and snugly between Adam and me in the center of our bed in the DockATot. 

Left: In the airplane bassinet, flying to France. Right: Up from a nap in a hotel in Maui.

Left: In the airplane bassinet, flying to France. Right: Up from a nap in a hotel in Maui.

West fit perfectly in the mini-crib until around 7 months, when he began to flail around a bit too much to sleep in there for more than a couple of hours at a time. We kept the mini-crib for for an additional 3 months for his naps. Sometimes we rolled the crib into other areas of the house and the garden, just to get him used to other views and environments.

Left: The mini-crib temporarily on the stoop in warmer months as West falls asleep. Right: West and Adam bed-sharing in France.

Left: The mini-crib temporarily on the stoop in warmer months as West falls asleep. Right: West and Adam bed-sharing in France.

Co-sleeping in the same bed has been made life easier when we travel. West will fall asleep anywhere when his natural bedtime rolls around.

Our Dogs + The Noise:
Sophee sleeps at our feet in the bed, and Stanlee like to curl up on the floor in the tiny space between my side of the bed and the wall. They have THE LOUDEST beagle barks, but they rarely wake up West. I think it’s because West has been listening to those barks since the moment he could hear in the womb. I even remember him physically reacting to being startled by the barks when he was still just a bump in my belly. By his earliest days in the Cottage, he was very used to the sound. West doesn’t even wake up when Adam and I watch movies on the laptop in bed next to him. And, due to the skylights and numerous curtainless windows in the cottage, the light has never phased him either. We lucked out. 

Left: West in the DockATot in Joshua Tree. Right: Vacationing in a Santa Barbara guest house.

Left: West in the DockATot in Joshua Tree. Right: Vacationing in a Santa Barbara guest house.

Months 12-16

Our Toddler:
West still sleeps with us in bed at night, but we no longer use the DockATot. We believe he's big enough now to sleep safely by our sides without it. He also uses his new convertible crib / toddler bed / daybed in the front cottage for naps, and at night when my parents or a sitter are with him.  

Travel:
When we take quick trips by car we bring the large DockATot with us for the versatile options it provides. When we travel by plane, we simply plan on West sleeping in a regular bed with us. 

Left: In the DockATot Grand in the garden. Right: Slumber party in the front cottage guest bed.

Left: In the DockATot Grand in the garden. Right: Slumber party in the front cottage guest bed.

The Bottom Line:
Personally, I love sharing our bed. Since I work for most of the day, the nights are a wonderful way for me to be close to my son. It can’t last forever, I know, but it’s still enjoyable for us right now. Yes, he kicks and pivots and smacks us in the eyeballs. Yes, we are tired. But what parent isn’t? And the magic of it all far outweighs the disruptions. We plan to wean ourselves slowly off of co-sleeping at some point this year, when it feels right for all of us.