When Should a Son Stop Sleeping With His Mother? Answered!

The maximum age for a son to share a bed with his mother is when he reaches puberty.

However, many parents choose to transition well before this time, typically when the child moves to a crib or toddler bed or starts school.

There is no right or wrong answer.

Expert opinions on this topic vary, so you will have to make the best choice based on your instincts and the information provided here.

Consider these drastically different viewpoints:

Healthy Child shares: “Boys who coslept with their parents between birth and five years of age had significantly higher self-esteem and experienced less guilt and anxiety.”

According to PubMed: “Having a parent present during sleep onset is one of the strongest predictors of poor sleep patterns throughout childhood.”

Your child’s developmental level and your preferences will guide your decision, but ensure you always act in your child’s best interests, not your own personal wishes to prolong your child’s dependency on you.

In my case, I followed the pediatrician’s recommendations and avoided co-sleeping from the time they were born, but during a power outage, after a difficult day, or if they’ve had a nightmare, I make exceptions to the rule.

When Your Son Should Stop Sleeping With You

Though there is not one set answer here, most people agree that a son should not continue sleeping with his mother once he has started going through puberty.

This can start anywhere between 10 and 12 years of age. 

Many children stop co-sleeping when they transition to a crib, move to a big-kid bed, or reach school age.

Your culture, circumstances, and personal preferences will help you decide when it’s time for your son to sleep alone.

When Co-Sleeping With Son Is Acceptable

As long your child is over the age of one, co-sleeping is considered safe, but it is not necessarily recommended. 

Certain health conditions may make it necessary to keep your child close so you can help him with issues that come up at night. 

There will also be situations where you allow your son to sleep with you so he isn’t anxious.

If your child has a nightmare or can’t sleep due to a huge storm, it’s normal to let him crawl into bed with you so he can be comforted and rest.

When Co-Sleeping Is Definitely Inappropriate

Once your son starts going through puberty, the co-sleeping arrangement definitely needs to end.

Your child will need his privacy, and he can’t have that if he is in bed with his mom every night.

It’s wise to end the co-sleeping relationship before puberty starts, but it definitely should not continue after that point.

How To Decide What’s Right for You

Co-sleeping isn’t right for everyone, and that’s okay.

Sleep is extremely important, and if co-sleeping makes it harder for you to rest, then it may not be the right choice.

If you do want to co-sleep, make sure you know when and how you want to transition out of that phase so your child will learn to sleep independently.

If your child independently decides that he no longer wants to co-sleep, honor that decision, regardless of your feelings or concerns.

General Recommendations

Co-sleeping is not recommended if your child is under the age of one due to safety concerns.

After the first birthday, it’s considered safe, and bed-sharing is practiced in many countries. 

When it comes to how long bed-sharing is appropriate, there’s no clear-cut answer.

However, your child needs a certain amount of privacy as they enter puberty, so it makes sense for them to sleep in their own bed at that point.

A mother sleeping beside her toddler in a toddler bed.

Long-Term Effects of Co-Sleeping

Some professionals recommend the co-sleeping arrangement end by a child’s second birthday because of the long-term impact of this approach.

Bed-sharing can lead to less sleep for your child, and sleep deprivation can lead to poor health outcomes. 

Kids who sleep with their parents for too long may also have a hard time forging their own identities.

Manhattan Psychology Group shares this insight:

“It is important for parents to know that responding to a child’s anxiety to sleep in their own bed by allowing them to sleep with a parent only exacerbates a child’s fear of sleeping alone. 

Thus, rather than having to learn how to self-soothe and manage his or her own fears, the child has only learned how to escape from the fear of sleeping in their own bed.”

Ultimately, the decision to co-sleep should be based on the preferences and comfort levels of both the child and the parents while taking into account safety guidelines and individual family dynamics.

Positive Effects

  • Increased Attachment and Bonding: Co-sleeping can facilitate a strong emotional bond between the child and parent. It provides a sense of security and closeness, which can foster a deeper emotional connection.
  • Enhanced Emotional Well-Being: Co-sleeping may contribute to a child’s sense of safety and comfort, potentially leading to reduced anxiety and increased feelings of security.
  • Easier Sleep Transitions: Some proponents of co-sleeping argue that it can make it easier for a child to transition to independent sleeping when they are developmentally ready.

Negative Effects

  • Dependency and Sleep Associations: There’s a concern that co-sleeping can lead to a child becoming overly dependent on the parent’s presence for sleep, potentially making it more difficult for them to learn to self-soothe and sleep independently.
  • Disrupted Sleep for Parents: Some parents find that co-sleeping leads to disrupted sleep patterns, particularly if the child is a restless sleeper or wakes frequently during the night.
  • Impact on Parental Relationship: Co-sleeping can sometimes affect the intimacy and privacy of the parents’ relationship, especially if one or both parents feel uncomfortable with the arrangement.
  • Limits Certain Activities: The child might be unable to enjoy sleepovers, summer camp, and other activities if they are unable to sleep with their mother.

Best Age To Transition From Co-Sleeping

When your child gets their own big-kid bed around the age of two and a half or three, it’s a great time to start moving away from co-sleeping.

Getting a big-kid bed is a milestone for your child that should be celebrated.

Making this transition a happy one instead of focusing on the loss of co-sleeping will help your child look forward to it and have success.

A toddler sleeping with white bedding while wearing striped pajamas.

How To Transition From Co-Sleeping

Be sure to approach this transition with patience, understanding, and consistency.

Here are some steps you can take to make the process smoother:

  1. Start by making the transition gradually. This can help the child adjust to the new sleeping arrangement more easily.
  2. Consider beginning with naps or part of the night in their own bed before moving to full nights.
  3. Ensure that the child’s bedroom is conducive to sleep. This includes a comfortable mattress, appropriate bedding, and a soothing sleep environment.
  4. Implement a consistent bedtime routine that includes calming activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or engaging in gentle play. This routine signals to the child that it’s time to wind down.
  5. Reassure your child that they are safe and loved. Offer comfort and soothing words if they express anxiety or reluctance about sleeping alone.
  6. Allow your child to have a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or other comfort item in their bed. This can provide a sense of security.
  7. You can sit in the room with your child as they fall asleep, gradually moving farther away over time until they are comfortable falling asleep on their own.
  8. Communicate with your child about the transition. Let them know what to expect and reassure them that they are capable of sleeping on their own.
  9. Praise and reward your child for successful nights of independent sleep. Positive reinforcement can help reinforce the new routine.
  10. If your child expresses fears or concerns about sleeping alone, listen attentively and address their feelings. Offer reassurance and support.
  11. Consistency is key. Stick to the new routine even if there are initial challenges. It may take time for your child to fully adjust.
  12. Establish clear boundaries around bedtime, and enforce them consistently. This helps create a sense of structure and predictability.
  13. Pay attention to how your child is coping with the transition. If there are significant challenges, be open to adjusting the approach based on their needs.

Bed Sharing With Baby: Pros and Cons

Bed-sharing, or co-sleeping, with a baby can have both positive and negative aspects, but the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend co-sleeping with an infant less than one year of age. 

Pros

  • Facilitates Breastfeeding: Bed-sharing can make nighttime breastfeeding more convenient as the baby is within arm’s reach, which may lead to longer breastfeeding sessions.
  • Enhanced Bonding: Sharing a sleeping space can promote a strong emotional bond between the parent and baby. This close physical proximity can provide comfort and security for the baby.
  • Facilitates Comfort and Security: The physical presence of a parent can offer the baby a sense of safety and comfort, potentially leading to reduced anxiety and better sleep.
  • Easier Monitoring of Baby: Parents can more easily monitor the baby’s well-being, breathing, and movements while bed-sharing, providing a sense of reassurance.
  • Convenience for Soothing: If the baby wakes up during the night, it can be easier and quicker to soothe them back to sleep when they are in close proximity.

Cons

  • Risk of Suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): There is a potential risk of accidental suffocation, especially if the bedding or sleep environment is not safe. It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines for co-sleeping.
  • Lower-Quality Sleep for Parents: Many parents find that their own quality of sleep is diminished when bed-sharing.
  • Sleep Dependency: Babies easily become used to sleeping beside a parent and may have trouble learning to self-soothe and sleep independently.
  • Parental Relationship Can Suffer: Privacy and intimacy between parents are important to the relationship, but a baby sleeping in the same bed complicates matters, especially if one parent resents the arrangement.

Safety Tips for Bed-Sharing

If parents choose to bed-share with an infant, it’s important to follow safety guidelines to reduce the risk of accidents or harm:

  • Use a firm mattress, and avoid soft bedding or pillows near the baby’s face.
  • Avoid sleeping on a sofa or armchair with the baby.
  • Do not bed-share if either parent smokes, has consumed alcohol or drugs, or is excessively tired.
  • Ensure there are no gaps or spaces where the baby could become trapped.
  • Place the baby on their back to sleep.

When Should a Boy Stop Wetting the Bed?

A child should be able to sleep through the night without wetting the bed by the age of seven.

However, a small portion of children will still have accidents after this age, and the majority of them will be boys.

If your child is wetting the bed consistently after turning seven, make sure to check with your doctor to make sure it’s not a health issue.

When Should a Baby Sleep All Night?

A baby sleeping through the night is probably not what you think.

Babies don’t sleep for long periods like adults, so sleeping all night for an infant looks a bit different.

Expect your child to sleep for 4-6 hour stretches by six months of age.