Toddlers and the struggle of cot-sleeping: A parent’s view

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When it comes to toddlers and cot-sleeping, I really did think it would be a walk in the park as it was when my daughter was an infant. She would sleep there, cry in the middle of the night when she was hungry and she’d go back to sleep peacefully. Fast forward to today and the struggle is real!

We tried to put her cot in her room, but this failed dismally. She’d scream my name and pull the biggest tantrums in the odd hours of the night wanting to get out, so eventually she’d end up in our bed. I know this has been bothering my husband, who thinks I am being lenient with my daughter.

This has been going on for too long and a part of it worried me because at some point my daughter needs to learn to sleep on her own. Being a toddler comes with learning to be independent. I’d worry if I was doing something wrong or she’s just being a fussy child. I really needed answers.

I reached out on Facebook as I had to find out how other parents are dealing with this to help me deal with my dilemma and surprisingly (and to my relief!), our struggles are the same. One-year-olds refuse to sleep alone.

This is what other parents had to say

Mmapula Moepya is a mother of two and she co-sleeps with her two girls. She swears by a co-sleeper cot, but admits that the girls also end up in her bed again. Moepya’s is also worried about the effect this is having on her husband and their relationship – imagine two little humans in the middle of the two of you.

“It is part of growing up. It’s not easy to let go of you. She still needs the warmth of you as her mother. You have to teach her. It takes time. It’s a process, but bit by bit she will get used to sleeping alone,” said Nqobile Mchunu on the Facebook comments.

Judging from the comments I received, most parents have accepted that their toddlers sleep with them but do agree it’s not a good idea.

“We tried to put her cot in her room, but this failed dismally. She’d scream my name and pull the biggest tantrums in the odd hours of the night wanting to get out, so eventually she’d end up in our bed.”

Nothando Ndlovu, whose daughter will turn two in a few months says, “We sleep with our little one now but it’s not a good idea. Be strict, talk to her and tell her she’s a big girl and she has to sleep alone. Ignore her when she calls you.”

I wish I could ignore her, but the mother in me just can’t which is why she ends up in our bed almost every night.

Nokuphiwa Sikhakhane, a mother of two says, at times she can ignore her daughter and she falls back asleep, “but there are times when her cries cut to my heart so I go cuddle her.”

Xolisile Mpanza’s daughter is 10 months and she hasn’t been able to cot-train her. “We also have a co-sleeper that joins to our bed, so that helps a little. But she wakes up and crawls right out of it in the mid-hours of the night. But she’s also a boobie fanatic, so that makes things worse. They are just needy at this stage.”

For Cebelihle Ntuli, it’s been a constant battle and her little one is turning three soon. “It will get even worse when she figures out how to get out. The cot remains next to my bed, but I still wake up with her in our bed. Good luck.”

Lately, I haven’t been putting her in her cot because it always ends up with her in our bed anyway, and I question if she will ever get used to sleeping on her own – or will be an ongoing battle for the unforeseeable future?

I am not willing to give up just yet, however. I still need solutions on how to win this battle.

Also read:

Counting down to… sleep
Help your toddler sleep better