Benefits of Cosleeping with Baby
If you haven’t heard of co-sleeping, it is one of the most hotly debated topics related to infant sleep. Co sleeping is where your infant is sleeping in the parental bed, sharing a bed, sometimes next to you, sometimes on your chest. This is different than simply room sharing. Lets investigate what makes this topic so controversial and what some of the benefits of cosleeping with baby might be.
Some people think that co-sleeping is the most natural way to raise a child as it is thought to create a stronger bond between parent and child.
The other side of the box are those people that will tell you that co-sleeping is dangerous and can even lead to the death of your baby with risk factors that vastly outnumber the possible benefits. There are documented cases where babies die from co-sleeping but if you take the proper precautions, you can make safe sleep possible. Any time your child is sleeping on a firm mattress with anything else around them, it puts babies at slightly higher risk of injury or death.
So which is right? Lets look at both sides.
First off, it is important to get it ,out of the way that co-sleeping is not going to produce any miracles, although some proponents would disagree. Many people have reported that their babies did not sleep more soundly or longer having their parents close by. In fact, some parents found that once they discontinued co-sleeping and moved them to their own crib, their infant slept longer and even woke up much less frequently.
It is completely up to the parents to decide to co-sleep in an adult bed or have their baby sleep in their own crib. As long as co-sleeping is done safely, and everyone is waking rested and fulfilled, then there is nothing wrong with co-sleeping.
You need to think hard about the commitment required for co-sleeping though and figure out with your spouse what feels right.
Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Does sleeping together sound like a cozy experience, or does one or more of you sleep “actively”, potentially having a disturbing effect on others?
- Do you both agree on whether co-sleeping is the right option or do one of you feel more strongly than the other?
- When you go to bed, to you tend to immediately try to sleep and fall asleep or do you like to watch TV or talk in bed?
- Will sleeping in the same bed make it tougher to wean your baby off of nighttime feeds, or will it be more convenient?
- Are you ok with going to bed at your infants bed time, whenever that may be?
- If you are a working parent, does co-sleeping give you more quality time with your baby?
As mentioned, co-sleeping has many advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
- The convenience of being close whenever your baby is awake may be a good feeling for both the child and the parents.
- Being in the same bed means that you can provide immediate support for any sleep problems that may arise.
- Being in the same bed means that nighttime feedings and nursing may be more convenient since you are already right next to each other.
- Of course, sleeping in the same bed gives you more time with your baby.
- Co-sleeping may help both your child and you as the parents to get a better nights sleep.
- Having a child that is an “active” sleeper may mean that you don’t get any sleep. My child is a kicker so I personally cannot sleep in the same bed with my baby.
- Parents may end up sleeping in separate rooms which may harbor resentment with their child or spouse.
- If you and your baby’s sleep cycles do not coincide, co-sleeping will not be successful.
- You will have to go to bed at the same time that your baby does so if you tend to have nighttime time to spend together watching a favorite tv show or just spending time together, it may not work.
- You will have very little privacy for anything you might normally do in private so keep that in mind and be creative.
- There may be a slight increase in the risk of SIDS and other risks such as crushing or suffocation from stuffed animals or pillows or even arms if your child is in the same bed as you.
The decision as to whether co-sleeping is the best choice should be made by both parents and based on your own thoughts and ideas, not from your family or anyone else. Another family may have a good experience or a bad experience but it should not influence your decision. You and your family are unique and your families have different needs.