Co-sleeping is somewhat of a taboo in our society. I remember telling people that I co-slept with our baby in bed with us and getting reactions like ‘you’ll never get them out, you don’t want them to become too attached, they’ll never learn to sleep on their own.’ Which I think is slightly absurd. Being attached to your baby is so important, for them and for you. They grow up and they certainly grow out of your bed. So I stopped worrying about it and just soaked up the time I had with my babies in bed with me. If you feel like sleep training is for you, I’m not here to judge. It’s not for me personally! Here are some reasons why co-sleeping is a great way to go…
CO SLEEPING WILL STRENGTHEN THE MOTHER/BABY BOND
Being close to your baby and learning to read each others sleeping cues, skin to skin and more chances to breastfeed throughout the night can significantly increase the bond between the two of you. There are studies suggesting that the extra breastfeeding through the night build up more antibodies that help reduce infant illness. Snuggling them through the night, hearing their sweet little sounds and waking up to the cutest baby smiles is priceless.
THERE’S NO NEED TO FULLY WAKE YOURSELF/THE BABY TO FEED
This is huge! When I brought my first daughter home I just assumed that you got up, picked the baby up and sat in some sort of nursing chair for any night time feeds. This didn’t last long before I realized that nursing side lying without turning lights on and waking both of us up was the absolute BEST. I noticed I was actually getting sleep! With a newborn!
No having to spend x amount of time getting them back to sleep, putting them down like they’re a live bomb and trying to sneak out while praying to the baby sleep gods that they’ll stay asleep.
NO NEED TO GET UP TO CHECK ON THEM- THEY ARE RIGHT BESIDE YOU
Are they breathing? What if they rolled over? What if a blanket covered their face? Oh shit, I better run and check. No more mama. Your brand new, sweet, helpless (oh, so helpless) baby is right next to you. You won’t be waking up like a bolt of lightening hit you wondering any of these things. You’ll be sleeping away and if you do wake up, able to glance down and reassure yourself.
IT GOES AGAINST OUR ANIMAL INSTINCT TO HAVE OUR BABIES AWAY FROM US
I’ve never really understood how it became normal to have your baby sleep away from you, sometimes in a whole separate room. Before the invention of cribs, humans did what all other mammals do with their vulnerable babies- slept with them. Having your baby next to you allows you to do things that are instinctual- kissing your baby while subconsciously gauging their temperature, listening to their breathing and being right next to them and able to help if they become ill.
Being intoxicated, extremely over tired or on medication that can dull your senses are reasons not to co-sleep. In normal circumstances there is no reason you shouldn’t sleep with your baby in bed.
IT’S THAT MUCH MORE TIME BEING CLOSE TO THEM
Having my children sleep with me is one thing I know I won’t regret when they’re older. They are out of your bed so fast anyway, and it’s so special to sleep with your child. Your child will want their own ‘big kid’ bed soon enough, especially if they have siblings they will be room sharing with.
It’s considered normal now for a child to sleep alone, be put into a car seat, moved into a stroller and then into a crib or bassinet for nap times. We need to hold our children and be close to them as much as possible. You will never get that time back with your children and it’s so important. I look at sleeping with them as this extra special time that will be gone. Enjoy co-sleeping while it lasts!
CO-SLEEPING CAN HELP WHEN YOU HIT SLEEP REGRESSION
Although co-sleeping won’t magically solve all of your problems (was I coming across that way?), it can help when you hit the ‘dreaded’ sleep regression. I put dreaded in quotes because even though it SUCKS, your baby is going through some pretty amazing milestones. They might be able to crawl, walk, or even tell you something with words after it’s over, soooo, it is kinda’ awesome.
Being right next to your baby while they are going through a sleep regression is good because a) They might be soothed just by being next to you, able to breastfeed on demand and smell you. b) Even if they are NOT soothed by those things I just mentioned, at least you are close to your bed and can do the crazy things I did to not have to stand there for hours like a zombie (like doing that weird sitting in bed while rocking the baby or sleep sitting up if that’s what soothes them.)
If sleep regression has you literally ready to keel over, Carly over at Mommy on Purpose has some amazing advice on sleep regression I recommend checking out!
YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY A CRIB
This one is kind of a joke, I did buy a crib- for my 3rd baby no less! I started to think maybe I’d try sleep training. It’s been great for storing laundry and miscellaneous baby items! When we got back from the hospital, I looked at my tiny baby, looked at the crib and laughed my head off.
THERE ARE SOME DOWNSIDES…
Not many, but some. It is hard to get out of bed without waking the baby. I’ve found it usually happens in phases. For a while nothing can wake them and then they’ll suddenly be awakened by any movement or sound (or thought) you have while getting up. But it doesn’t last.
Spit up in the beginning is real. If you have your baby in bed, they will spit up and it will get on your sheets. This also doesn’t last too long and to me the extra laundry is worth it! (Update! My baby is now 6 weeks old and the spit up has already gone waaaaayyy down!)
My husband either puts the other kids to bed and sneaks out or he stays with them. This can be hard for spending time/the night together. Make sure the two of you are completely on the same page. My husband and I talk about it often and always express our needs, whether that is spending time together or… time together ?
BE AT PEACE WITH YOUR DECISION
Decide what you want fairly early on. It’s hard to get them out of your bed if they are used to it. That’s what I struggle with sometimes. It’s easy to wish that you had sleep trained them when the going gets rough but please realize that it does not last, there will be ups and downs like all things and this too shall pass.
Do you co-sleep with your children or are you in the process of deciding? Let me know in the comments!