top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlba Macareno

Co-sleeping with your baby

Everything you need to know about co-sleeping with your baby
Co-sleeping with your baby

Co-sleeping with our baby was not something that we planned. For us it was clear that our baby would sleep in a bassinet, and she did that for the first 4 months of her life. She would fall asleep in our arms and we could lay her down to sleep in the bassinet until she would wake up 2-3 hours later. When the 4 month regression kicked in, and our daughter would wake up around every 30 minutes, we were so exhausted from getting up so often. We informed ourselves how to practice safe co-sleeping and decided we would give it a try. It was a game changer, as when she would wake up I could breastfeed her to sleep again and while she was doing that I almost always fell asleep, too.

I know that the topic of co-sleeping has garnered significant attention in parenting circles, sparking debates about its advantages, disadvantages, and safety considerations. Co-sleeping, or sharing a bed with your baby or child, can be a controversial topic, with passionate arguments on both sides. And I have been there, I know it is a topic that not everyone likes, but in some cases there is nothing else you can do.

In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping, provide guidelines for practicing it safely, offer advice for unexpected co-sleeping situations, and discuss how to maintain privacy in bed with your partner.

Advantages of Co-Sleeping

Sleeping with the baby in the parents' bed is seen by some parents as a great advantage. Many mothers find breastfeeding easier because they can quickly doze off after the meal. Some even achieve nocturnal harmony with their baby. This means that they go through their sleep phases synchronously and are therefore more rested in the morning.

It is also often reported that babies sleep faster and longer in the family bed. They have a healthy and positive attitude towards sleep because they can fall asleep at any time on their parents' chest or in their arms.

  • Enhanced Bonding: Co-sleeping can foster a strong emotional connection between parents and their children. The physical closeness during sleep promotes feelings of security, comfort, and attachment.

  • Breastfeeding: For breastfeeding mothers, co-sleeping can facilitate nighttime nursing sessions, leading to better sleep for both the baby and the mother.

  • Improved Sleep Patterns: Babies who co-sleep may have more regulated sleep patterns due to the comfort of their parents' presence. This can lead to longer periods of rest for both parents and baby.

  • Ease of Nighttime Care: Co-sleeping can simplify nighttime caregiving, as parents can quickly respond to their baby's needs without getting out of bed.

  • Cultural and Emotional Considerations: Co-sleeping is a common practice in many cultures and can carry significant emotional value for families who view it as a way to strengthen familial bonds.

Disadvantages of Co-Sleeping

However, not all parents feel comfortable with the family bed. You sleep restlessly, feel disturbed in your evening routine by a sleeping child, or miss being together with your partner. They also fear that the child will get so used to sleeping together that it will never want to leave its parents' bed again. All this negatively affects the quality of sleep and parental satisfaction.

  • Suffocation and SIDS Risk: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions that co-sleeping increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation. Blankets, pillows, or adult bedding can pose risks to babies.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Adults and children have different sleep cycles, which can lead to disruptions in sleep patterns for both parties. One person's movement may disturb another's sleep.

  • Privacy Concerns: Sharing a bed with a child might diminish the intimacy and privacy between partners, which can affect their relationship.

  • Transition Challenges: Children who co-sleep might face difficulties transitioning to their own beds when the time comes, potentially leading to sleep disruptions.

Practicing Co-Sleeping Safely

"Stay close - sleep apart" has prevailed in recent years. This is intended to express what various studies have confirmed: in the first year of life, a baby sleeps most safely in its own bed, but in the direct vicinity of its parents. For example, in a baby balcony or in a cot that is right next to the parents' bed. This way you will always know when the baby needs you and breastfeeding at night is made easier. However, there is no risk of baby getting too warm or slipping under your duvet.

However, there are also babies for whom the proximity of the baby balcony is not enough. They only calm down when they feel their parents very close to them. Many experts are convinced that in this case it is safer to let the baby sleep in the parents' bed than to take him to the sofa or an armchair at some point in the night so that his partner can have some peace. If you doze off there from sheer exhaustion, the baby is even more endangered by an unfavourable sleeping position or the sofa cushions.

If you choose to co-sleep, it's crucial to do so safely to minimise the associated risks:

  • Use a Safe Sleep Environment: Ensure the sleep space is clear of pillows, heavy blankets, and stuffed animals. Use a firm mattress and fitted sheets.

  • Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Parents who consume alcohol, drugs, or medications that impair their awareness should not co-sleep, as they may be less responsive to their baby's needs.

  • Baby's Sleep Position: Place the baby on their back to sleep, which reduces the risk of SIDS.

  • Create a Separation Barrier: Consider using a co-sleeper bassinet or sidecar crib to create a safe space for your baby while maintaining proximity.

Unexpected Co-Sleeping and Privacy

If co-sleeping was not initially planned but becomes a necessity, follow these steps:

  • Make Temporary Arrangements: Create a safe sleeping environment for your child while ensuring your own comfort.

  • Set Boundaries: Discuss expectations and boundaries with your partner to maintain a sense of privacy and intimacy.

  • Plan for Transition: As circumstances change, work towards transitioning your child to their own sleep space when appropriate.

Maintaining Privacy with Your Partner
  • Bedroom Sanctuary: Keep your bedroom a sanctuary for you and your partner by avoiding clutter and maintaining a comfortable, inviting atmosphere.

  • Designated Adult Space: Create an area in your bedroom where you and your partner can relax, talk, or spend quality time together without distractions.

  • Communication: Openly communicate with your partner about your needs, desires, and concerns regarding privacy and intimacy.

Co-sleeping can have both positive and negative impacts on families. While it offers opportunities for bonding and ease of caregiving, safety concerns and potential disruptions to privacy need to be carefully considered. If you find yourself unexpectedly co-sleeping, prioritise safety and plan for a smooth transition. By implementing guidelines for safe co-sleeping and maintaining open communication with your partner, you can navigate the complexities of sharing a bed while preserving intimacy and connection.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Toxic Grandparents

Before becoming a mother, I had a good relationship with my mom. We sometimes had arguments or she would not understand some choices my husband and I made, but that was OK for us. However, once our da


bottom of page