This post may contain affiliate links. Feel free to read our disclaimer for more information. The opinions on co-sleep and why I choose it are my own. I am not a doctor, this information is not intended to replace your doctor’s guidance.
As a first time mom, I was a researching mad woman during pregnancy. Pinterest was my 9 month addiction. Ok, I’m still addicted, but for those 9 months it was baby tips this, pregnancy hacks that, why you need this, etc. I could easily lose track of time on all the stuff I’d look up and read. Of course, almost everything was opinion based of what each mom did and what worked for them. One thing I read, and my husband agreed with was deciding to co-sleep.
What is Co-Sleeping?
Co-sleeping can be done two ways. Room sharing and bed sharing. Room sharing is when you purchase a bassinet or crib and place it in your room close to where you sleep. There are tons of options out there. From the traditional stand alone cribs or bassinets to the “sidecar” co-sleepers in which they butt up right next to the bed. The room sharing method is what is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They suggest that room sharing lowers the risk of SIDS in infants. The other method and definitely not popular with the AAP is bed sharing. This is what the name suggests. Your child sleeps in the bed with you. According to some studies, bed sharing is one of the more common causes of death in babies under 3 months old. And while it isn’t recommended, many parents still opt for this route and find safe ways to bed share.
There are many benefits of co-sleeping or bed sharing. Here is a list of a few things
Co-sleep allows senses to develop in your baby. This is done by reacting to movement, sounds, and smells. (James McKenna- Director of the Mother-Baby Sleep Behavioral Laboratory)
Mom and baby will sync in sleeping cycles.
Breastfeeding is easier when the baby is closer
Encourages the baby’s sense of security at night when in the same room as parents
C0-sleeping can teach the baby to sleep longer at an earlier age.
Mothers report in a survey that they feel more rested when they choose to co-sleep
Studies suggest that babies who co-sleep develop stronger emotional bonds between parents
There have also been studies that the baby regulates its breathing better when in close proximity to mom.
Less anxiety for mom when she knows her baby is close by.
Babies who co-sleep tend to cry less or show the behavior of distress at night. The baby will have less anxiety when they sense they are close to you.
“At night, babies ‘expect’ to stay safely close to their mothers, waking as needed to nurse or reconnect. Keeping your baby close at night and letting him nurse to sleep meets his physiological and emotional needs.” – La Leche League International
Co-sleeping can affect sex life, especially if you chose to bed share. (It doesn’t have to! There are many ways to keep that part of your relationship intact)
Transitioning from co-sleeper or parents bed to the child’s own room may be a longer process. Depending on how long you co-sleep for. AAP recommendation is to room share for the first 6 months. Although many moms do so for the first year.
It can be a risk of choosing to bed share or co-sleep with a “sidecar” crib. The baby can roll off the bed if not in the middle or become wedged in gaps between the mattress and wall. (This can be avoided with safety measures in place)
Bed sharing risks increase if parents are exhausted, smoke, or drink. If you choose to bedshare never sleep next to a baby if you have been drinking.
If your child is underweight of premature it is strongly advised to not share a bed. As the risk is even greater.
Why we chose to Co-Sleep by Bed Sharing
Before our son was born, my husband and I agreed to room share. We bought a pack n’ play crib since it had a bassinet feature. Which to us made sense, baby items are not cheap so getting something that can grow with them or have multiple uses was the way to go. The first night home from the hospital we did what many do. We swaddled our little bundle of joy nice and snug and held him until he fell asleep. I then gently placed him into his crib which was on my side of the room. (Not butted up against the bed) Not even 10 minutes passed and the crying and fussing started. We tried rocking, unswaddling, skin to skin, feeding. Nothing seemed to work. I swaddled him again and laid him down on our bed for a moment to catch a break on my arms. (When you’re tired, constantly rocking an 8 lbs 12 oz baby is a workout) As soon as I laid him down he fell asleep. Yes! So I gently moved him back to the crib and I got into bed. Again, moments later back to square one. So I laid him on our bed and laid next to him in a sort of c shape, trying to calm him to sleep. Sure enough, he fell asleep almost instantly. Desperate for sleep myself, I threw my pillow to the ground, kicked my blanket down to my legs and went to sleep.
How We Made Our Bed Safe
So, even though it is seriously frowned upon, we decided after the first week of trying to get Greyson to sleep in his bassinet with no success, we were going to do the bed sharing method. My husband looked online to see how we could do this as safe as possible. And we found a few solutions. The first was the Dockatot. It’s really cool but honestly out of our price range. So we looked for something similar. That’s when we came across the Baby Delight Snuggle Nest.
He hated having his legs swaddled.
It’s a “ co-sleeper” that is placed between both parents pillows. It has a barrier so the baby can not roll into the pillows and so the parents don’t roll onto the baby. We loved it! Greyson was sleeping better and that meant so were we! By month 2, he slept for 7 hrs straight! Now, of course, I thought it was a fluke, but night after night he was consistently sleeping 7-9 hrs straight. And now at 6 and a half months, he sleeps 9-10 hrs at night. I’m no doctor by any means, but I am a strong believer that co-sleeping, whether it is room sharing or bed sharing, is what led him to sleep through the night so early in age. However, the snuggle nest only lasted us until month 3. Simply because he outgrew it lengthwise. He was born 21.5 inches but was already 25 inches at 10 weeks! (Dad is 6’5 sooo yea) Instead of trying to move him to the crib, I ditched my pillow once again and laid him between us. It’s been peaceful nights ever since.
Do you think he is comfortable?
Since he was no longer in the snuggle nest, we made sure our bed was safe. We don’t use any heavy blankets or extra pillows. My husband still uses his, but I sleep just fine without mine. Greyson sleeps between us to avoid falling off the bed. I know your thinking what if his giant dad rolls over. Trust me, for the 13 years I’ve been with him, he doesn’t budge, he sleeps as stiff as a body in a coffin. We also decided to not drink alcohol anytime close to bedtime. Now me personally, I will not drink any alcohol until I am done breastfeeding. My husband, however, has never been a heavy drinker. So his occasional beer when he gets home from work in the early evening was not a concern for us.
All in all, we love the decision to share our bed. It’s not something new really. Women have been doing this for years! For us, we love that when Greyson wakes up, we are the first things he sees. We wake up with smiles and I love you’s and go to bed with smiles and I love you’s. I get so much joy seeing him smile first thing in the day. Right now the plan is to try and transition him to his own crib and room around 8-9 months. He takes all his day naps in his own room and crib, which I think will help with the transition. In the meantime, we are taking advantage of all the cuddles and bonding we can. They are only this little once!
Dad is lucky to sleep next to these gorgeous faces!
What are your thoughts?
Any moms out there that can relate? What were your sleeping arrangements and how did it work for you? Share your story in the comments below! Other Related Articles:
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