Are there any benefits of co-sleeping with the baby? Yes, of course, there are!
Co-sleeping with baby
YES or NO
What are the benefits of co-sleeping with the baby?
Co-sleeping has a positive impact on a whole family, not just on the baby. But, is co-sleeping for everyone? No, it is not, and no-one shouldn’t be forced into it. And last, but not least, is co-sleeping safe for your baby? More or less! It depends on what kind of co-sleeping you choose.
The benefits of co-sleeping with your baby include more sleep for you and your baby, a more relaxed breastfeeding experience, and better bonding because of the closeness.
Specialists recommend co-sleeping without bed-sharing
Why is it better not to sleep in the same bed with your baby? Bed-sharing slightly increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). That applies especially to newborns and young babies!
To minimize the risk of sleep-related deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new sleep guidelines. Infants should sleep in their parents’ room but not in their bed. They cite a baby crib or bassinet placed next to the parents’ bed as the safest sleeping place.
Your infant should sleep in your room at least for the first six months, even better, for the whole first year!
According to AAP, newborn bassinets are a safe choice. However, most of them last only for the first 4 to a max of 6 months. Furthermore, your baby will probably start moving independently before she reaches the bassinet’s maximum allowed weight. When that occurs, a soft surface of the bassinet is not safe anymore!
I think a quality and safe baby crib is the most rational decision. But yes, you need more space in the bedroom. For those having space issues, I recommend a mini crib. While it doesn’t take more space than a bassinet, it lasts longer
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing, without sleeping in the same bed, as the safest co-sleeping practice! There are evidence that such an arrangement decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%!
Ways of cosleeping
Lots of parents think co-sleeping means only sleeping in the same bed with your baby. That is not true.
There are more types of co-sleeping, and some are safer than others. Co-sleeping means sleeping close to your infant, either in the same bed or just in the same room.
Think about what suits you and your family the most. Find the way where you feel comfortable and calm!
Types of co-sleeping with baby:
- baby snuggle nest, a safe option for bed-sharing
- side sleeping crib or bassinet
- stand-alone crib or bassinet next to your bed
Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping with baby
Pros and Cons of Bed-Sharing
Bed-sharing is not the safest way of co-sleeping, but many parents still speak in its favor and also practice it daily. If you decide on bed-sharing, follow the safety precaution to minimize the risk as much as you can.
The best place for a baby is not between parents, but besides mom, opposite the father’s side!
Make sure your baby can’t fall from the bed! The best and the cheapest solution is to push the bed up to the wall and put the baby on the wall side. But there shouldn’t be a gap between the bed and the wall, as a baby can trap in it. Another solution is purchasing a toddler bed guardrail and place it on the side of the family bed.
You can read other useful safety tips for co-sleeping with your baby below.
- bonding with your baby
- all night snuggles
- easy breastfeeding
- no additional bed
- the cheapest solution
- if you do not follow the safety precaution strictly, accidents could happen
- the riskiest form of co-sleeping
Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping in a Snuggle Nest
Snuggle Nest is a safer solution for bed-sharing. A snuggle nest is placed into the adult bed, where it creates a separate sleeping space for their baby.
Walls of the nest separate baby from parents. That prevents parents from rolling into the nest. Your baby will sleep next to you, in your bed, but much safer.
Snuggle nests are a great solution for shared beds, but they are suitable only for the first six months of baby’s life.
- sharing a bed without safety risks
- you can’t roll onto your baby
- additional features, like playing lullabies
- bonding with your baby
- great as a daytime napper
- suitable for traveling
- suitable only for the first months of baby’s life
Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping in a Co-sleeper
Co-sleepers (a side-sleeping crib or bassinet) are recommended by baby experts as one of the safest options for co-sleeping with your baby. A Side-sleeping crib or bassinet has a removable side and the attachment for the fixation onto the adult bed.
Co-sleepers tend to have more features. They can be used as a side crib or bassinet, stand-alone crib or bassinet, and even for the travel.
The biggest plus of co-sleepers is the ability to have your own space for sleep, with no obstacles between baby and you.
- decreases the risk for SIDS
- you can’t roll onto the side sleeper
- your baby is on your reach, but you have your own space in the bed
- baby is learning to sleep in her bed
- several uses: co-sleeper or side crib, travel crib, stand-alone crib
- more expensive from snuggle nests
Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping without bed-sharing
Sleeping in a stand-alone crib or bassinet.
A baby crib or bassinet stands in the same room. That might include having it within the parent’s arms reach or not.
- baby has her own sleeping space, which is more comfortable as she grows
- baby is close to you but safe and secure in her bed
- no need to walk into another room
- you are more rested, as you have enough space in your bed
- AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommend sleeping in the same room, but not in the same bed as the safest sleeping space for infants
- having your baby close to you, at least for the first 6 months significantly reduces the risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- as you can later use the same crib in the nursery, is given the money spent, a more rational decision than a bassinet, side sleepers, or snuggle nests
- the baby immediately starts learning to sleep in her bed
- you have to get up, to take a baby out of a crib
- no all-night snuggles
- a little less bonding than with other forms of co-sleeping
READ ALSO: Baby cribs 101
Benefits of co-sleeping with baby
The most significant benefit of co-sleeping with the baby is you getting more sleep and baby’s peace. Parents can immediately respond to baby needs. Also, the parents’ presence calms the baby and gives him a sense of security.
Research has shown that nursing moms who co-sleep with the baby get the most rest. There is no need to get up and walk into another room all the time. Because she can feed her baby right away, most of the time, baby and mom are not even fully awake, so they can immediately fall back to sleep.
Benefits of co-sleep with baby for breastfeed babies
- longer sleep
- lower stress levels
- more milk for baby – with night breastfeeding, the baby encourages the mother’s body to produce more milk
- longer and frequently breastfeeding ensures that the baby gets enough calories and gain weight well
- a greater sense of security
- temperature control – mother detect the baby’s temperature earlier, and respond with a cover or uncover the baby
- more susceptibility to communication
Benefits of co-sleeping with baby for bottle-feed babies
Regardless of the form of feeding, all babies have both emotional and mental benefits from contact with their parents. Closeness gives them a sense of security!
Many studies have shown that cuddling deepens attachment and maternal susceptibility to baby’s needs.
Benefits of co-sleeping with baby for nursing moms
- bigger milk supply
- lower risk of breast and womb cancer
- faster weight loss
- a closer bond with the baby
- more and longer sleep
- lower stress: frequent nighttime breastfeeding increases secretion of oxytocin, which soothes and relaxes
Benefits of co-sleeping with baby for dad
Many fathers are afraid of their intimate life. They think the baby in the same bed, or the same room will keep them from being intimate with their partner. Well, let’s be honest, regardless of where the baby is sleeping, intimacy is less spontaneous than before. With room-sharing, they can still talk, touch, massage, and enjoy the relationship.
Of course, you won’t practice “adult” activities with your baby in the bed, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can place your baby to sleep elsewhere and bring her back later. There are also other places, not just in your bedroom. Find the time during the day, etc. Be creative, and everything will be OK.
If both parents agree, sleeping in a family bed or the same room can be an excellent opportunity for the father to spend time with the baby, talk to him, and (if he sleeps in a family bed) enjoys in skin contact. If dad is most of a day separated from a baby, sleeping in a family bed can be an opportunity to maintain an emotional bond with his baby as well.
How to co-sleep with baby safely?
First of all, when sleeping together, all family members must get a good night’s sleep. But the most important is the safety of your baby!
As I already wrote above is the safest sleeping space for your baby in your room, but not in the same bed.
Strictly from a safety point of view, co-sleeping ways are ranked from the least to the safest co-sleeping technique.
- co-sleeping in the same bed
- sleeping in a snuggle nest placed in your bed
- side-sleeping crib
- and sleeping in the stand-alone, sturdy crib placed next to parents bed
If you decide on a snuggle nest, pick the model with hard, but breathable sides, which meets all required safety standards.
If you decide on a side-sleeping crib or bassinet, pick the sturdy model, which attaches well to your bed. Of course, it has to meet all the required safety standards as well!
If you opt for a crib, it must be sturdy, it shouldn’t wobble, it shouldn’t have drop sides, which are banned since 2011, and it must meet all required safety standards set by CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
How to co-sleep safely in the same bed?
- never sleep with your baby on a sofa, armchair, waterbed or any soft surface
- the mattress should be tight-fitting to the bed frame
- the bed must be firm, without any loose sheets
- use light bedding, without any additional cushions, long strips or cord
- there should be no toys or animals in the bed
- ensure that the baby can’t fall from the bed
Additional Safety Guidelines for Bed-sharing:
- not sleep in the same bed with your baby, if you are a smoker
- not sleep in the same bed with premature or low birth-weight babies
- not share the bed with your baby, if you are overtired
- do not sleep in the same bed as your baby if you have ingested alcohol, sedatives or drugs
- older siblings should not sleep with babies under a year old
- longer hair can wrap around baby’s neck: make a ponytail if you have long hair
- if some of the parents is a deep sleeper you might think of other forms of co-sleeping
- if some of the parents are extremely obese you might use other forms of co-sleeping
RELATED: Safe sleep for babies
How long should I co-sleep with my baby?
The family should sleep together until it suits everyone. If parents maintain a healthy relationship and everyone involved in co-sleeping enjoys, there is no need to end it, because one day it will come about by itself.
The night is only a reflection of the day. If the relationship between partners is good during the day, it will be the same at night, regardless of co-sleeping or not.
The controversy about co-sleeping will probably never end. For those who practice it, it’s normal and healthy. For those who don’t, it’s dangerous and irresponsible. Of course, this relates primarily to bed-sharing, not co-sleeping in general. Regardless of what option you pick, follow the safety precautions and everything should be all right!
And remember, co-sleeping is never a great solution if all involved family members do not feel comfortable with it. If someone does not want it, you should not force him into it.