Do you know someone who sleeps with their partner and baby in one bed? You probably do. You may be in the same situation as your friends and you ask yourself many questions like “Is it a good idea to co-sleep with my baby? Isn’t it dangerous? Is it totally safe for me, my partner and even for our little one?” Let’s read all the facts about co-sleeping.
1. What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping, sleep-sharing or also the concept of family beds always means the same thing – sleeping with your baby and your partner in one bed and sharing the bed and spending all your time there.
As you may know, it’s not some kind of a modern idea and many families in the United States and over the world have been practicing sleep sharing for a really long time. But as we can see in surveys carried out last year, there are definitely growing tendencies
2. How do I know it’s the best option for my family?
Maybe you heard the opinions that co-sleeping is the best option for you and your family. It’s not exactly true. It can be the best option but it also may not work for you. What works for your friend’s family does not have to work for your own.
So how do you find out that it’s the right fit? It’s simple – just try it! But before you decide to practice co-sleeping in your own family, ask your husband or wife first. It couldn’t be worse than if you tell your partner during dinner that from today till your baby turns fifteen, you will sleep together. It’s unfair that you have decided before asking your partner’s opinion on the matter.
Do you know the opinion of your partner?
Perfect! There is no other barrier for trying co-sleeping for a few days (for example 14 days). After this trial period you can discuss how you feel about the change, whether you felt okay or not comfortable with it. After this trial period you also can make a final decision about sleep-sharing.
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping?
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping:
The time before going to sleep is the time only for you and your family. You can speak about your day or read fairytales to your little ones.
For moms who breastfeed, co-sleeping is definitely easier. It’s not necessary to get up from the bed.
Co-sleeping builds a strong relationship between you, your partner and your baby.
According to pediatrician William Sears, co-sleeping babies are more confident and independent people when they grow up.
According to other professionals, children who share a bed with their parents can get clingy and more needy than children of the same age sleeping alone.
Convincing your child to sleep in their own bed can be difficult. They can feel hurt if you try it.
You and your partner have to be able to have time only for yourselves. If you cannot do that, your relationship might take a darker turn.
4. How do you make co-sleeping perfectly safe?
The first thing you must know about co-sleeping is that there are no recommendations about sleeping with a child younger than 2 years. We won’t lie, it can be dangerous in case you move a lot and there is potential to smother the baby when you turn over. But if you know that you are a light sleeper and you don’t move a lot during the night, the risk you face is lower.
Another recommendation is about letting your baby alone in a queen sized bed. If you’re not in the bed with your baby, lay them in a pram. It’s better than letting them be alone in a bed without paying proper attention to what they do there.
Here are some other recommendations:
Don’t let your baby lay on the belly, babies must sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Don’t smoke in the sleeping room.
Don’t co-sleep with your baby if you drank any alcohol or used drugs.
Don’t sleep in pajamas with dangerous decorations such as long chains etc.
Don’t let older children sleep next to a baby younger than one year. They can kick them during the night etc.
Keep your pets away from the bed.
Let your baby sleep on a mattress, not in other sleeping places such as a studio couch (bed), an armchair etc.
The best is to lay your mattress right on the floor and to put pillows around the perimeter. If your baby falls, there will be no serious consequences.