10 Things You'll Worry About When Co-Sleeping (That You Really Don't Have To)
Thanks to many prevailing myths and misinformation, co-sleeping seems somewhat synonymous with worry and fear. In fact, many parents end up so afraid about potential problems, that they dismiss even the possibility of co-sleeping. While every situation, every family and every baby is different, I can tell you that many of the things you'll worry about when co-sleeping will not happen and, in turn, aren't really things you need to focus your time and energy worrying about.
When I first had my daughter, my partner and I wanted to try to get her to sleep in her own crib. We quickly learned her own crib wasn't where she felt comfortable (and understandably so, I mean, she was so tiny and the world aka her crib is a big place). So, we tried having her sleep in her pack-n-play napping station, then buckled in her swing, then in her car seat and, eventually and when all else failed, we resorted to having our daughter sleep with us. It turns out, nothing else worked quite like sharing our bed with our baby girl.
We all seemed to get much better sleep by co-sleeping. That is, after the first initial few nights of course, because my partner and I were extremely nervous about a variety of things. However, we quickly discovered that many of our worries and fears were unnecessary, and stemmed from a slew of misinformation that keeps being recycled on the internet and in mom groups and by other friends and well-meaning family members. Thankfully, we also realized we weren't alone in our unnecessary fears which means, dear reader, that neither are you. So, with that in mind, here are a few of our worries and fears that, in the end, took up way too much room in our co-sleeping bed.
"I'm Going To Roll On Top Of My Baby"
Is this fear valid? Sure, but it also is unlikely to happen. Your body is programed to feel where your baby is, even when you're sleeping. I mean, how cool is that? So even if you were in danger of rolling onto your baby, your body would wake itself up and/or your baby would make noise and you'd adjust accordingly.
(This is why you should never, ever share a bed with a baby when you've been drinking and/or using recreational drugs. That internal mechanism that will wake you up will be impaired, so make sure that you're co-sleeping responsibly.)
"My Baby Is Going To Fall Out Of Our Bed"
If you aren't careful and your baby isn't quite old enough to recognize where boundaries are on a bed without sides on it, this could be a thing that might, maybe happens. However, the more you worry, the more alert you will be and the less likely it will be that your baby will fall out of your bed. (#ProTip: move your bed to one side of a wall, and then sleep on the other side. Problem solved.)
"My Baby Will Pee Our Bed"
OK, this will probably happen. Like, more than once. However, if you change your baby's diaper during night feedings, it's less likely to happen. And, in the end, you'll find out that pee is just pee, and part of co-sleeping is being OK with some otherwise "gross" things, like sleeping on some pee sheets because you're just too tired to change them. Parenthood is weird, you guys.
"Someone Is Going To Puke On Me In The Middle Of The Night"
Depending on how long you co-sleep, a sick baby might turn into some puke-covered sheets. Again, it's honestly not worth worrying about until your baby gets sick and, again, it's just one of those gross things you'll inevitably get used to. No reason to fret, parents, as I can almost guarantee you that when your kid is sick, you'll want to cuddle them regardless.
"My Baby Is Going To Get Tangled In Blankets"
This shouldn't be a fear because you should (hopefully) have made your bed safe for co-sleeping. That means getting rid of blankets and pillows and anything else that your baby could get tangled in. Of course, as your baby gets older (think toddler age) it will be safe to reintroduce some of these bedding essentials. However, when you're starting out, you should make sure your bed is co-sleeping safe.
"My Baby Will Get Stuck Under A Pillow"
I don't think very many people want to get rid of their pillows and, thankfully, you don't have to. As long as you have "light and tight" bedding and a firm pillow (not a super fluffy one, sorry) your baby will be safe.
"My Baby Will Wake Up Scared"
I can assure you that if your baby wakes up scared (because nightmares are a thing, especially in young children when their brains are developing at such a rapid pace) having you right there will ease their worry. If anything, co-sleeping is the best way to assure your baby that they're safe and that you're always there to comfort them.
"My Baby Will Suffocate"
There is so much controversy about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and what can cause it. However, in SIDS: A Parenting Guide To Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome there are actually over 250 scientific references stating that the chance of SIDS greatly decreases when you co-sleep. This is simply because your baby can rouse themselves if there is an issue and mom or dad (or both) are more likely to sense that something is wrong and wake up. Many scientists actually believe that sleeping near your baby and exhaling near them may help stimulate your baby's breathing actually combats the risk of SIDS.
"There's No Way All Of Us Will Be Able To Sleep"
Every baby and every family is different, so I can't say that co-sleeping will automatically give you and your baby a good night's sleep. I can only tell you that, for me, it was what worked best. My baby slept best in our bed, next to us, and we were able to get our best night's sleep because, well, our baby wasn't up crying at all hours of the night.
Just like any other parenting decision, find out what works for you and go with it. If you try co-sleeping and it doesn't work, adjust accordingly. However, if it seems like co-sleeping is the only thing that works, you really don't have to worry about getting enough sleep.
"I'll Wake My Baby Up If I Move"
Chances are, if your baby is as tired as they should be by bed time, they won't notice you moving as long as you don't move suddenly and loudly. Although, some babies wouldn't even notice that simply because they sleep like a log. Others, however, are more sensitive to movement and sound even when they're sleeping, but when they're exhausted, they won't notice. Trust me. (Another #ProTip: try some white noise when you're co-sleeping. It works wonders, my friends.)