The decision to co-sleep is a very personal one. It's also a choice that looks different from bedroom to bedroom. Some parents may choose to bring their child into the adult bed with them, others may set up a bassinet or co-sleeper bed close enough to the adult bed that the baby is at arm's length. No matter which arrangement parents opt for, as long as they are making safe choices, there are some amazing things that happen between you and your baby when you co-sleep that can't be denied. And this goes beyond just hearing those sweet sounds your little one makes as they dream away.
If you are considering co-sleeping, your first step is to create a safe sleeping environment for your family. Once you understand what measures need to be in place to protect your baby, you can start to enjoy all the cool benefits that come from making the choice to co-sleep. Even though nighttime is not an active time between mother and baby, loads of connecting is happening as you inhale and exhale in the same sleepy space.
Whether you're considering co-sleeping, or have been for years, these 11 amazing happenings between mama and baby will remind you why you are drawn to this decision in the first place.
1. You Sleep Peacefully
Having your baby nearby can calm your nerves and lead to peaceful sleep. According to Mother magazine, many mamas who co-sleep with their baby reported sleeping sounder. Knowing your little one is just an arm's length away can be a sigh of relief every night.
2. You Are More Relaxed When Breastfeeding
With your sweetie pie so near by, breastfeeding stays cozy and simple throughout the night. Having your baby in bed with you makes breastfeeding easier, according to The Natural Child Project. Since you don't have to transition in and out of different beds, you and your little one can easily feed and go back to sleep in no time.
3. You Bring Your Baby Comfort
Comforting your baby is a 'round the clock job, but co-sleeping helps your child to feel more settled at night. As James McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at Notre Dame told The Bump, having the mother nearby helps a baby to settle because they feel safe because they are close to you.
4. Your Patterns Sync
One of the coolest things about co-sleeping is the way your animal instincts kick in. According to the website for Dr. Sears, co-sleeping pairs tend to arouse from sleep in accordance throughout the night. Although either one or both of the pair may not wake completely, when one stirred, the other stirred as well. It's pretty awesome to think how connected this makes you and your baby.
5. You All Smile
It doesn't take much more than some mushed-up bananas and a soft toy to keep your baby happy — but what about you? It turns out, co-sleeping may be what's causing you to smile. Co-sleeping parents rated their overall happiness equal to parents with crib sleepers, according to What To Expect's website. Which means if you thought you might be missing out on happier days, the grass is not greener on the other side.
6. You're More In Tune At Night
Co-sleeping with your baby increases your nighttime vigilance. A study published in the journal Sleep found that mothers and babies who slept near one another were more in tune to each other throughout the night.
7. You're Preparing Them For Success
Contrary to what people apposed to co-sleeping say, the act of sleeping near your baby can help them to become their best self in the future. According to co-sleeping guru, Dr. Sears, "co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school, and are more comfortable with affection." So rest well knowing you're creating a super kid.
8. You Hear More
Having my baby close by in his bassinet helped me to hear all his little sounds. Some were sweet little coos, and others were small grunts meaning he needed to be burped. I always felt like it was easier to hear him from 12 inches away than it would be through the monitor.
9. You Learn Little Things
Having my son near at night gave me a glimpse into his nighttime world. I learned that he often smiled when he slept and kicked his leg a little once he drifted off to sleep. These little peeks into his world made me feel closer to him and gave me great stories to tell him when he became older.
10. You Lower Their Stress
Just as you sleep more soundly when your baby is near, having mama nearby helps baby to feel secure. According to a recent study in the journal Biological Psychiatry, "newborns who sleep apart from their mothers don’t sleep as well and are under more stress than those who bed-share."
11. You Protect Them
The threat of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) causes a lot of parents to wonder if co-sleeping is safe. But as Parenting magazine reported, co-sleeping could be a prevention method in lowering the risk of SIDS. This is backed up by research as well as the theory that cultures who have a tradition of co-sleeping also have very low incidents of SIDS.