Co-sleeping is one of those personal choices moms make once their little one arrives. There are various ways to do it, too. You can simply decide that your child will sleep in the same room, but in their crib. You can buy a co-sleeping bassinet that you keep beside your bed, so you can roll your baby over next to you if you need to nurse. You can opt for the family bed and let your infant snuggle up warmly beside you. Just as there are numerous ways to co-sleep, there are numerous reasons why co-sleeping works for some moms.
When it came time for me to decide where my son would sleep, I knew I couldn’t bear to have him stay in a separate room. For one, after losing my first child, I was terrified of things like SIDS. I also knew it would be easier for me to reach over to my son’s bassinet and care for him immediately, rather than having to walk to the next room in the middle of the night, half asleep and probably delirious. When I realized that my son slept much better if I had him in my bed, well, the choice was obvious. While getting him out of my bed has been an interesting challenge now that’s he’s over 30 months, I really love snuggling with my kiddo and know this time is precious so, even a few painstaking transitions from our family bed to his toddler bed.
I have a feeling that my reasons for co-sleeping are shared with many other co-sleeping mothers, so I spoke with several other moms who ended up either sharing their bed, or their room, with their little one. The one question on my mind? Why did you feel like co-sleeping was the right sleeping situation for your family? Here's what they had to say:
“Well, with each baby we co-slept until at least six months and then they went into the crib. For (our daughter) Penny, we have the arms reach co-sleeper attached to our bed. I choose to co-sleep because it is a lot more convenient at night for the late night feedings. During my last c-section, it was also helpful because I was in a lot of pain."
“The decision to co-sleep was carefully considered because I work in healthcare and co-sleeping is a huge ‘no-no.’ I wouldn't even put bumpers in my child's crib because of the risk. With my first it became something that seemed more out of ‘necessity.’ I went back to work at seven weeks [postpartum] and I felt safer sitting up in bed with her on me, than risking falling asleep in a chair and risking injury to her. With my second I wasn't going to, but because of ease we did. It seems more natural that the baby can search nurse when she wants instead of having to cry to alert me. It also allows for me to be able to be connected to my husband instead of pulling out of the room any time the baby needs.”
“Our daughter slept in a bassinet in our room for the first five months. I also occasionally slept with her in our bed for a few hours. Having her close for feeding was convenient, and I found it very comforting to hear her breathing, or know when she was stirring a little. I had a fair bit of, 'Is the baby okay?' anxiety, so it was reassuring to be able to prop myself up and see her whenever I wanted.”
“I recently read somewhere that co-sleeping also includes the baby being in a cot but in your room, in which case we did that for the first ten months or so without even realizing it was a thing. It just made more sense to not have to go as far to feed him in the night. And when my partner was away, I would often have him in the bed all or half the night before he really started rolling around."
“The subject of bed sharing has probably been the most dramatic 180 I've done between child-free life and parenthood. I was super against it pre-kids. Our first slept in our room, but always in his bassinet. One night, when he was about a month old, I was delirious with exhaustion and I just pulled him into bed with us... and we all slept THE REST OF THE NIGHT. Turns out, everyone slept better when we all cozied up together. So while my partner and I would always put him down in his crib initially, his first wake-up after we got in bed he came in with us. It facilitated breastfeeding, minimized wake-ups, and was super comfy. We kept this up until the annoyances of bed sharing outweighed the positives. For my first, that was about 10 months. For my second, we started bed sharing right away and kept it up until she was about 14 months. (What can I say: she was a more considerate bedfellow than her brother.)”
“I've been co-sleeping with my son since day one and he's nearly three now. We don't do it every single night, but that's because he's become more independent. We're very big about talking about our feelings and respecting boundaries and choices, so whenever he says he wants to sleep in his own bed, we encourage it. But on nights when he's sick, scared, or just wants to cuddle, I'm more than happy to share my bed with my little dude because I know I'll blink and he'll be a teenager in a minute.”
“Co-sleeping mom here, eight months and soon to end! (Our son) sleeps in our bed. We only have one child, he's our first. It worked because it gave me the ability to nurse so we could all sleep during the night. I do enjoy the closeness, (and) when he takes naps in his room it just doesn't feel right.”
“I've co-slept with all three (of my daughters), (had a) family bed with all three — one at a time, though. I nursed them and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have ever gotten any sleep if we hadn't co-slept. Plus the snuggles are nice. But I just nurse them to sleep and leave them in bed and then go to bed later and am right there if they woke up, although we did buy a king size bed to fit everyone.”
“We co-slept! (Our daughter) Sophia came home on a monitor since she was a micropreemie. It was a strap that would go off if it didn't sense her breathing. Well, it wasn't so stable and it would sometimes go off at night and freak us out. The only way I slept calmly was if she slept with us in bed.”
“I co-slept with my son [until he was] nine months. Then he went briefly into a crib, but eventually came back into bed with us, where he remains to this day, age 6 1/2, with no end in sight. I loved it when he was an infant as it assured I got sleep and he had ready-access to nursing. As he has gotten older, we have been fortunate that he doesn’t thrash around. I have heard some kids do. We were also assured by a parent educator at his preschool that it was OK to co-sleep as long as we were all comfortable with it. My husband loves it as much as I do, even though it has reduced 'certain' activity between us. I just think this is time we cannot get back, and eventually our son will decide he is ready to sleep on his own.”
“I have co-slept with both children, but (with our son) Tyler more than (our daughter) Averie. It was never a conscious decision. I kind of parent based on the kid and what I feel they need at the time. For Tyler, he still sometimes ends up in our bed, but he is also an awesome sleeper and transitioned to a toddler bed just a littler after [one year of age], and was kicking me out of his room to sleep by 18 months. Averie is also a great sleeper, and now sleeps in her own room and falls asleep on her own at just a little past [a year]. She sometimes makes it into our bed still if the night calls for it, but she gets heat rash and the body heat can be too uncomfortable for her sometimes.”