Co-sleeping. It's amazing that such a short word raises so many conflicting opinions, even among parents. Although some parents mutually agree that bed sharing or co-sleeping with their baby is an awesome idea, there are many cases where at least one parent has an aversion to it. Although convincing you that co-sleeping is right for you isn't something an article can do, there are a few ways dads can and should help with co-sleeping, because, ultimately it's an all or nothing commitment that both parents need to make.
In fact, studies show that dads who co-sleep may actually be more nurturing and better attuned to their baby's needs, as opposed to those who sleep separately from their kids, according to Scientific American. And like any aspect of parenting, it's better to have both parents actively involved.
I understand the concerns about co-sleeping, I really do. Aside from any safety related qualms, a parent liked to have their space. Before having kids, both my husband and I saw our bed as ours. We slept there and babies didn't. But after having a baby or two we've both realized that sometimes co-sleeping is not only more convenient (because who wants to have to get in and out of bed 10 times per night), it's actually completely natural and instinctive.
So whether you're on the fence about co-sleeping or you're fully committed and excited, these tips will help ensure that co-sleeping is truly a "family affair" instead of a one-sided uphill battle.
1. Have An Open Mind
It's no secret that moms are usually the ones who suggest or lean towards co-sleeping. The New York Times noted that many fathers have an aversion to it for safety reasons, or simply because they're afraid of loosing what little alone time they have left with their SO. But an open mind might just be your best friend in cases like this. Co-sleeping will likely let you all sleep more instead of less, since you won't be wakened multiple times by a screaming baby in another room.
2. Support Breastfeeding
Co-sleeping is extremely convenient for nursing moms who are usually woken several times each night. And even though mom is the one who physically feeds you child, there are many ways dads can get involved too.
3. Take Over A Bottle Feeding Or Two
If your baby isn't breastfed, dads can get even more involved and take over the nighttime feedings. It's so much easier with your baby laying next to you.
4. Take Sex Elsewhere
Sex can happen in other places than your bedroom. It can also happen before bedtime or during baby's nap. Parenthood is about getting creative. Have a few "baby-free" nights a week, or put the baby to sleep elsewhere and bring him to bed later.
5. Make Sure It's Safe
Though co-sleeping is often called the more instinctive and natural way to sleep, there are precautions to take to make it safe. For example, Dr. Sears recommends placing baby next to mom, and not in between both parents, with a barrier or rail on the other side. Similarly, never co-sleep on a couch or water bed, or under the influence of alcohol or any sedative. Not that any parent in their right mind would, but you know.