Like all parenting decisions, the idea of co-sleeping is different for every family. For some, it's an absolute no and parents are left exhausted and irritated. For some, co-sleeping is the only way anybody gets any sleep and it works for everyone. Even if you don't routinely share a bed with your kid, there's probably been a time or two when your little one has ended up next to you on your pillow. If you ever noticed that your kid gets a better night's sleep when they co-sleep, you're not the only one. I was firmly against all co-sleeping ideas when I had my daughter, until she refused to sleep. All it took was one night in bed with me, and eight hours worth of sleep, to see the benefits of co-sleeping.
I'll be honest, I'm still not a huge fan of co-sleeping, and I would never, ever say that I share a bed with my daughter. About 99 percent of the time, she goes to sleep in her own bed and wakes up there. But, because children are totally inconsistent, there are some situations that require me giving up most of the bed in order for my toddler to sleep. And in those situations I find that she sleeps like a champ and even sleeps in later than her usual mornings. (I don't always.) Turns out there are some reasons why my girl might be getting a better night's sleep when she co-sleeps with me.
I'm not saying you need to co-sleep so your kid gets all the rest they can, I'm just saying that if you've ever needed to bring your kiddo to bed with you, you might be doing them a major favor with these seven reasons.
1. There Are Less Distractions When Breastfeeding
Huge plus, right? Breastfeeding my daughter was infinitely easier when we shared a bed, and it kept her from waking up too much. Instead of waiting for her to get upset and cry loud enough for me to hear, I could feel her stirring, and we could breastfeed right there with minimal fuss. Win-win for everybody.
2. It Doesn't Take Them Long To Fall Back Asleep
Have you ever noticed when you're co-sleeping that if your little one does wake up, it doesn't take long to get them back to sleep? My toddler is sick and slept in my bed with me just last night. All it took were some back pats and snuggles to get her back to sleep. If she had woken up in her own bed, it would've taken me at least 10 minutes of rocking to settle her back down and put her back in her crib.
3. They Feel Safer With You
It's just general knowledge, right? You are your child's ultimate source of comfort and security. When they want to feel safe, they go to you. It helps immensely at bedtime when there are so many dark shadows and scary things in their bedroom.
4. They're Bonding With You
What to Expect notes that co-sleeping is especially beneficial for kids who don't get to see their parents much throughout the day. You may just be sleeping, but you're still bonding with your little one and re-connecting with them.
5. There Are Less Bedtime Hassles
For many parents, the bedtime routine is pure hell. But co-sleeping can make the whole thing easier. If a kid is excited to get in the bed with you, they won't take as long to fall asleep and won't put up such a fight either.
6. Nightmares Are Easily Taken Care Of
Just like babies waking up, older kids can be easily calmed when co-sleeping. If a nightmare wakes them up, they don't have to come and find you in the night or cry until you come to check on them. They can either wake you up, or realize that they're already with you and there's nothing there to scare them.
7. It Eases Any Separation Anxiety
Many kids feel separation anxiety, even when it's just bedtime. Co-sleeping can ease that as your child realizes you're always there, even when it's time to sleep.