Few parenting topics get everyone in a ruffle like co-sleeping, because the decision isn’t for everybody. Some parents are really happy with their children sleeping in an entirely different room, while others prefer to have their baby’s crib next to their own bed. Both ideas are totally fine, as long as it works for you and your family, but there are some weird AF things about co-sleeping that just can’t be ignored.
One important thing to remember is that there’s a difference between bed-sharing and co-sleeping. According to KellyMom, co-sleeping means sleeping in close proximity with your baby, so if they also wind up in your bed, it could fall under the umbrella of co-sleeping. But co-sleeping with your baby doesn’t mean you have to bed-share. (See, it’s already getting weird here.) Bed-sharing is super controversial, but co-sleeping is actually recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) until your baby is 1 year old. As long as they are on a separate surface, the AAP deems it safe to co-sleep with your little one.
Seems simple enough, right? And it kind of is. But it can also be super weird. Because co-sleeping isn’t like rocking your baby to sleep, there are some interesting things that happen and being aware of them can make you even more excited to co-sleep. (Or make you dread the day you have to move your kid into their own room.)
1. You Become Physiologically & Mentally Attached To Your Baby
OK, obviously you can become attached to your baby without co-sleeping, but the act of co-sleeping can actually make you physiologically and mentally attached to your little one. According to the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at University of Notre Dame, sleeping near your child can make you physiologically attached to your little one, meaning you can help regulate their own physiology just by being close to them. It can even maximize your baby’s safety and well-being by having you nearby as your body is more prone to react to your little one’s needs while you’re sleeping in the same room. Weird, right? Your body basically becomes an alert system for your babe.
2. You Feel More Connected To Your Child
And not just because you’ve heard their tiny snores across the room all night. Ask Dr. Sears noted that there is a mutual connection while you co-sleep with your child and you can become more in tune with your little one’s needs, even during waking hours. In fact, that connection even works to make sure you’re always aware of your baby, so if your little one is in a deep sleep, biology can make it so you’re in a less deep sleep so you can react if needed.
3. You Feel More Rested
You know why this is weird? Because moms aren’t exactly known for being well-rested. But according to Kelly Mom, co-sleeping can help you get more sleep as you don’t have to get up several times throughout the night to check on your baby — they’re right there if they need you. Anything that gives a parent more sleep is worth trying, right?
4. You Become Super Aware Of Every Sound
I mean, this was bound to happen. I can hear a strange noise on my kid’s monitor no matter how loud Netflix is and that super sonic hearing transfers to when you’re co-sleeping. You’re bound to be more aware of every noise your baby makes, but if you’re co-sleeping, you’re also incredibly aware of how loud your floorboards creak as you walk past your kid’s crib to your own bed. Who took the carpet out in here like some HGTV renovation?
5. Your Milk Supply Gets A Boost
You have to remove milk to make milk and having your baby sleep in such close proximity can help your milk supply improve and stay steady if it’s already doing well. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), co-sleeping can make your baby nurse more frequently as they are near you and you hear their needs throughout the night. Many moms fall asleep while baby nurses, too, which means your little one may be nursing for longer than they would if you had to get up, feed them, and put them back to bed. Kelly Mom also noted that breastfeeding at night can maintain your milk supply and make nursing easier.
6. You & Your Co-Sleeping Partners Will All Adopt Similar Behaviors
Let’s just hope you don’t all start having the same dreams, but according to Ask Dr. Sears, there is a lot of synchronizing behavior between you and your baby while co-sleeping. You both may arouse yourselves from sleep at the same time and you’re often in the same stages of sleep for longer periods of time. So if you’re wondering why every time you wake up at night, your kid is staring at you, now you know why.
7. You Become A Ninja
In all aspects, seriously. You will know be able to sneak into your own bedroom without making a peep, you’ll be able to have sex with your partner without your baby even detecting a sound, and you’ll learn how to fall asleep without the theme song from Friends blaring from your TV. Serious ninja status.