Co-sleeping wasn't something I planned on; it sort of just happened. It was at the point when I was so tired that I would do anything to squeeze in even five extra minutes of sleep. And, full transparency, I didn't do any research before I brought my little one into bed with me. Even though all worked out well, this was not a smart move. There are things every mom should know before co-sleeping that are important to make sure everyone — especially the baby — stays safe and sleeps well. Because not all sleeping environments are created equal.
Sometimes called bed sharing, co-sleeping means having the parents and baby in the same bed. To some this sounds like an opportunity to be cozy and bond, yet others shutter at the idea, worrying they will never be able to sleep soundly with a baby right next to them. It's a very personal choice, and needs to be agreed upon by both parents in order to be successful. Having this discussion and making a decision before the baby is born is a good idea, but keep in mind, your baby's needs may change, meaning your sleeping plan may get flipped on its head.
When sorting out your thoughts on where your baby will sleep, consider these nine things every mother needs to know before co-sleeping to help you make an informed decision.
1. Haters Gonna Hate
There are so many different ways to parent your child, there is bound to be someone out there who will tell you that your choices are wrong. To prove how divided mamas are on co-sleeping, Parenting magazine conducted a survey that found there is no middle ground on this subject. There respondents either completely embraced co-sleeping or totally shunned the practice.
2. Breastfeeding Can Be Easier
Let's face it, during those first few months, your body is like a vending machine for your baby. Having your baby in bed with you makes breastfeeding easier because there is little no transition in and out of separate beds, according to The Natural Child Project.
3. Some Nights Should Be Skipped
Bed sharing is only recommended when the environment is safe for the baby, which means if one or more of the parents have been drinking or takes medication that makes them even remotely desensitized, it's not OK to have the baby in bed, according to the website for Notre Dame's Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory.
4. Every Needs To Be On Board
As parents, you and your partner are going to be faced with a lot of decisions. When deciding on co-sleeping, both adults need to be on board. As Pregnancy and Baby reported, the decision to bed share with your baby should be agreed upon by both parents to make night time responsibilities a partnership.
5. Sex Takes Scheduling
When you and your partner get one of those rare bursts of energy, you may feel like hoping between the sheets and getting down to some adult business. But as What To Expect pointed out, having a baby in your bed can slow down your sex life. Looks like if you choose to have the baby in your room, you're going to have to get creative in another room.
6. The Bed Has To Be Super Safe
There are some legit reasons those haters cry out "Danger!" In order for the baby to be safe, the adult bed needs to be free of many potential risk factors, according to the website for Kid's Health. Certain headboards, pillows, and blankets are among the hazards parents should be aware of before bringing baby into bed.
7. You May Sleep Sounder
Sleep is a hot commodity in as mother's life, and having your baby close by may help you get better sleep. According to Mother magazine, many mother's who co-sleep with their baby reported sleeping sounder. Since their baby was close by, they didn't wake with worry and wonder about how their baby was doing.
8. You May Sleep Worse
What makes one mama snooze away, can make another mother toss and turn. Just as Mother magazine found that some mothers sleep better when bed sharing, other moms discovered they woke more often for fear of hurting the baby unintentionally.
9. Find Your Happy Place
Co-sleeping can look different for each family. As Dr. Sears suggested on his website, explore different safe co-sleeping options to see what works for you. One idea is to use a product that is an extension of the adult bed, but places a small barrier between the baby and mother.