Let's clear something up right off the bat: co-sleeping isn't for everyone. For some families, being able to share a bed with your baby is the most natural and convenient thing in the world. For other families, sharing a bed with baby is a scary though. And some just aren't really sure how they feel about it. There are lots of things to know if you're unsure about co-sleeping that may sway your opinion, regardless of any preconceived ideas you already have about it.
For years, co-sleeping was labeled as negligent and lazy parenting, mostly because well-respected sources like the American Pediatric Association (APA) reported that co-sleeping put your baby at a higher risk for SIDS. In recent years, however, more and more evidence has emerged to give co-sleeping some much deserved credentials, including the APA revising their guidelines for safe sleep environments.
Knowing the facts, both in favor and against, will help you make the best decision for you and your family, whether it be co-sleeping, room-sharing, or letting your baby have their own room. Remembering that neither option makes you a lazy parent is key — simply doing some research will show that each option has it's own set of pros and cons that each parent must weigh.
1. You'll Both Get A Better Night's Sleep
According to Dr. Sears, babies who co-sleep startle four time less per night than babies who sleep in their own bed. Sears added that they'll sleep for longer stretches at night, meaning you both get your well deserved beauty sleep.
2. Your Baby Will Have A More Stable Sleep Physiology
Babies who co-sleep with their parents (and, more specifically, their mothers) have better abilities to physiologically regulate things like body temperature and regular heartbeat, according to the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at Notre-Dame University.
3. It's Way More Convenient
Nothing can beat the convenience of having your baby right next to you at night, especially if you're breastfeeding. No more dragging yourself out of bed and sitting in a recliner multiple times at night.
4. There's No Separation Anxiety At Bedtime
One of the great things about co-sleeping is there's no need for any controversial sleep training methods to be implemented. You don't have to shut the door and teach your child how to fall asleep on their own because they will fall asleep comfortably and easily with you by their side.
5. It Decreases The Risk Of SIDS
Most parent's biggest reason against co-sleeping is that they believe it will increase their however, worldwide evidence is suggesting the opposite. According to a very detailed rebuttal from Dr. Sears, in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, the SIDS rates are significantly lower. The biggest risks of co-sleeping related death or injury are when either parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, impairing their natural instincts.
6. It's Safer Than Crib Sleeping
According to James McKenna, founder of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, there are more crib-related deaths are reported each year than co-sleeping related deaths. Breastfeeding, he said, also greatly reduces the risk of any co-sleeping related injury or death.
7. Children Who Co-Sleep Are More Independent
Many argue that co-sleeping will make your child dependent, and unable to sleep on their own later in life. However, research shows that children who co-sleep have higher self-esteem, and feel more confident having the security and bond that co-sleeping forms as a backbone, according to The Bump. The site also stated that co-sleeping helps children form fewer fears, especially at night.
8. Your Sex Life Won't Be Doomed
Another popular gripe with co-sleeping is that you'll never be able to have a regular sex life with your partner. However, sex isn't restricted to a bed at nighttime. Co-sleeping may actually be a positive thing for partners, letting them get more creative with when and where they have sex, which can actually be more fun.
9. It Promotes Family Bonding
A piece on Belly Belly, written by a certified lactation consultant, stated that co-sleeping can do wonders for strengthening not just the mother-baby bond but the full family bond as well.