Sleep regressions are something that every new parent struggles with, and they can be incredibly frustrating. I had both of my babies sleep next to me until they were 3 so I could comfort them whenever they woke up, whether it was through feeding or cuddling. I found that it helped me manage the sleep regressions they went through with a little more ease. I'm sure there's no way to change a baby's sleep development patterns, but does co-sleeping prevent sleep regressions?
Christine Stevens, a Certified Sleep Coach and author of 7 Tips to Help Your Child Get the Sleep They Need, helps children and adults get to sleep. She tells Romper that sleep regressions can affect a baby's sleeping routine and they can occur when the baby reaches development milestones, or other reasons such as illness, or travel. Stevens says that co-sleeping, which is when babies sleep close to the parents' bed on a separate firm surface, won't necessarily prevent sleep regressions.
According to Baby Sleep Site, co-sleeping can help you with your baby's sleep issues, but can't solve them. Their website explained that while co-sleeping can make it easier for you to soothe your baby back to sleep at night while having baby in arm's reach, it can also become a sleep association that you might have to undo later.
Introducing changes to routine can be difficult when dealing with sleep regressions. Stevens says that the single biggest tip for handling any type of disruption to baby's sleep is to avoid adding something that you aren't already doing. "For instance," she says, "if you're not currently rocking baby to sleep, then don't start just because of a few rough nights." The same goes for co-sleeping — it shouldn't be used as a temporary fix for a sleep regression.
I know that co-sleeping did help me and my daughters get better sleep, but we still had to deal with regressions and fussy nights. While co-sleeping may not prevent sleep regressions, if you're willing to make it a habit, it may help make the nights go by a little easier. And any parent will tell you, even a few extra minutes of sleep can be precious.