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How Co-Sleeping & Modified Co-Sleeping Differ

How and where your child once they are born are two topics of major importance for moms- and dads-to-be. Bringing a baby home throws the whole family dynamic askew, which is much easier to handle when everyone involved is well-rested. While you're debating the merits of bed-sharing versus co-sleeping, or bassinet versus crib, you may discover that each method has slight variations that can be undertaken to make the method fit your needs. Although sometimes difficult to discern, the one major difference between co-sleeping and modified co-sleeping is all about how you approach it.

According to KellyMom, co-sleeping just means that you're, sleeping in close proximity to your child. So, obviously, there are a ton of different sleep set-ups that could fall under the banner of co-sleeping. Modified co-sleeping is one of those set-ups. Basically, modified co-sleeping means that you're doing co-sleeping in a way that works for your family. For example, room-sharing, which director of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center Dr. Craig Canapari defined as sleeping in the same room as your child, but not the same bed, is technically a form of modified co-sleeping. Whether you're using a bassinet, crib, co-sleeper contraption, or another bed — if that item is close to your sleep surface, especially if you can reach out and touch your baby, it's considered a form of modified co-sleeping. These modifications, which make the practice different than bed-sharing, when the baby sleeps in bed with you, also can help assuage the fears of parents who are nervous about co-sleeping that involves sharing a bed.

So how do you choose the modification that's right for you? The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory recommended the use of a co-sleeper bassinet, which is made specifically to facilitate co-sleeping and can be a good way to modify the practice and make it work for you. This type of bassinet can be placed directly next to the bed or, in the case of some, actually attached to the bed itself. According to Very Well, modified co-sleeping can also be done with a crib that has three sides, with one removed, and pushed up against the parents' bed. This modification also allows for easy access to one another for both the baby and the parent.

What's most important when choosing a sleep method, is to keep in mind what's right for your family. Although there are benefits to co-sleeping and modified co-sleeping, if it doesn't work for your family, it may not be the right method for you.