Courtesy of Sarah Darby

What Is Modified Co-Sleeping? It's Not As Complicated As It Sounds

Co-sleeping is a dream for a lot of families. But like many parenting plans (and I mean many), it doesn't always work out the way you wanted it to. Whether you're too nervous about having the baby in your bed or can't seem to relax with a little one sleeping between you and your partner, you might be looking for some modified co-sleeping options. But what is modified co-sleeping and will it actually work?

Modified co-sleeping can mean different things for every family, but the name itself is pretty self-explanatory. According to Dr. Craig Canapari, director of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center, co-sleeping is already a broad term. He noted that the word co-sleeping basically means sleeping with your child, but that bed-sharing (which literally means sharing a bed with your child) and room-sharing (having your baby sleep in a separate bed, but in the same room is you) are the real specific terms about co-sleeping.

So what does co-sleeping mean to you? For most people, saying that you want to co-sleep with your child leads everyone to believe you're having the baby in bed with you. Whether that's your intent or not, it is possible to modify co-sleeping so that it fits your family. Modified co-sleeping is just that — making co-sleeping work for you.

For some families, that means creating a modified co-sleeping environment like attaching a crib to the side of your bed so that your child is nearby, but still has their own space. According to KellyMom, there are still three sides to the crib, but the side attached to the parents' bed is either removed or lowered so the baby has easy access to their mother.

Courtesy of Sarah Darby

But modified co-sleeping doesn't have to mean your baby is in any part of your bed. According to The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, room-sharing is also considered co-sleeping and works for many families. You can have your child in a cot, a crib in your room, a bassinet by your bed, or even a crib mattress on the floor so your child can climb in and out.

And for parents who want a mix of both, a co-sleeper bassinet is recommended by many experts, including The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. These products can be used like a bassinet or they can attach to the side of your bed by removing one side, making it versatile for you and your family.


No matter how you co-sleep, what matters is that everyone is getting a good night's sleep. KellyMom noted that the word co-sleeping just requires sleeping in close proximity to your child, so modify it how you want so that you and your little one can catch all the Zs possible.