The fact that my husband and I were co-sleepers, more specifically, bed sharers, was the worst-kept secret among our friend group. Yes, the crib that we so lovingly picked out and set up in our son's nursery was actually used to store the clean baby laundry that hadn't yet made its way into the closet or dresser. Although we were slightly ashamed that we couldn't manage to make crib sleeping work, we had, in fact, made an important discovery – we learned the secret of why you should try bed sharing.
I had a group of friends who were adamant that parents and babies needed separate sleep spaces. They were the same ones who arrived exhausted and disheveled to play group. They complained heavily about being exhausted from staying up all night trying different sleep-training techniques. In my home, "sleep training" meant that as soon as we were tired, we all got into bed together, turned off the lights and fell asleep. Back then, the little co-sleeper beds that go on top of the big bed didn't exist, so we took special care to follow Dr. Sears' co-sleeping safety recommendations while bed sharing. When my son got up, I'd feed and change him right there in our bed, and we'd all be asleep again in minutes. Most of the time, my feet didn't even have to touch the ground.
If this sounds like your kind of night, here are some reasons you might consider bed-sharing.
1. It Makes Overnight Breastfeeding Easier
Newborn babies wake up several times to feed in the night. Often, a mom will give in and let her baby stay in the big bed for the sake of getting a few extra winks. This arrangement works so well, that the Australian Breastfeeding Associations noted that mothers who bed share with their baby tend to breastfeed longer than those who do not co-sleep.
2. Babies Fall Back To Sleep More Quickly
There's just something about the smell of your mama and the warmth of the family bed that makes it that much easier to fall asleep. According to WhatToExpect.com, bed sharing helps babies fall asleep easily and go back to sleep more quickly when they wake up during the night.
3. It Can Improve Parent-Child Bonding
Parents who work long hours may only get to spend an hour or two with their baby before bedtime. Having a family bed means that even when your little one is asleep, you can still be together for hours and wake up together in the morning. According to La Leche League International, studies have shown that sleeping with your infant promotes bonding.
4. Everyone Will Get More Sleep
When a baby wakes up in the night wailing, everyone in the house suffers, especially mom if she's walking back and forth to the nursery several times in the night. According to Gentle Parenting, the amount of time bed sharing babies stay awake overnight is shorter than those of babies that sleep in their own cribs, which means parents and siblings can get more sleep, too.
5. You're Close By In Case Of An Emergency
When you bed share, your baby is at arm's reach all night long. Gaps in breathing can be common in the first few months of infancy, according to The Natural Child Project, and by being close by, a parent can arouse or assist a baby who might be having respiratory issues.