Since I sometimes get questions about how I feel about cosleeping, I wanted to put out a post about my thoughts. Remember, these are just my thoughts based on personal and professional experience, but you should always do what feels right to you!
We never really co-slept. In the first few weeks of my son’s life, he occasionally was in bed with us, but usually in a boppy (totally not safe – I do not recommend!), but this was due to total desperation. He was a horrible sleeper, and I was desperate to get him some sleep however I could (and yes, this was BEFORE I was a sleep coach!). I never really wanted to co-sleep. When we first had our daughter, we already had 2 cats in bed with us, plus 4 dogs laying in beds around the bed. I am barely comfortable with just my husband in the bed, so it wasn’t something that I really wanted to do. I was, and still am though sometimes jealous of people who have had successful co-sleeping arrangements. We did keep our children in our rooms for around the first 4 months of their lives, sleeping in a bassinet.
If you are thinking of co-sleeping only because you are desperate to get better sleep and you think that is the only way to get it, there are other ways that I can help you with. Co-sleeping in itself will probably not solve all your problems. It may make it easier to feed your baby in the night and you may get some more sleep because you are not getting in and out of bed, but there may be other disadvantages too. Your child may actually wake more often because you are right there to feed them, and your spouse may get less sleep than they were getting. Many people who start off co-sleeping just to get better sleep become resentful of it if it doesn’t work, or doesn’t work well enough. I want you to enjoy the majority of your time with your children and if you are not enjoying co-sleeping, then we can work on other ways to get better sleep.
If you want to co-sleep because you believe you will enjoy it, then go for it, just do it safely! I have seen many people successfully co-sleep and enjoy it. And, if you decide in the future that it is not for you, please do not feel guilty. There are ways to gently wean from co-sleeping if you want to.
If you feel like you may want to try having your baby very close to you, but maybe not in the same bed, look into co-sleepers. They are separate sleeping areas that can attach to your bed, so your baby is right next to you, but in a safe sleeping area of their own.
Here is an example of a co-sleeper that attaches to your bed:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing, but not bed sharing for infants. From their website: “Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at risk of SIDS, suffocation, or strangulation. Parents can roll onto babies during sleep or babies can get tangled in the sheets or blankets.” There are however steps you can take to co-sleep more safely to reduce these risks. Dr. Sears has great detailed tips on creating a safe environment for c0sleeping. Here is a link to an article with lots of dos and don’ts – http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/cosleeping-safely.
I would love to hear about your experiences with co-sleeping, both good and bad.