18 Benefits And 9 Tips Of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

Co-sleeping is when you share a bed with your baby or newborn. Co-sleeping can mean the newborn shares a bed with only the mom or with both the parents too. There are different ways of co-sleeping and a lot of things you should know about co-sleeping with your newborn.

What Are The Ways To Co-Sleep With Your Baby?

  1. Family bed or bed sharing- This is when one or both the parents sleep on the same bed with the child.
  2. Different beds same room- In this case, the baby sleeps in a crib or bassinet in the same room as the parents’.
  3. Sidecar arrangement- A crib is attached to the mother’s side of the bed. The attached crib can be lowered or removed to make breastfeeding easier.
  4. The child is allowed to sleep with the parent or parents’ as and when s/he needs or wants.

Benefits Of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

Even though co-sleeping is not a common practice in every family, there are many advantages of following this practice. Enlisted below are a few of the benefits of practicing co-sleeping.

  1. Studies show that babies are at a lower
    risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when they sleep in the same room as their parents.
  1. The mother and the child sleep better in the same room. During the nights, you can feed your baby without having to get up from the bed.
  1. You will have more peaceful and long bouts of sleep with little to no interruptions.
  1. Your toddler will feel more comfortable, secure, and safe beside you.
  1. Breastfeeding your baby will be easier when you co-sleep.
  1. You will not feel anxious during the nights if you have your baby sleeping beside you.
  1. If your toddler is fussy, s/he will sleep better beside you.
  1. When you co-sleep, your baby can get back to sleep quickly after a sudden wake when s/he feels you beside him/her.
  1. Mothers agree it’s a great feeling to wake up to your little one’s peaceful and smiling face.
  1. Skin-to-skin contact helps in the physical and mental development of the child according to studies.
  1. At times of illness, it will be easier for you to monitor your newborn.
  1. Co-sleeping strengthens the emotional bond between you
    and your child.
  1. If you have a small house, co-sleeping is a way to consume less space.
  1. If you’re a working mother, co-sleeping allows you to spend more time with your kid.
  1. The chances of your baby falling off the bed are very less.
  1. Co-sleeping makes your child feel like s/he is in a safe environment and makes him/her more confident.
  1. It is a great way to develop the emotional bond and intimacy between the father and the baby.

However, as it is said a coin has two sides, there are disadvantages of co-sleeping too.

Disadvantages Of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby:

  1. If the bed is not big enough, there are chances of the baby feeling strangled or suffocated due to lack of space.
  2. Co-sleeping can also backfire at times, making your child very dependent on the parents.
  3. Some mothers are disturbed by the constant movement of their baby and as a result, have a disturbed sleep.
  4. If you or your husband are suffering from an infection or any other health condition, there is a high chance it could affect your baby too.
  5. If either of the parents
    is on any kind of heavy medication or therapy, co-sleeping should be avoided.
  6. If you or your husband smoke, drink or use drugs, co-sleeping can pose severe health risks to your child.
  7. Your baby may develop a habit of sleeping with you, and at one point may not be able to sleep independently.
  8. In cases of divorce, separation or death of any parent, it could disturb the child mentally.
  9. You may be deprived of intimacy with your partner.

Is Co-Sleeping With Your Baby Safe?

A recent research study has said that about 74% of the SIDS cases at the age of four months were found to be co-sleeping with their parents. However, the study was exclusive of factors such as smoking, drinking or drug habits in these parents. The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages co-sleeping of parents and babies. However, if you do want to practice co-sleeping, here are a few guidelines you have to follow:

Tips On Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

Make sure to follow these simple tips and guidelines for safe and healthy co-sleeping.

1. Make Your Baby Sleep On His/Her Back

Studies prove that putting your

baby to sleep on his/her back reduces the risk of SIDS in your baby. When you nurse your baby, lie down beside him/her, nurse your baby and then get them back on their back once they’re done.

2. Have An Ideal Sleep Surface

Use a firm mattress with tightly placed bedspreads. Place a pillow and a blanket which does not fall on or cover your baby’s face. Refrain from using cushion bed covers or pillows. Place your baby slightly higher that where you lie down.

3. Check The Surrounding Conditions

Make sure your infant has enough space to move around and does not feel cornered or squeezed between the bed and the furniture, walls, or side table.

4. Don’t Smoke Or Drink

If you smoke or drink, quit immediately and do not indulge in any form of drugs too. Intoxications make you unresponsive to your baby, putting your baby in danger.

5. Keep Your Baby Warm, Not Hot

Leave your baby’s head uncovered as this can increase your baby’s body temperature.

6. Dress Your Baby Well

Dress up your baby in warm night clothes that will keep him/her warm. However,

in summers keep your baby’s clothing light.

7. Buy A Big Bed

If you want to practice co-sleeping, make sure the bed is big enough for your baby to sleep with you and your partner.

8. Do Not Co-Sleep On The Couch

Co-sleeping on the couch or armchair can suffocate or strangle your baby and is thus dangerous.

9. Sleep In A C Position

When you co-sleep, lie on the side facing your baby and curl yourself around him/her. Bring up your knees to your baby’s feet and lay your arm over your little one’s head. This position also makes nursing easier for you and your baby.

When To Stop Co-Sleeping?

Co-sleeping has to end slowly and transition into your baby sleeping independently. But when is the right time to stop co-sleeping? The transition of co-sleeping to independent sleeping is difficult as your baby is used to co-sleeping. However, depending on your priorities, irrespective of your child’s age, you can shift your little one from co-sleeping to independent sleeping.

How To Transition Baby From Co-Sleeping To Crib?

The transition of shifting your baby from your bed to a crib is

hectic and tricky too. However, once your baby is past nine months old, certain developmental changes in your baby make this transition a bit easier. If you try to shift from co-sleeping to crib before this period, your baby is likely to get clingy and fussy. A few tricks you could try to move your infant from co-sleeping to the crib:

  1. Instead of completely moving your child to another room, first, try attaching the crib to your bedside and keep your baby close to you in the same room where you sleep.
  1. Once you let your baby get used to sleeping in the crib next to you, you can slowly move the crib to another room where your little can sleep independently.
  1. Do it gradually. First, put your baby in the crib during his/her nap times. As days pass, try putting your baby to sleep in the crib during the night too. This way the change is gradual and your baby gets time to get accustomed to the crib.
  1. Do not change your baby’s night routines. Do whatever you used to
    do while you were co-sleeping. If you read your baby a book or sing a lullaby, do the same.
  2. Even after you have moved your baby to his/her crib, be by your baby’s side until s/he completely settles in and falls asleep.
  3. Babies can feel uneasy and fussy when sleeping alone. So, make the room interesting and fun by placing stuffed toys, painting the walls in bright colors etc.

Co-sleeping helps build an emotional connect, benefits your baby in the development and has many other benefits. However, make sure you follow these guidelines and tips before you start co-sleeping. Co-sleeping, as mentioned above, has both advantages and disadvantages. Your child will feel more safe, confident, and assured when you practice co-sleeping.