Do you want to bond with your baby more by sleeping right next to her all night?
A lot of parents are turning to baby co-sleeping these days as an alternative to the usual newborn crib. While people have co-slept with their babies for thousands of years, is it really the best option?
More importantly, is it safe?
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of baby co-sleeping.
Why You Should Co-Sleep With Your Baby
There are many good reasons why people co-sleep with their newborns. It comes down to a few important factors:
It’s easier to keep an eye on your baby when she’s right next to you. If she gasps, spits up, or starts crying, you know immediately. Most parents already have a sixth sense and hear every little noise their child makes, but having her nearby can make tending to emergencies a lot easier. It has been shown to also reduce the risk of SIDS.
Newborns tend to need frequent feedings throughout the night, and it can be hassle to have to get out of bed and walk across the room. With a co-sleeper, the breastfeeding mom can simply feed the baby while still in bed, which makes it less stressful for everyone involved.
- Babies Fall Asleep Faster
If you’re right next to your baby and are able to immediately comfort her, she will tend to fall asleep faster after waking up. Being near her parents will probably also put her at ease and make it easier for her to doze off.
Infancy only happens once, and it’s a very short stage in your child’s life. Many parents like to enjoy this precious time as much as they can by co-sleeping with their newborn.
Co-sleepers are usually very portable, so it can make traveling easier. Your baby may be able to adapt to the new environment better, too, since her usual bed is still with her.
Why You Should Not Co-Sleep With Your Baby
Naturally, there are also cons to baby co-sleeping, which is why not everyone does it.
Yes, there are safety benefits to co-sleeping—but there are also safety hazards. Co-sleeping with your child can increase the risk of suffocation when you do it wrong, especially if you have a co-sleeper that sits in the bed with you. The safest option is a baby co-sleeping bed that attaches to the side of your bed.
If you smoke, do drugs, drink heavily, or take prescription drugs that make you drowsy, then you should not co-sleep with your child at all. This is also true if your child was premature, had a low birth weight, or suffers from certain medical issues. These can all increase the risk of SIDS if you co-sleep with your child.
Baby Co-Sleeping Could Worsen Your Sleep Quality
You may see your baby as a precious gift, but this doesn’t mean that a fussy little bundle is going to be conducive to a good night’s rest. If you’re a new parent, you’re probably already sleep-deprived. Putting a squirming baby in the bed with you will only make you lose more sleep at first. In addition, you might keep yourself awake out of paranoia that you could roll over or accidentally swat the baby with your arm.
Your Baby Will Get Too Used to It
If your baby is used to sleeping next to you, hearing your soothing breaths, inhaling the pheromones of her parents, then when it’s time for you to travel without her, she may be extra fussy. It can be a shock to go from sleeping with you to sleeping in a crib when the babysitter is taking care of her. She may have trouble sleeping without you.
Your Relationship With Your Spouse
If you have a partner, the idea of getting physically intimate in the same bed as your infant can be very distasteful. This can put a huge damper on your sex life for sure. If this is going to be an issue, it might be better not to co-sleep. Remember that the relationship that created your little bundle of joy can’t be neglected.
How to Choose a Baby Co-Sleeper
If you’ve thought about it and finally decided that you’re going to be co-sleeping, how do you choose the best co-sleeper for you? Well, there are some things that you should consider:
Always Get a Side-Sleeper
Do not get a co-sleeper that places your baby actually in the bed, as this is unsafe. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sleeping in the same bed as your baby, so always get a co-sleeper that attaches to your own bed.
Find a Sturdy Co-Sleeper
The materials should be high-quality and sturdy, since you do not want the sides to collapse onto your baby. Sturdy sides will also keep your baby from rolling off the sleeper, of course. That being said, make sure that the sides of the sleeper are breathable, in case your baby presses her face against them.
A Firm Base
Just as with a crib, the bed should be firm (though comfortable). This will prevent suffocation.
Portable and Easy to Set Up
Part of the advantage of co-sleepers is that they are small and easy to move around. Make sure that the baby co-sleeper you are looking to buy is not too bulky.
Make sure that lots of other parents have used this product and approve of it. Watch out for any details about safety concerns that they may voice, as well as other practical matters.
A good product that hits all of these points well is the Arm’s Reach Curved Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet. This product is a side-sleeper that attaches to your bed, and comes with nice, solid padding. It’s sturdy, yet collapsible so that it’s portable, and it takes only a few seconds to set up. It has mesh sides so your baby can always breathe freely. The reviews on it are very good as well.
So if you’re looking to reap the benefits of baby co-sleeping, just make sure to do your research first. Sleeping with your baby can be a great bonding experience if you do it right.