What’s The Big Deal About Co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping, bed sharing, the family bed – no matter what the latest name is – forms part of attachment parenting and basically means letting Baby sleep in bed with you. Just like skin-to-skin and kangaroo mother care, co-sleeping has sound scientific backing and isn’t just a fad. Unfortunately, it’s got a negative reputation because people don’t fully understand babies’ sleep patterns.
Bed sharing is one of the most ‘natural’ ways of sleeping and, if you think about it, is basically expected by Baby from birth! You see, Baby has been cradled in your womb since the moment of conception, and after birth he’s happiest when he’s close to you and surrounded by your familiar smell – what a comfort! It’s particularly beneficial if you need to provide a bit of extra emotional security for Baby because you’re away at work all day.
Co-sleeping also incorporates another important physical and emotional therapeutic tool: touch. Both massage and co-sleeping are excellent ways to give Baby the advantages of this. Plus, co-sleeping provides emotional security and comfort for little ones – and you! How many moms let Baby sleep in bed with them when Dad is away on business because they feel lonely? Sleeping together provides comfort for the whole family and everyone will probably sleep better.
Other benefits of co-sleeping include:
- Better bonding because Mom and Baby aren’t separated for any significant amount of time
- Better sleep for Mom and Baby
- The best neurodevelopment for Baby
- An improved breastfeeding experience
- Minimised crying and stress for Baby (and therefore Mom!)
- A happier family life
- Parenting becoming easier and more enjoyable
- Communication being better in the long run
You can continue co-sleeping right into toddler years; the best approach is to let Baby decide when he’s ready to move to his own bed. The longer you do it, the more emotional advantages there are! It’s even possible to co-sleep with more than one child; although you might need to do some shuffling so that everyone fits. Alternatively, once your youngest is a few months old you can move him and your older tot into a bed together – they’ll get all the same benefits of co-sleeping.
Kind co-sleeping alternatives
If you really feel that you can’t embrace co-sleeping, you can compromise by letting Baby start his naps and bedtime in his own bed and then move him to your bed the first time he wakes up. This meets his emotional needs and gradually gets him used to sleeping in his own bed.
By co-sleeping, you’re following your heart and letting your motherly instincts guide you.You can read my blog on Co-sleeping myths – busted so that you’re ready for critics, but the bottom line is that what happens in your house at bedtime with your baby is really nobody else’s business. Those critics don’t offer to help you out at midnight, do they?