You’ll hear me use phrases like “Co-sleeping,” but for most of you, this simply refers to sharing your bed with your baby.
Sharing your bed with your baby is a wonderful thing to do, especially with a newborn, who needs a smooth transition from the utero to the “real world.” Sharing your bed also offers a gentle progression for the mother after the birth, as bonding during the “4th trimester” -the month following the birth- benefit both the baby and mother.
There 3 distinct advantages of co-sleeping:
- For breastfeeding mothers, having the baby close helps facilitate night feedings.
- It is easier to meet the baby’s needs without getting out of bed.
- Cuddles! This has to be the greatest benefit for co-sleeping. Lots and lots of cuddles.
I want to share a little disclaimer before I move on. If your goal is to co-sleep with your baby for years, the advice I am about to share with you is not for you!
Co-sleeping is obviously sublime, but here’s a tip from a sleep consultant’s point of view: (If your goal is to co-sleep with your baby for years, the advice I am about to share is not for you!)
A baby should fall asleep once a day in his or her own bed. This recommendation is not to make a statement against co-sleeping. On the contrary; I support families who want to co-sleep. But, if your goal is to eventually stop co-sleeping, the older the child gets, the harder it will be for that child to sleep in their own room.
Some parents are ready to stop co-sleeping when they go back to work or when they have a second child, for an example. This transition will be smoother if the baby is already accustomed to falling asleep in his or her own bed. Encourage your child to sleep in their own crib once a day, and it will help them to get acclimated to their room, and their bed. This helps your child develop the skill of falling asleep on their own.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget to consider your own needs, as well. If you have a lot to get done during nap time, helping your baby to sleep independent of you will be a big help.
Remember, you don’t have to give up co-sleeping all together. You can have the best of both worlds. If your goal is to eventually have your baby sleep in his or her own room, give my advice a try! If not, enjoy those extra cuddles and put the to-do list to the side.
Enjoy your baby while they are so tiny, soft, cuddly and so very precious. As they say – it doesn’t last forever!
Sleeping Babies = Happy Families