Ahhh…the ‘controversial’ topic of co-sleeping and bed-sharing. I’m assuming that if you are reading this page, you are either wanting to learn more about the topic or you are a supporter of it. If you are neither, I hope you stick around to learn some of the basics! :) I’ve included some links throughout, so feel free to click to learn even more!
First, let’s look at the definitions of co-sleeping and bed-sharing because, believe it or not, they ARE different!
Co-sleeping is when parent(s)/caregiver(s)/guardian(s) sleep in close proximity to the child(ren) versus in a separate room. This could be having the baby’s crib/bassinet in the same room or using something like a co-sleeper next to the bed. You can also find co-sleepers that you use in bed with you. Co-sleeping can also include the baby sleeping in the same bed as the parent (without a bassinet), but, I prefer to keep these terms separate.
Bed-sharing is when the baby is sleeping in the same bed as the parent(s)/caregiver(s)/guardian(s). No bassinets, no nothin’!
An excellent article about co-sleeping and bed-sharing can be found here. It is written by James McKenna who is extremely knowledgeable in the area and deemed as the leading authority in mother and infant co-sleeping.
McKenna’s website also offers some helpful advice when deciding whether bed-sharing and co-sleeping are right for you.
For our family, we practice attachment parenting. We believe in bed-sharing and it works great for our family.
Our daughter occasionally takes naps in her crib during the day and sometimes she just prefers to nurse and nap next to me on the couch. Some days it prevents me from getting things done, but, it also allows me time to relax and snuggle with my baby before she’s too big! :)
We sometimes put her down in her crib at night if we’re still awake, but, typically she nurses and falls asleep on me. If she wakes up when I put her in her crib, I take it as a sign that she wants to snuggle and be close to me instead.
Bed-sharing is especially amazing for mothers who are breastfeeding because you don’t have to get up to nurse. Bed-sharing saved my sanity…well, most of it…during the first few months of new motherhood. Not only was I nursing our girl every couple hours, I literally got no sleep when she was in the bassinet- constantly checking to make sure she was breathing! After we started bed-sharing exclusively, we ALL got more sleep (and more baby snuggles- WIN!)
Bed-sharing is not always easy and it comes with its own set of challenges (intimacy with your spouse, etc.).
You find ways to make it work!
Check out MotherWise’s post about Intimacy & Co-Sleeping- it might make you blush! ;)
How do you catch Zzz’s with your little ones? Do you bed-share? Co-Sleep? Tell me about it!! :)