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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Post - On Cosleeping

Today I have a guest post on co-sleeping from Sarah Clare. Now, this is a controversial topic with much research being done on either side of the debate. I, personally, did not co-sleep because of reasons and things, most notably that I was pumping, so I would have to get up and get bottles anyway, that my kids were preemie and that there were two of them. So, I don't have personal experience with this. But I do know that I support both methods (so long as you're not leaving your infant to cry for hours alone to try to "train" her to sleep.) And as far as the final question in the piece, why would you ever want your child to leave your bed, well, I've got a few answers for that, but now is not the time, is it?


How Co-Sleeping can Help You and Your Baby or Toddler Get More Sleep

Sleep is elusive for many new parents. Finding ways to get more sleep or to get their baby to sleep longer is at the top of the list of priorities for most parents in the first couple of years of a child's life. Newborns are notorious for waking up every couple of hours (or even every hour), but even toddlers can be up several times a night, disrupting sleep for the whole family.

Co-sleeping -- or sleeping with your baby or toddler -- can help you to solve that age-old conundrum and get more sleep. Many parents find that co-sleeping even helps them sleep through the night! Here's how co-sleeping with your baby or toddler can help you to get more sleep:

You Don't Have to Get Up to Get Your Baby

Imagine these two scenarios: It is 3 a.m. and your baby wakes up to nurse, crying out in the darkness for you. You can either crawl out of bed with your eyes half-open and stumble through the darkness to your baby's crib on the other side of the room or even the other side of the house, groping your way along the wall and furniture (or more likely, tripping your way) OR you can roll over to where your baby is safely snuggled next to you on your bed or in a co-sleeper or Moses basket.

Which one seems like it's going to allow you to get more sleep? Even though you can't keep from being woken up when you co-sleep, you can limit the amount of time you stay awake. Getting out of bed and stumbling through the darkness is also likely to wake you up more, making you more fully alert and less likely to get back to sleep quickly.

You Don't Have to Get Up to Nurse

Sitting in a cozy rocking chair and nursing your baby back to sleep is a peaceful image. But when you've woken up for the fourth time in the night, the last thing you want to do is get out of the bed yet again and sit up in your nursing chair, waiting for your baby to fall back to sleep.

By co-sleeping, you can simply pull your baby in close to you when it's time to nurse, and you can nurse while lying down. You don't have to get up. You don't have to set up fancy nursing pillows, and you don't have to worry about falling asleep and falling out of the chair with your baby.

You Can Sleep While Nursing

Since you can nurse while you are lying on your side in the bed, you can also sleep. When you don't have to worry about getting up to put your baby back to bed once he has fallen asleep, you can simply fall back to sleep yourself once your baby has latched on and you are both in a comfortable position.

Once you and your baby are pros at nursing, you can quickly get settled when your baby wakes up, allowing him to latch and you to fall back asleep while he nurses. The whole process takes a few seconds, and you can be back asleep before you even knew you were awake. During the first few weeks of my daughter's life, this strategy saved my sanity as it almost felt like I was able to sleep through the night.

Baby Falls back Asleep Quicker

When your baby wakes in the middle of the night to nurse or to be comforted, the sooner you are able to respond, the better. Babies who are left to fuss or cry will become more and more upset, making them harder to console and much harder to get back to sleep.

A baby who has had to cry for even 5 or 10 minutes while you wake up and make your way to his crib will be much more awake, alert, and harder to soothe than a baby who has only whimpered a few times before you were able to respond immediately because he was close at hand in bed.

Your Baby Will Sleep Longer and More Soundly

We all sleep better when we sleep together. Think about it: Do you like to sleep alone? Neither does your baby or toddler. You are comforting and reassuring to your child. When you are near, he will sleep longer and will sleep more soundly. If you try to pressure your child into sleeping before he's ready, he will resist sleep and bed time will become a battle.

Instead of spending hours trying to soothe your baby to sleep each night, you can spend a few minutes to get the same job done by just snuggling up next to him in your own bed. He will feel your warmth and your reassuring presence and will fall right to sleep.

Many people fear that co-sleeping will mean that their child will never leave their bed. The reality is that co-sleeping will help you and your whole family get better sleep, helping you to be happier and more rested. When that's the case, why would you ever want your child to leave your bed?

Did you co-sleep with your baby? Share your experiences in the comments!


Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site, where she has
recently been researching gantt chart templates. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and



  1. I see the positives as demonstrated by this parent here, but I want to introduce a distinction and then an element of caution. First, there's a distinction between co-sleeping and bed-sharing, where co-sleeping can simply be having a baby's crib immediately adjacent to the bed of the parent(s). Bed-sharing is what's being described above. Second, caution, based on the tragic experiences of two of my friends from high school, both of whom rolled on their infants while they were bed-sharing. Their infants suffocated to death. In one case, the person who rolled over was the mom; in the other case, it was the dad.

    The mom in this case runs grief support groups for parents who have lost their children through rolling on them during bed-sharing (as well as loss through other means). She's a major advocate for the practice of co-sleeping where co-sleeping does not mean bed-sharing.

    One resource that's worth a look is the Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative. They have this note on their FB page:

    "Co-sleeping is a practice in which babies and young children sleep in close proximity to one or both parents, (but not in bed with parents) as opposed to a separate room. It is standard practice in many parts of the world, and is practiced by a significant minority in countries where cribs are also used.

    "Bed-sharing, a practice in which babies and young children sleep in the same bed with one or both parents, is a subset of co-sleeping. Co-bedding refers to infants (typically twins or higher order multiples) sharing the same bed.

    "There are conflicting views on bed-sharing safety and health compared to using a separate infant bed. The conflicts surrounding infant sleep are exacerbated by the misuse of the term co-sleeping interchangeably with bed sharing.

    "The American Academy of Pediatrics does encourage room-sharing (or co-sleeping on a separate surface) in its policy statement regarding SIDS prevention, but has come out against bed-sharing with small babies (though it does encourage co-sleeping on a separate surface)."

    I hope that parents who want to consider co-sleeping make an informed choice with serious consideration for the pros and cons of bedsharing vs. the crib-adjacent-to-the-bed version. The risk of suffocating a child through bed-sharing is too high for me, given what my friends--who are otherwise diligent, loving, responsible parents--have gone through.

  2. We co-slept with all 4 of our kids. My kids are now in their twenties and the youngest two are teenagers. We would have the crib, then their bed right up next to our bed and they stayed in our room until they started school at 4 and half. It only stopped because my eldest came home from school one day and said, "None of my Friends sleep in their Mum & Dads room, so I need my own room now". To be honest, I would never have got a wink of sleep if we didnt co-sleep, and I'm so rubbish at everything if I dont get enough kip. It worked very well for our family.

  3. I'm a co-sleeper or bed-sharer with my 2.5 year old. The only draw back has been that now I can't get my 2.5 year old to wean because we are both programmed to nurse when she wakes up in the middle of the night (light sleeper is she).

    My oldest slept in our bed until the younger was born.

    My motto is "do what you need to do to get sleep!"



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