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Dear Crissy - Life, blogged.

Is co-sleeping with baby a good idea?

It is 8:26 a.m., and I am lounging comfortably in bed next to Kara.

She slept beside me last night, and I have to admit, being able to simply turn to my side to nurse her was comfortable, and convenient. Yet, I still worry about really making a habit of co-sleeping with my baby, so I hope that some of you can offer me your personal insight.

co sleeping

With Evan, we didn’t co-sleep because he just didn’t enjoy it. He was a different baby across the board, and he always slept better swaddled, in his crib.

This baby… well, this baby is unique.

As many of you know, we are struggling with colic, and most nights I’m lucky to get any sleep at all. When I do get sleep, it seems like it is only when Kara is either sleeping on my chest, or right beside me in bed.

It’s funny, because she’ll sleep in a bassinet during the day, but at night? No way.

I have most of the typical concerns about co-sleeping with my baby, including the danger-factor, and creating the need for her to sleep in our bed until she’s 10-years-old (part of me wouldn’t mind the kids being in our room until they are 10, but, I still worry that it isn’t best!)

Also, just FYI, I do have a co-sleeper next to the bed, and that just doesn’t seem to be good enough. She wants to be closer to my body.

I’m not sure if it was a fluke or not, but last night, she actually slept for 4 hours straight while in bed next to me, which is the longest stretch of sleep I’ve had in about 10 days — much needed — for sure.

Did you co-sleep with your baby, and if so, was it a positive experience?

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57 Comments

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  1. January 24, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    I was not a full-on co-sleeper. My husband sleeps really heavily and moves a lot so we knew it would be a bad idea in our bed. But I definitely had nights where I took the baby into the twin bed in his room and co-slept with him there.

    I was nervous about it, but we had very little bedding and it turned out that my nervousness must have extended through my sleep. I wouldn’t move AT ALL when I slept with him. I would have to wake up every few hours and rearrange myself because I got so stiff!

    This baby’s due next month and I’m hoping to get a co-sleeper and see how it goes.

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  2. January 24, 2012 @ 9:00 am
    Kate

    I did NOT co-sleep with number one. he slept fine on his own and I was VEHEMENTLY opposed to co-sleeping. 5 years later, I gave birth to a daughter who did not sleep alone. At all. Ever. Now we’ve co-slept with her for 13 months. Along the “eat crow” path, I’ve learned there’s a smart and a dumb way to co-sleep. Good luck!

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  3. January 24, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    My son is just three months old, and I feel so lucky because he has always been so good about sleeping on his own. When we brought him home, he couldn’t sleep alone for more than 15 minutes, so he shared the bed with me and hubby but it worried me like crazy! So during the day I would have him nap in his crib, and it only took about a month and he was actually most comfortable sleeping in his crib, now when he’s tired he freaks out if he’s not sleeping in his crib.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it, as long as you teach her independence when she’s ready, and don’t KEEP her in your bed until she’s 10, I’m sure she’ll grow out of it!

    Good luck, and try to get some more sleep!

    Have a great week!

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  4. January 24, 2012 @ 9:08 am
    Ashley M.

    We did/continue to co-sleep with our son. When he was an infant, it was for my own sanity. As you said, they’re right there next to you for feedings. And he definitely slept better when he was with us. He’d nap in his crib during the day, though. Now that he’s older (he’ll be 3 in April), he still sleeps with us but the situation has become more “mature”. I read to him in our bed where he falls asleep, then I move him to his bed. For a while he’d climb back into our bed by midnight. But now he usually doesn’t join us until at least 6am, and we wake up together around 8. Sometimes, at night, he’ll even ask to be moved to his bed after we read so he can fall asleep there. If it keeps you sane and baby happy, absolutely do it! Your little one will mature with her sleeping habits with time. And if she wants to sleep with you as she gets older, unless it’s really bothersome to you, it’s a great thing. I wish I could find it, but a friend of mine recently posted an article saying that kids who co-slept often have more secure/healthy/close relationships with their parents…among other things. My husbands family all slept in the same bed/room for ages! The youngest slept in the same bed until she was in her early teens, and the older two kids slept in the same room on a mattress on the floor. I’ve never seen kids have such good relationships with their parents as they do. (of course, I know most of us wouldn’t let our kids sleep with us for THAT long! lol…but whatever works for your family)

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  5. January 24, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    We never really decided. We slept where we could and when we could. My baby is turning 14, so it was quite a while ago and these terms weren’t such a big deal at the time. The “cry it out” thing was never an option for me and both my children sleep in their own beds now =). Every once in a while, my daughter and I still have a sleep over and I feel privileged that at her age she’s still willing to “co-sleep” with mommy.

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  6. January 24, 2012 @ 9:13 am
    Jaime

    Long story that I will try to sum it up.
    Severe colic baby. Vomiting all the time. We co-sleep still and she is 17.5 months. We had to. She has never been in a crib. Never co-slept with my first tho
    We will be trying a toddler bed soon.
    I had no worries with her in bed with us. She slept great.
    She always had to be very close to me. So close we could get any closer. Lol
    And she is still like that.

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  7. January 24, 2012 @ 9:15 am
    jeanine

    i’m co-slept with all 5 of my children. they all transitioned nicely before they were 18 months old and are all good sleepers now in their own beds.

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  8. January 24, 2012 @ 9:21 am
    Angela Landry

    I was against co-sleeping too at first, because of all the bad things I have heard. Though in order to get any sleep at all I had no choice. Anytime I put him down Id pick his right back up. I tried everything else but nothing worked. At around 3 months of age I notice he kept sleeping after I put him down for a second during a nap(this would never happen before. That nights I layed him in his be and held his hand for a bit and after about 1 hour, (no crying, just alot of restlessness) He fell asleep and stayed asleep for about 6hours. Now (about 1 week later) it only takes him about 5-10mins to fall asleep after out bedtime routine. They will let you know when they are ready and all babies are different. My husband and I loved cosleeping and miss it, but we dont want to ruin a good thing with the crib sleeping. I say if you dont mind it and feel safe doing it go for it!

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  9. January 24, 2012 @ 9:23 am

    There are some things you have to commit to, like pretty much NEVER drinking (I’ve not been around much lately so I don’t know all these little details) and breaking the co sleeping habit can be next to impossible. That’s where I’m at right now. Two and a half, and she still ends up in my bed every night.

    I think that I will never be on team anything (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, formula, whatever) again. That baby will tell you what she needs/wants, and this one wants to co-sleep. She’s beautiful, and congrats!

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  10. January 24, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    We’ve been co-sleeping with our daughter (she’s 7 weeks) and I really like it. I makes it much easier to nurse her to sleep at night, during the night if she wakes up (although she has started sleeping through the night), and I like having her near me. We haven’t found any real “danger” – we keep blankets, pillows, etc. a distance from her and neither my husband nor I have come anywhere close to accidentally rolling on her. In fact, the only downside is that I don’t sleep as well (probably because I am hyperaware of her and not wanting to roll on her).

    I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for us so far. I know we won’t want her in the bed with us forever, we’ll work on transitioning her to her crib when we feel ready.

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  11. January 24, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    I’m sure it was not a fluke! We started out being totally opposed to co-sleeping, which was great because our first-born would only sleep well in her own crib. Baby #2 was also fine to be on his own. Babies #3 and #4 were not good sleepers. Desperate times led to co-sleeping a lot. Pure exhaustion won out. They were not interested in the co-sleeper either. With both of them we gently pushed them out by 18 months. It was not the easiest transition, but everybody survived. I know how frustrating it can be. But you have to admit that it’s pretty delicious to have a warm little love snuggled up to you, right?

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  12. January 24, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    I co-sleep right now and it’s mainly because it’s easier for baby and I. He sleeps fine during the day in his crib but at night it’s like a switch turns on and he needs to be near mommy and daddy.
    I also co-slept with my first child (twelve yrs ago) and he slept in the bed with me until he made it known he wanted his own big boy bed.

    I’ve never had any issues and we co-sleep safely (no blankets past my waist, no pillows etc)

    Also my husband sleeps hard so I make sure I am in the middle and baby is near the wall.

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  13. January 24, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    I am now co-sleeping with our second daughter. The first was 2 when she finally made it out of our bed. I’ll be honest, getting her into her own bed was a struggle, but we did it.

    A few tips for co-sleeping safely. Get one of those bumpers if you are worried about rolling over on her. I don’t think you would anyway, b/c you are mom and even in your sleep keenly aware of your baby, but we did use bumpers with our first and it gave us a little piece of mind.

    Scoot down (or scoot baby up) so that your head is no higher than her hips. That way if you pull the covers up, it won’t cover your baby.

    Continue swaddling. Not only will she sleep better, but it keeps her from rolling and getting her face in the mattress.

    We loved co-sleeping with our babies. We got better sleep, so did they. And it’s a great bonding time. Even though you are sleeping, both you and baby know you’re close. Good luck!

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  14. January 24, 2012 @ 10:59 am
    Camille

    We were “accidental co-sleepers”. I was definitly against the idea but it worked. She slept in my bed until about 12 months and then we transitioned her to a twin bed in her own room. Occasionally I go in there and sleep half the night in her bed, but overall she has done well.
    I read this article http://neuroanthropology.net/2008/12/21/cosleeping-and-biological-imperatives-why-human-babies-do-not-and-should-not-sleep-alone/

    And it changed my ideas about bedsharing & co-sleeping. Every child is different, and sometimes as parents we have to adjust our thinking to better meet that child’s needs.
    You will find something that works for your family!!

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  15. January 24, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    I did, and still do currently co sleep with my son. We breastfed and it made me getting sleep a lot easier. While at times it did actually hinder my sleep if he was crying or just having a bad night, nothing was better than waking up and seeing him smile in the morning.

    He is teething right now and some nights he just can’t sleep by himself, he only finds the comfort from my warmth and being next to me. If that’s what makes him happy and gets him sleep I feel like it’s what I need to do as his mother.

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  16. January 24, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    I co-slept with all 4 of my children. It was the best thing for us. I also breastfed all of them. They only slept with us until they were 2 or 3. lol. But we didn’t try to wean them from it either. I am all for it.

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  17. January 24, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    We’ve been cosleeping since our first was born, over five years ago. Now, we have two: Ezra is thirteen months, and Henry will be six in May. Our cosleeping experience has been wonderful, and both my husband and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Henry has recently expressed interest in sleeping in his own bed, and that’s totally okay with us. I’m still nursing Ezra, and he likes to nurse once or twice in the night, so obviously it’s perfect for that reason. I highly recommend cosleeping. My oldest is sensitive and I truly believe that cosleeping, as part of our attachment parenting, has helped him to cope with going to school and being a confident child in social situations. I love bed time, and I look forward to that hour when the boys snuggle and hubby and I snuggle before they go to sleep.

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  18. January 24, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    I co-slept with both mine for periods of time while they were babies. It wasn’t my choice but it worked.

    Do what works and when it doesn’t, re-evaluate. Chances are you aren’t setting her up to be a permanent resident in your bed. And the sleep you will get is definitely worth it!

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  19. January 24, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    We co-slept with all three children. I loved it. I felt closer to my children and with all three, nursing was just so easy.

    The downside, my kids are now 9, 7 and almost 5…and we still co-sleep sometimes. They are too comfortable in our bed!!

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  20. January 24, 2012 @ 1:17 pm
    Christina

    We co-slept with all 3 (and most likely 4 when this baby comes) with ours. With my oldest, she would ONLY sleep on top of me until she was 21 months old.. which was tricky because my son was born when she was 12 months lol. My son co-slept off and on, but he was never a fan and usually slept much better in his own bed. My youngest daughter co-slept, she probably would have been fine on her own but I just found it easier to have her in bed with me and its what I was used to. So, yes I would say co-sleeping for us is a very positive experience. I love having my babies so close and snuggling with them, it all goes by so fast. My kids, even my oldest who HAD to be on my chest, had no issues sleeping on their own eventually. They’ve all be in their own beds by 4.

    Now, we do have a co-sleeper and DH took a picture one night.. the kids in the bed and ME pushed over so far I was pretty much sleeping in there lol.

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