Co Sleeping with Baby

Co sleeping with a baby has been put under a negative light for a long time, parents have been told that this should not be done, as it might cause suffocation, unhealthy dependency, marriage problems and poor sleeping patterns.

It’s really up to the parents, whether they will allow co-sleeping to interrupt their sex lives… read more here on sex and breastfeeding.

Children have been found to have a healthier sense of self-worth, when allowed to co-sleep and most parents sleep better when co-sleeping. Also, there are ways to make sure that your baby is safe when bed sharing. (discussed below)

Breastfed babies do wake more frequent at night than bottle fed babies, this is because breast milk is digested much faster than formula, but those frequent feedings are important and very necessary for a baby’s development in the first few weeks. Co sleeping with your baby can make things a whole lot easier for you and your partner during this time.

The Benefits of Co Sleeping with Baby

  • You and your baby can continue to doze while breastfeeding. You can lie down while breastfeeding at night, and there is no need to switch the light on, or get any bottles ready. This means a better nights rest for both of you.
  • A family bed provides the mother, father and the baby a chance to spend time together, especially if both parents work during the day.
  • Putting your baby to bed is no longer a battle.
  • It promotes bonding between the mother and child.
  • It keeps a baby calm and settled, during and after feedings.
  • Studies prove that co sleeping will encourage your little one to sleep longer stretches at a time, cry less and breastfeed more. (which is good for development).
  • Increased independence and confidence in the child.
  • Increased breastfeeding sessions, equals increased milk supply and encourages breastfeeding on demand.
  • Regular night feedings reduce breast engorgement.
  • Skin to skin contact and sucking regulates a baby’s breathing, which reduced the incidence of cot death. Kangaroo mother care is recommended. 
  • Frequent feeding at night keeps your period away, longer.

Co-Sleeping with Baby
Safety Precautions

Bed sharing may also involve a baby sleeping next to the bed in a co sleeping crib or baby basket. This will mean that the mother is only an arms reach away. The crib can be attached to the bed or put next to the bed on the floor.

Can co sleeping with baby cause SIDS?

If the below precautions are followed, co sleeping with your baby can actually prevent SIDS, since the mother and her baby are awake often, and she can keep a better eye on her baby.

Bed sharing safety precautions

  • The mother and father should not be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. There should be no habit of smoking in bed, or anywhere near the baby.
  • Baby must always be placed on his/her back when sleeping.
  • Older children should not be allowed in the bed at the same time as the baby.
  • Make sure there are no spaces around your bed or its frame, into which your baby can fall or become trapped.
  • Make sure that if your bed has no frames, that there are no walls or furniture nearby onto which your baby could fall and hurt himself/herself.
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered.
  • A baby should be placed next to the mother, not in-between the mother and father, as dads are less aware of babies in the first few weeks.
  • Never co-sleep on a waterbed or sofa.
  • Do not put any quilts, comforters, stuffed toys or pillows under or next to your baby.
  • Keep your bed away from strangulation hazards such as drapes or blinds.
  • Use a firm, flat mattress.
  • A mother’s hair should be tied up, if it is very long.

Tips for Sleeping Co

  • Once your baby is experienced at breastfeeding (anytime from 1-4 months), you can breastfeed whilst lying down, then you won't need to sit up.
  • If your bed is not safe, or if you and your partner feel that the bed sharing is not for you, you can put a crib or small baby bed right next to your own bed.

How to end co sleeping

Do it gradually, if your baby is sleeping in your bed, you can start putting him/her in a side bed at about six months, then from a year start moving the cot into a separate room. Sometimes this is not easy, but if you make the transition gradually, your baby will be more likely not to give you too much trouble.

Night nursing can be tiring, but parents need to remember that this is a short time to sacrifice and is essential for a baby’s health and proper development. Treasure the memories and try to make the most of those special times together.

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with co sleeping with baby

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