You’ve probably talked about it with friends and family or maybe you’ve experienced some judgement (no matter which side of the fence you’re on); one thing is for certain, the topic of co-sleeping can turn into a pretty heated discussion. No matter which choice you’ve made; whether putting baby down in their own room early on to sleep or spending your first year waking up next to your child, there are some pros and cons to consider.
Especially if you’re a breastfeeding mom, the idea of co-sleeping can be an intriguing one; in the first couple of months most babies feed very frequently, waking up every couple of hours. Not having to drag yourself out of bed and sluggishly head down the hall each time is an obvious benefit. If your child is right next to you, it’s an easy and much faster transition from waking baby to satisfied baby. The process is a lot quicker, and you and your child get back to sleep sooner than you would otherwise. Neither of you even has to shift from your “lying down” position! There is also an intimacy with co-sleeping that a parent and child don’t experience with separate sleeping quarters. Falling asleep with your arms around each other and a little body snuggled up close can be a heart warming experience and make your child feel safe and secure.
On the flip side, there is a theory that co-sleeping may increase chances of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), which is a big enough fear for any new parent. There is also a chance that your little one may become entangled in blankets or sheets, get caught underneath a pillow, or even get rolled on. Having baby nearby for feeding might seem convenient, but if you or your baby toss and turn through the night, you may keep each other awake and get less sleep than if you bedded down in separate quarters. Even if your baby sleeps soundly, if you’re worried about rolling on top of him, you’re not going to fall into the deep, rejuvenating sleep that you need (now more than ever!) or you may wake frequently just to “check” and make sure your child is ok. Although it might not come up in the first couple of months, sex will definitely have to be put on a back burner as long as junior is snoring away next to you.
If you don’t feel good about putting your child in their own room right away, a good compromise would be to invest in a “co-sleeper” attachment that allows baby to be right next to you with the added security of having their own space you can’t roll into. They can sleep under their own bedding and reduce the risk of being trapped under yours. There is also the favourable idea of having your child sleep in a bassinet or crib next to your bed, reducing the risk of any accidents even further. Yes, you’ll still have to drag your body out of bed, but your child is only a few steps away instead of in a separate room.