Adjusting to a new baby at home can be a rather exhausting experience for many parents, for a variety of reasons. The most common complaint among new parents, however, is that they aren’t getting enough sleep.
One solution to this problem can be to co-sleep with your baby. Yes, you read that right. When done safely, and correctly, co-sleeping can be an option to consider. The choice is up to you and what your families needs are, however, there are some pros and cons to consider before deciding on whether to co-sleep or not.
Many who choose to co-sleep say that some of the benefits include:
- Creating stronger bonds – co-sleeping allows extra time and closeness between parents and their baby and it allows a parent who works all day a chance to cuddle and bond with their little one.
- Facilitates breastfeeding – it can help breastfeeding mothers by making feedings much easier during the night. They also say that their babies tend to nurse longer and that their milk supply benefited too!
- Better sleep for baby – having your baby sleep with you can help them to wake up less often, and for shorter periods of time when they do wake.
- Potentially lowers risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – this is also not scientifically confirmed, but supporters of co-sleeping believe that having baby within arms reach leads to quicker response times if a problem arises which, in turn, leads to less infant deaths.
Those who are opposed to co-sleeping have several reasons for doing so, which can include:
- Less sleep for everyone – having a baby in your bed can restrict your range of motion, which can make sleep uncomfortable or nearly impossible. Having your baby close can also cause you to be overly attentive to every whimper and meaning your baby actually sleeps less.
- Dependency is created – some argue that co-sleeping makes it harder to leave your baby with a babysitter or relative since they may depend on you to lay with them to sleep. This can also make it extra hard to transition your child to their own bed when the time comes.
- Affects your (ahem…) sex life – having your baby in bed with you kills any chance of intimacy. This is always going to be a tricky situation and sometimes resentments about can arise.
- Higher risk of SIDS – if sleep safety measures aren’t being taken, co-sleeping may lead to a higher incidence of SIDS. This is especially true for babies who are premature or have low birth weights, as well as for parents who are heavy sleeper, or drink alcohol and then lay with their child.
The choice to co-sleep is not one that should be made lightly. It is a decision that should be made after weighing all of the pros and cons and then assessing your own family’s sleeping needs. When done correctly, it is certainly a terrific way to get a little extra rest in.