As I lay in my queen bed with my two daughters beside me I am reminded of this ongoing debate: should your children sleep in your bed or should they sleep in the crib from day one?
None of my three children would sleep in a crib. None. Only one would tolerate a bassinet. To put it bluntly the only use I have gleaned from a crib is to pile the laundry I haven’t bothered to fold. Trust me, it’s useful, but definitely not living true to its purpose.
Many of my friends successfully made the transition to crib and their kids sleep through the night no problem. Some of them did cry it out. No judgement here. Unfortunately this just did not work for our family.
When Camden was born I went back and forth on putting him in the bed with me. I read multiple articles online, personal stories and all led me to the fear that I would roll on top of him in my sleep and suffocate him. It was almost an irrational fear.
I tried putting him in a bassinet and then a crib. Nothing worked and he cried most nights keeping me up until nearly 5am. This went on for three months of the two of us staying up all night (a miserable time for us both) and he also was colicky I suspect which didn’t help matters.
Finally one night I gave in to my maternal instincts and put him in bed beside me. That night (no joke) we slept better than we had in months. He was calm, he nursed easily, and we both slept. Night after night the cycle continued. And guess what? I didn’t roll on him in my sleep! I felt like I had uncovered the secret to sleep as a new mom and I felt confident deploying the same tactic with my next two children.
So while I am pro bed-sharing, I am ultimately pro do whatever works best for your family. If your baby in a crib is best for you then I say go for it! If your maternal instinct says sleep with your baby in bed then go for it! Bed-sharing has worked great for our family.
Some benefits include: better sleep for everyone, nursing is more convenient, feelings of comfort and security for the children, and studies have shown being close to the mother helps regulate a baby’s breathing and heart pattern. Co-sleeping also reduces the risk of SIDS.
If you care to try bed-sharing here are some tips on how to do so safely:
1. No heavy blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals around the babies face (I personally prefer when they are small to keep the blankets no higher than my waist level)
2. Keep the baby on their back and on a firm mattress
3. Adults bed sharing should not use alcohol or drugs
4. Sleeping on a couch or an area where a baby can be wedged in is dangerous
Lastly I would like to reassure you (as I have heard this time and time again) that allowing your child to sleep with you does not mean they will be stuck in your bed forever. Our oldest is five and this past year he regularly sleeps in his own bed in his own room.
One day they just grow up and stop coming to your room. For us it’s one down and two to go! Co-sleeping is an amazing experience and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you want to bed share, but are feeling nervous about trying it, there is also the option to go the route of getting a By Your Side Sleeper. This allows baby to have their own space in bed, but still allows you to remain close and monitor them. This sleeper features mesh sides which help with air circulation and to keep baby from overheating. This particular sleeper is recommended for babies from newborn to three months. Once they start to roll it’s not recommended for use.
What are your thoughts on co-sleeping/bed sharing versus crib? What works for your family?