Co-sleeping (samen slapen) or bed sharing has taken a bit of a bashing over the last 30 years with many choosing to keep their babies at a distance at night because of the perceived dangers of co-sleeping.
While so much research has been carried out into safe co-sleeping, it's still not an area many mothers feel comfortable with, even those who do co-sleep often don’t share or discuss this, in fear of being judged for the ‘dangerous’ practice. And while official recommendations are to keep your baby close to you at night or, at a minimum, in the same room for at least 6 months, this so often isn’t the case.
It’s still so often seen as safer to keep your baby in a completely separate room than by your side.
So I thought I'd share with you my reasons for choosing to sleep with Bo right next to me, and why I'd do the same again in a heart beat.
- The research - of which there is a lot! Newborns who sleep alongside their parents sleep more lightly than those who sleep separately, and while waking multiple times a night is seen as a bad thing, it actually performs many useful functions. It stimulates brain development, raises oxygen levels and helps reduce episodes of apnea, where babies pause breathing for a length of time. We strive for a baby who sleeps well but in reality in the first few months they really aren’t meant to.
- I felt more secure having him in sight. I had carried my baby around with me for 9 months, we knew each other inside out (literally) so the idea of even having him out of sight at night would have kept me awake for hours. Quite frankly, I slept better by being able to see him any time I chose.
- It (in general) makes for a much happier baby at night. I could anticipate his cues and respond before he even started to cry. So yes I probably woke more frequently than someone not co-sleeping, but the periods that I was awake for were significantly shorter.
- Feeding and changing is much easier. I had a hard time with breastfeeding but would keep my Tommee Tippee prep machine next to my bed. I could do feed, change and back to sleep in under 20 minutes. All with no crying.
- Despite what people may tell you, co-sleeping doesn’t lead to overly clingy children - if your child is naturally clingy that’s just how they are, no amount of keeping them at a distance will change that.
- You can remove all safety concerns with the use of a 'next to me' crib, such as the SnuzPod or Chicco Next2me. While far more expensive than a standard Moses basket, they will last through several babies and have a great resale value.
- Nothing in the world beats waking up to a smiling baby, no matter what time it is
There are a lot of articles out there on co-sleeping, but I particularly like this one. It’s not beautiful, but has lots of useful information and links to other sources.
Also this Dutch site is packed full of useful first hand experience and tips