I’ve been wanting to do a post about this for a while. A lot of people I talk to I avoid talking about where Aoife sleeps at night (which is my bed), as I quite often get met with “ooh, you’ll have to stop that soon before you make a rod for your own back” blah blah blah….. But you know what, I don’t know if many people take into consideration when they make these comments that perhaps I like bedsharing with my daughter. I hate sleeping alone, and with Luke working nights it’s quite nice to have someone next to me!
Anyway the reason this post is entitled “bed-sharing and co-sleeping” is that they have different definintions!
Bed-sharing: The Practice of Sleeping in the Same Bed with One’s Child. (More info here.)
Co-sleeping: Sleeping in Close Proximity to Your Child (i.e. in the same room).
Other ways of describing Co-sleeping can be: having a sidecar arrangement, so attaching a crib as an extension of the family bed, this is initially how we started out with Aoife! There is also welcoming child into family bed as needed, so although your child has their own room, they are allowed should they wish to sleep in bed with their parents.
What are the benefits of bedsharing/co-sleeping?
- Parents are likely to get more sleep! This one was a big one for me as I was stressing myself sitting up to feed Aoife, getting my feeding pillow ready, forcing myself to stay awake so I didn’t drop her on her head. Well when I discovered feeding lying down, that was a breakthrough for me as I no longer had to sit up and wake up fully! I flop a boob Aoife’s way, help her latch if she is being dozier than me and go back to sleep!
- Babies are likely to get more sleep too! As baby is right next to mum, they can be soothed and fed back to sleep without fully rousing. I found this helped massively with Aoife. As soon as she started stirring I lie next to her and she pops straight back to sleep (unless it is 4am play time!)
- Breastfeeding at night is beneficial to milk supply! Plus its easier to feed at night if baby is right next to you!
- Being in close proximity to baby reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) by 50%! It is recommended to have baby sleep in the same room for the first 6 months for this reason. This includes daytime naps!
Some tips to ensure baby is safe in the adult bed (but also relevant to cribs/cots/daytime nap areas).
- Baby should be placed on their back to sleep. I did this up until Aoife could roll confidently from tummy to back and vice versa (I think she was around 7 months).
- Keep pillows away from baby.
- No loose blankets or quilts over baby.
- Bedsheets should be tightly fitted to mattress.
For more information Kellymom.com has a great page on cosleeping here!
So there you go. Bedsharing is a parenting choice we have made and I like it. It may be different to the norm but I just like being close to my baby. And more so since I have returned to work I like my bedtime cuddles and there is nothing more lovely than being woken up by my lovely baby’s smile (even if it is 4.30am)