There are several reasons why parents choose to co-sleep: to bond with their kids, living circumstances, or for convenience purposes, particularly when breastfeeding. Co-sleeping is also quite common in some cultures, but not so much in others. This makes the decision to co-sleep highly personal and generally controversial. And where there are varying opinions, there’s often misinformation that can make it difficult for parents to make rational decisions. The truth is co-sleeping has its benefits and drawbacks. This text strives to bring some clarity to it with the following pieces of advice:
Co-Sleeping Is Not Always Safe
Babies need to sleep in a clear space for safety purposes, which is easier to create if you’re using a crib. Bed-sharing, on the other hand, is considered dangerous because the adult(s) could accidentally smother the baby. The baby is also at risk of suffocation under the heavy covers or could roll off the bed. To help mitigate these risks and prevent SIDS, minimize bulky bedding, don’t place the baby between parents, and avoid bed-sharing while intoxicated.
Your Child May Have a Hard Time Transitioning to Sleeping Alone
Moving your child from a co-sleeping arrangement into their own bed/room can turn into a long, drawn-out process. While there’s bound to be a period of adjustment, the transition is best done by the fading method. You’ll also need to create the ideal sleeping environment for your child. This includes investing in the right mattress and bedding, as well as keeping the room clean, dark, quiet, and at the right temperature.
It Can Create Dependency Problems
Those who are against the idea of co-sleeping often suggest that it can cause psychological damage to the child. Most of them are concerned that it could promote a child’s dependency on the parent(s). But such judgments are simply based on how western cultures think infant autonomy and individualism are best obtained. There’s no scientific proof of that. That being said, extended co-sleeping can discourage your child from achieving nighttime independence, which is important to give your child confidence that they can sleep alone and comfort themselves if they feel anxious or stressed. These are key steps in healthy emotional development.
It Disrupts Intimacy between Parents
It’s unlikely that parents will be able to have sex in the privacy of their own bed while co-sleeping. Even so, it’s still important to make intimacy a priority. Let’s face it; there are 24 hours in a day, and all of them are ideal for getting it on if both of you can manage to create some time alone together. Be sure to embrace the quickie and keep the passion alive during the dry spell with touching and flirting. Co-sleeping shouldn’t be ruining your marriage, and if it is, then there are probably some deeper issues to begin with.
Parents’ Bad Sleeping Habits Also Affect the Baby
Kids are actually learning how to sleep and developing sleep habits that will influence the quantity and quality of sleep they get years to come. Ensuring everyone gets a good night’s sleep from a single bed can prove to be difficult since we all have different sleeping habits. It goes without saying that your bad sleeping habits can affect your baby. There’s also a chance that no one will get quality sleep if either of you is a light sleeper.