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The Case For Co-Sleeping

The Case For Co-Sleeping

It’s a question that comes up over and over in Circle of Moms communities: Do you co-sleep with your baby? Many moms says that co-sleeping is the most natural way to bond, especially if you’re breastfeeding.  If you’re on the fence about it, here’s how our moms make the case for co-sleeping. (Stay tuned for the other side of the story, coming in February.)

What Do the Experts Really Say?

When the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its infant sleep habit recommendations late last year to include the sentence, "Bedsharing or cosleeping may be hazardous under certain conditions," mothers who co-sleep found themselves once again vigorously defending a practice that Circle of Moms member Lisa says has been “practiced for as long as humans have walked this planet.”  

The interesting thing is that the recommendations (which are made to promote safe sleep and lower the risk of SIDS) don’t specifically say that parents shouldn’t co-sleep with their babies. What they do say, points out Circle of Moms member Erica G., is that there are rules you should follow to make sure you’re being safe about it. She notes those rules include things like not smoking, making sure there’s no loose bedding, and not co-sleeping on the couch.



Define Your Terms

Some moms say the language people use to talk about how mothers and babies sleep may cause confusion.  Co-sleeping doesn’t automatically mean that mothers have their babies in the bed with them, a point that mom Joy B. thinks needs to be cleared up. “‘Co-sleeping’ is when the baby sleeps in the same room as the parents, “ she says. “‘Bed sharing" is when the baby actually sleeps in the bed with the parents.”

Renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears prefers the term “sleep-sharing.” Dr. Sears, who says he and his wife slept with at least four of their eight children when they were babies, thinks “bed-sharing” sounds too clinical and “co-sleeping” sounds more like what adults do. Sleep-sharing, he says, is a more accurate description of the harmonious interactions that occur between mother and child during the night.

Why Co-Sleep?

Circle of Moms member Kimberly T. is a breast-feeding mother who says co-sleeping is the best thing she ever did. As an infant, her son was able to “wake in the middle of the night for a feeding with little support,” allowing her to be more rested and able to care for both her children in the morning.

Some moms aren’t willing to give up space in their beds for their babies (bed-sharing), but practice co-sleeping in different ways. Charlene W. says she got the best of both worlds by having her infant daughter sleep within arm’s reach in a bassinet in her room. Katie H. says she simply moved her son’s crib into her room when he got too wiggly to sleep in her bed.

By whatever means they do it, co-sleeping moms all mention an increased feeling of connectedness to their babies. Katie S. says co-sleeping strengthened the mother-child bond and provided comfort for her babies. Sarah S. agrees.  “It creates such a close bond and makes our children so much more secure in their world!” she says, adding that she thinks families grow closer when there's a “family bed.”

Image Source: sundaykofax via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
leelaangelina leelaangelina 5 years
i breastfed my son and he slept in bed with my husband and i, it ruined daddies sleep for a while,, he was always paranoid he'd roll over on our little bubbers, but neither of us moved all night..lolz the fear was in the back of our sleeping brain.. plus some nights we wanted to sleep alone, alex would sleep in his crib and we would wake up thinking "WHERE THE HELL IS THE BABY!!!!!. sleeping soundly in his own bed.. but eventually we both became super comfortable with him being with us.. more or less do what your comfortable with.:)
sharonbennett3473 sharonbennett3473 5 years
it is normal, i do it with my daughter it is the only way she will sleep, i do breastfeed her
wolfcat87 wolfcat87 5 years
I practiced bed-sharing with both of my children and still share a room with both of them and a bed with one. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. My mother slept with my brother and I when we were little and we were both fine. My children are exceedingly healthy and happy and well adjusted. ♥
SabrinaStepler SabrinaStepler 5 years
I have 9 children are mine and all have slept with me in my bed when they were babies. It seemed natural to me and I have never been one to go by what the government and its agencies have suggested. I would guess that it wouldn't be for everyone, Hopefully moms out there know what they are capable of. I am a very light sleeper. I also bought one of those little beds you put between my husband and I ...that was good for him as he was always scared he would roll over on the babies (he never did). My oldest is 21 and my youngest is 7 months. I say do what you feel comfortable with....I also put my babies to sleep on their tummies, which is what the hospitals said to do 21 years will probably change again in the next 10 years. Keep things as natural as possible...babies are happier that way.
DaviesMemaDebbie DaviesMemaDebbie 5 years
I just learned researching NY statistics on child death's. I just want everyone to know that especially in NY the statistics are high for "co sleeping" linked to infant deaths but there is a reason for the high statistics that they do not connect with their campaign to stop this practice. Unless a full crib is set up in a separate room and the child was found sleeping there it is "co sleeping". This sets up statistics truely false. So in a sense they are using the real sense of "co sleeping" in their statistics but saying sleeping sharing with your infant is dangerous when that is not what it is really based on at all. Just to clarify the false danger often associated with this subject is an intentional misconception that seems atleast to me just to be another governmental intrusion as it is child protection agencies that do the investigations on all infant and child deaths.
ChristineSusanto ChristineSusanto 5 years
I sleep sharing with my two sons. They slept in the middle between me and my hubby, especially when i was still breastfeeding them. It made life easier for me, because i can just pat or hug them when they woke up in the middle od the night. My firstborn is 9 years now. I moved him to a spare bed on the floor, next to mine when i was pregnant with my second son. My firstborn was around 3.5 yrs at that time. I explained to him that he has to sleep in the spare bed because my tummy is getting bigger and since he is a restless sleeper, he might accidentally kick mommy's tummy and hurt the baby. He can accept the reasons and made no fuss about the transitions as long as i read him a nightime story before bedtime. By the time he was 6, i moved him to his own room. He had some adjustment time about 2 months, during which he sometimes woke up in the middle of the night and i had to tuck him into bed again. Plus, the bedtime story is a must so he didn't fuss about bedtime. But after that, he can sleep very well all through the night. My second son slept with me until he was 4 years and then we moved him to the same bedroom with his big brother. He adjusted even quicker and sleeps all through the night almost straight away. Athough, i still have to keep him company until he sleeps before i go back to my own room. I believe that they are transitioning very well because they know that they can always reach me at night time and that they already had their time sharing my bed. Both of them as babies /toddlers sleep better when they share my bed rather than when they are alone. As to their willingness to stay over in somebody's house, my firstborn is always reluctant to do that as he prefer his parent's comany. However, my easy-going second son has no trouble at all. He already stayover in my sister-in-law's house when he was 2 years old. So i guess it really depends on the personality of each child and not because they sleep sharing. My advice to parents who are considering sleep sharing : You should try it first, see whether you feel it bring benefits to you, your spouse and your child, and whether it feels right for all of you. If it doesn't, you can always choose not too. Trust your instinct, not what other people say to you.
CoMMember13631155507468 CoMMember13631155507468 5 years
Miriam, we have twins and pretty much did what you did, but a little bit earlier than you. They are three now and each have their own rooms (I have boy/girl twins), but they still climb into our bed. My dd didn't have any problems transitioning into her room, she is the sleeper. My ds still climbs into bed with us and never really has completely transitioned. My husband and I are ok with this, they are only going to be 3 once, but the CalKing bed is getting much smaller as they keep on growing...
DebraAtwill DebraAtwill 5 years
I have four children, and co-slept or bed shared or whatever mainly the last two. I did it because it was cold at the time, I was tired and baby quietened as soon as I did. I slept in our bed until baby woke up, then moved to the 'spare' in baby's room. My hubbie used to wake up at the slightest noise, and was terrified of rolling on baby, so that is why the spare bed - it suited us perfectly. I think it depends on the individual mother (and daddy!) and what she finds comfortable and bearable:) If you do not want to sleep with your baby - don't. Neither way is uncaring or negligent - you do what you are comfortable with - end of story:)
TabithaTrout TabithaTrout 5 years
I co-slept with my daughter.. Mainly b/c I had to live with my sister and even though I had everything I needed I didn't have a crib there or anything really to put her in so she could sleep seperate.. She sleeps in her toddler bed no problem. Yeah, sometimes she'll wake up and crawl in the bed with me, but that's a once and a while thing..
miriam5853 miriam5853 5 years
we just moved from a queen to a king and brought our 12 month old twins to bed with us!! 2 nights so far, they had been waking up up to 4 times each and would end up in the living room on mats and me on the couch because they do not want to be in their room :( so we figured for now all that matters is that we all get some rest. my 9 year old always slept in his own room but would usually come around 4 or 5 a.m and join us as well (for a long time) and he is very independent and secure!! It is not too comfortable to have 2 babies all over the bed (crazy sleepers) but so far hubby and I enjoy it and they are sleeping better :+) How did you guys transition them when they were ready??
TrishaTaylor44231 TrishaTaylor44231 5 years
I sleep-shared with both my kids :) I loved having them so close so I could keep an eye on them and be able to hear them if they woke during the night, especially if they were sick. Everybody told me not to sleep with them in the bed, but I did anyways, because I trusted my mommy instincts. I never had a problem with moving them to their own bed, luckily, but I think that's because they had their own bed as well. My daughter is 4 now and she still sleeps with Mommy, she's my cuddle bug. I love when I go to bed and she's already sleeping, but she'll either roll over and snuggle or grabs for my arm and holds onto it.. makes my mommy heart melt. I don't see any problem with co-sleeping as long as proper caution is taken. :)
LisaDownin LisaDownin 5 years
While I nursed each of my three children, we co-slept part of each night. They baby would begin the night in its crib and then move to my bed later in the night to nurse. This ended naturally as each one was able to sleep through the night. My son did this for the longest time, 7 months. Because I could doze back off to sleep as the babies nursed, I was a more rested mother.
AlanaHeaton26 AlanaHeaton26 5 years
My son was in the same room as me until he was around one year old maybe older but in his cot. He only got to come in bed with me on a morning. Xx
sharleneghorban sharleneghorban 5 years
I would like to chime in, my son is 21 months old and he still sleeps in bed with us. He slept in his crib maybe 3 months off and on but then ended up in bed with us. We found that he and "we" slept better. He did not sleep thru the night until he slept in bed with us and we all get the best sleep ever! Of course we had to go from a queen size bed to a king- which is heaven! The best thing we have ever done is have our little one in bed with us and so be it if he is still there. We are going to move him into his own bed when he can talk to us and we can communicate by explaining to him time to sleep in your room. We are also going to take him to the store and let him pick out his own bedding! As an interior designerl let's hope he picks out something fun and nothing tacky:))) As long as we can transition him easier then harder I cannot complain! All of you parents out there that have bed shared- hats off to you!
MallaryMadill MallaryMadill 5 years
I personally don't belive that there is any more benifit from co-sleeping or bed sharing then for kids having thier own space. I know for me, i wish my mom never co-slept with me. I had a bad attachment to my mother. I didn't want to go anywhere or have any sleepovers, my mom couldn't go away for the weekend. In order to get me out of her bed she had to move my bed into hers. It was the worst feeling to be too scared to even stay at my grandmas house. My parents were split up so it made it so i couldn't go stay at my dad's. I can say that i was not a more secure person, it made life more difficult for everyone. My brother on the other hand always had his own room and never co-slept and has never had any of the sleep issues I have had, including insomnia since age 12! I am very close with my daughter even though she has always been in her own bed, in her own room.
NicoleKinser NicoleKinser 5 years
I don't know of any teenager still sleeping with mama. They are only little for a while, before you know,..and to soon at that, they will be rolling their eyes, telling you they are to old for hugs and kisses and being embarrassed by getting them. Let them cling to you as long as they will let themselves :)
GracesMommy GracesMommy 5 years
I tried bed-sharing with my first until I woke up once to realize I'd rolled over in my sleep. She was perfectly fine but the possibility that I could have rolled over onto her terrified me enough to not do it again unless I was in a slouched sitting up position with her in my arms. Once she turned 2 we began taking naps together as she was older and could calm down (rather than play with me) for nap time.
JessicaKozel JessicaKozel 5 years
I had every one of my 3 babies sleep with me in my bed. My first one shared the longest, he was over a year old and still sleeping in my bed, he was the hardest to transition. But my middle and last children only stayed in our bed for no more than a month, our last was only a couple weeks before my hubby almost rolled over on her and then it was time for her bassinet. Having them in another room when they're newborns just seems too much, they need to be close to mom or dad, not lost in a giant crib in another room all by themselves. Plus it makes waking up at night for feedings a lot easier and quicker :)
BethMonroe96241 BethMonroe96241 5 years
I have had each of my 5 children sleep with me for at least the first 6 months. It is a special time that my husband & I will always cherish.... they grow up so fast & I feel this really helped with creating a close bond!
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