Some parents begin to co-sleep from the first day of baby's arrival. Others transition from crib to bed from lack of sleep during their first year of life. And (for some), co-sleeping just isn't for them. Every sleeping choice for each parent is unique; however, all parents want what's best (and healthiest) for both them and their infants.
Over the past few decades, North Americans are becoming more educated on the benefits of co-sleeping with their little ones. Not only are we one of the only continents that believes co-sleeping to be unsafe, but we are also highly influenced by the marketing of "beautiful" and "aesthetic" nurseries which tend to include cribs and bassinets. It's the small things like those perfectly decorated #babyrooms, the in-law's opinions and the pamphlets we receive after our hospital births that affect the way we view sleep and how it "should" be done.
Whether you have decided to co-sleep or not, it is an incredibly personal choice. Statistics exist for reasons, of course. But, going with your gut (especially as a new parent) holds more power and importance overall. (We especially learn this as parenthood continues).
Read ahead for some reassurance (and bonuses) on why co-sleeping can be incredibly beneficial.
10 EASY FEEDINGS
If you have chosen to breastfeed, until your milk comes in you will likely be up every 2 hours until it does. Colostrum, a thicker, nutrient-dense excretion, will provide enough health to your little one until your milk comes in. When your milk does arrive, your baby will be able to feed less often.
With this said, whether you are waking every 2 or 6 hours, the convenience of being beside your baby during these feedings will be incredibly relieving. We suggest you perfect the "lay-on-your-side-so-you're-able-to-sleep-while-the-baby-feeds" pose. It will be a life saver!
9 SKIN TO SKIN
Within this article, it explains how skin-to-skin promotes periods of deep sleep. Skin-to-skin simply reduces blood-pressure and stress hormones. It has been scientifically proven to allow the infant to feel safe; especially after feeling protected within the womb before delivery.
Co-sleeping allows the parent to be shirtless and hold or lay with their baby near. The more physical touch within the early days of life the baby receives, the more bonding they will gain from their parent.
By "comfort" we don't mean just physical comfort.
The comfort from co-sleeping is incredible. Knowing that your baby is close-by; being able to hear odd noises or convenience of cleaning up the odd spit up, co-sleeping provides little energy to provide assistance to those night-time occurrences.
More than 90% of deaths from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occur in the first 6 months of age- according to this article. This percentage lessens the older they become. Though SIDS is a result of unknown causes, co-sleeping with your infant comforts the parent by acknowledging you are close by.
The Natural Child Project estimates that Japan (as an industrialized country) has the lowest international infant deaths recorded in this article. SIDS actually decreased when the statistics of bed-sharing increased.
Co-sleeping is safer than many believe- if done safely. With less suffocating hazards around (like heavy blankets and plush pillows), co-sleeping can be a very comfortable and safe option.
6 CONVENIENT WAKE-UPS
Not only will wake-up time be more comfortable, but children (at every age) thrive on structure. Whether the parent naturally rises or wakes to an alarm, the baby will get in the rhythm of your morning routine. This not only will provide structure for the infant, but more convenience for the parent.
Co-sleeping promotes the baby to conform to the parent's schedule, making wake-ups a breeze.
5 SAVES CRIB PURCHASE
As silly as this sounds, the amount of money that most soon-to-be parents put into their crib purchase could be put into many other (and very important) expenses that will surely arise in the child's life.
Cribs range from anywhere between $100-$10,000 and above. From the frame to the mattress, the items you can "add-on" are virtually endless. Who needs to waste money on a crib when you can simply share your own bed?
4 LESS LAUNDRY
With kids in mind, many parents are more cautious of their negative, environmental contribution. We all want our children to grow up in a world that is healthy and thriving.
Parent's carbon footprint usually increases when children come into the picture. From more water being used due to laundry, to living in cities and countries that do not compost diapers, becoming a parent makes you more aware of the little things that affect our (and their) future.
When you have a baby, there is no doubt that the amount of laundry you will be doing doubles, if not triples. Ok...quadruples. Without the use of a crib, there will be no added crib-sheets and mattress covers to your weekly (if not daily) laundry duties.
3 NO NEED FOR ADDITIONAL BEDROOM
Wallet Hacks estimates the average, American annual income to be $56,516 stated within this article. Depending on which state you decide to reside in, most young families may not have the space or additional bedroom for a nursery.
With co-sleeping, there is no need for a nursery and/or bedroom until they are much older (depending on when you decide to end your co-sleeping journey).
2 CONVENIENT FOR TRAVEL
Have you ever planned a family vacation, only to realize the list of items needed to bring for your baby becomes more than humanly possible to even fit into your vehicle?! Does it overwhelm you to even think about a trip that is coming up? With the benefit of co-sleeping, you won't need to ensure a crib is at your destination.
Worried about sleep-training your baby in that old play-pen for this one, specific trip? No need- share your bed! It's as easy as that!
1 EASIER TO TEND
Whether there's a mid-night blow-out or your baby needs breastmilk to comfort their teething pain, the convenience of co-sleeping is immense. The simplicity of turning over during the night to tend to your baby is much easier on your mind and body than having to run down a hallway (or next door) to your baby's room.
Co-sleeping benefits you in more ways than one; especially when its a night-time change or feed which you can perform only inches from you. (Just make sure you have a waterproof pad placed underneath your bodies, of course)