Think back to when your mom raised you, or perhaps when you had your oldest children in some cases. In those days we often co-slept with our babies out of sheer exhaustion, or found it was a guilty pleasure that made moms life easier, but ultimately it wasn’t deemed ideal for mom, nor baby.
These days, luckily the entire mind set has been changed in favour of the co-sleeping family (or mother and newborn), as more and more research just keeps showing us how beneficial it really can be.
So what actually is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is a night-time sleeping routine that involves keeping mother and child together by baby joining mom either inside the adult bed, on the adult bed in a bassinet, or next to the adult bed in a side co-sleeper.
Are there benefits to co-sleeping?
While for years it has always been discouraged in order to avoid ‘clingy’ children in their later years, co-sleeping has become increasing popular due to the evidential benefits for all concerned.
Apart from the obvious exhaustion and euphoric love that having a newborn brings with it, the following benefits are excellent reasons to feel good about giving co-sleeping a go:
- Breast-feeding. Your child will feed easier, more often and without fully waking, making crying spells less, awakened time shorter and of course, keep your milk flowing happily.
- Reduces anxiety. Co-sleeping is a wonderful way to reduce anxiety in mother and child, both of whom are wired to be close to each other during this crucial stage in the child’s life. This aids sleep and comfort for both.
- Bonding and attachment forming. This is a great way to create a strong bond with your child as you will always be close to each other in the vulnerable moments, or when you just can’t resist a cuddle.
- Trust. The close bond will instinctively form a strong trusting connection.
- Rousing baby. Babies need to avoid too deep sleep when very young due to SIDS, and being near mom helps babies practice rousing themselves.
A bedside co-sleeper is often a wise solution due to having all the benefits of co-sleeping, but still maintaining a certain amount of independence for you and your child as they grow. The need to feel confident in their own crib will be imperative as the child develops and of course, allowing mom and dad the scared space of their own bed will be beneficial to the parents.
So what should a co-sleeper entail?
A strong co-sleeping crib should have drop-down sides that face the parental bed, telescopic legs for close range placement, a sturdy mattress and appropriate linen.
Having a co-sleeper as an extension of the bed will also go a long way towards getting a good night sleep as baby kicks and rolls often keep parents awake at night.
As they are height-adjustable, they tend to fit snugly next to all makes of adult bed.
Free-standing options are available from brands such as Chicco with the Next2Me and Next2Me Magic and local label, Bounce.