The Truth About Co-Sleeping

My son and I co-sleep. Actually, we bed share (more on that later). This is a fact that I didn’t use to talk about openly. Yes, there was a little hesitation to open myself up to all of the “opinions”  but, more so, because I know that there are legitimate concerns about it. But after months of trying to hide it like I hid the emergency formula (you can read about that in Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom), I started noticing something – a lot of moms co-sleep, at least sometimes. Like me, though, many don’t willingly offer that information. Specifically in the U.S., sleeping with a small child is not culturally acceptable.

And yet… many of us do it. But, wait, aren’t we the culture? Something is amiss. 

I am not writing this post to declare that all parents should co-sleep. What I hope to do here is shed a little light for parents that are considering co-sleeping, are co-sleeping and maybe even those who shame others for doing it because there is a lot of misinformation and fear surrounding the topic.

The Truth About Co-Sleeping - Is it really bad to co-sleep Click here to find out the truth!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information. 

Co-Sleeping doesn’t have to mean sleeping in the same bed. 

Co-sleeping is often used to reference parent and child sleeping in the same bed but co-sleeping doesn’t necessarily have to be thatCo-sleeping is sleeping in close proximity of the child (close enough to touch) but not on the same surface. For the first month of my son’s life, this is what we did. I had the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper and I slept as close as possible to my son without him being in my bed. Then we transitioned to bed sharing. Which, is exactly how it sounds – sharing a bed. 

Co-Sleeping can help baby breathe better. 

When baby and mom sleep close, their breathing patterns will sync up. This is especially helpful in the newborn stage, when the baby’s sleep pattern is irregular. In a sense, baby is still learning to breathe and being close to mom while sleeping helps with this process. 

Co-Sleeping babies spend less time in deep sleep.

Now, this may sound like a negative thing but when it comes to concerns such as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) this is actually a good thing. One of the concerns with SIDS is  the lack of sleep arousal but when sleeping next to mom, mom and baby have what Dr. Sears (my go to guy!) calls synchronous arousal. This means when one stirs, coughs, etc. the other does as well. Again, this is a huge benefit in preventing SIDS. In fact, sleeping in the same room decreases the chance of SIDS by up to 50%

Co-Sleeping may actually help baby to sleep better than sleeping in a room alone. 

My son had terrible separation anxiety starting at about 6 months. I used to joke, “it’s like he thinks I’m gone forever”. Well, guess what. He probably did. Babies don’t have the reasoning that says, “she’ll be right back” or “she’s just sleeping in her own room”. Babies also don’t have the out of sight out of mind ability that we do. When a baby under one wakes during the night and mom is not there he panics. When a baby wakes in the same room he is more likely to fall right back to sleep.

Again, I am not trying to convince anyone that they “should” co-sleep, I am just addressing the fact that co-sleeping is not bad. There are many benefits, in addition to the ones I’ve shared in this post. That being said, it is important that parents who decide to co-sleep do so safely.

5 Tips for Safe Co-Sleeping: 

Parents should never bring a child in the bed when they have been drinking or under the influence of drugs.

Parents that smoke should not co-sleep/bed share.

Moms that smoked during pregnancy should not bed share.

It is not recommended that formula fed babies bed share, ever.

Make sure sheets are tightly pulled, baby’s area is free of pillows & blankets and the bed does not have any gaps for baby to fall through.

Check out this article for more tips on safe co-sleeping/bed sharing. 

If you would like more information on co-sleeping I would recommend checking out the articles and books listed below. Bed sharing has been a wonderful experience for my son and I… and I am not ashamed to say it!

Co-Sleeping and Bed Sharing 

Co-Sleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes

Cosleeping Around the World 

Sleeping with your Baby (Book) 

The Baby Sleep Book

Did you know I launched a new blog in October 2016? Check out For the Love of Mom where there’s less kids stuff and more stuff just for YOU! 

13 thoughts on “The Truth About Co-Sleeping

  1. Kayvona August 18, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    I’ve been co-sleeping with my 3 year old since day one, and now that I’m pregnant with my second child I have no clue what I’m going to do. I’ve tried transitioning her to her own bed but I am considering just letting her stay in the bed so she doesn’t feel left out and still gets to cuddle with me while the new baby sleeps in her bassinet. Idk. Still trying to figure it all out lol

    • inezbayardo August 18, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Awww…. yeah, then eventually you can have a family bed!! haha. Congrats on your new baby!

  2. Stefani @ Crafty Christian August 18, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    I didn’t regularly co-sleep with my boys, but I did occasionally. I remember reading an article that cited in like 90% of infant co-sleeping deaths (or some crazy high number) the offending parent was either drunk or on drugs when it happened. So really, co-sleeping itself isn’t super dangerous on it’s own, it’s when it’s combined with alcohol or drugs. Just like driving. But that little fact is always left out!

    Always do what you feel is best in your gut and from your research, not what society says. ❤

    • Inez August 18, 2016 / 7:43 pm

      Yep! Almost all cases of deaths are due to drugs or alcohol and in other countries where it is the norm, SIDS rates are significantly lower. Go figure…

  3. Susan August 18, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Lol, we’ve totally been shamed by our culture. Whatever, I do it, you do it, we all do it because it works. It’s better. At least when they’re babies. Co-sleeping with toddlers is a nightmare!

    • inezbayardo August 18, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      haha. Yeah, my son is 14 months and takes up the WHOLE bed. Still can’t figure out how in the world that happens!

  4. sierra bishop August 19, 2016 / 11:46 am

    When my babies were small, they were within arms reach. When they would wake up, they would get a boob and we would “go to sleep”. I say that in quotes because no sober, sain mother is ever fully asleep when the baby is around. They breathe wrong and we are checking their mouth, nose, etc. My best friend was a police officer and gave me a real tongue lashing when she found out i let my baby sleep in the bed with me. I told her to call me the first time her baby slept with her and sure enough, at 5 weeks or something she called and said she got the best nights “sleep” since baby was born! Good job mamas! We are all doing our best.

    • inezbayardo August 23, 2016 / 11:46 pm

      Yes, so true!! Also, It’s funny how our opinions about parenting change so much when we become parents! haha.

  5. Nikki @ MBAsahm August 23, 2016 / 5:09 am

    Such a great article! I had the exact same experience. I started co-sleeping when my son wouldn’t sleep alone and for nearly a year I tried to hide it…I used to joke that when we’d be at gatherings/parties, you knew who the co-sleeping moms were b/c we were the ones in the corner whispering to each other as if a drug deal was going down. It’s such a shame that it gets a bad rap b/c there are so, so, so many benefits. Thanks for writing this!

    • inezbayardo August 23, 2016 / 11:43 pm

      Hahaha. Yeah, it’s kind of crazy that moms are so ashamed of it when it is completely normal in so many other parts of the world. Thanks for reading!

  6. June Martin August 31, 2016 / 3:49 am

    There are so many opinions flying around about co-sleeping and people seem to find it so easy to judge those that use the method. I was really keen on co-sleeping with my second however I struggled with the safety risks that I thought may be present if I chose to co-sleep. Thanks for sharing and being so honest and brave about your experience and your knowledge. If anyone is considering it I would suggest SnuzPods for any newborn, they are brilliant for those early days when you want to bond and have close proximity with your baby. goo.gl/AHeGwX

  7. Mary Lynn January 21, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    Nice post. In Japan co-sleeping is the norm and they have one of the lowest SIDS rates in the world. Many people do it in the US but won’t share it for fear of being judged. Glad your article can shed light.

    • Inez January 21, 2017 / 11:17 pm

      With all the information I see that says not to do it, I was really shocked to find how many of us DO co-sleep. Thanks for reading!

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