As a parent it is easy to stress over all of the little things. Are they eating enough? Are they growing enough? Am I spending enough time with them? Is work consuming too much of my time? Are they happy?! Questions like these plague parents in most parts of the world. However, some of the biggest questions that we ask ourselves revolve around sleeping. With any amount of lack of sleep, it makes it difficult to function on a day to day basis and be productive at work.
So how do you achieve the ultimate goal of more sleep? My answer? Co-sleeping.
For the optimal co-sleeping situation, here are a few of my tips:
1. Don’t fight it if it works. Research shows a benefit of co-sleeping is infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend four times the number of minutes crying Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long-term sleep anxiety.
2. Do what works for you and for your family. The judgment of others doesn’t matter. If co-sleeping with your baby is the best solution for you, then that is all that should be considered in the decision. As long as everyone is safe and comfortable, nothing should stop you as parents from getting as much sleep as is humanly possible.
3. It doesn’t last forever, so enjoy it while you can. One day the child will finally move on to their bed whether they do it on their own or with your help. In the meantime, it’s a time that can be seen as precious. During sleep, you can sneak those extra cuddles that one day you will miss. According to the Dr. Sears’ article on the Benefits of Co-sleeping, “Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school, and are more comfortable with affection. They also have less psychiatric problems.”
4. If the baby is breastfed it is done much easier as neither the mother nor the baby has to be moved. They can just turn towards each other. This arrangement also assists the mother with maintaining her milk supply which is so vital for the baby.
The Long-Term Effects of Co-Sleeping with Children
Co-sleeping, whether widely accepted or not, can be the best arrangement for certain families. It is most definitely not something that should be overlooked just because of the stigma that’s behind it. Give it a go. This may be the solution that you’ve been looking for, or maybe you simply want to sneak more cuddles in through the night. Whatever the reasoning for the arrangement may be, if done right, it is definitely beneficial.
As a working mother of 3, I have found that I treasure the nights and know they won’t last forever. Our youngest (3.5 years old) is still in our bed every night. My biggest regret; not having enjoyed as much time with the older two!