Co-sleeping (bed-sharing) – is a worldwide practice of sharing the adult bed with the baby from birth up to 7 years (in some areas), when the baby is sleeping close to one or both parents.
If you choose to co-sleeping with your little one – consider the risks and benefits. The benefits are a bit too obvious and the risks are actually low. We are not speaking about the safety of co-sleeping, but more about the severity of separation. During the first months the mother and the baby are whole and united, and if the mother is breastfeeding – sharing a bed is logical salvation for her sleep. But as time passes – stopping to co-sleep may become quite an issue:
We are co-sleeping with the baby since its birth. It is very convenient, as I am still breastfeeding. Now the baby is 8 months old. So I start to bother: will co-sleeping lead to problems with his falling asleep in the future? At what age and how it is possible to teach the child to sleep in his own bed?
You may start putting the baby in a separate bed in the evening, and after the first or second waking for the night-time nursing at night leave it near you. It is also possible to remove one of the sides of the children’s bed and to move the bed close to the parental. Using a co-sleeper is recommended. There are plenty of different styles and modifications on the market. You can simply attach the baby co-sleeper to the bed of the parents and keep your baby close to you all the time.
As a part of the procedure of separation – let the baby have a day’s sleep in his bed. Thus you will begin the process of separation. You can’t be late with separating as only after 6 months the mentality of the child is ready for separation from his mother during the nighttime. These processes should be corrected individually from family to family and there’s no “right” age to put your little one into its own bed.
Many children have problems with falling asleep – show me, at least, one family, which has never had the problems of the kind in the evening.
Your baby will be able to sleep aside in his own bed all night long (if there is a possibility even in the other room) after you wean it from the breast.
Co-Sleeping: Baby First
According to the researches of the child’s psychology – there’s a natural desire of the child until it’s able to take care of the self, to co-sleep with the parents.
That is approximate until the baby starts to identify himself or herself as an individual. Normally, that process starts in 2 years. This means that by the age of 3 the baby should have their own bed and sleep independently.
However, some mothers put the baby into the cradle immediately and never share the bed with the baby. We’re not going to oppose those two types of mothers, but the baby, who is poorly versed in the environment due to its age needs the presence of the mother during the night badly – to feel safe, secure, and protected.
This would finally lead to the establishment of trust between the mother and the child. The more time and care you provide at the initial stage of your parenthood – the less need of custody you’ll observe in your growing child. The baby will have a strong belief that you’ll support and protect him/her even during the night while the baby is sleeping in its own bed.
Helping Your Baby To Fall Asleep
One of the main benefits of co-sleeping – is helping the processes of falling asleep in the baby. The thing is that baby had no defined mechanism of falling asleep and the widespread sleeping problem is the baby weeping before going to sleep and at awaking. Before the baby turns about 1,5 years, it has to be assisted at falling asleep – the baby doesn’t yet understand, how it works and what the sleep is for.
That is why many babies start crying as they want to sleep – they are simply afraid to fall asleep. In this case, the best way out is to send your baby to sleep, while you are close. The best is breastfeeding, when the baby feels the warmth of the body of the mother, feels her heartbeat even through the sleep, recognizes the smell, and is sure, that at waking up the mother will be near.
At waking up and seeing no mother around, that baby starts to panic – it has no understanding that the mother is out of the room. Thus co-sleeping sometimes may be the best way to “train” your baby to fall asleep.
Read about getting your baby to sleep: The Baby Won’t Sleep: What Can You Do??
Co-Sleeping Safety Rules – The Fall Prevention
Due to the fact, that there are cases, when babies died because of co-sleeping, some basic rules of co-sleeping should be mentioned. Of course, it’s much safer at using the special co-sleeper, thus it will prevent the sleepy mother from getting over the baby due to the limited space in the co-sleeper. Also, you should mind the proportions – obesity doesn’t contribute to the safety of the baby.
Unfortunately, the cases of baby’s death by co-sleeping were often provoked by the disturbance of the natural mechanism of the so-called “mother’s sleep” by the alien substances – sleeping pills, drugs, alcohol. If the drug addiction is not your case, you will have the “mother’s sleep” by 10 months or longer, so there’s no danger that you may harm your baby – those mechanisms are regulated by your body.
\Also, the nostrils of the baby are developed in a way that even your breast can’t block the oxygen supply to your baby. But the basic safety rule of co-sleeping is you shouldn’t leave your baby alone in the adult bed or keep the baby close to the borders of the bed – the baby WILL FALL. Not “may fall”, or “risks to fall” – the baby WILL FAll, if you don’t observe the safety rules. so you either put your baby into the baby’s bed during the day sleep, or use a co-sleeper, or stay with the baby whenever the baby is napping.
No worries, if you are co-sleeping with your baby – you will wake right at the moment the baby is disturbed by something. Co-sleeping is natural and there’s no need to put yourself into the frames of the recommended period of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping establishes the bond and makes the baby feel safe and develop confidence in that he always has a caring mother by the hand.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.