Updated: Jul 14
I didn't go into my first pregnancy with the intent to bed-share. I can remember thinking "that doesn't sound safe".."she'll sleep in her bassinet until she's ready for her crib"...
I had my own preconceived thoughts about bed-sharing and I think they were largely based on societal norms and the opinions of others. It wasn't until my first baby was born and the true exhaustion from having a newborn and triple feeding (per instruction at that time) kicked in that I found myself bed-sharing very early on.
It felt right. It felt natural. It felt necessary. For me and my baby.
I can remember having the bassinet in our room right next to my bedside and trying to get her to sleep in there. Sometimes she was okay with it but more often than not she wasn't a fan, especially during the night. I tried various swaddles but was unsuccessful in soothing her. She simply wanted to be held and stay close, just like she had been for the last 9 months and who could blame her. So into our bed I brought her.
I told my mom and sister about our sleeping arrangement and my mom wasn't thrilled. She had her concerns and she voiced them. But I knew what felt right for me and my baby. I had looked into the right and safe way to bed-share (since this wasn't anything provided by my OB or pediatrician), which I hoped would reassure her, but it didn't. And that was okay with me (sorry, mom).
I was a first time mom. I was tired and I was anxious. But having her close to me during the night and knowing she was okay made me less anxious, allowed me to breastfeed easily on demand and helped me sleep.
The amount of time we bed-shared varied some (not much though if I'm being honest lol). I still offered sleep in the bassinet and eventually her crib, which we brought into our room when the time came. But as she grew and went through growth spurts she needed more soothing during the night which for us meant more breastfeeding. And I was okay with that because I knew her needs and requests were biologically normal. Sucking is soothing for babies and I was her comfort person. Bed-sharing helped me meet her needs and my own, which was getting as much sleep as I could.
What also really helped me was knowing that I wasn't the only one doing it and several of my friends, who also recently had their first baby, were bed-sharing too. It felt right for some and not for others and that was perfectly okay.
I share all of this just to shed light on two things:
There are safe ways to bed-share.
What you choose to do as a mom only needs to feel right for you and your baby.
So let's get into the real reason you're reading this...the guidelines for safe co-sleeping or bed-sharing. I'm going to share some pictures of a recent post I made so you can see examples.
In my own personal opinion, bed size should also be a consideration. We have a king sized bed which leaves us with plenty of room for bed-sharing. However, if we are traveling and the bed is anything smaller than a queen I don't feel comfortable bed-sharing. I also choose to sleep without a pillow and will sleep with my own blanket, if needed, to avoid pulling the comforter up on my side of the bed. That's is what works best for us and what I feel comfortable with.
I'll leave you with the advantages of co-sleeping according to an article on Kellymom.com
Parents often get more sleep
Babies often get more sleep since mom is able to breastfeeding or soothe more quickly when baby starts to stir and doesn't fully wake up.
Breastfeeding during the night is easier when baby is nearby
Breastfeeding during the night helps maintain milk supply
Sleeping in the same room as your baby reduces the risk of SIDS by a much as 50% [AAP]
Night nursing also tends to prolong the child-spacing effect of breastfeeding
Fewer bedtime hassles
You get to wake up to a smiling baby :)
I hope you found this post helpful! As always, I'd love to hear from you by commenting below!