As a new parent, you have to make many decisions. One of those decisions is the way you will sleep with your newborn. This decision will be based on the culture you live in and what feels most comfortable to you, but one of the most common ways to sleep with your baby is to co-sleep.
Co-sleeping is the act of a parent and baby sleeping on the same surface together. For most of human history, parents slept next to their baby for safety, protection, and ease. Let’s face it, sleeping right next to your baby makes breastfeeding incredibly easy. About 500 years ago, Western societies broke away from this model and started recommending that babies sleep in their own space until three years old.
Co-sleeping was also shunned because of the Western trend of individuality and the fashion statement of having separate bedrooms. There is also a school of thought that felt that babies should not be coddled too much or overindulged.
Recently co-sleeping has become popular again, and there are plenty of benefits associated with it. It has been found that when adults and babies sleep together, they do sleep lightly and rouse more often. While some people think this is a problem, it is safer in those first few months of life. Parents and babies also sleep longer when they bed share, making for more well-rested parents with better emotional regulation.
Most parents have the natural desire to sleep near their babies, and data shows that co-sleeping is rising. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents and babies sleep in the same room together for the first six months of life. If you think co-sleeping is right for you and your baby, don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician about your decisions so you can make the best choice for your family.