Q&A: Co-sleeping With Baby?
What about sleep sharing? Is it safe? What are the pros and cons?
Ah, the sleep sharing question... One of those hot button baby topics you’d be wise to steer clear of in mommy and me class. Most parents who “co-sleep” feel that staying close is important for bonding and emotional development... And most parents who don’t see it as a freaky idea which will result in baby still in the big bed at age six, as well as a major blow already at-risk reserves of marital passion.
One of the main pros of keeping baby in bed with you is that it makes those middle-of-the-night feedings much easier, since you can simply lie in bed as baby nurses. Plus, she might have an easier time going back to sleep than if you'd gotten her out of the crib for feeding. The main con is that it’s a very hard habit to break. Although co-sleeping might help you get more rest during the first couple of months when baby is feeding all the time, that third body in your bed is going to cut into shuteye over time... to say nothing of what it could do to your sex life!
As for the safety issues, the American Association of Pediatrics advises against bed sharing because studies show it increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you do sleep share, the AAP cautions against doing so when you’ve been drinking or are “excessively tired”... ruling out, oh, every single night for most new parents. The AAP does recommend, though, keeping baby in your bedroom (but in a separate crib or bassinet) for the first few months. Close proximity has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. If even a crib on the other side of the room seems too far, try a co-sleeper, which is a three-sided crib that attaches right to your bed for easy access.