Cosleeping With Baby – Is It Safe?

Here’s the research on co-sleeping with baby safety, plus benefits, drawbacks, and guidelines for safely cosleeping with baby.

Here's the research on co-sleeping with baby safety, plus benefits, drawbacks, and guidelines for safely cosleeping with baby.

Baby-wearing, breastfeeding, and cosleeping with baby are some of the main tenants of attachment parenting, but the latter is sometimes met with criticism and stern warnings.

Still, cosleeping is more prevalent than most people think. Parents often say that baby sleeps in his or her crib when, in reality, mom and baby sleep together at least part of the night. Ask your non-cosleeping friends. You’d be surprised how many actually do co-sleep without knowing (or admitting) it!

During their first three months of life, up to 70% of babies in Europe and America will have coslept with their parents one or more times.(5) (After that come the 4 month sleep regression and a lot of parents start co-sleeping at that time)

And why shouldn’t they?

Cosleeping with baby is the biological norm

Cosleeping with baby is culturally accepted in many non western societies today. And, of course, for most of human history, co-sleeping was the norm in all cultures.

And it makes sense: In hunter-gatherer societies, a newborn or baby sleeping away from mom is more prone to danger and has to cry to get mom’s attention, which could put the group at risk of predatory attack. On the other hand, a baby nestled close to mom can nurse without fully waking (and without fully waking mom either).

What exactly is co-sleeping with baby?

Co-sleeping is the act of a newborn, baby, or child sleeping close to one or both parents. While some people consider co-sleeping to mean that baby is within arm’s reach, others qualify it as parents and baby sleeping in the same room. This could mean baby has their own bed (or crib) in the same room, a bed adjacent to the parent’s bed, or sleeping in the same bed as one or both parents.

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The benefits of cosleeping with baby

  • Studies show that babies sleeping in the same room as parents have a lower risk of SIDS (1).
  • Cosleeping can reduce nighttime separation anxiety.
  • Co-sleeping can result in more sleep for baby and mom. Mom doesn’t have to wake fully, get out of bed, and go to another room for feedings or to comfort baby.
  • Less stress and struggle at bedtime and through the night.
  • Easier nighttime nursing, which helps maintain a good milk supply.
  • Helps mom and baby sync their sleep patterns, which can make for easier feedings.
  • Helps working moms get more time with baby.
  • Can help a fussy child sleep at night.

Are there disadvantages to co-sleeping?

  • Potentially less intimacy with partner (although, as cosleeping couples know, there are other places to have sex besides the bedroom).
  • Less restful sleep. Some parents and some babies may sleep better alone.
  • Many studies point to a connection between cosleeping and SIDS (2).

Is cosleeping with baby safe?

Although this research has been criticized, a 2014 study published in Pediatrics determined that nearly 74% of deaths in babies younger than 4 months occurred in a bed-sharing situation. The study looked at data from 8,207 infant deaths that occurred between 2004 and 2012. Among older infants (4 months to 1 year old), the rate was slightly lower at nearly 59 percent. (2)

Critics of this study point out that smoking, alcohol, and drug use were not taken into consideration, which can often be the culprit with baby fatalities. The lead researcher is hoping to conduct another large study that takes into account these issues. Although possibly flawed, the studies have raised awareness of the need to co-sleep safety.

These contraptions can add additional assurance to parents.

Guidelines to cosleeping with baby safely

  • Breastfed babies seem to be the safest sleeping next to mom (versus near dad or another child).
    • (Bottle-fed babies are safer in a separate sleeping space in the same room, since they sleep more deeply.) (4)
  • Baby should be placed to sleep on his back, on a firm mattress with tight fitting sheets.
  • Do not have loose pillows or blankets near the baby’s face.
  • Leave no space between the mattress and the wall where baby could roll into and get stuck.
  • Do not co-sleep or put baby to sleep on a couch!
  • No stuffed animals or bumpers in the bed.
  • Parents who smoke (and moms who smoked during pregnancy) should not bedshare.
  • Parents who consume alcohol or drugs or are on medications that make them sleepy should not bedshare.
  • Parents who sleep very deeply, are obese, sleepwalk, or are generally less aware of baby’s presence and location while sleeping should consider a sidecar arrangement.
  • Babies under one year old should not sleep next to other children.
  • Baby should not be swaddled so that they can alert a parent when they are too close.
  • Baby should not be overdressed (overheating is a risk factor for SIDS).

Room sharing is recommended by AAP

While co-sleeping isn’t recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, room sharing is for the sake of baby’s health. (3)

In fact, the AAP just increased their recommendation for room sharing from the first 6 months of baby’s life to the first year of baby’s life due to the decreased risk of SIDS.

Room sharing is as simple as having baby’s bassinet or crib on the side of parent’s bed.

It isn’t all or nothing

I think a big stumbling block to co-sleeping is that some parents feel like they have to do it all the time including when baby is sleeping through the night. But just like moms will practice baby-led weaning and feed their babies purees, the same can be said for cosleeping with baby. For example, let’s say you had some drinks or were out late night with friends… that is not a good night to co-sleep. Or perhaps dad has strep throat or mom has the stomach flu. These might be instances when putting baby in her own sleeping space is better.

The point is you can be flexible with what works for your family.

Did Mama Natural co-sleep?

We used this co-sleeper side car with both kids when they were newborns. Later, our babies graduated to a crib in their own room.

There are two reasons why. The first is that I am a very deep sleeper. My family used to joke that nothing would wake me up. The second is that my husband Michael is a very light sleeper, and he struggles to stay asleep during the night. Given our sleep “baggage,” we found that cosleeping beyond that newborn stage didn’t work well for our family.

I do know many couples who LOVE co-sleeping and find that it has enriched their family life. Let’s hear from a few of them now…

Here’s what other natural mamas have to say about cosleeping with baby…

  • My son is 9 months old and sleeps with me and my husband. It felt right for us from day one. He nurses on demand and it is such a wonderful experience. – Jessica H.
  • I am a very particular sleeper so I cannot be comfortable with the baby in bed, even laying down to nurse I feared my breast would suffocate the baby constantly. Also, my husband is a heavy sleeper and as a fire fighter who has seen terrible things happen with co sleeping and babies sleeping on parents chests. – Traci F.
  • I think it’s just normal and natural. It’s easier and also wonderful for that little being to know that mama is right there snuggling right up to you..what a comfort. – Nadia T.
  • I cosleep with my kids until they make the decision to leave. Much like weaning. – Jennifer B.
  • I have been co sleeping for almost 5 1/2 years (now with my 11 mo old) and I don’t love it. – Amelia R.
  • As much as I was comfortable and even wanting to cosleep it just could not work for me and my daughter (5months old). Her and I are both terribly light sleepers. Every last fidget, kick, or whimper would keep me awake and her too. Once she started sleeping in her crib for naps and bedtime we both got more sleep. – Megan K.
  • I do not co sleep. I can not sleep with my children in bed with me. Always have had a hard time sleeping. It’s just the way I am. – Sarah N.
  • I love co-sleeping! It is natural! Why do we try so hard from birth to make our babies independent? They are not! They need our love and embrace. – Jessica B.
  • We are bedsharing with our 2nd baby. He’s 16mos now. We bedshared with our daughter until she was 3. Then we would lay with her until she fell asleep. Now she has a bed in our room. – Megan Q.
  • My daughter and I coslept her first three months, then I needed some space so I sidecarred the crib until six months. Then once she started moving she decided bedtime was playtime!! So she has been in a crib ever since. – Karina M.

How about you?

Did you practice co-sleeping? Please share your experience in the comments below!



Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. This is the kind of thing my significant other and I are as yet attempting to sort out ha! As a first time Mother I never planned to co-rest. My child young lady began dozing in her bassinet close to our bed and I would sit up to nurture her then, at that point, set her back down in her den. KipasGuys

  2. I have been sleeping with my daughter since last 3 months and I absolutely love it. The bonding we share now is amazing. I recommend every parents to sleep with their baby vencord app

  3. I personally do not suggest co-sleep, if you want to give your baby good sleep habit, just prepare a good baby sleep sack( or swaddle blanket) for the newborn first 1 month + a quality sleep gown + keep your baby’s diaper clear & dry + schedule feeding baby == quality baby sleeping! Shop organic cotton baby products at

    • I also do not suggest co-sleep. It is hard to change the habit of the kid. Therefore, we should let them sleep on their own bed at the first time. Moreover, it can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related accidents, such as suffocation, pizza tower, pentrapment, and falls.

  4. My first daughter co-slept in bed with my husband and I from around the time she was a month old. She and I both slept better and my husband and I loved the bonding time with her. Knowing she was right there with us was very comforting. Now that we have another baby and our first is three years old we hope to gradually transition both girls to their shared room eventually.

  5. No one talks about when the child is too old to sleep with parents (parent). How do you transition to their own bed when all they’ve known is snuggling next to parent? My grand kids are anxious and have a very hard time being away from their mother in all situations probably stemming from co sleeping

    • My 6 year old daughter has always slept with me. I have always introduced new ideas to her and allowed her to choose when she is ready for the transition or change. It has worked so well mentally physically and developmentally. She tries to sleep in her room here and there she has slept through the night that way a few times. Other times she wakes up scared and crawls back in my bed. I personally don’t feel like forcing them is ever really necessary. It’s a kid to kid choice though as well as a person to person. Regardless of the decision made by whomever, everything will be okay as long as they are loved unconditionally as all little ones deserve.

  6. With my first baby I had no choice but to cosleep, my husband was deployed and I was living in a hotel with my dad. It was also very natural for me.
    With baby two i coals of from birth as well and never once thought any other way.
    By baby number three I wanted to see what the talk was about. And the idea of “a nursery” was appealing. I got a crib and made an entire room. It was IG worthy. I never used the crib or the room 😂
    With baby number four I used a snuggle me organic bed in our bed, but found myself restless and constantly reaching over to feel my baby breath. I finally tossed it and snuggled my newborn like I knew I should. I’m now pregnant with baby five and will cosleep with him or her as well. It’s safer, and I’m a very light sleeper when it comes to my kids. I never miss out on sleep, my babies sleep in boob so they are huge lol and so happy being close to mama, and research has shown the risk of SIDS is practically none when your cosleeping. We live cosleeping! And my kids normally start wanting their own beds around 2 1/2 -3yrs old just in time for the next babe to come along.

  7. Hi, I clicked on the link for the side car co-sleeper but it’s a dead link, could you please share which side car/bassinet you recommend? Thanks!

    • Thank you for letting us know that link no longer works! That link was not necessarily a recommendation but was an example of what a sidecar bassinet is! If you search side-car/co-sleeper/bassinet, you will find many examples. Good luck on your search!

  8. I love reading your reccomendations. I am 26 weeks pregnant and your guidance has helped immensely so thank you!
    I am disappointed that the links provided in this article do not work. I am looking at side-car sleepers too and would love to know what you used.

    • Me too! at least so I could see a good example of what works well

  9. Is a portable sleeper safe for co-sleeping? Wondering if the fluffy sides are a risk or suffocating. Please advise, thanks!

    • It really depends on the co-sleeper.

    • From what I’ve read, no, especially those with the fluffy sides are definitely not safe for sleep. It’s possible some out there may be but most will have disclaimers that they are for supervised use only

  10. With our son we started out with an Armsreach side sleeper that connected to our bed, but before he turned a month old he was sleeping in our bed. We hadn’t planned on it, it just kind of happened. We tried one of those nests that lay on the bed between us but he didn’t like it and would refuse to sleep in it. He nurses on demand and I think bedsharing really helped at night to allow us both to sleep more. Hubby is an EXTREMELY light sleeper, he would always wake first when our son began moving to eat. He’s nine months now and generally sleeps 8-10 hours with a few sleep feedings mixed in (where neither of us fully wake). I practice safe bedsharing by sleeping on my side or back only facing him, with pillows far away from his face. It has worked for us, but I definitely had anxiety at the beginning given all the warnings and horror stories, hardly sleeping just staring at him to make sure he was breathing lol, but isn’t that every FTM. Im glad he was next to me to watch instead of in another room where I would have been getting up to do the same thing ? after he reached 4 months everything started to smooth out and feel more relaxed on my end. Looking forward to the future time where every parent can sleep soundly not having to stress over baby’s safety.

  11. I’m currently co sleeping with my first, we’re exclusively breastfeeding so co sleeping does make it a world easier…especially after healing from giving birth. And we both definitely get more sleep together, anytime I put him down away from me he fussed and we both lose sleep.

  12. We co-slept with our first child. It was wonderful… except that he still sleeps with us and he is almost 7. We have a baby due in July and I think we will resist the co-sleeping this time.

  13. With my first son, I did not co sleep until he was 3 months old. The sleep deprivation I suffered added to my post partum depression. When I began co sleeping, I began to heal and my hormones balanced. It literally saved my life! And the additional benefits I experienced with co sleeping were so precious. It strengthened my bond with my baby. We both slept better. I loved being so connected to him. I’m right there to notice if anything is wrong. He could nurse on demand and neither one of us fully woke in the process. We co slept til he was 18 months, when I was 2 months pregnant for baby brother. By then he was only nursing in the morning, at nap, and right before bed. He transitioned very easily to a crib right next to our bed. I now co sleep with baby brother. We started right at birth to the present (he’s 9 months old). At around 5 months I started nursing him to sleep and then put him in the bassinet next to our bed. When he wakes the first time, I nurse him and sometimes he gets put back in the bassinet, and sometimes I end up co sleeping all night. Lol! I find he sleeps much better co sleeping, oftentimes only nursing once in the night. When he’s in his crib, I think he gets cold or notices I’m not there and wakes up. Then he thinks he needs to nurse. Haha! Dad gets a little nervous if baby is between us, so when I nurse on that side I either try to stay awake to move baby back to the other side when he’s done nursing, or I make sure to have my arm as a barrier between baby and Dad. That way if Dad moves and feels my arm, it makes him aware that baby is there. All in all, we love co sleeping!!!!

    • Your comment resonates with me, Kathleen. Particularly the part about the sleep deprivation feeding into PPD. I was not able to cosleep with my first because she and I are both very light sleepers and would wake each other up – and between that and her high needs temperament, I had a horrible case of PPD. This time around (with our second child), I was hesitant to try cosleeping again because of all the SIDS studies, but I also know that it is important for me to take care of myself. Cosleeping with this child has allowed me to sleep so much better, and I have been much more emotionally stable and able to take care of my children.

      It may not be the best choice for every family, but in cases like this I do believe that cosleeping can save a mother’s life.

  14. My husband and I have been bed sharing with our first son since day one. He is almost six months old now. I am so glad I researched about co-sleeping,bed sharing,breast sleeping before having him. I couldn’t imagine having to get up out of bed multiple times a night, even if his crib was in the same room. I love telling my relatives and friends about how my baby ‘never cries at night’. They are all baffled. It’s the truth though, he’s right there with me able to nurse on demand, we both hardly wake at all when he nurses and are able to go right back to sleep. It works perfectly for us. I feel terrible for parents who cannot co sleep and struggle with crying babies at night time. A few tips I’ve learned that have helped me are to change out heavy covers for light ones and keep the covers at your waist so they aren’t up by your babies face. Since your upper body isn’t covered, it gets chilly. I’ve gotten a few button up long sleeve pajama shirts, they work beautifully because I can just leave them unbuttoned to nurse and my arms/shoulders aren’t cold.

    • So this is my first and he won’t sleep with out me He’s only 4 days old is it really ok to bed share

  15. I am expecting my second child in a month and we recently moved into a new place two weeks ago. For the past 3 years and 11 months, my daughter has slept with me. She has adjusted well sleeping in her own bed these past two weeks. I co slept with her from the beginning to monitor her breathing and nurse her easily through the night. It worked for me and I loved that connection and cuddles. She will occasionally come into our room and I don’t mind one bit.

  16. My baby is 2 months old. My husband and I co-sleep with him.

    When he came home from the hospital, he just would not sleep in the crib at all. We would leave him there only to come back later and find him in a completely different position . It kind of scared me . He would also be screaming hysterically and kicking up a sweat to the point where he got over-heated.

    So one day when my husband was away on a business trip I decided to put the baby in the bed with me so I didn’t have to get up to check on him all the time . I decided to put him on our bed on the baby changing pad and voila he slept so easily. He now sleeps between us at night and it is great. We both get to sleep and we can hear when he is upset or hungry right away.

    Traditionally babies slept with their parents. Do you think cavemen had bedrooms. As a matter of fact they had to keep their babies close to them at all time to avoid them being eaten by animals in the wild. It is a very natural thing. I think the changing pad is great because it is a bit sunk in the middle thereby preventing him from rolling off or being smothered by us.

    Trust me when it is time for your kids to be independent they will have no problem telling you this.

    My parents co slept with me and even as a teenager I would sometimes jump into the bed with them for fun. It never stopped me from growing up to being a strong independent woman.

    I think western society is too obsessed with individualism and wants to force kids to grow up too quickly. Now from birth we are saying babies should be independent ?? People are also sending their kids off to boarding school before they even become teenagers !! It is ridiculous. This is not necessary. Children need to feel loved first before they can develop the desire to be independent.

    If co-sleep works for you do it. Just make sure you use the right equipment to do it. I don’t think just laying them on the bed with you is safe. You need something elevated like the changing pad to do it or some other co-sleep device.

    Also make sure that you and your husband have separate blankets. That way the baby cannot get covered in between you by a shared blanket.

    Also I think if you sleep with your baby safely rather than have him in a separate room or crib it reduces the chance of him getting SIDS as you can hear him breathing or struggling to breathe all night. When my baby was in the crib I actually found I slept less cause every noise he made would make me get up to check on him.

    Good Luck.

  17. . I suffered through 2 miscarriages and was told we could not have kids. Something we had dreamed and tried for, fot 6 years. I had 2 horrible things happen in your family with babies. My moms first child was a stillborn and that happened on April fools day. So each year that was always on our minds. Then when I was 15 my brother lost his first 2 mo old son to sibs. So after the losses we had and the history in my family I was very worried when we found out we were pregnant. The first few months being scared to use the bathroom for the fear of seeing blood. At 7 mo’s along they stop preterm labor and put me on bedrest for 2 months. I was sick the whole 40 weeks + 10 days over. I was pregnant with a bad gallbladder that needed to be removed when she was 3 weeks old. Giving birth to her was a moving experience for me and one I had to fight the nurses to get because I wanted a pain free natural birth. When we came home I was on autopilot. I did everything by the book. I had her in a bassinet by the bed and I got up changed and breastfeed and put her back to sleep. I could not sleep because the thought if I did she would die. I know sounds crazy but I had this amazing baby that I was told I could not have and with the history in the family I was on the edge thinking at any time she could die. She was just too good to be true and at anytime she was going to be gone. Every Time I did drift off from sheer exhaustion I would wake with a jolt screaming she is blue where is she. Even if she was sound asleep I would wake her just to make sure she was sleeping. Then my saving grace happend. My gallbladder was so bad a stone had blocked my liver and I turned yellow. I had an ER gallbladder removal and spent 3 days in the hospital. When I got out I was not able to get up and down and my hubby had to bring her to me. So back to the no sleep and this dark cloud of your going to lose her hong over me. One night I called my midwife crying and telling her how I feeling and all that other stuff and she said to my to try one night of sleeping. No I said they said it was wrong. She told how much that did not make sense, and told me all the great things about sleeping with your baby was. I was given a wage to keep baby from rolling over and I used that in our bed as a divider. We fell asleep, she woke up squirming for my breast and after she was done fell back to sleep. Then something amazing happened so did I. The next morning the heavens opened I heard angels singing and birds chirping. I felt so blessed. I felt so amazing. I can’t begin to tell you how great a well rested mother feels. No longer on autopilot I was so happy. But still that dark cloud of doom was still there. Before when I was sleep deprived I felt like this is what madness feels like. However, then I was rested I could think clearly. I remember praying asking that no harm would come to my baby when I starting thinking a story I heard someone tell me about when your walking down the street and you have a hold of your child’s hand and then he trips and falls hurting his keen. All you can do is help him. It was not something you did, it is just something that happened and there it nothing you can do to stop it but just be there for your child. Then I realized that no matter what I do, I can’t stop things from happening. So does that leave me feeling helpless? No it lift me feeling that this child would know how much she is loved because this is the only thing I can do. Take care of this sweet precious miracle this gift that God has given us is, I know understand that this gift was going to be the most loved and cared for gift anyone was ever given. So soon after the cloud slowly drifted away and even though she had her own room she was in our bed until she was about 7 her twin bed was next to ours for a few more years. Slowly she started sleeping in her own room. She is now 19 and there has been a few times I would wake up and see her at the end of your bed sleeping. This is how co-sleeping pulled me back from the edge of madness. I tell many woman my story when asked what i think of co-sleeping? I start out by saying with a resounding yes I love it let me tell you a story..

    • I have absolutely enjoyed reading your story ♥️ Thanks for sharing

  18. I am 8 months pregnant with my first and really appreciate all the mamas experiences in these comments. It seems like wherever I turn everyone is using a sidecar, bassinet or crib and that nobody is really planning on bedsharing. I am a true believer in the natural way, and feel very stressed as I am having to make all of these potentially life threatening decisions for my baby.

    I wish that when a mama shares a sad story about personally experiencing a death caused by sids or knowing a friend who did, that they would say what factor contributed. Is that something that is determined in a situation like that? I don’t want to say that any mother is to blame, but I want to know about the statistics of death from sids when the bedsharing situation is following all of the safety guidelines. Even then I don’t know if it would reduce my anxiety… All it takes is one horror story before I start to think I’m making the wrong decisions.

    • I understand your worry. I have never heard of an incident when a child was harmed from bed sharing when the parents followed safety precautions (not doing it they smoked, drank, sleep heavily, etc). At the end of the day it is still your choice to make.

    • Lindsey B.,

      My husband & I cosleep completely naturally with our 6.5 month old. He has been in our bed since he was about a month (he was a 34 weeker, & spent about 3 weeks in NICU & we tried the pack & play by the bed method for about two weeks after him coming home but he was unable to sleep at all without us & NONE of us slept & honestly, my instincts screamed at the fact my baby was away from me during sleep times). We put him on his back on our matress, we have a King bed, & keep a good space between us, only pulling the sheets over our legs so the baby doesn’t have them near him. Our pillows are pushed against the headboard away from his face. He stays safe all night & usually cuddles into my husband but I stir naturally as he moves positions, so I am constantly checking on him without fully waking or getting up from the bed. He sleeps all night. Goes to bed around 9, wakes between 7-9 next morning for his first nursing session of our day. We love it.

  19. Our son was born at home in our bed and after our midwives did all the routine checks, baby had nursing, I had ate, they clean & tidied up (love them!) they tucked all 3 of us into that same bed. I tend to follow what is biologically normal when it comes to raising my son & working with children. So it was a very easy decision to bed share especially with waking every 2 hours in the first few weeks to breastfeed on demand. Our son is now 17 months old and we’re still bed sharing and plan to until he is ready for his own sleep space. Be that a mattress on our bedroom floor or in his own room on the 3rd generation bunk beds our children will be using. It was definitely a great decision to bed share, in all his 17 months of life I can honestly say I’ve only been sleep deprived less than a handful of times. I think it’s also important to remember that whether your child is a “good” or “bad” sleeper that it’s biologically normal for young children to wake frequently & need their mamas. <3

  20. Before our son was born, my husband and I had mutually agreed we’d co-sleep with the pack n play next to us for the first 3 months and then would move to his own bedroom. Our son ended up in bed or on our chests pretty often, due to reflux issues. He was a great sleeper and would only wake up once per night by 10 weeks, so we made the transition then. I would nurse him to sleep every night at 7:30, and he would wake up at 4am for a quick feed and go back down until 7:30. But when he turned 4 months, all his great sleep habits went out the window! He is teething like mad and has stomach aches. He could also be hitting the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. We’re not ok with sleep training, so instead of being up with him every 30-60 min, we take him to bed with us when he won’t sleep on his own (usually around 11-12) and he generally sleeps well with us. He’ll barely wake up a couple of times to nurse, I just latch in my sleep and we both fall back asleep. As a plus, it’s really helped boost my constantly struggling supply. I never worry about it anymore and I feel more rested than I did before when I had to go to his room to nurse in the middle of the night. Another surprising other bonus is that out sex life and intimacy has sky rocketed since bedsharing. Probably because I’m more rested, no longer worried about supply and we have to be more creative with finding another place than our bed. The major downside is that my husband is a light sleeper and doesn’t sleep well when our active baby moves in his sleep. He’s still not very excited about co-sleeping and we continue to gently encourage our baby to sleep in his room every night. We just keep an open dialogue about it and understand that this is temporary.

  21. My husband and I for the most part co slept with our daughter till she was about a year old. We didn’t own a crib and she nursed as needed. If she wasn’t in the bed she was in the room in her pack n play. At a year old we put her in a crib for the first time in her own room and at 20 months into a toddler bed. With the exception of bad dreams or if she’s sick she has had no issues, and she is now a happy healthy 7 year old. I do agree that it is how the family feels about it. And I had initially felt worried about all the negative talk about it but my experience was great.

  22. I LOVE co-sleeping!! I have a 21 month old and a 5 month old and it’s the easiest part of parenting! We all sleep and enjoy it! With my first it was the hardest to have her sleep in her crib and it just didn’t feel right that it took so much work just to put her to bed, so I did what my gut told me. And it works for our family!!?

  23. Hi Genevieve,
    I am expecting my first child and my husband and I are considering bedsharing. I plan on purchasing an Essentia Mattress as per your review, but I am wondering if you think this may too soft for bedsharing? I am interested in their firmest mattress, The Grateful Bed, but I wonder if it will still be too soft. Safe bedsharing guidelines require a firm mattress but I am also worried about flame retardants, etc. so I would really like a natural mattress.

    I would really appreciate your opinion on this!

    • I use the Grateful Bed! I think you’ll find it just as firm (and safe) as just about every other mattress on the market.

  24. I’m looking to purchase the mini co-sleeper, exact same one as you have but have a couple questions…

    1) Is it actually useful as a playyard/playpen? And if so, up until what age?
    2) Is the mattress or the cosleeper flush with your mattress? In other words, it is an extension of the bed or would I still have to sit up and reach over to have my baby breastfeed?

    Thank you!

  25. I was scared to co-sleep with a new baby because of the pressure from the health care providers to sleep baby on his back in the crib. If something were to happen to my baby because I rolled over on him I would be culpable. If, however, I dropped my baby or smothered him with my full breasts when I was breastfeeding in the nigh, because I was exhausted (both almost happened) then I would be forgiven. I think the health care providers need to realise it is a mother’s choice, and like you, offer the option with information about doing so safely. Without this information people will co-sleep anyway and this is when bad things happen.

    The other issue, which is massive and health care providers neglect to comment on is when you place a baby on their back in a cot on a firm mattress they add too much pressure to their soft skulls (which haven’t yet fused) Nearly all babies who sleep this way end up with a flat spot on their heads. This isn’t just aesthetically unappealing, it has been linked to brain development delay, if severe. It is a big issue healing the head when this has happened. Almost every baby in my baby group has this flat spot. Some worse than others. I wrote an article about what you can do to to prevent it or reverse it here!Plagiocehaly-Brachycephaly-Flat-Head-SyndromeFind-out-What-Works/c1a1n/C6116F9A-30FE-4E80-B073-2044B83FC7AF If I had been told about this before having a baby I would have sought out a safe baby pillow from day 1. Health care providers never tell you about this because they are worried it will make parents place their babies to sleep on their sides or tummy instead.

  26. Before giving birth to my now 14 months old girl I was terrified of cosleeping and afraid of suffocating my baby as I heard horror stories. But once my baby arrived I felt very alert of her position. It felt just right for both my husband and I, and we started co-sleeping first on my chest (because the baby was colicy) and then just in bed besides me. I think as long as everyone in the family is happy with the arrangement there is nothing wrong with it. My husband and I still find alone time. We continue to co-sleep because I miss my baby so much. I think if it was only for her she could be gradually moved to her own room, but it’s for both of us. And my husband fully supports co-sleeping. I’m not sure until when it is still a good thing. Any thoughts anyone?

    • I’m the same way. I have nightmares if she’s not next to me. We were in a bad neighborhood for her first 8 months so I was always worried someone would come in her window or something. We’ve started just slowly moving her in her own bed when we moved in to our new house and now that she’s 20 months old she sleeps from 8-midnight or so in her big girl bed in her room then she comes in to bed with us for the rest of the night. She still nurses though so I’m thinking we will start training her to stay in her bed when she weans.

  27. I’ve read studies that relate co-sleeping to less risk of sids. This is because parents are more aware of their baby when baby is close (breathing, if they are to warm, has something over their face, another human being near helps regulate their breathing etc). You are able to meet his or her needs faster, so less crying and baby is able to fall asleep easier (and so are you). It is simply golden when nursing! I love co-sleeping. If none of the risk factors are there and if parents are able to sleep well, I think it is great. I’m a light sleeper, but not so light that every movement wakes me up. But I would NEVER roll over baby, I am to concious of where he is at all times

  28. Thank you for such an honest and informative article. Every family is different and there are so many ways to pray attatchment parenting. I have had the misfortune of seeing the nightmare of SIDS in my many years of pediatrics and therefore was not comfortable with taking any risks. An in-bed cosleeper worked great for us (I could have my hand on my baby at any time) followed by a mini crib sidecarred next to the bed and later a crib in my room. My lo has slept for 10-12 hrs a night since she was 10 weeks old (on breastmilk) and for her, having her own space has been ideal. She was always closeby and I could sleep soundly knowing that I would not roll onto her. Our modern beds and bedding are risky in so many cases (esp memory foam mattresses and thick comforters), and I would not have felt safe. And I would have been even more sleep deprived!! That being said, babywearing and lots of hands on care while awake also lends itself to bonding, and especially in a peaceful parenting style. We definitely co-napped during the day when I knew I wouldn’t fall asleep but could snuggle and enjoy the closeness. Thank you for writing about this subject in an honest way.

  29. My daughter slept in a babybay co-sleeper until she was 3 months old. I loved sleeping next to her because it reassured me to have her close to me, and breastfeeding at night was quite convenient. However, by the time she learned to turn over in her sleep, we were both sleeping less soundly. Also, I was nursing her every 2-2.5 hours during the night and didn’t feel very well rested in the mornings. My husband convinced me to try to let her sleep in the crib in the nursery, and she started sleeping for 3-4 hours at a time, which made a big difference for me. Having longer periods of sleep between feedings, I didn’t mind going to the other room to breastfeed and felt better rested than with 2-hour intervals without getting up. However, we moved her to our bed to sleep between me and my husband between 3 and 4 am, as she seemed to get restless in her crib around that time. In our bed she slept soundly until about 6:30 or 7am. I nursed her for 14 months, at which time she started sleeping through the night and wasn’t demanding to be breastfed anymore, so she basically weaned herself. At 16 months, she spends about 3 mornings a week in our bed, and the rest of the time she’s content in her own crib. She has no anxiety issues and is always cuddly and happy in the mornings, whether she’s with her parents or on her own. All of this wasn’t completely planned (I had planned on using the co-sleeper for much longer), but I’m happy with how things worked out – and so is she, which is the most important thing.

  30. We weren’t keen on co-sleeping because I struggle to get to sleep and can wake frequently in the night, but once I am asleep – I am ASLEEP! My husband ended up bringing our daughter into bed to sleep on his chest when she was a tiny newborn from around 4.30-5am because she was born in the summer and would wake with the light then and that was the only way she would go back to sleep!

    She was in our room in a Moses basket until she was about 6-8 weeks (can’t remember exactly when), but we were blessed with her being a wonderful night sleeper and by that point she was sleeping about 8 hours at night and it was getting frustrating to try and sneak into bed quietly at night when she was already asleep and then end up waking at every little snuffle.

    In her own room, she slept much better, and so did we! We still occasionally sleep in the same room at parents’ houses when space is short (she’s now 6 months), and neither us nor her ever sleep as well! If she wasn’t such a good night sleeper and woke up screaming I think we might have kept her in our room a bit longer, but I guess we’ll see what happens with future babies…

  31. My son slept in a bassinet in the room with us until he outgrew it. There were times when I would get done breastfeeding him and he was just so peacefully asleep that I left him in bed with us. He had pretty bad reflux at a young age so I just felt more at peace when he was close. When he moved to the crib and his own room, I acrually woke up more for a while because I just missed him! A few months ago, he discovered how to get out of his crib so he graduated to a “big boy” bed. He will be 2 this Monday and he still sleeps with us sometimes. My husband used to hate it at first, but now he loves it! We’re really enjoying every minute of it because we know the day is coming when he won’t want to do that anymore. Maybe this is not the best way to do things (I’m sure there’s a parenting book out there saying it’s wrong to let your kids sleep in your bed) but we feel happy and blessed, our son feels loved, and that’s all that matters! 🙂

  32. We are still co-sleeping with our girls, one almost 4 and the other 20 months. With our oldest, she started out on a changing pad we just put in the middle of our bed. But not only did it get more difficult to transition her there when she was sleeping, but I found she really slept better right next to me, and that’s where she stayed. We transitioned her to her own bed in our room starting around 19 months and then to her own room at 20 months. She generally woke sometime during the night and then joined us in bed. It was so cute how she used to come in and practically lay on my head (well, that part not so cute!) and fall asleep. This worked just fine until recently when she said she would rather be in our room, so we moved her twin mattress in next to our king. Ahh… much better for 4! Our youngest has always been next to or near me in bed, and that’s where she still is. Actually, she is on the twin mattress and my daughter sleeps in the middle of our bed. She claimed that spot early on and likes it better there!

    We did occasionally use foam bumpers under the sheet either as a barrier or protector from the edge of the bed or the wall. I always felt that we were doing things as safely as possible, and I think that is truly key. It’s all about safety with co-sleeping. We like our pillows and big down comforter, but we kept them away when the babies were small. Now, my youngest crawls all over the pillows (and again, my head! argh…) and collapses back to sleep, but I can trust that she will be okay.

    I generally sleep well enough with co-sleeping. Now, sometimes when I am a mama sandwich with my girls practically sleeping on me on either side, I don’t always sleep well. Or we’re all shifting around each other and trying to go back to sleep, which is usually the worst for me (and my youngest who will wake up if nudged too much). But it’s not often like that. Many times I have plenty of room, which makes me happy. 🙂 And my husband is usually a bit squished waaay on the other edge of the bed, where he often has to put a pillow to separate him from our oldest, who seems to keep her feet toward him and her head toward me. But he still sleeps okay. Worst case, he sleeps somewhere else. We realize this time is fleeting, and as long as we are all generally sleeping okay, it works for us.

  33. I have co-slept with my baby since she was born. She is now 11 months. She is still feeding lota in the night and its nice and easy to have her snuggled up my armpit!! Planning to co-sleep until she want to go to another room herself. Recently my husband and his son (which is here every second weekend) moved in with me and the baby, so now we have one huge bed we all share!!! (They were co-sleeping in another room)

  34. I live in a culture where bed-sharing is the norm (small village in the Himalayas in India). Children here sleep with their parents (if not in the same bed, at least in the same room) often until puberty. It is odd to me (I am from the US living with my husband in his village), but people simply don’t have the money to make an entirely separate room for a child. They get so used to it that they can’t imagine anyone wanting their child to sleep somewhere else. Often when kids grow up they don’t like sleeping by themselves and will sleep with a sibling or cousin (often in the same bed) when they move out of their parent’s room. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in a month, and we too will be bed-sharing. I am worried about the SIDS risks, but we will do what we can to make it as safe as possible. I don’t know if we will continue all the way till puberty, though! We’ll have to see how it goes 🙂

  35. I knew from pregnancy I wanted to be as close as possible to my baby. I got a ring sling to baby wear. And I bought a co-sleeper that attaches to my side of the bed. We just love it. We go back and forth between bed share and cosleep. I will usually start of the night with him in the cosleeper, then bed share. He is almost 5 months now. I will say some nights I feel I wake more frequently, but I think it’s better then actually getting up out of bed to go see what’s wrong if he was inthe crib.

  36. My son will be five in April, and he still sleeps with us…in our bed. We started with a co-sleeper, but it was pointless after about three weeks. I had milk supply issues, and it was just easier and more effective to have him sleep next to me. We also got more sleep immediately. He still nurses down at night, so he does so between my husband and myself. We all sleep very well, and when he has a bad dream or wakes for some reason, a comforting touch is all he needs to fall asleep.

  37. We didn’t begin co-sleeping with our son until he was 13 months old and had difficulties falling back asleep. I love the extra cuddle time, but now that I’m pregnant with #2 it can be hard staying comfortable.

    I’d LOVE to know mamas – how did your family adjust to co-sleeping with a newborn?

    My husband wants are son to stay with us and I’m worried that newborn waking up for feedings will disrupt his sleep.

    What worked for you??


    • I am sort of in the same boat! I co-sleep with our toddler and am pregnant with #2 wondering how sleeping with both will work? Anyone have experience or advice for us?

  38. We have coslept with our daughter since she was born and bed hared since she was 2 months old and wouldn’t change a thing. She was a preemie and I saw so many benefits for her to sleep with us. She’s 3 now and still sleeps with us. We have gotten so many snuggles and cuddles that we would have missed out on had we not coslept. I’m a light sleeper so I felt safe doing it and we didn’t have extra blankets, pillows, etc., on the bed. One of the best parenting decisions we ever made!

  39. It is so nice to hear from a crunchy mom that it is ok that a child sleep in their crib after a few months! I get razzed all the time that my year old son should sleep in bed with us but we sleep much like Mama and Papa Natural. I’m a super light sleeper (the baby is too) and my husband could sleep through a traincar derailing and landing in the living room. We still share a room, but I have confidence that he is safer in his crib giving me peace of mind.

  40. I never really “co-slept”, but my baby was in a bassinet beside me up until he was 6 months, he would once in a while sleep with me, but I felt he slept better on his own as he would sleep thru. I moved him to a crib, but inside our room, after wards until about 1. I cried so much when we put him in his own room – but I left that we were both not getting our well deserved sleep and I was back 3x a week at work. It was struggle, but when he got his sleeping pattern right, he slept through! I would try co-sleeping on weekends as I miss cuddling him, but he would always want to play :p
    I think my parents co-slept us siblings up until we were 5! hehe

    The cuddling time is when he comes and breastfeeds in the morning! When he is done, he make sure he wipes, gives me a kiss and says bye bye! 🙂

    I think us mommies, just really need to do what is best for us, it will all work out in the end! 🙂

  41. O.K ladies listen to the wisdom of a woman whose children are now grown men. I breast fed my youngest until he was 3.5 years old. Yes, I wrote three and a half years. Mind you at the end it was only 1 time a day before the nap. He slept with me on and off for up to 10 years old. Guess what, he is a grown independent contributing member of society who received a BA in 2.5 years and is working as a customs agent. Do what is right for your and YOUR family and you will be amazed at the results!

  42. i was hospitalized for the first month of my baby’s life. My husband would not leave my side and as i was in an intensive care unit 3 hours from home my baby did not get to see his parents till he was almost 5 weeks old. Thank goodness for my great sister in law and mother. This separation caused my little boy to be very fearful about closing his eyes at night. I have found that as long as we are close together we both have a much nicer sleep.
    I also co slept with my first child for a long time. She is a very confident girl and knows how much she is loved. I believe the snuggle time we had every night when she was young helped. She just naturally moved into her own room one day.
    As an foreigner living in Mexico i see co sleeping as a norm in this country. Many people don’t have any other option. I believe it is a lovely experience you can share with your children. As long as you don’t mind a few kicks once in a while

  43. We bedshare with both babies. We have a new born (on my side only) and a 19 month old in the middle. It was my husbands idea to put our mattress on the floor for the safety of our babes. Now…I think we will always have it on the floor. It’s whimsical and fun. However, I am ready to graduate our kids into their room at the same time. I am really leaning towards 3-6 months for our youngest and transition our oldest at the same time. That way, there is no confusion. It has been so good for us and made us so close. We really do love our family bed!

  44. I tried to graduate our first baby from a co-sleeper to a crib in his own room at about 4 mos, as that was what my friends did. It was a constant struggle as he would wake several times a night. I think I slept in the rocking chair more than I did in my bed! I finally “gave up” and tried co-sleeping. We both got the sleep we so desperately needed, and my sanity returned. I felt it was an unpopular choice so I didn’t talk about it much. My next two babies co-slept from birth to age 2-3. I cherish those years and have no regrets.

  45. Last three babies slept right in mamas arms all night long. Love it.

  46. I co-slept with my oldest boy and now with my youngest. He is 20 months and would slept by himself, but I just feel more secure with him right beside me. Also it makes nursing so much easier. His doctor says that he should not be night nursing, but I do not care. I know that soon enough, he will be pushing me away.

  47. Another fantastic source of research, options, and important safety outlines is the Drs. Sears’ Baby Sleep Book. I’d say that it’s unmissable if you are considering co-sleeping! The Harvard-trained pediatrician and his family have studied baby sleep for decades. His book gave me a lot of confidence about co-sleeping safely. I knew the scientific benefits, wrote out the safety guidelines, and could tell skeptical parents and health workers about his research. We’ve co-slept for 19 months now, with child rails on the bed from day one. After our daughter began to crawl, my husband removed the feet of our bed so we sleep at floor level more or less. It’s an investment, but one that has reaped benefits already. Everyone remarks on how confident, happy, and social she is (part of the larger attachment parenting project, of course!) goes to sleep easily, etc. In recent months, we purchased a cot/crib, and we put her in there when she can’t fall asleep “at the boob.” However, even then, we’ve had our cuddling, and I’ve had a lie-down with my ipod podcast, and she’s sleepy, so transitioning to the cot is no worries. I’d encourage anyone without substance struggles to consider it, at least for the so-called “4th trimester” when baby is so fragile, nursing so much, and so in need of your contact.

  48. I sleep share with my 13 month old on one side and with my 3.5 year old on the other side. Thank the Lord we have a king and queen bed next to each other in a large room! I can’t be bothered with the fuss of getting up to nurse them both and I really don’t like to wake to the sound of crying;)
    Co-sleepers do it in the nursery!! 🙂

    • Love you, you are the first moma I have heard nursing as long as I did!

  49. Co-slept with both children. Planned on not co-sleeping with my son, but when he wakes up half-way through the night to eat he ends up staying in bed with me. He is going on 5 months. I am a light sleeper and I try to keep the baby close to me because my husband is such a deep sleeper. I enjoy sleeping with him so close to me. I end up trying to hear him breathe when he is in the pack n’ play next to our bed; I just don’t sleep as well when he doesn’t sleep with me.

    • I agree. Sometimes, I would wake up to make sure my son is still breathing. If he is right beside me, I sleep so much better!

  50. We have co-slept with all of our kids, but the third one has been the longest so far (fourth baby is going on 10 months). Our third child was and is the best sleeper of the bunch. She transitioned from our bed to her own very easily. Our first two were nothing like this and neither is our fourth. I would say we co-sleep because it is easier on us as parents, because most of my kids were not great sleepers. Having a king sized bed has made it easier to do with the last two kids. We haven’t used a crib since the first baby.

  51. “Breastfed babies seem to be the safest sleeping next to mom (versus near dad or another child). (Bottle-fed babies are safer in a separate sleeping space in the same room, since they sleep more deeply.) (4)”

    Breastfed babies are safest sharing a room with mom, but NOT a bed. Your quote misrepresents the source which says “If you or your partner are excessively tired it is best to have infant sleep along side the bed but not in it.” What new parent is not excessively tired?!

    Later in the same source it says “I think it incumbent and appropriate, however, for parents to ask themselves before they bring their baby to bed with them to consider how they would evaluate (as much as might be possible) their choice if a tragedy were to occur and their baby died? ”

    Bed sharing does present an increased risk for SIDS; a parent may decide that risk is worth it. However, it deny the risk is foolish.

    • Not all new parents are excessively tired…

    • Thanks for that note regarding my citation. I was attributing just the second half of my bullet, the part about bottle fed babies. I’ve revised that section to make it clearer now.

    • I was only “excessively tired” when I had to get out of bed and sit up 5 times a night with a crying baby.

    • Bed sharers are not excessively tired. That’s the beauty of bed sharing. We were only excessively tired the first three days when we were trying to make putting our newborn in a separate bassinet work!

  52. My son is 8months and we co sleep. He is a very light sleeper and I have found this to be the best for us, it allows me to rest more & let him nurse when he needs to.We also travel a lot so a crib is not always available.

  53. I have co slept with both of my girls, more so with my youngest than with my oldest. Breastfeeding exclusively and on demand seemed to call for co sleeping! Both of my girls were heavy feeders and I am not a happy or healthy mama if I’m sleep deprived. Waking up six to eight times a night to feed/rock/put baby to bed in crib just seems like unnecessary torture to me! I’m pregnant with my third girl and plan to co sleep with her as well. I found that both of my girls had no problem weaning when they were ready, as well as no problems transitioning into their own beds when they were no longer waking up to nurse. I have caught flack from people over co sleeping (and even extended breastfeeding!) but as this article states, the global and historical norm was co sleeping (and formula didn’t exist a century ago!). I think whatever feels most natural for mom and dad and baby is best!

  54. I co-slept with all my children. If done right I think its perfectly safe! I don’t let my little ones use a pillow like the picture shows though!

  55. We swore we wouldn’t cosleep and the day our daughter was birn (homebirth) she was in her crib. At 5 months she stopped sleeping through the niggt and we started bedsharinh from her second wake up. At 19 months, it is still the same. She sleeps on her floor bed until her second wake up (which is sometimes 7:30am) and then joins us in our bed. On the ‘bad nights’ I swear we are done cosleeping but then I miss her when she sleeps well in her own room.

  56. We co-slept with our little guy for 15 mos. And not like bassinet co-sleep. Like, he was on our pillows and tucked under our arpmits from the time he was a week old! He just transitioned beautifully into his crib last month, thank God! My sister is a pediatrician and she was horrified that we were co-sleeping, but is a really tactful person in general so expressed herself nicely about it. But we didn’t really care. Made nursing at night easier and we loved to cuddle our little guy! Will definitely co-sleep with the next baby, God willing, but definitely not for as long. Maybe 10 mos. to a year? Our little boy is 16 mos. now and only nurses during the day ever since he started sleeping in his crib. It was like getting his own space also allowed him to rest through the night. Also,y husband and I weren’t getting pokes in eyes and kicked in the ribs anymore, which was a nice change! There’s always going to be controversy surrounding anything you do with kids!

  57. Hi Genevieve!

    I loooooooved co-sleeping! It worked out really well for us and I was NEVER tired when our kids were in their baby stages. 🙂

    The way I had pillows positioned made it so there was no way I *could* roll onto the baby, yet I was very comfortable so I could rest. Thankfully Kent got used to it quickly and slept great, too.

    We also had the co-sleeper crib next to our bed, so if I wanted to stretch out, I’d just scootch (sp??) them over.

    After a few months they naturally transitioned out of it. Usually they’d fall asleep in their own room and when they woke up to feed, they’d stay with us the rest of the night, or until they got wiggly, then back to their bed. It got so they liked their own beds more.

    Hope that helps someone! I have a post about all this on my blog somewhere. Those years seem like forever ago. Kind of sad! (Our youngest is 9 1/2.)

  58. My husband and I co-sleep with our now 1 year old, and love it. Yes, I get kicked occasionally. The three of us are light sleepers so we have some domino effect going on. But my daughter was born high needs and became even needier at night: she nurses a lot and often, she sleep walks and talks, and I know it was the best choice to make her feel safe and protected. Also, there is nothing better than morning cuddles when she’s just woken up – the other morning she opened her eyes, looked to her left “dada’s there”, looked to the right “mama’s there”, and giggled.
    I had mild PPD and cosleeping helped ease the terrible anxiety. I became compulsive in checking that she was still breathing and because both my husband and I are not heavy sleepers, it never concerned me that we’d smother her.
    Each family needs to do what is best for them, and cosleeping certainly worked for us. We lived in Asia for the first nine months after she was born and every single famiy cosleeps there, in my opinion, that’s what we’re designed to do.

  59. We don’t co-sleep. Not because we think it’s wrong, but because we believe our room and bed belongs to us as husband and wife. I have no issues with anyone co-sleeping it’s just not for us.

  60. My 9 month old son has had horrible nighttime anxiety and has never slept for more than a few hours at a time. So when he was 5 months old we started the following arrangement: We ditched the crib and put a twin mattress on the floor in my son’s room. I put him to bed in his bed and then when I’m ready I go to bed in the bed that I share with my husband (this allows for intimacy, cuddling, pillow talk, etc and we’ve found that it’s a necessity!). When my son wakes up and cries, I go to his room and spend the rest of the nigt sleeping on the twin mattress next to him. I love it! Over time our sleep cycles really did sync and I often barely remember waking or nursing. The bed has a blanket and pillow for me, but my son moves around on his own very well and has never been a very heavy sleeper so I don’t really worry about SIDS. It really is the perfect arrangement for our family and I’d recommend it to any parents who are struggling with a baby that doesn’t sleep well!

    • This is exactly what we are going through Robin. So glad to know we are not alone! 🙂

  61. I work as a nurse in a community where opiate addiction, smoking and alcohol are very prevalent, and breastfeeding is uncommon after a few weeks. When I sit down with moms, I tell them to NEVER have baby in bed with them. I know that it is very natural and common for them to bedshare with their infants and older children, but I see things in homes every day that are so unsafe for babies. I’m not sure how to tell them, “DONT bedshare, but if you are going to, here’s how to make it safe”, because I know that in many families I work with, substance abuse and environmental factors will always make bedsharing unsafe.

  62. Genevieve – just curious how old your babies were when you transitioned them to a crib? With my son he went to a swing (snug a bunny) in his own room around 7 months and then crib at about 9 months. Our daughter is now 8 months and in our bed (for a number of reasons) with no end in sight! :/

    • Within the first couple months… I would say once they were only getting up once a night for nursing.

  63. It seems ridiculous thinking back, but I can still remember how real my fear of SIDS was in the first months of my daughters life. My labor was 43 hours long, with no rest. As if that wasn’t exhausting enough, I didn’t sleep for the next 3 days while we stayed in the hospital. After we got home I couldn’t let her go; the thought of putting her down anywhere (crib, bassinet, swing, in our bed) brought anxiety so ferocious it gripped me for 5 days. I merely held her, sitting awake in bed next to my husband. I’d nurse on demand sitting up and just sit like that all night, until my husband woke for work and left shortly after. I’d do the same thing all day. 10 days of fighting sleep because I feared my daughter would suffocate or cease to exist if I closed my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I understand SIDS is very real, but I’ve since co-slept with a divider, without one, and introduced my now 8 1/2 month old daughter to her own sleeping space (which she loves) equipped with blankies and even a lavender filled magic bag disguised as a piggy! She’s at an age where she rolls over, sleeps on her side/stomach, sits and stands and gets comfortable on her own. I have no fear that she would suffocate on a blanket – she knows how to rearrange for comfort. I don’t think it’s right for young new mothers to be so frightened of SIDS they overlook the most natural of occurrences. Caring for a child alone under chronic sleep deprivation is a lot more dangerous than taking a nap while side-lying nursing your infant to sleep. I wish someone would have reassured me then.

    • This resonated so much with me! I would check she was breathing all day, forgoing sleep myself and just jerking awake in panic every time I drifted off… it was awful. As time passed I slowly relaxed, but even now, I know that if she wasn’t sleeping with my husband and I, I would still be running to the crib every hour to double check. It’s funny how I’d always have described myself as quite a chilled out person, until I got pregnant – then I got hit with OCD.

  64. I’ve never been able to sleep well with my daughter in the bed with me whether she was 2 weeks or 2 years old. However, she did sleep in the room with me until 4 months. SIDS concerns me as I know a mother who lost her child to it at 6 weeks so I personally feel baby is safer in my room, but in her own sleep space. I’m looking into getting one of the bedside co sleepers you mentioned for the next baby. I do have a question about swaddling. This post mentioned parents should avoid it. Is that just in a co sleeping arrangement or in general? My daughter would sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time unless she was swaddled. It nearly saved my sanity!

    • Swaddling increases risks of sleep related death if bed sharing or the baby is placed on his/her stomach to sleep. As long as the child is on his/her and the swaddle is not obstructing his/face; swaddling is perfectly safe.

  65. Like the previous commenter, this is something we are still figuring out with our almost-7 month old. We started from birth in a pack and play w/ bassinet attachment next to our bed (with eventual plans to switch her into a crib), but for that first month there was so much up and down during the night to nurse. It was exhausting. I worked on different breastfeeding positions, but lying down to nurse just didn’t feel right to me with a newborn. Eventually, my lactation consultant mother convinced me to give the lie down position another try (thank goodness!), and from then on Evey was in bed all night with my husband and I. Things were so much easier and we were sleeping much better without having to fully wake/get out of bed to feed.

    Then,we hit the dreaded 4- month regression and she started wanting to just sucksucksuck all night long. Now we are at almost 7 months, and my daughter still rouses frequently (every 1.5-2 hours these days) and needs to nurse to fall back asleep. Not ideal, but I also want to honor her needs, even if she is just nursing to comfort herself back to sleep.

    Ultimately, I have no regrets about our sleeping arrangement, though I do wish my husband and I could enjoy more cuddling time in bed and not be so bound to our daughter’s sleep schedule and her needing me to be next to her while sleeping. Getting longer than 2-hour stretches would be nice,too…But, we will get there. When Evey is ready.

    I’m sure some would say we are instilling poor sleep habits in our daughter by nursing her to sleep and having her be so dependent on my being next to her. But, this feels absolutely natural to me, despite some rather exhausting nights. I feel more in-tune with her and more secure, knowing she is safe and warm next to me. And I fully believe that in due time she will sleep longer stretches and be less dependent on needing me next to her. Again,when she is ready.

    In the mean time, I have a thriving, curious, happy little girl who wakes up next to me every morning with a big smile on her face!

  66. My husband and I didn’t have a plan about co-sleeping. It gradually happened. Our baby slept in a bassinet next to us until she was 3 months and then we moved her to her crib. At around 5 months old she started teething really bad and both my husband and I would bring her to bed. This went on until just after her first birthday. We finally decided that it was time for her to go back to her crib. We did sleep train and it worked for us. She’s 16 months now and has been doing great about sleeping in her crib. Once in a while my husband and I miss having her in the bed but she’s too big now and moves too much. We, however, bring her to our bed around 6am on the weekends and let her sleep with us until she decides to get up (around 7:30-8:00am). We also nap with her when we are home (weekends and days off). Our pediatrician always encouraged us to co-sleep because according to him mom and baby sleep better. I feel that parents should do what feels right to them. Each kid is different and it will probably change every time.

  67. My husband and I being first timers, we tried the bassinet by the bed and both my son and I dispised it. He wouldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes in it. So one night we put him in between us on the sheet and we’ve never turned to anything else. Baby nurses on demand and I never have to get up. Plus getting warm, snuggly baby cuddles first thing in the morning is the best. I’m always aware of where my baby is positioned but it’s never kept us awake. Just a note though, we have a king size bed and baby loves to “push” me to the edge of it and I wake up half on the bedside table!

  68. I will admit I had my first baby sleep next to me in bed until he was 5 or 6 months old. It was wonderful and I loved him being so close to him! I think I was subconsciously so afraid of squishing him that I did not move in inch when he was next to me! I always got back aches. We then gave him his own crib in his own room basically because he was moving around so much I didn’t want him to fall off the bed! He slept very well in his crib!

    With my second son he slept with me in bed only a handful of times. SIDS scares me!! I got a bassinet side sleeper for the first 7 months or so. After that he became a really light sleeper so he is sleeping in his own crib! If I had it my way he would have been in my room until he was one year old! He loves his crib though. He sleeps for 12 hours straight a night and 2 big naps during the day!

  69. Our family sleep mantra is: What will get the most people the most sleep tonight? Sometimes that means my 8 month old sleeping in bed with us. Other nights it’s baby in his crib. We just do what works in the moment.

  70. My babies sleep in our room, in a little bed right next to ours. I have shared our bed, but I don’t actually sleep usually. I wake up in a panic off and on for hours, thinking I’ve smothered them. Then I get so exhausted from all that, I fall into a sleep so deep I wouldn’t notice if I did smother them. I’ve also been known to kick, punch, and move randomly around the bed in my sleep. Once, I even snatched my husband’s pillow from under his head in a half sleeping daze (I guess I thought he stole it?)

    I also have a friend whose son died of SIDS. Going to that funeral haunts me to this day. Since the correlation between SIDS and bed sharing is so unknown (some studies show an increase and some show the opposite) I’d rather do what I know reduces risk: same room, different space.

    • Amen!!! My son died of SUID. The risks are real.

  71. This is something my husband and I are still trying to figure out ha! As a first time Mom I never intended to co-sleep. My baby girl started out sleeping in her bassinet next to our bed and I would sit up to nurse her then put her back down in her crib. After a few months I was so exhausted I started pulling her in to bed with me to nurse and we would both fall back asleep. At about 6 months we tried transitioning her to her crib but that has not worked out. She hates hates her crib! Anything confining she has hated. She did not like being swaddled, put in the Moby wrap or carriers, and hated her car seat for a long time. I have been co-sleeping with her on a mattress in her room but she is all over the place and neither of us are getting much sleep. She is needing her own space. My husband and I think we have finally found a solution that may work for all of us FINALLY Hallelujah! It is the Montessori method for baby sleeping. Hopefully it works out because my baby is 9 months old now and I am one tired Mama 🙂 I love your posts! We have received a lot of criticism from certain family members about co-sleeping and it has been hard. I so love being able to come to your site and read posts and comments from like minded Mama’s!! I think we all just have to find what works for our families and let go of any judgement because at the end of the day we are all doing the best we can! 🙂

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