Sleeping Alone, or with Your Baby?

sleeping with baby

When you have a little one, sleep is a priority. Some go it alone, with their baby safe and sound in a bassinet or crib, while others prefer to co-sleep with their infant. 

Co-sleeping or going it alone? Everyone does it differently.

Is there a right or a wrong way? 

Everyone seems to have an opinion. The question is, what works for you?

Why co-sleeping? For some, co-sleeping provides the advantages of:

  • offering the ease of breastfeeding during the night.
  • helping parents, especially the mother, feel more rested, as they generally do not have to awaken fully to walk from bed to crib, etc., during the night.
  • creating a “more in sync” sleeping pattern between mother and child.
  • potentially feeling a closeness to your child, which is of great value, especially if you have returned to work and are absent from your child during the day.

Although the benefits are worthwhile, here are a few other things you should certainly consider before snuggling up to your infant at night:

  • Co-sleeping with an infant may pose dangers like suffocation and/or strangulation. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that this risk is not worth the benefits.
  • Although it may be convenient now, the question becomes when and how will you transition your infant to being able to sleep independently? Just like other skills, you will need to help your baby acquire the skills to fall asleep on her own. How and when do you want this to happen?
  • Finally, if you are looking to be “romantic” (wink, wink) with your partner, a little one in the middle of your bed may certainly impede these activities.

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What do you think?

Sleeping Alone, or with Your Baby?

Tell us what you think!

95 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

    I put baby to sleep in her bassinet, but at 4 am when she’s up for a feeding, I bring her to bed with me, my husband at my back and her at my front with a boundary behind her so she doesn’t roll. I will fall asleep, although a light sleep, and I realized that she sleeps better in bed with me then in her bassinet. I know it’s going to be hard to transition her to her crib in a couple months, but the bonding I’ve created because of it was totally worth the risk. I’ve really trained myself not to move or watch how I sleep with her when she is in bed with me by lying on the couch, or taking short naps in bed when she was younger helped a lot.

  2. Profile photo of Nancy Nancy says:

    I’ve read too many stories about people who sleep with their baby’s and that have lost their little ones to SIDS and I don’t want to take that risk because it’s very possible when you get too tired and who knows you might end up suffocating baby ! So baby sleeps in the crib for sure next to my bed.

  3. I prefer my daughter sleeping in the bed with us. But with a new baby who’ll be here in September, I’m worried on how sleeping arrangements are gonna be 🙁 if they both could then they’d both sleep with us.

  4. Profile photo of Erin Erin says:

    After working in a children’s hospital for many years and meeting families who had lost a baby to SIDS and had come in to investigate possible causes (such as neurological or genetic cardiac rhythm issues), I was scared to death of SIDS. The best safety measures you can take is to put babies down to sleep on their backs, in their own beds, with no loose bedding, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. Even the advocates of co-sleeping advise against it if the parents are over-tired. What new parent ISN’T overtired??? Babies under the age of 6 months can’t intentionally move themselves out of harm’s way. It is our jobs as parents to keep our babies safe. Waking up to find that your baby died in the night is a nightmare beyond any of our wildest horrors. I’d rather be inconvenienced by having to get up in the night than put my baby in harm’s way.

  5. Profile photo of Irza Irza says:

    I do both, but sometimesI love to sleep with the baby on my bed.

  6. Profile photo of LIZ says:

    i love to sleep with my baby sometimes

  7. Profile photo of Kyle Kyle says:

    I had my son with me in bed. I have insomnia to begin with and by the time I would start to fall back asleep after nursing him he would be ready to eat again. Finally I just started sleeping with him in my arms. I would lie on my side facing him with his head sometimes on my upper arm. Nursing was easy enough as I literally just had to move the nipple into his mouth and his head was pretty much already level with it. Then I could just roll both of us over to get to the other side. I still didn’t get a ton of sleep but alot more than I was before we were co-sleeping. To transition him to a crib was a bit difficult. He still wasn’t sleeping through the night at 18 months. But what I did was take his crib, which could be a day bed/toddler bed, and put it right up against the bed in the highest position so it was level with our bed. He slept in his bed but I could just roll over to nurse or soothe him. When we weaned him my husband and I just switched sides of the bed so that I wouldn’t accidentally nurse in the middle of the night. A couple weeks later he was away from our bed, in his own bed with a rail to keep him from falling out in his sleep. That way he could get out and come to us if he needed something but he was in his own bed.

  8. Profile photo of Flo Flo says:

    I plan to breastfeed and I am a very light sleeper. My husband also bought us a Close and secure sleeper so that our son can sleep in the bed with us and he is surrounded by the sleeper so we have that extra security.
    I believe every situation is different, you have to do what works for you and your baby. No one can make that decision but you as your babies health and happiness is what’s most important.
    I know that God allowed us to get pregnant and I know that God will protect our son once he gets here.
    30 weeks and 2 days today and I am just super excited to meet my little man.
    Be blessed ladies

  9. Profile photo of Alicia Alicia says:

    my daughter slept w/me for 4 mos on nd off now she sleeps in her crib

  10. Profile photo of Cassie Cassie says:

    My daughter was in a bassinet by my bed till she was about two months now it just depends on the night some nights I manage to get her to sleep all night in her crib and others she only sleeps for half the night and wakes up screaming? Any ideas on how to fix this

  11. I started with my DD in a rock n play by our bed but I still got up and fed her in the living room or nursery because it was easier for me and I never got the hang of nursing laying down. At times either my husband or I would lay with her on our chest because she would calm down easier. She also got a cold and she would breathe easier on our chest. At about 6 weeks we moved her rock n play into her room and she slept in that for about a week then we transitioned her into her crib. Up until last night(15 weeks) she’s stayed in her room in her crib every night. The only reason I brought her in last night is because she got a cold and she kept waking up because she couldn’t breath being flat on her back. So I brought the rock n play back in by my bed so I could make sure everything was okay.

  12. i do both, yet it would be better if she stays w/ me in bed to make breastfeeding a lot easier on the both of us

  13. Profile photo of Stacey209 Stacey209 says:

    I did not co-sleep. My baby slept in a bassinet right next to the bed for the first 2 months and then transitioned beautifully to her crib. I was simply too worried that I would roll over on her or she would be smothered by a pillow or a blanket. Now she grabs everything, so it would be so easy for her to grab something and pull it over her face. To each their own, but to me the safest place for her was in her bassinet and now her crib.

  14. My lactation consultant and the pediatrician told me co-sleeping is fine in order to prevent exhaustion. I put a body pillow between us.

    • Profile photo of Zahra Zahra says:

      Actually, you don’t want to do that. When co-sleeping, you want your baby on a firm mattress, away from pillows and comforters and away from the crack between bed and wall (if applicable). We did add bed rails to our bed so the baby won’t roll and fall off the bed. Actually, I sleep on my side, facing the baby (bringing the baby with me if I turn over during the night). His head is level with my breast and my upper arm is above his head, with my hand coming down his side to about mid-torso (I have long arms, so yours may end up a bit higher).

      Soft surfaces such as pillows and comforters make it too easy to have the baby re-breathe air and/or become smothered, thus causing SIDS.

      As for the AAP’s recommendation, my only objection is that the studies group accidental bedsharing (such as falling asleep on the couch, a big no-no) with intentional bedsharing (where you do put security measures in place).

  15. Profile photo of Ashley Ashley says:

    I honestly feel safer with baby in the bed with me rather than in her crib alone.

  16. Profile photo of dancermom dancermom says:

    My son is almost 4months and he sleeps with me also. I am a single mother so its just me and him in the bed. I sleep with a small breathable sheet and one pillow. She is a nice distance from me so I wont worry about suffocation or anything. I was nervous when he was younger but now I am fine with it. I nurse him at night so I refuse to keep getting up. I will transfer him to his crib when he starts sleep through the night. After all we didn’t buy the crib for him to be sleeping with me his whole first year!

  17. Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

    i am a mother of twins and i have an 8 year old. it amazes me to read some of these posts. the fact that someone would compare sleeping with a baby and sleeping with an adult, you cannot roll over on an adult and kill them. drs. suggest having the newborn sleep in the same room next to your bed. i spent two months in the hospital with my girls because they were three months early and never in the time i was there did they ever suggest or say that it was good to co sleep actually there were so many informational avenues to inform parents of the danger of co sleeping. then i see people complaing about having to keep getting up, well thats motherhood it’s not always easy or sressless but at the end of the day it is the most rewarding accomplishment and to risk their precious little lives by co sleeping is just not right, and to say well i did and nothing happened doesnt make it safe.

  18. I always put my son in his bassinet in the beginning of the night where he will sleep about 2 hours. Then when he wakes up i change him, feed him and then let him sleep next to because if not it will be another hour and a half before i can put him back down. i lay his boppy on the opposite side of him just in case, but i do kick daddy out of bed because i worry about him rolling over. daddy is a heavy sleeper

  19. Profile photo of Alisha Clark Alisha Clark says:

    I really dont understand what the issue is about so called “co-sleeping”. Adults dont sleep alone, yet we expect for an infant or toddler to want to do it? Silly to even discuss.

  20. My daughter is 4 weeks old and she has always slept with me. My fiance isn’t around at nite so its just little one and I. Since I nurse her, its easier on both of us if she sleeps next to me. I don’t have to stumble out of bed to her crib in the middle of the nite (every 3-4 hrs), she sleeps longer next to me. Plus its easier to keep her warm since she was in a nice warm womb for 39 weeks. At times she gasps for breath and I can keep a better eye on her if she’s closer and I can feel/hear her breathing. Usually after she nurses, I put her on my chest to burp her and rub her back…then she falls asleep on me, until i lay her on her side of my bed.

  21. Profile photo of Evilangell8 Evilangell8 says:

    I co-sleep as well. My daughter is 8 days old and does NOT do well in her crib. She sleeps through the night when she is snuggled up against me. Being so young they can’t expect her to go from the warmth of my womb to sleeping in a giant crib all by herself. I prefer her sleeping throughout the night by my side than waking up to her screams every few hours and having to get up to reach the crib.

  22. Profile photo of Randi Randi says:

    We started with baby girl sleeping on my chest for the first month. I couldn’t stand the idea of her choking in her sleep or stopping breathing. Her breathing finally regulated, and I felt confident that she could turn her head if she spit up, so I moved her to sleep on her side next to me in bed (not between me and husband). I slept well, she slept well. I was aware of her movements in my sleep. She would wake and start wiggling, so I would feed her and she would go right back to sleep without crying. No wonder our friends told us that we seemed so rested for having a newborn. 🙂 Around 3 months, I started napping her once a day in the bassinet instead of holding her or wearing her in the moby wrap to nap. It was a lot of work (get her drowsy, put her in the bassinet, she screams, I pick her up and start again), but I told myself I could do it once a day. I wasn’t willing to leave her to cry alone. It started out taking 45 minutes before she stayed asleep when I laid her down. Then 40, then 30, then 20, then 15, etc. Now, I walk her and sing, lay her down and kiss her, then walk out of the room. She squirms, rolls over, babbles, and falls asleep on her own! She feels safe, and she has the tools to do it. We started this at night also–starting her in the bassinet then pulling her into bed when she woke for her first feed. Now, I feed her and put her back in the bassinet (unless I want extra snuggles, then she stays in bed with me!). Research the developmental windows for when you can make changes to sleep. 3-6 months is a good window. Babies are developed enough (nervous system, muscles, breathing, etc) to start putting themselves to sleep, but it’s before object permanence sets in (which brings separation anxiety). Also remember that each developmental milestone will cause changes in Baby’s sleep. Learning to roll and sit, teething, object permanence, learning words, growth spurts–all these can disrupt sleep patterns, so BE PATIENT and remember that this too shall pass. Do what works for your family, but make sure you base that decision on research and infant development. Many are saying that cosleeping actually helps prevent SIDS because Mom’s breathing and temp and sleep cycles regulate those of Baby.

  23. Profile photo of DeniseAlana DeniseAlana says:

    My little one sleeps in the bed some nights and other nights she sleeps in her bassinet. I try to always put her in her bassinet but sometimes we both fall asleep at feeding times and she gets to sleep in the bed.

  24. Profile photo of rotersonne rotersonne says:

    My daughter wouldn’t take to a bassinet or crib from the moment she was born. When they had her in the bassinet at the hospital, she just wouldn’t sleep. So I’d take her out and she’d fall asleep in my arms. When I brought her home, I had the same problem. She’s almost three months old now, and she refuses to even entertain the idea of sleeping alone. So, yes, we co-sleep. I will be trying to attach her crib to the bed soon, however, to give her some more room to sleep, although she loves cuddling up to Mommy. I sleep stationary, I have for years, so I really don’t worry about crushing her, nor do we sleep with a blanket, anyway.

  25. Profile photo of KaelinRae KaelinRae says:

    My dog likes to snuggle up in bed with us and has done so since she was a puppy, so I don’t think we will be able to break this habit before the baby comes. The baby will probably sleep in a crib or in a bassinet by the bed.

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