Why Babies (and Parents) Love Co Sleeping

Night

We often forget to listen to our intuition. To our gut feeling. We ignore what should come naturally. And nowhere is this truer than when we consider where and how most babies sleep in the Western world.

But, when we trust our evolutionary blueprint and bring our children into our cave to sleep, incredible things can happen. With that in mind, 18 months in, I’d like to share some of my favourite things about why co-sleeping has forever changed the way I parent, for the better.

1. IT FEELS GOOD

Co-sleeping is giving me some of the greatest memories I will have as a mother. Watching my baby sleep curled up in my arms. Waking to his morning smiles and laughter. Hearing “Dada” at 6am. Cinching in and spooning with him in the wee hours of the morning. Absolutely priceless.

2. IT FEELS SAFE

Having co-slept for 18 months, I have never had any concerns for my baby’s safety. I feel reassured knowing that I am next to him if anything happens during the night. When I was pregnant I read about a mother and baby’s natural ability to share sleep cycles. Totally true. I still wake just before my little guy during the night to nurse.

If there was ever an issue with my son’s breathing I’d be far quicker to respond with him lying next to me. Studies have shown that just sharing a room with babies reduces the risk of death due to SIDs or accidents by 50%.

External dangers pose another risk to sleeping babies. From an evolutionary perspective it is one of the top reasons we have evolved to co-sleep as a species. While being attacked by a sabre tooth tiger in the middle of the night may no longer pose a threat, our babies don’t know that. They don’t know they were born in 2014.

And we do have very real dangers in our modern homes which co-sleeping can help to safeguard against. House fires, carbon monoxide and home intruders just to name a few.

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3. NO MORE TEARS

A baby’s cry is an alarm. It is supposed to be used for emergencies only. To signal that they are in danger or have a desperate need. When babies are close to their mothers they can use more subtle communication in order to get their needs met. On the rare occasion that my son does cry I know that there is something genuinely wrong and that he needs my attention quickly.

4. IT’S FUN!

Pillow fights, hide and seek, blowing raspberries, climbing all over mum and dad, sucking on dad’s nose and giggles in the dark… we just have so much fun with our little guy in bed with us!

5. IT FEELS NATURAL

The first night we slept in the hospital there was the universal hard clear plastic bassinet next to my bed. I knew that at home I would co-sleep but in the hospital, faced with “Co-sleeping is dangerous!” warnings I felt I should toe the line and place our baby in the bassinet rather than co-sleep.

So I did it and he drifted off to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. I just lay there watching him, touching his chest to check if he was still breathing. More than anything, after carrying this little guy inside of me for 42 weeks he just felt so far away from me. I felt like part of me was missing… which it was. It lasted less than five minutes before I brought him into bed with me and he hasn’t left yet.

6. IT MAKES BREASTFEEDING EASIER

Co-sleeping has made night nursing SO much easier. When my son is hungry we both half wake up together, he latches on to nurse and we both fall back to sleep. No need to get up. No need to turn the lights on. We both stay warm in bed together, nurse and nod off.

Co-sleeping babies consume on average twice as much breast milk as crib sleeping babies at night. And while I might prefer to nurse more during the day, night time breast milk is different. Night time breast milk contains twice as much growth hormone and significantly more melatonin (a hormone needed to develop circadian rhythms). Breastfeeding and co-sleeping go hand in hand.Most of the time nature can’t be improved on, right?

7. WE ALL GET MORE SLEEP

With no need for our baby to cry and being able to breastfeed so easily in bed we all get more sleep. Granted, my sleep is interrupted, but for me my baby’s needs are more important than a solid eight hour sleep. My husband gets a lot more sleep as my little guy and I barely make a sound as we nurse in the wee hours of the morning.

I am also acutely aware that this time is passing so quickly and that in a blink of an eye my baby won’t be a baby anymore and he won’t want to cuddle up next to me at 2am, so I am savouring every precious moment while I can.

8. I CAN SEE THE RESULTS ALREADY

Our little boy started smiling at 2 weeks, laughing at 4 weeks and hasn’t stopped. He lights up the room and he draws people to him. I am constantly playing second fiddle to him when we are out and about, with strangers talking to him and getting such a buzz out of him smiling and laughing with them.

Even mothers with their own babies love my little guy and ask me why he is so happy all the time. He is an absolute joy, so bright, inquisitive, content and confident.

And, he is growing like a trooper. He was 9lbs 4oz at birth and by 6 weeks he was 14lbs. I will never forget our Scottish midwife saying he is the biggest baby they’ve had in 35 years of practice at 6 weeks.

He may just naturally be a happy baby and he may just naturally gain weight well but as his mum I firmly believe co-sleeping plays a part. He doesn’t need to waste energy crying to get our attention so he can put it directly into growing. And body contact is well known to be even more important than milk in determining growth rates.

9. I FEEL MORE ATTACHED TO MY BABY

Co-sleeping is giving us an extra 12 hours a day to form a secure attachment. An extra 12 hours to make our little guy feel like he is so precious that we hold him as close as we can.

I have read countless articles, books and studies on co-sleeping and they all say that what we are seeing with our son are the expected benefits of co-sleeping.

And I am excited for the future. I want to have a close family. I want my son to trust me. To feel he can come to me with any problem. To know that he is loved and valued and special and for us, co-sleeping is helping us get there. Afterall, it is easier to build strong boys than to fix broken men.

10. I DON’T MIND BEING DIFFERENT

Socially it would be so much easier to follow the crowd.  To use a crib. A pacifier. An exersaucer. A walker. To let my baby cry. It sure would make for far easier conversations at mummy groups! But that’s not for me. My only important parenting critic is my son.

All my life I have questioned the status quo, I believe every choice should be made consciously, with knowledge and conviction. I’ve done my research and I’ve experienced co-sleeping first hand and know that for me and my family it is right for us.

While the statistics show that over 50% of families bedshare for at least for part of the night, very few dare admit to it. I’ve had hushed conversations with other mums where they’ve told me their baby sleeps with them, only to be met with sighs of relief when I say we do it all the time and that we recently sold our unused crib on Craigslist.

I used to be selective about who I told we cosleep. I didn’t want to ruffle too many feathers. Maybe I wasn’t 100% confident in my choice, maybe it’s just hard to be the odd one out all the time.

But now that I’m reaping the benefits and know, just know deep down that what we are doing feels right, I am proud to cosleep and I love to share my experiences with others. I hope that in doing so it may give others the courage to try something a little different too.

Do you co-sleep? I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments or experiences.

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COMMENTS
  • March 03, 2016
    Catherine

    I loved reading this, THANK YOU! We’ve been co-sleeping with our daughter since she was born and love it. We’re all happy and getting so much more sleep this way. At 4.5 months I’ve started feeling pressure from people to introduce a crib, have her self-soothe etc etc. This is such a good reminder of why co-sleeping is just so wonderful!

    • March 03, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Oh thank you Catherine, that made my day. I’m so happy you enjoyed reading it and that you’re loving co sleeping. Isn’t it amazing how our sleeping habits which should be private suddenly become a point of discussion when we have kids. Good on you for doing what feels right for you. Our two and a half year old son still sleeps in our (king size) bed with us. I’m sure it will end some time soon so we’re enjoying it as long as it lasts. His favourite thing in the morning now is to pull both of us in, one in each arm for a big hug and kiss. We love it. Happy sleeping!

      • March 31, 2017
        Sarah

        So sweet

  • March 20, 2016
    Catherine Caldwell-Harris

    I always lay down with my twins to sleep, cuddling with them until they fell asleep. Sometimes it would take an hour or more and I’d resent the time, but I also enjoyed it. As the years went by, the nighttime hour was the time for the three of us to chat in the darkness. After they were asleep, I’d move them to their cribs or (later) beds. As they got older, I switched to lying down in their bed (a double bed mattress they share on the floor next to the parental bed). That habit has continued until age 6 and I see no need to give it up since I value talking with them when they unwind.

    Now, what about during the night? I never succeeded in getting one of my twins to sleep thru the night without crying for a bottle, or when we got rid of that, waking up and crying for Mommy and needing me to go in his room to sleep with him. The sleep deprivation was awful for years – I used to excuse myself from meetings with some kind of excuse (like, I have to call my husband about the children, can we finish our meeting later) because I couldn’t keep my eyes open once mid-afternoon rolled around. But, fast forward to the current day: That boy is now six years old and still crawls into bed with me every night; a year ago he converted his brother to the same habit. I do worry — a I co-sleeping too long?

    Anthropologists report that co-sleeping into middle childhood is the norm in many cultures. Over several years I’ve learned to at least snooze a bit with the kids in bed with me. I feel so good with them snuggling with with me from 3am to wake-up that it makes up for never getting enough sleep. I think it keeps me and the kids emotionally connected (at least that’s what scholars say it does in traditional societies). So – I never got cry-it-out or sleep-in-own-bed to work; but I’ve come to terms with the situation and now value the closeness.

    Advantages to my method, which isn’t co-sleeping as strictly defined. I get to share the falling-asleep time with my twins, but my husband and I have the parental bed to ourselves for the first half of our evening. And then I get to wake up with the kids in the morning.

    • March 20, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Good on you Catherine for finding what works for your family. And thank you for sharing to illustrate there are so many sleeping situations that work for all different types of families. There is no one size fits all solution. Your kids are lucky to have a wonderful mama!

    • March 05, 2017
      Andra

      I’m very glad to see that others also do this. I went back and forth about the cosleep issue for the first 2 months of my daughters life. Lost sleep trying everything from a swing to “cosleeper bassinet” in the bed with me. She screamed all night. And I never felt right anyway.
      The comment about feeling like something is missing when they do not sleep next to us is so true. It’s almost the same concept as being completely in love with someone yet NEVER being allowed to sleep next to them.
      I LOVE co sleeping. I do it safely as far as how I position her and feel that she is safe with me in any crisis. (Choking, fire, etc)
      Follow your gut. If you don’t feel like something is right don’t do it. Not having my daughter in my bed felt wrong. 🙂

  • March 21, 2016
    Marylou

    Loved reading this. Took me back to when my boys were babies 11 and 9 now. I co slept with them because for me it seemed the right thing to do. I used to get my older one when he was a baby and put him on my tummy with his head popping out of my pj’s . He slept for ages like that. My hubby works away and both of them sleep in my room. The 9 year old in my bed. The 11 year old puts his mattress on my floor every night. It works for us and I know it won’t be forever and I hope that they grow up into secure young men.

    • March 21, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Good on you MaryLou! Sounds wonderful and I am sure your boys will grow into emotionally secure young men. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.

  • March 23, 2016
    Sarah

    We co-sleep with our 9 month old and have ever since we brought her home. We did use a co-sleeper when she was teeny-tiny, but quickly gained confidence and brought her right into bed with us. I have to say, it is my most favorite time of day, waking up to her sitting next to me poking at my eyelids babbling ‘daddadadadada.’

    We, too, were hesitant to ‘confess’ that we co-sleep, and I often ‘blame’ it on my husband’s not-American cultural background, but the truth is, it works for us for all of the reasons you outlined above and more. One huge piece for me is that I work full time, and baby goes to day-care. The extra 8-10 hours I get snuggled up with my baby are priceless, irreplaceable, and necessary to us both !

    Our pediatrician sings her ‘co-sleeping is dangerous’ song at every appointment, my brother tells me I’m nuts, and my parents shrug and tell me to do me, but I will loudly advocate for co-sleeping all the live-long day.

    I have to ask- why is it ‘normal’ to sleep next to our chosen sexual partner every single night but not our own flesh and blood baby- our baby who literally depends on us for their every single need ? Seems like a crazy social construct to me!

    Thanks for writing this- I do love me some life-choice affirming literature 🙂

    • March 23, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Thank you Sarah – love your comment and couldn’t agree more. We’ve been lucky enough to work from home but I fully appreciate for parents who don’t get to see their kids for a lot of the day that co sleeping offers a wonderful opportunity for priceless hours. Good on you for doing what you know is right for you. I hope this little space on the internet offers you support to continue parenting your way.

  • March 30, 2016

    We didn’t co-sleep with our first born until she turned 3 and little sister came along. At this same time, “monsters” entered her imagination. We resisted at first, but have actually learned to love and embrace the snuggles knowing that one day these moments will be gone.

    • March 31, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Bless you Jami – we have “monsters” now too 🙂 It feels so amazing that we can give security to our little ones just by being there. Enjoy – as you say these days are fleeting.

  • April 13, 2016
    Ash

    I loved reading this, Tracy. It feels so good to read something like this and think “Yes!!! Exactly what I feel. Phew – someone really totally agrees!”. At the moment I co-sleep with my 17 month old, and my husband co-sleeps with my 4 year old in another room. Not sure what effect this might have on our individual attachments. I often worry that my four year old thinks I love the baby more. Not sure. I am really tempted to just get an enormous bed so that we can all sleep together. The four year old is pretty restless and we often get booted out of the bed!

    • April 14, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Thank you Ash – so happy it resonated with you in that way! I’m getting the same reinforcement of how I feel reading comments like yours. We have a king bed which is great with our son but yes, if we had more I’d love an even bigger one. My midwife, who was the person who suggested bed sharing, told me about a family who had a bed made the size of their room. That would be awesome – no fear of rolling out of the bed! Thanks again for reading.

  • April 13, 2016
    Aleeza Sohail

    You spoke my entire past 6 years! I have 3 kids, and a fourth on the way. Each was co slept with until the next arrived. Then the co sleeping continued until they were too big to fit on the bed with us (I mean I had to fall off the bed to prove they HAD to move out!) And the cycle continued with the third and soon the fourth. And it all came naturally! Mind you I did not have the ability or the resources to research but now that I do I find I was right..all along! 😀

    • April 14, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      So happy to hear my writing and experiences connected with you Aleeza. Thank you for reading and good on you for following your instincts. That’s the only reason I write posts – to remind us that it’s ok and justified to listen to our instincts – they rarely point us in the wrong direction. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  • July 12, 2016
    Meredith

    We have 3 boys and have co-slept with all of them. Youngest is 4 months. It was not my intention at all before becoming a parent and it just evolved over time with our eldest when we were learning what to do!
    Everything you have said I totally agree with. After number 3, I have finally stoped feeling like I need to explain to family and friends about co-sleeping, its our “norm” and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • August 24, 2016
    Molly

    This was such a wonderful, and comforting read! We have had our now 6 month old in a bassinet next to the bed since birth. After 3 months of putting her in and out of the bassinet after every feed, we just keep her in bed after her first wakeup. It feels so much better having her beside me, and plus like you said, waking up in the morning to cuddles and giggles is the absolute best thing ever. I totally identified with pretty much the entirety of your blog. A lot of what you mentioned, are topics that my boyfriend and I have wrestled with, not sure which way to go. Reading this has confirmed that what we are doing (co-sleeping, etc.) is the best thing for us and our baby. So thankyou!! My mind is at ease 🙂

    • September 02, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Oh Molly – absolute pleasure, you are the reason I write what I do – to give reassurance the unconventional things we do as natural parents are actually 100% biologically normal. We still love co sleeping and think it will be going for a while longer yet. The cuddles in the middle of the night, the kisses and I love you’s in the middle of the night are amazing and make the hard parts of parenting so much easier to get through. Thank you again and so happy you enjoyed it xx

  • September 12, 2016
    Lindsey

    What a lovely article. My little one was 5lb 9oz and so for the first 6-8 weeks she literally slept on my chest (after a few nights of struggling to get her to settle in the co-crib). Due to a family tragedy a few generations back bed sharing has always been a no no in our family. But it just felt right when she was so tiny, and we would get much better chunks of sleep. She then started to wriggle a lot so moved to the co-crib and did well. But she soon outgrew that length wise so I moved her to a cot in her own room.
    This has had mixed results from hourly wakes just wanting to cwtch, to an 11 hour stretch. Recently we are back to 2-4 wakes a night.
    I’m very much instinctive parenting and love the attachment we share, whilst choosing to thank but ignore everyone’s opinions on how I’m ruining my baby. In fact, she is walking with help at 5.5 months, chatting all day long, smiling, giggling and engaging in conversations with people whilst soaking in every drop of information and visual stimulation there is to be had. An incredibly happy little girl.

    I’m curious though, does your baby sleep in between you? And have you ever worried about it affecting the level of intimacy with your partner?
    I’m wondering if bringing her back into bed with us is the answer.

    • September 12, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Thank you Lindsey – so happy you enjoyed it. I think this was the first post I ever wrote on my iPhone laying nursing through naps when my little guy was about 6 months old 🙂 So great you were able to find the courage to honour your instincts and co sleep safely with your little baby despite your family history. From memory 2-4 wakes a night at 6 months sounds like what we experienced and then it can all change with teething around that age too. That’s AMAZING to be walking so early – go little girl!

      So, our son still sleeps with us and he is three years old now. He typically sleeps on my side at the start of the night and then it’s musical chairs throughout the night depending on whether he wakes up much – he always moves to the middle if he can! At that age though with more nursing (are you still breastfeeding?) he used to switch sides every time we nursed – from the middle to the edge. He fell out of the bed twice in the last three years – one time he didn’t even wake up but gave me a big shock and I couldn’t sleep after it. You can get bumpers to put under the fitted sheet or bed rails to stop them falling out although we never ended up getting one.

      Intimacy – it’s a hard one! Everyone says the bedroom is not the only place for sex but it’s certainly the easiest! Co sleeping definitely impacted it for us but so has parenthood in general – sleep deprivation for sure. There’s no perfect answer I think – co sleeping has definitely deepened the bond between the three of us so it’s a pay off. We’ve been creative with other places and we talk about it a lot as a couple. Every time we do though neither of us wants to move our son out of our bed. We do have a full bed in my son’s room now in anticipation of when he’ll migrate in there so we can do it slowly with one of us sleeping with him in his room until he’s comfortable on his own. If you’re daughter is used to the crib you could start her in there at the start of the night and have some time with your husband and then move your baby after the first waking? Hope that helps and feel free to reply/email any time. xx

  • November 02, 2016
    Jenna

    I co-slept with my daughter only some of the time from birth to 3 months. She slept really well in her crib, so I thought I was doing a great job of following the AAP guidelines for the most part to not bed share. Then, when I went back to work I became exhausted with getting up several times per night to bring her to my bed to feed, and then trying to return her to her crib. A friend suggested I begin sleep training because it apparently worked wonders for her, and that’s when things went from bad to worse! It only took me 2 nights of failed attempts to realize that sleep training was the wrong path….I was even more sleep deprived, my daughter was waking more and crying more, and I was becoming frustrated with her in the middle of the night. OUr nights went from ending peacefully to suddenly being stressful and tearful. I felt like a terrible mother. Then I decided to stop sleep training and just do what felt natural. So I began co-sleeping every night. Sometimes I’ll start her off in her crib and then take her to bed when I go to bed. But if she cries when I lay her in her crib I go to her within a few minutes or so…and sometimes I will just end my evening early and bring her to bed with me so she can go to sleep peacefully. I feel so much more connected to her now, and I can sense that she is happier too. We are both getting more rest, and instead of getting irritable with her for not going back to sleep in her crib after a night waking I simply lift my shirt up and pull her close to me to nurse and it feels good, and I feel like a nurturing mom instead of a short-tempered, controlling mom….I’ve done so much research on co-sleeping since making this decision and it’s nice to know that there is a ton of evidence that this is the right thing to do! A week ago I felt isolated, confused and unsure of my mothering capabilities, and now I feel empowered, and I KNOW in my heart of hearts that this is going to benefit my daughter for the rest of her life. I want to teach her that I’m there for her, and that I will hold her tight in the middle of the night and give her the nourishment and the love that she needs.

    • November 02, 2016
      Tracy Gillett

      Thank you SO much for sharing your story Jenna. It is so wonderful to hear that when you followed your instincts things fell into place. Sometimes I worry the practices we’ve put into place like separate rooms for babies makes parents lives more difficult and then to fix the problem we resort to practices like CIO out of desperation and so a vicious cycle is set up from the get go. I love the way you describe it! It’s amazing how a little information and realizing you’re not alone can quickly change your perspective – I’m so happy you feel empowered!! Keep going mama. Lovely to connect. I have also just written another post you may like – I’d love to copy your comment straight over onto the new post as it relates so well. It’s a controversial topic so getting a lot of negative comments too but it’s good to have the conversation. This is the post – Let’s Nurture Babies Who Won’t Have to Recover From Sleep Training. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment – I so appreciate it! xx

  • December 08, 2016
    Sadie Marie

    Ive co slept with both my girls and still co sleep with them both when my older one (nearly 3 is poorly or just misses us, i sleep sooo much better when all 3 of us are in bed together. ) my eldest co slept from 3days old-22months old when she got her own double bed so i could co sleep with her if she wanted me too. With my second i felt presure to not co sleep, i dont know why because im a huge co sleeping advocate. I bought a finish baby box to try, i tried it for two weeks but as soon as my husband left for deployement again i co slept, shes now 6months old and im yet to break it to my husband that i co slept and “spoilt” our baby again. He doesnt use those words luckily but people around us/him do. I co slept with my mum, so u knew thats what i wanted to fo to, from way befor i even had kids. We just just let our instincts guide us and try to ignore “society pressures” xx Thank you for a beautiful blog post fellow co sleeper!

  • December 28, 2016
    Monique Laura

    I have co slept from the beginning. I struggled with it at first cause I thought the crib was the “right” way. I live in South America. When I asked the mothers her about the existence of SIDS they didn’t know what I was talking about. All of the mothers co sleep here and actually the kids are very happy even though very poor.

    When my son started having night terrors I decided to continue co sleeping and after research it’s proven that it is good for kids and parents for better sleep. My son has high functioning autism and sensory integration issues. He is very happy and secure. I attribute part of that to co sleeping.

    We wouldn’t expect self soothing techniques to be applied in the day time(it would be considered emotional abuse) why would we implement it at night? We should be availble a accessible at night just like we are during the day. I only have found positive results with co sleeping.

  • January 26, 2017
    Camille

    LOVE THIS! I have co slept right from the beginning even in hospital which the midwife was not happy about when she saw us. My reasons for choosing to co sleep in the first place was the absolute horrific thought of SIDS. Also as you have said a baby is only a baby for a short period of time. It’s also so much more convenient when it comes to night feeds as neither of us have to move. My beautiful baby boy is 5 months young he is the happiest baby I know which I always hear from others too. He also cries so rarely you may as well say he does not cry at all. Co sleeping is the way nature intended us to be with our children no mother should feel guilty or ashamed that they col sleep. Let’s stop whispering to people that we co sleep – SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS MOMMAS!

    • January 26, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Thanks so much Camille and LOVE your passion. I agree – let’s shout it from the rooftops. It feels so natural, it is natural – what we need is to remember how we are designed to parent and educate parents to do it safely rather than pretend it’s not happening. I net your boy is amazing. Mine was the same and still is so happy at 3 years old now. I don’t want to put that spark out with mainstream parenting practices. Thanks again and lovely to connect. xx

  • January 29, 2017
    Mayra Washington

    HI TRACY! I would like to thank you so much for sharing your experience with co sleeping. I feel so much better knowing that there’s somebody out there that enjoys sleeping with their baby next to them. I would like to ask you, how did you nap your son during the day if you didn’t own a crib? My trouble is my son loves to sleep in my arms when I place him down he wakes up then falls right asleep in my arms.

    • January 29, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Hi Mayra, Thank you so much and I’m thrilled you enjoyed my post 🙂 Naps – in the early days he either slept on me (in a Moby wrap at home or a Beco carrier if we were out walking most afternoons), or on the nursing pillow or just on me if I was happy to stay where he fell asleep. Or he napped mostly in his hammock which we absolutely loved. He only lasted in the hammock until he was about 9 months because he was such a long baby but most babies can sleep in hammocks for much longer (we LOVED our Nature’s Sway!). Or when he was bigger we slept on our bed together or I commando crawled away once we was asleep. We did also try a floor bed which Montessori recommends – you can just put a twin mattress on the floor, nurse and then once they’re asleep roll away. It takes the worry out of them falling off the bed. Hope that helps! xx

  • February 07, 2017
    Amore visser

    Loved reading you post!!! I agree fully, my little one will be 8 months soon. He was a premie weighing only 2.1kg and 47 cm at birth. I have felt very protective of him with co sleeping and fearing all those dangers you refered to.

    I have to say I don’t really care what people advise me. I feel he is our son and this is our house and if I want to co sleep it’s my decision. I love it and know that this blessing of a moment will soon be over and he will be a “big boy” that doesn’t want mommy to fuss and cuddle 😄

    • February 16, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Oh wow, Amore, bless your little premie son. He is such a lucky baby to have such a wonderful mama. Touch is so important and there are countless studies in premies showing how much it can help them thrive and gain weight. I bet all the co sleeping and middle of the night snuggles has helped him so much. Lovely to connect xx

  • February 13, 2017
    Kobe

    Yes we co sleep since day dot and it’s the best decision we ever made. It feels so natural and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I would long for our baby (now a toddler) if she was in another room. We get to sleep in until 8.30am and stay in bed cuddling and feeding all night. I am totally with you on everything and so glad I found your wonderful site! As I’m lying next to my sleeping baby right now I love reading all your articles and feel truely inspired. Thankyou x

    • February 16, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Sounds just like us Kobe and so happy you’re enjoying my site. Lovely to connect and wishing you and yours sweet dreams xx

  • March 20, 2017
    Cheryl

    Hello,

    Loved this post and all of the positive, empowered comments too. I have a 5 week old gem of a boy. When I was reading up about gentle/natural parenting when pregnant I really believed in everything that was written, but I was reticent on co-sleeping. I’m not sure why. Maybe the idea of jeopardising the connection with my husband or it feeling “odd”.

    Now that little one is here I’ve changed my tune! I tend to bring him into the bed next to me after the first time he wakes from his co-sleep crib. Then after his next wake-up about 4am I change his nappy, take off his suit and then do skin on skin on my chest until the morning.

    I feel this is good for him and it’s great for a little extra sleep, but I still have a slightly nagging feeling that I’m doing something “unsafe” when I read the guidelines. I also wonder whether transitioning little one to his own cot will be a lot harder. Does anyone have any experience?

    Practically, do you just trap the duvet so it can’t go near them and put their own blanket over them?

    Thank you!

  • April 02, 2017
    Sara Rickard

    Thank you so very much. For this article – for daring to be the voice in this new age world full of judgment.
    We bed share with our little guy and am still nursing him – don’t think I would have had so much success if we hadn’t mastered the lying down to feed.
    All of what you have said makes so so much sense and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that it was written just for me.
    Thank you so much for reassuring me of my parenting style and for encouraging us as mothers to trust our instinct when so much makes us doubt everything we do!

  • May 12, 2017
    Tay

    I absolutely love and agree with cosleeping. I slept with my baby boy until about 4 months, and only because it was starting to cause a rift between my husband and I we never had the time to be adults together and our son was more or less sleeping through the night anyway. So now I put him in his crib at night but I usually take naps with him during the day. It makes my heart happy to snuggle my now 8 month old wiggle monster that barely has time to stop moving around anymore. I love that when he wakes up he smiles and touches my face. I only get so much time with him this small so I treasure it immensely.
    I do wonder about the length of time spent cosleeping and the effect that it might have on spousal relations? I nannied for years before I got married and had my own baby; everything I saw with cosleeping parents led me to believe that their children became dependent upon having a parent there to fall asleep into the later years of childhood. Maybe it’s just part of the social constructs I’ve been exposed to that lead me to think that this is a problem, but as I don’t see how it could be healthy for the parents. It’s important for them to model what relationships look like because one day the kids will leave to find their own partner in life and need to know that their partner comes first before the kids. The partner will be there long after kids are gone so having a solid relationship is SO SO SO important. Spending that length of time cosleeping would make adult time scarce and limited. How would you recommend workarounds for this?
    I miss cosleeping so much and wish I could go back to it but I also love my husband and want him to know he comes first now that the baby isn’t necessarily 100% dependent on me. He hasn’t night nursed since 3 months so I guess that’s how I excused putting him in the crib because I knew he wouldn’t wake up anyway and I could just go grab him right away when he woke up.

  • June 09, 2017
    Mallory

    I’d like to start off by saying that I agree with co-sleeping 100%! But do I always do it? No. My son just turned 5 months old and I have never attempted to sleep train him or let him cry out anything and he sleeps wonderfully, for the most part. I currently work full time on a night shift so unfortunately I don’t get to be home with my baby when I feel he needs me the most. My husband says that the moment I leave he cries and he’s up all night fussing 🙁 When I’m home however my son falls asleep the moment I start feeling tired and some nights I put him in his crib and he will sleep for hours on his own just knowing that I’m right across the hall. Other nights the only way he will sleep is if I hold and snuggle him all night. As mothers I feel it is our responsibility to be able to read our children and know what level of affection they may need. Everyone just needs a hug sometimes and other times we just want space, and the same rings true even for my 5 month old and as his mom I will be exactly what he needs when he needs it, that’s my real purpose in life.
    It makes me so happy reading all your articles that just describe exactly how I feel about parenting. Love it!

  • June 17, 2017
    Riché

    I love reading about this. I just REALLY WISH my husband and friends would understand it! I am under ALOT of pressure to stop co-sleeping.

    My husband feels that co-sleeping isn’t really working since our 11 month son cries out when he wakes up in the middle of the night. And he doesn’t sleep if not near me (either in my arms or on my lap), thus he doesn’t get enough sleep during the night. Since I’m a working mother, Im literally not able to go to bed 19h00 or even 20h00 at all. So most of the time he only gets to sleep about 22h00 and some nights 23h00 and we get up 6h00 in the morning again.

    So now I have to start moving him to his own room… And I’m dreading it!

    I really wish I had more support with co-sleeping!

  • June 21, 2017
    Ruth

    I’m a new mam to a gorgeous 4 month old baby girl and I’ve been co-sleeping through necessity. Although I thought co-sleeping sounded so natural and lovely I hadn’t planned to do it because I was afraid it wouldn’t be safe. However, from day 1 she was a terrible sleeper and hated her moses basket. She would rarely sleep longer than 40mins unless in my arms. Now 4 months in and she now joins me most nights, because it’s only way I get any sleep. I exclusively breastfeed and was exhausted from getting up and down all night.

    I actually love the closeness and night time cuddles as well as waking up with her in the morning and do feel more rested this way but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to keep it up for much longer (my husband is currently in the other room so we have enough space).

    I’m also exhausted from cuddling / bouncing her to sleep and transfering her to crib each evening before I go to bed and bring her in with me.

    My 3rd concern is naptimes. She’s also a terrible napper! She still mostly sleeps on me, in a moving car or pushchair. (when she was smaller I used a sling but she doesn’t like this anymore!) Occasionally she has fallen asleep on her own in her cot for the morning nap but this is not consistent.

    All I’ve read about her poor sleeping habits (she still wakes several times a night feeding every 2 hrs from 12am sometimes) is that she needs to learn to go to sleep herself. First off I’m wondering if there are any truly gentle methods of ‘teaching’ her this skill? (she is obviously capable since she’s done it occasionally for morning naps).

    I’m wondering how you handle naps as a co-sleeping mama? I love the time spent with my baby and cherish those cuddles but I really need to begin to find time to get jobs done around the house (and shower etc!!!).

    I also wonder how long you plan to co-sleep for and whether you are ever concerned about the transition? I’m worried if I do it for much longer she will always want to be in bed with me and I can’t sustain it. Of course, all I hear from most people I know how I am creating bad habits.

    Advice, reassurance, support much appreciated!!

    Ruthx

  • July 25, 2017
    Crystal

    I am at 39 weeks with my second child and my first is what everyone has called “a terrible sleeper”. He wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on us and sometimes even on us it would be screaming and crying for hours on end. We ended up realizing he had colic but he also didn’t sleep “through the night” until well after a year and still doesn’t all thlook one now that he is 3.

    My biggest questions to the community here are, if we consider consleeping how does it work logistically? Do mom and baby go to bed at 7
    Pm together, or 5, or whenever baby is ready? What about my other child in the house who needs mom sometimes? Whay about Dad and mom who need each other sometimes? What if mom and dad go out to dinner on their own at night? Does he babysitter or grandma consleep with a bottle ready to go? What about naps? Do mom and baby take the same naps? Do mom and baby wake and play at 3am? What about pillows and blankets and swaddles? Does a consleeping baby wear a swaddle or are they allowed to wear whatever? Is a cosleeping baby on their stomach or back? Thanks for all the advice!

  • August 20, 2017
    Tasha

    I didn’t have a particularly strong feeling for or against cosleeping before my son was born. In fact, he slept in his crib from week 2 on and started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks despite being exclusively breastfed. However, everything changed once I went back to part time work when he was 4 months. Nighttime feeds resumed, and by 7 months we started cosleeping because he would wake up every time we tried to transfer him to his crib. He’s 11 months now and we happily cosleeping most of the night. I am more rested than when he was sleeping though the night and both my husband and I so love to cuddle with our son and share our bed with him. Thank you for your site and for sharing this perspective! It’s very much aligned with many of my instincts as a mom and it’s very encouraging to hear this in the midst of so much advice that ultimately seems to be for the convenience of the mother rather than the well-being of the child.

  • October 09, 2017
    Nikki

    I love coming across beautiful articles like this! Sadly, I just don’t see enough of them. My cosleeping story started 11 years ago with my first. I put him in his bassinet like I was “supposed” to do and then spent a sleepless night making sure he was breathing every 15 seconds, and I just kept feeling like a part of me was missing! The next night we fell asleep nursing in bed and there he stayed for 18 months!
    Son numero dos bounced between a bedside cosleeper and laying next to me ( dad was petrified he’d smush him, so we only coslept on nights dad was working).

    Baby boy number three had colic. He would not settle anywhere but in my arms, no rocker, swing, bouncer or bassinet would do. Not even for a nap. We’ve been cosleeping 7months and counting.

    My boys are happy, healthy and secure. They know their mum is always there for them. cosleeping always felt natural, how could it be right to immediately separate yourself from the life that was literally a part of you for 40 or so weeks?! Still, I watch who I admit it to, not because I’m ashamed or concerned I’m doing the wrong thing, but because it’s my personal decision and I really don’t have anything nice to say to the idea of CIO that people seem to swear by and insist that if I would just give it a try it would work. How horribly barbaric that seems.
    Our babies are only babies for such a short time, I cherish all those extra sweet night time nurses and sleepy smiles, and I love that my big boys still want to snuggle with me now that they’re older.

  • October 26, 2017
    Annika Quednau

    Thanks for this wonderful article. My husband and I have two boys and we have co slept with both of them. Felt wonderful having them in the bed with us. Our eldest is 7 1/2 and he sleeps in his own bed through the night since about 6 years old. But when he’s sick he always comes into the bed with me. Our second child is 4 and he still breast feeds and when he wakes he will always come through to our room and into our bed. Love snuggling up with my boys

  • October 26, 2017
    Nicole

    This is a great read and gives me more confidence in the fact that I co sleep and it definitely makes breastfeeding so much easier at night!! I was doing it part time and had her crib next to my side of the bed. I would have little bruises all over the back of my arm from leaning on it to life her out!! OUCH! I am officially going full time on Co-sleeping!! Thanks!

  • November 06, 2017
    Stacey

    I loved reading this thank you! I cosleep with all my kids 6,4& my 6 month old… I hear so many people say that’s a bad habit you shouldn’t do that but my husband and I don’t mind and the bond between the kids and us is great… I love knowing they are safe and listening to their stories at night and just snuggling… these times won’t last forever and when they are ready to go into their own bed they will let me know .. I am not ashamed all of my kids are extremely smart and polite I wouldn’t change it for the world

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