Yes, my baby girl sleeps right next to me in bed. There, I confessed! Trust me, I thought about this long and hard, asked many questions, and did the research before giving in to my innate longing to have my baby sleep with me. If you’ve never had a baby, you’re probably thinking, “OMG! You’re crazy! What if you roll over her?” If you’re a first time mom, you’re probably thinking, “Thank God I’m not the only one!” And if you have multiple children, you’re probably shaking your head and laughing at the fact that I ever hesitated to share my bed with my baby.
The truth is that most parents have done this at one point or another - we just have a hard time confessing because we don’t want to be judged.
I remember taking my daughter to her first month check up. The nurse asked where she was sleeping and I responded, “She sleeps with me.” Oh my, you should have seen her reaction! It was like I had broken the most important rule of parenting 101. I went home feeling awful that day, but after having a conversation with another pediatrician (who is also a mother) and a doula, both assured me that this was totally normal. “All moms do it,” they said. I was relieved!
I am not advocating that mothers share their beds with infants (well, sort of - haha!). I know that this isn’t for everyone. But, if you are considering it, you should know that there are many advantages to co-sleeping with baby.
Here are some benefits I’ve experienced.
- My baby girl has regulated her breathing. When babies are born, they are learning how to breathe. I found that sleeping with my baby helped regulate her breathing as she listened and sensed my breathing patterns. Within weeks, her irregular breathing spasm ceased.
- Breastfeeding my baby has been 100xs easier! I don’t have to get out of bed if she wakes up at 4am. She just reaches for my breasts, which lets me know it’s time to whip one out. When she’s done feeding, she unlatches and goes right back to sleep. And so do I! #happymom
- The anxiety of being a first time mom has significantly reduced. I used to question whether I was a fit mom, but the more I share my bed with my baby girl, the more connected I feel to her! During bedtime, I’ve learned to read her cues, her body language, and the meaning of her sounds.
- My baby sleeps through the night! I believe the sense of connection and the “mom is here” feeling helped my baby girl sleep through the night by 6 weeks old. She also has no trouble sleeping in her crib, her car seat, or anywhere else for that matter!
- She always gravitates towards me, and this makes me feel so special! Even when I move away during my sleep, my baby girl somehow finds a way to reposition herself inches away from my face. I can hear and feel her breathing. Sometimes, she even puts her hand on my face just to make sure I’m not going anywhere. It’s the cutest thing! And who doesn’t want to wake up to their precious little one’s face?!
*A special thanks to Dr. Sears and his book The Baby Book! It was a lifesaver for me as a first time mom!