Co-Sleeping: Making it Work

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

The family bed, co-sleeping, shared sleep: no matter what you call it, having Baby sleep with you, or close to you, is becoming more common (or perhaps it’s always been common but is becoming more well known).

Sharing sleep is very popular with parents (particularly nursing mothers) of young babies who wake throughout the night, since it allows parents to avoid getting up out of bed and traveling up and down a dark hallway. Co-sleeping is popular also with parents of older babies who enjoy the nighttime closeness with their child.

Co-Sleeping: Making it Work for Your Family @NoCrySolution #ElizabethPantley

There are as many different styles of family beds as there are families! Over time, you’ll find the best set up for your family, and this arrangement will likely change many times over the early years. Here are a few of the typical sleeping arrangements:

  • The family bed:
    Parents and baby sleep together in one bed.
  • Side-by-side:
    The child sleeps on a separate mattress or futon on the floor next to the parent’s bed.
  • Sidecar:
    A cradle or crib is nestled adjacent to the parent’s bed, sometimes with one side of the crib removed.
  • Shared room:
    The baby and parents have separate beds in the same room.
Co-Sleeping: Making it Work for Your Family @NoCrySolution #ElizabethPantley

Savannah with her daddy, Shane

The use of these arrangements varies from home to home also. Some of the common sleep situations are:

  • Shared sleep with the baby during the night and for naps.
  • Part-time shared sleep for either naps or nighttime, or a little of both, with baby in a crib, cradle or other place for other sleep times.
  • Mom’s dual beds is a common setup in which Mommy has one place where she sleeps with the baby, and another where she sleeps with her husband or partner. She moves back and forth between beds based on how often the baby wakes up and how tired she is on any given night.
  • Musical beds are a common arrangement! There are several beds in different rooms, and parents and baby shift from place to place depending on each evening’s situation.
  • Occasional family bed is when the baby has her own crib or bed but is welcomed into the parent’s bed whenever she has a bad dream, feels sick, or needs some extra cuddle time.
  • Sibling bed is often a natural follow-up to the family bed. Older children often share sleep after they outgrow the need for the parent’s bed or the sidecar arrangement.

How to Decide

Every parent has different nighttime needs, and every child within the family is unique. There is no single best arrangement that works for all families. Even for a particular child, there may be several good options, and they may change from time to time.

The key is to making shared sleep work is to find the solution that feels right to everyone in your family, and make adjustments over time as needed. And to enjoy this precious cuddle time — children grow up fast and then you’ll have the warmest, most wonderful memories of this time in your life.

Co-Sleeping: Making it Work for Your Family @NoCrySolution #ElizabethPantley

Sorelle, 6 mths and mom

Make YOUR Right Decision

It’s very important to eliminate your need or desire to satisfy anyone else’s perception of what you should be doing. In other words, no matter what your in-laws, your neighbors, your pediatrician, or your favorite author says about sleeping arrangements, the only “right” answer is the one that works for the people living in your home.

Need more tips? The No-Cry Sleep Solution is filled with gentle ways to help your baby sleep through the night.

STAY TUNED for part two:  How to co-sleep safely …