If you’re interested in the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your baby, here are the advantages and disadvantages from someone who has done it.
Pros for Co-Sleeping
You will sleep, and your baby will sleep. It may not be the most comfortable sleep you’ve ever had in your life, but you will at least get more sleep. (In my experience, sleep is the name of the parenting game. Everything is manageable when you’ve had sleep.)
Your kids will love it. They will feel safe and secure.
Did I already mention that you will get more sleep?
Cons for Co-Sleeping
There will come a day when you will be tired of having a kid in your bed. You will want them to go sleep in their bed so you can sprawl out or spend time with your spouse (wink, wink). You will want to stay up late instead of going to bed with them. Whatever the reason, there will come a day when you as a parent will be over co-sleeping; however, it is a habit that is nearly impossible to break until your kids get older. I know because we tried.
Eviction Rate: 0
When Big C turned 1 ½, we decided that we would start sleep-training her to stay in her crib. She understood many words and could speak several words. (Big C talked early.) So, we started by laying down with her on a mattress on the floor for naps. When she fell asleep, we would get up. When she got up, she would run out crying to us. At night, we rocked her to sleep and laid her in her crib asleep. A few hours later, she would wake up crying. We either rocked her back to sleep or held her hand until she fell asleep. (This resulted in many nights of my husband or I sleeping on her bedroom floor with our hand shoved through the slats on her crib.) At this point, she was getting up 1-2 times per night, and it would take us 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours each time to get her back to sleep.
After a while, we grew tired of rocking her to sleep, and we wanted her to learn to put herself back to sleep whenever she woke up. So, at night, we sat her in her crib and held her hand while she cried and cried and cried. Finally, she would go to sleep. When she woke up in the middle of the night, one of us would go downstairs, give her a hug, and tell her to go back to sleep. We would lay down on the couch in the living room outside her door so she could see us. Then, we would listen to her cry and cry and cry until she finally fell asleep. After months, seriously months, of doing this every night, Big C started sleeping all night without crying approximately four nights per week. (Crying still happened the other three.)
Then, I gave birth to Baby C. Daddy was now in charge of Big C every night. After only one week, he bought a twin-sized bed for Big C and slept downstairs with her. (All those nights of sleeping on the floor and listening to her scream and cry for nothing!!!!!) He slept downstairs with her for a year until we moved to our new house.
At the new house, Big C’s bedroom is right across the hallway from ours. After book time, my husband lays down with her until she falls asleep. Then, he gets up and goes to bed with me. She normally wakes up around 3 or 4 A.M., walks to our room, and crawls in bed with us until morning. (This is actually a huge improvement, especially because she doesn’t scream or cry when she realizes that she’s alone in her bed. It took her almost four years to get to this point!)
When Baby C is old enough, we will let her sleep with Big C. We know several parents who let their kids sleep together when they were little. I think it will be the only way to break the habit of Big C sleeping with us!
It will really cut down on the time you spend with your spouse. Now, when our kids go to bed, my husband and I watch TV together, talk, or have some lovin’ time (wink wink). When you co-sleep, you lose all that alone time with your spouse.
Q: For those of you who’ve tried co-sleeping, did the pros outweigh the cons? Would you recommend it or not?