Co-sleeping - yes or no?
Co-sleeping - yes or no?
What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping – when you sleep together in the same room, in the same bed or when the child sneaks in to cuddle during the night. Some also use the term bed-sharing for when you sleep in the same bed. This can be the best in the world for some, and a nightmare for others. There isn’t enough scientific evidence to claim co-sleeping better or worse than sleeping alone so it’s important to figure out what fits you the best.
Benefits of co-sleeping
There are many things to consider when co-sleeping in the same bed as a small child.
- One of the advantages of co-sleeping with younger children is that you do not need to get too far away from bed to feed or comfort the child. This makes it easier for you to return to your sleep.
But the child should not be placed between you and everyone in bed needs plenty of space
- The children can experience comfort and an increased confidence in the surrounding world when co-sleeping with parents or siblings.
- Listening to a loved one’s breath or feel their heart beat, as well as the sensation of lying close makes the child feel protected and stimulates the hormone oxytocin, which increase the child’s confidence in the world.
- Co-sleeping also creates a lovely bond between the parents and the children. It is important to point out that the bond between you and your child as well as the confidence in the world can be established, even though the child is sleeping in their own room. Just make sure to support the feeling of safety by showing the child that you are nearby, even though they are alone in the room. Some parents choose to lie in the bed as the child is falling asleep.
These things, paired with the opportunity to sneak in for a cuddle during the night or in the mornings gives you many of the benefits of co-sleeping.
Disadvantages of co-sleeping
1. One of the biggest disadvantages of co-sleeping is that multiple people in one bed can disturb your sleep as you can be disturbed several times during the night.
2. Bed-sharing can increase the risk of SIDS and suffocatio - this is why a bedside crib is perfect for when you want your baby close by.
3. If you choose co-sleeping you should make sure your bed can fit many people at once and that everyone has their own pillow and duvet. This creates the best possibility for each person to regulate their own comfort and ability to regulate e.g. temperature during the night.
4. As a parent you should also consider grown up time as part of considering co-sleeping. Make sure you still have the opportunity to spend time together and consider your needs. Your relationship is still important, even though the children’s needs are first priority.
Safe co-sleeping - how?
Co-sleeping is when the whole family sleeps in the same room. But how is it when children sleep with parents? There are different ways this can happen in practice.
If you have a big bed and depending on how many family members you have and how old the children are, the whole family can sleep in the same bed. For babies you can use a bedside crib, which is a side bed for babies. This way you can still sleep with the baby, while giving them the space they need during their sleep.
Whichever solution you use, it is generally recommended to have a healthy sleeping environment with a comfortable temperature, as many people in the same room quickly heats up the room. Be careful not to get too hot and air out the room regularly as normal.
In addition, it is recommended to purchase a bed with a firm base and a firm mattress. This could be a firm foam mattress. This is the safest and most comfortable for both you and your child. For even safer co-sleeping, you can place your family bed right up against a wall or in the corner of the room or place several beds together.
But remember to feel how you sleep best, and feel free to experiment with different solutions until you find the one that suits you best.
Co-sleeping how long?
In principle, as long as you want. The most important thing is that you follow the recommendations for safe co-sleeping according to the age of the children. The Danish Health Autority has some recommendations in this area, which we recommend you follow. Read more about them here.
However, experience shows that siblings benefit enormously from sleeping together and that their level of conflict is reduced over time by sleeping together.
If at some point you as parents don't want to co-sleep anymore, you can benefit from letting your children find comfort in continuing to sleep together. Of course, age has a bearing on how old children need to be to share a bed. You can therefore check this before letting your children sleep in the same bed.
A bunk bed can also be an alternative to bed sharing. Otherwise, they can have separate beds in the same room.