Skip to content

How To Create A Co-Sleeping Friendly Environment

Co-sleeping, a practice where parents and young children share the same sleep space, has been followed by families around the world for centuries. It is thought to foster bonding, facilitate breastfeeding, and promote better sleep for both parents and children. However, co-sleeping can bring its own set of challenges, and it’s crucial to create a safe and comfortable environment for it. In this post, you will learn all about the concept of co-sleeping, weigh its pros and cons, and guide you through the process of creating a co-sleeping-friendly environment for your family.

Sponsored Content


The Concept Of Co-Sleeping


Co-sleeping is defined as parents and infants sleeping in “sensory” proximity to each other, meaning within a range that allows them to sense each other via touch, smell, taste, or noise. This can take different forms, including bed-sharing (sharing the same bed), room-sharing (the child sleeps in the same room but on a different surface), or bedside co-sleeping (the child sleeps in a bassinet or co-sleeper attached to the parent’s bed). It’s important to understand these different forms as the safety and effectiveness of co-sleeping can vary depending on the specific arrangement.

While co-sleeping might seem like a modern parenting trend, it’s actually a practice that’s deeply rooted in history and is still prevalent in many cultures. In fact, in many parts of Asia and Africa, co-sleeping is the norm rather than the exception. This understanding can help you approach co-sleeping as a viable sleep arrangement and not a taboo, provided the proper safety measures are in place.

The Pros And Cons Of Co-Sleeping


The potential benefits of co-sleeping are numerous. For starters, it can make nighttime breastfeeding easier and more convenient, as mothers do not need to fully wake up or leave the bed to feed the baby. This can lead to better sleep quality for both the parent and the child. Additionally, some research suggests that co-sleeping can help to regulate the baby’s heartbeat and breathing, particularly in the case of newborns. It can also enhance the emotional bond between parents and their children, providing a sense of security and comfort to the child.

However, like any parenting choice, co-sleeping is not without its potential downsides. There are safety concerns, particularly with bed-sharing, that parents need to be aware of. These include the risk of suffocation, falls, and getting trapped between the bed and the wall. Moreover, some parents might find that their sleep quality is negatively affected due to the baby’s movements and sounds. Additionally, co-sleeping might make it more difficult for the child to transition to sleeping independently in the future. Thus, it’s crucial for parents to consider these aspects before deciding on co-sleeping.

Safety Measures In Co-Sleeping


Safety should be paramount when it comes to co-sleeping. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest place for an infant to sleep is on a separate sleep surface designed for infants close to the parent’s bed. However, if you opt for bed-sharing, it’s crucial to ensure that the sleeping surface is firm and flat, without any soft items such as pillows or blankets that could pose a suffocation risk. Also, the baby should always be placed on their back to sleep, and the parents should not be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any medication that might impair their ability to wake up.

Parental behavior plays a significant role in ensuring safety during co-sleeping. For instance, parents should refrain from smoking as it can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in co-sleeping infants. Moreover, parents with long hair should tie it back to avoid entanglement, and those wearing nightclothes with strings or ties should change into safer alternatives. Being mindful of such factors can go a long way in making co-sleeping a safe experience for your child.

Preparing Your Bedroom For Co-Sleeping


A significant part of creating a co-sleeping-friendly environment is preparing your bedroom. The first aspect to consider is the bed itself. If you choose to bed-share, a larger bed can give you and your child the necessary space. On the other hand, if you’re planning on room-sharing or bedside co-sleeping, you must ensure that the crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper fits comfortably in your room without obstructing movement.

Next, arrange your bedroom furniture to provide easy access to the baby, especially for nighttime feeding or changing. This could mean moving a bedside table, clearing a path unobstructed by rugs or cords, or even repositioning the bed itself. Ensure your bedding is suitable for a baby – avoid fluffy comforters, pillows, and plush toys, as they can pose a suffocation risk. Opt for a firm mattress, fitted sheets, and light blankets instead.

Choosing The Right Co-Sleeping Products


Once your bedroom is ready, it’s time to consider co-sleeping products. From co-sleepers that attach to your bed to stand-alone bassinets and cribs designed for room-sharing, there’s a range of products available to suit different co-sleeping preferences. When choosing a product, consider factors like the safety standards it meets, its size, and how easy it is to clean.

It’s advisable to avoid products that haven’t been designed explicitly for co-sleeping, such as couches or recliners, as they can increase the risk of SIDS. Always check for safety certifications to ensure the product meets the necessary safety standards. Remember, cost doesn’t always equate to quality or safety, so do your homework before making a purchase. Consumer reviews can also offer helpful insights into a product’s practicality and reliability.

Setting Up A Co-Sleeping Routine


Having a routine can greatly aid in the success of co-sleeping. It’s important to establish consistency, as it helps the child understand what to expect, which in turn, can facilitate better sleep. A routine might involve activities like a warm bath, a bedtime story, or lullabies before sleep. Keeping the lighting dim and the environment calm during these activities can also help signal to your child that it’s time to sleep.

As your child grows, their sleep needs will change, and so should your routine. This might mean adjusting bedtime or wake-up time, incorporating new activities, or phasing out certain parts of the routine. It’s also crucial to remain flexible, as there will be times when the routine is disrupted due to illness, travel, or other life events. Adapting and adjusting your routine as needed can ensure that co-sleeping continues to work for your family.

Integrating Co-Sleeping With Night Feeding


Co-sleeping and night feeding often go hand-in-hand, especially with younger infants who still need to feed several times throughout the night. Having your baby close by can make these nighttime feeds less disruptive, as you won’t need to get up and go to another room. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re feeding in a safe manner, especially if you’re feeding while in bed.

For breastfeeding mothers, learn how to feed while lying down, making nighttime feeds easier and less tiring. If you’re bottle-feeding, avoid keeping bottles in the bed and never prop a bottle up for your baby. Always sit up to bottle-feed to reduce the risk of choking. Regardless of how you’re feeding, always place your baby back in their own sleep space if you’re feeling tired or drowsy to reduce the risk of suffocation.

Transitioning Out Of Co-Sleeping


Transitioning out of co-sleeping can be a challenging time for both parents and children. While co-sleeping has its benefits, such as promoting bonding and easier breastfeeding, it’s essential to establish healthy sleep habits for your child. The most effective way to transition out of co-sleeping is to do it gradually and consistently. Start by moving your child’s bed closer to yours and gradually move it further away until they are sleeping independently in their own room.

Be sure to establish a consistent bedtime routine and stick to it. Remember to be patient and allow your child to adjust to these changes at their own pace. Making the transition out of co-sleeping can be a big step for everyone involved, but with patience and consistency, it can be a smooth and successful process.

Take Steps To Create A Co-Sleeping Friendly Environment!

No matter who you are, if you plan on co-sleeping with your baby, there are ways to make your sleeping space both safe and comfortable. Not only is it important to ensure that your bed is suitable for an infant, but paying attention to other potential risks, such as cords or choking hazards in the bedding, should be taken into consideration. As long as you are conscientious and take the necessary precautions, co-sleeping can be extremely beneficial for both parent and child. It’s a wonderful way to build strong bonds, create equal opportunities for restful sleep, and bring your family closer together.