What Is Co Sleeping and How Do I Know if It’s Right for My Baby?

What is Co-Sleeping?

Co-sleeping is often used as a catch-all term to describe the experience of sleeping with your baby close by.

Co-sleeping may look a little different for every family. Parents may lay their child in a safe bedside sleeper that attaches to the side of their own bed, or they might share a bedroom with their child but encourage baby to sleep in a separate crib. They might even sleep with their baby nestled up against them all through the night. 

cosleeper baby bed babybay

Though there are many ways to cosleep, some are far safer than others. (Bedside sleepers, we’re looking at you and giving you a gold star!) 

But all forms of co-sleeping have one thing in common: they’ve been the safe sleeping practice preferred by families throughout history. 

Though parents in many modern Western countries have popularized separate bedrooms and detached cribs, for thousands of years going to sleep curled up near your newborn has been the norm. 

In fact, parents from many different cultures have long understood that cosleeping promotes healthy emotional and physical development while bonding you and your baby, easing the stress of nighttime nursing, and gifting everyone in the house a more restful night of rest. 

(A full night of rest—now that’s something at the top of every new parent’s wish list!)

But as soon as mattresses and cribs became the new in-trend home fashion statement of the 19th century, parents in the Western world increasingly kicked children out of their own beds and moved them into mattresses and rooms of their own. 

In America, Canada, and Europe, some parents continue to boot children out of their own bedroom and encourage them to sleep through the night alone. 

However, anthropologist John Whiting surveyed 186 cultures and found that solitary sleeping might be a Western trend, but it’s far from a universal norm. He discovered that almost 70% of children living and growing around the world sleep in the company of others. 

That proves that co-sleeping isn’t just a trend—it’s the most popular and longest-loved sleeping practice in history.

What are common cosleeping benefits?

To grow healthily in body and mind, your baby needs to be able to receive—and respond to—a ton of sensory feedback. When babies are shut alone in their room at night, they lose the opportunity to grow their sensory awareness during their sleeping hours. 

But when babies are able to sleep close to others, they learn to bond and build meaningful connections while learning, growing, and developing an ability to separate and identify different sensory input. 

This helps them breathe more regularly, while experiencing less stress overall by learning what it feels like to be safe, secure, and protected. co sleeping bed babybay 

(And that’s good news—because when babies are less stressed, they put more energy into healthy growth and reap the rewards of a healthier immune system!)

But your baby isn’t the only one who benefits from co-sleeping. Parents are able to care for their own bodies and minds by making nighttime nursing easier and getting a few much-needed extra hours of shut-eye. 

What is the difference between co-sleeping and bedsharing?

Many parents who start to explore co-sleeping will find another term pop up in their suggested searches: bed sharing. 

Bed-sharing is just as it sounds—it’s the practice of inviting your newborn not just into your bedroom, but onto your mattress as well. 

Though bed sharing may boast some of the same benefits as other forms of co-sleeping—including increased bonding between parents and child and a less stressful night’s sleep for all—it can also be far less safe.

The feather-topped, super-soft, oh-so-pillowy mattresses that most of the Western world prefers can’t properly support your baby throughout the night. Your baby needs firmness and stability under their body while they sleep to ensure their body’s healthy growth. 

Though baby will love having you nearby as they rest, they won’t love your sleeping surface. 

Nor will they love all the extra blankets, pillows, and other comfort materials that adults love to cocoon in. 

As comfy as it might be for adults to tuck into a long night surrounded by a cloud of goose down, those comfort items can easily get wrapped around your baby throughout the night and lead to unsafe situations. 

That’s why parents should choose safe sleep for babies when setting up their environment. 

By choosing a bedside sleeper that fits flush against their bed, parents can control the specifics of their baby’s environment. 

(The first step? Pick a bedside co sleeper that’s right for baby and right for your room!) 

Baby can sleep securely nestled within an arm’s reach of their parents, but feel comforted and protected on a mattress that is firm enough to support them and ensure safe sleeping. They can receive, learn, and grow from all the sensory input they receive throughout the night—while their parents sleep soundly knowing that they are safe in a bedside sleeper built just for them.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BABYBAY BEDSIDE SLEEPERS

How to Safely Co Sleep

Co-sleeping is not a new practice. 

For most of recorded history, parents have ensured the safety and healthy development of their babies by sharing sleeping space with them. (While making breastfeeding easier and getting a more peaceful night’s rest themselves—that’s what we like to call a win-win!)

To this day, many cultures around the world sing the praises of co-sleeping and consider it the normaland naturalway of easing baby’s stress while helping them learn to breathe regularly and develop healthily. 

Studies have confirmed that co-sleeping is a safe practice that improves parents’ sleep, cares for baby’s development, and promotes bonding through touch. 

While cosleeping is one of the oldest and most popular methods for sleeping with a newborn, it’s important that you co-sleep safely. 

Before baby and parent tuck in for a more caring and nurturing night of rest, the cosleeping environment needs to be properly prepped. 

To create a safe cosleeping environment, you should…

  • Keep your baby close
  • Create the right room conditions 
  • Ensure safe body position 
  • Choose the right bedside sleeper

Ready to help your baby co sleep safe and sound? 

Let’s break these safe cosleeping conditions down further.

Keep your baby close 

Co-sleeping helps you bond with your baby. (In fact, emotional and physical bonding is one of cosleeping’s biggest benefits!) But you can put the brakes on that bonding—and create an unsafe sleeping environment—if you choose to sleep too far away.

While cosleeping, you should never be more than an arm’s reach away from your baby.

Sleeping next to your baby helps you become in-tune to their emotions. 

And when your breathing is close enough to your baby for her to hear you, your baby will start modeling her breathing patterns to your rhythm, helping keep her asleep for longer. 

Not only will sleeping close help you sense their needs faster and with more ease, you’ll be close enough to respond immediately—without needing to fly to the other room or wake up your partner.

cosleep crib safety babybay

Create the right room conditions for co-sleeping

Dark, light, with the window open, with the window closed, with the thermostat set to a toasty 82 degrees—we all have an opinion on what kind of conditions create the best night’s rest. 

But when co sleeping, the room conditions need to be designed with your baby’s needs in mind. 

That means the room shouldn’t be too toasty, and there should be no extra pillows, stuffed animals, or blankets crowding the mattress. 

These kinds of fluffy materials can quickly grow unsafe if a baby rolls onto them or gets wrapped up during the night. 

As soon as your baby takes up residence in your room, it’s time to start thinking of it as their space as well as yours. 

Find a bedside sleeper that fits with your bedroom style, and you’ll create a cozy environment for both you and your newborn.

That means being open to letting go of your old sleep habits to guarantee that your baby is protected, well-rested, and unconditionally supported throughout the night. 

But don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Soon you’ll be getting more sleep (get ready for your new parent friends to be jealous!) and curbing separation anxiety while making nighttime nursing easier than ever.

cosleeping safety babybay

Keep your baby in a safe body position

All the experts agree—babies should always sleep on their backs. 

The surface underneath them should be firm and clean, and any blankets should be light and kept far away from covering their heads. 

Cosleeping is no different. 

It’s important that your baby has space to lie comfortably—and safely—on a mattress that isn’t too soft or pillowed. Babies can easily sink into too-soft bedding in a way that quickly becomes dangerous.

We know you love your baby, which means you want them to go to sleep every night feeling like they’re on cloud nine. 

But it’s far safer for them to sleep somewhere firm instead of sleeping on a surface pillowy as a cloud. That’s why bedding and mattresses matter when it comes to cosleeping. 

Which brings us to…

safe cosleeping babybay

Choose the right bedside sleeper

While you may prefer a weightless waterbed, babies need baby-safe beds that have been rigorously tested for safety. 

Be sure your chosen bedside sleeper has no toxic wood glues, cheap fillers, plastics, or other harmful chemicals.

Any mattress you use for cosleeping should sit tightly against the bed frame so there are no gaps, space, or crevices that your baby could accidentally slip into.

Here’s the truth: Adult mattresses just aren’t designed to protect your baby. 

They’re designed with adult comfort in mind. 

That’s why it’s best to choose a crib, bedside sleeper, or baby bassinet that is designed to tuck your baby in for a long night of firm and safe cosleeping. 

These bedside sleepers fit snugly against your own bed, letting you care for your baby through the night while drifting off to dreamland with peace of mind. 

The babybay isn’t designed for adults. It’s uniquely designed with your baby in mind. Because of that, choosing a co sleeper crib like the babybay can take a lot of the guesswork out of safe co-sleeping. 

By choosing a product specially designed by experts to provide a safe co-sleeping environment, you can spend less time worrying about whether you’re facilitating the right room conditions for safe co sleeping with baby

Instead, you can spend more time enjoying the feeling of sleeping beside your baby, knowing that they are spending their night comforted and protected by your nearby touch.