Will Co Sleeping Make My Baby Less Independent?
There are many benefits that come from co sleeping with a newborn, including reduced stress for you and baby, better nights of rest, and easier nighttime nursing—just to name a few!
But despite doing the research, looking into the benefits, and being clear on the many “pros” that the sleep practice offers, there’s still one question that comes up time and time again for parents considering the sleep practice: Will co sleeping make my baby less independent?
Here’s the short answer: nope!
In fact, research has found that children who co sleep as infants are more self-reliant and socially independent by preschool age than children raised with other sleep practices as the norm.
So how does co sleeping support independence and lead to the kind of long-term autonomy that benefits your child for a lifetime?
The History of Co Sleeping (and Why It Matters)
It’s important to remember that co sleeping isn’t a new practice.
Cultures who have favored co sleeping for millennia celebrate the sleep practice for its bonding and nursing benefits. Parents who co sleep find that it’s easier to get in tune with their baby, while also having smoother nighttime nursing experiences.
And though parents in Western households (where solo-sleeping is the norm) might wonder whether this kind of nighttime closeness leads to children being over-reliant on their parents, the research shows that the opposite becomes true.
Co Sleeping and Independence: How One Impacts the Other
Co sleeping does help parents and babies sync their heart rates, temperature, breathing, sleep states, and oxygen levels. It also helps parents respond to every nighttime nursing call, quick crisis, and need for comfort that comes their way.
But this doesn’t create unhealthy codependency. It actually helps babies learn that their psychological needs will be met—whenever they need it, and as quickly as can be.
How Does the Closeness of Co-Sleeping Lead to Independence?
Fast reaction times are key to building trust with your child.
By quickly responding to their needs, you’re able to offer comfort and calming as soon as they need it.
This builds a strong foundation of trust between you and your little one, the kind that lets them feel confident that their needs will always be met.
And while solo-sleeping scenarios often force the parent to roll out of bed, walk out of the room (or to the nursery) and reach across crib bars to give their child the comfort they need, co-sleeping parents find it easy to simply reach over and offer care.
Not only does this make things easier on parents—by making it simpler to get back to sleep after you care for your little one—it also helps your baby know that you’ll always be close by and ready to help when they need it.
So Will Co Sleeping Spoil My Child?
No, co sleeping—at least when done safely and at the infancy stage—will not spoil your child. This kind of close sleeping actually falls right in line with what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for young children.
But the key to soaking up all the co sleeping benefits while also giving your child safe and sound nights of sleep comes from the how of co sleeping.
There’s a difference between co sleeping and bed sharing. And while the former will lead to better rest for you and your baby while supporting their adventurous spirit, bed sharing (or the practice of bringing your baby into bed with you during the night) can lead to risks for your little one.
So Then How Do I Co Sleep Safely?
Bedside co sleepers are the safe way to get better, more fulfilling nights of sleep with your baby while still making sure their safety is fully cared for.
With bedside co sleepers like the babybay, your little one gets a bed and space all their own to sleep the night away. They enjoy the firm mattress, bedding-free surface they need, while you enjoy all the cushiony goodness of your own oh-so-soft comforters, pillows, and fluffy mattress.
This lets you get better nights of rest (by keeping your comfort a priority even when you’re co sleeping with a newborn!) while also letting your little one enjoy the peace that comes from being next to you all night long.