You’ve probably heard of cosleeping or bedsharing. As the name suggests, it’s about sharing a sleeping space with your child(ren). Bedsharing is sharing a bed, while co-sleeping means sharing a room, though both are often used interchangeably (as in this post). You’ve also heard about the pros and cons as well. Still, you may wonder, what’s the actual reality of bedsharing?
I’ll sprinkle in some real-life honesty as we go through some of the benefits and challenges of sharing a bed with my partner and my 15-month-old.
Challenge - Safety
I’m not debating there is some danger (SIDS) when you sleep with a much tinier human if you’ve been used to sleeping solo or with a partner. You’re used to rolling around, thoughtlessly throwing a limb or two here and there, and snuggling tight to the nearest body heat source.
Simultaneously, your brain chemistry has changed since having a child. Before becoming a mom, I didn’t move around the bed often and I was a light sleeper. My mommy instincts only made these sleep qualities standout more.
My husband? It took him a few weeks to get used to it. His awareness did increase, but it wasn’t instinctual right away. If you or your partner sleeps more like my husband, I recommend putting your baby in a co-sleeper with bumpers. I also kept our baby primarily on my side of the bed until my hubby adjusted.
Benefit - Bonding
I knew from the get-go I wanted to bedshare. The benefit of being close to my baby outweighed everything else. I was going to figure out how to make it work. And I did.
Skin to skin contact has many positive benefits for children. The bond created from all those early close snuggles provides familiarity in a unfamiliar new world, comfort, security, and safety. I also felt a lot of convenience and peace of mind having my son in arm’s reach. All the feelings mentioned are priceless parental commodities.
Benefit - Night Feeding (Breastfeeding)
We are all well aware sleep will be impacted when you have a child. Waking up in the middle of the night, shuffling to your child's room to feed them, putting them back to sleep, and then returning to bed can be a struggle. It's not exactly always seamless.
Having my little one right next to me provides more of an accessible feeding. I hear the cue of hunger sooner which means I have better response time and we can all get to go back to sleep quicker. The times when he wakes up accidentally, a quick nursing helps put him right back to sleep.
Challenge - Sleep Quality
On the other hand, the older my son got, the more my sleep quality reduced. As mentioned, I was already a light sleeper. Contending with two movers decreased my sleep quality.
I’ll be honest here: my son hasn’t fully figured out how to put himself back to sleep. He has yet to master sleeping entirely through the night, too. It is most likely because I am always there with the nipple assist. I also have to keep in mind that before having a child, I never slept entirely through the night much either. Something always woke me up, be it bladder or nighttime noises. The difference is it was easier to fall back asleep then for the most part.
My husband on the other hand? He thought our son had been sleeping through the night for months now.
Benefit - Appreciation
All in all, I feel we both appreciate the process of having our child so close to us at night. Beyond the sleep quality, safety concerns, bonding, and breastfeeding, is the amount of love and joy we share sleeping together. We’re more gentle, aware, and waking up together honestly makes our mornings better. We miss our little guy 5 minutes into his sleep and we’re always excited to see his face wake up everyday.
Cosleeping and bedsharing may not work for all families, but it does wonders for us. We do after all spend most of our adult lives searching for someone to share a bed with. We then bedshare with our partners for the duration of the relationship because we know in our hearts there’s something feel-really-good about it!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.