Co-sleeping, also referred to as sleep sharing or "the family bed", has been practiced for many years. However, the family bed is a controversial issue. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states you shouldn't sleep in the same bed as your baby because of certain risks, namely, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, or other sleep-related deaths. But, the AAP did adjust their guidelines in 2016, admitting that co-sleeping does occur, and there are safe ways of going about it.
Bed sharing with baby appears to be particularly prevalent when traveling. A 2018 survey by the top baby gear rental service marketplace, BabyQuip, shows 69 percent of parents admit to sleeping or have slept with their baby in bed while they were traveling, and 39 percent reported doing this often.
Many families prefer co-sleeping in a family bed.
Basically, a family bed is a bed, usually of a large size, where you share sleeping space with your family members. Family beds, more specifically, can refer to different super-sized mattresses the mattress industry is just recently starting to come out with. Over-sized family beds are designed for accommodating entire families. And, some "family-sized" mattresses could even measure as wide as 144 inches, nearly doubling the width of a king-size bed.
Should you allow your baby to sleep in the same bed as you?
Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
The practical advantages of co-sleeping are obvious:
Co-sleeping in a family bed could eventually become problematic for various reasons:
If you do decide to sleep with your baby, you can rest assured it isn't some new thing. Actually, a relatively new concept is sleeping apart from a baby. In industrialized countries, most babies, until around 100 years ago, slept with their parents, and the practice never stopped in many traditional cultures.
But, if you do choose to co-sleep with your child, make sure your desired "togetherness" is to address the needs of your child, and not just your own. For instance, if your spouse is away from home often, or if you're a single parent, you shouldn't allow your child to share a bed with you just to cure your own loneliness.
There are some sleep guidelines you can follow for safe co-sleeping. These include:
Many parents and some pediatricians believe co-sleeping helps to form a close bond that helps children to grow up feeling more secure and confident.
Deciding on whether or not you want to co-sleep with your baby in a family bed is a personal choice. There's no right or wrong here, as long as it is done safely. If you do choose to co-sleep with your child, formulate a bedtime arrangement that will work for you, and follow the safe sleep guidelines above.