Inside: Are you exhausted trying to handle multiple baby night wakings plus all your other mom responsibilities? If you haven’t tried co-sleeping yet, you need to: a little extra sleep goes a long way for busy moms.
Sleep. That wonderful thing that all moms long for, myself included.
When you become a mom for the first time, nothing in life prepares you for the total and utter exhaustion that follows.
You can survive off of a surprisingly small amount of sleep. But you may find yourself doing silly things like putting your phone in the refrigerator and the cheese in the plates cupboard (ask me how I know…).
There is a reason why they use sleep deprivation as torture!
This is a guest post from Dana, a homesteading, homeschooling mama of 3. Her background is in mother and baby community nursing and she has a passion for helping mamas. She is super savvy in all things natural fertility and natural health and loves to share it in a way that people can understand. Dana blogs over at Natural Earthy Mama.
Why Co-Sleeping Works for Busy Moms
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Not all of us are blessed with babies that like bedtime. I have had 3 sleepless wonders. My mother calls it payback for being a terrible sleeper myself.
I called it horrific.
The ONLY way I survived this sleepless time was to co-sleep. Sure I still woke up every 45 minutes all night for 9 months, but I didn’t have to get out of bed for it.
(If your baby had colic like mine, here are some great tips to help soothe a newborn with colic.)
I just rolled over, handed the baby my boob and drifted off for a bit more while they fed. Again.
What Is Co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is the act of sharing a sleep space with your baby (or child).
Having a baby in its own bed, but in your bedroom is considered a form of co-sleeping. Having your baby in your room for the first 6 months has been shown to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (source).
However, usually when someone talks about co-sleeping they are referring to sharing the actual bed with your baby.
How to Co-sleep Safely
There is a right way and a wrong way to co-sleep.
Co-sleeping should never be done if (source):
- Either adult in the bed is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Either adult has taking medication to help them sleep
- Either adult is a smoker – especially if the mother smoked in pregnancy as your baby already has a higher risk of SIDS
- If you or your partner is an extremely heavy sleeper
- If there are older children in the bed
All of these scenarios increase the risk of suffocating the baby without having the ability to naturally wake up.
Baby should always be on their back, and un-swaddled. Ideally they should sleep at either breast height in a warm room with only a light blanket, or at head height with their own blankets, well away from heavy duvets.
Baby must be kept well clear of any pillows or loose bedding.
You can get great little baskets that can go in the bed up by the pillows to keep your baby safe.
Another option is to have the baby immediately next to your bed. You can either use a specially made co-sleeper, or you can remove the side of your cot and bungee it to your bed.
If you choose this method you need to make sure there are NO gaps either between your mattresses or around the edge of babies mattress.
Co-sleeping is never safe on a couch or chair as there is the risk of baby falling or getting wedged in the back of the sofa and suffocating.
I know it all sounds a little over the top, but when you are truly that tired, you won’t believe what you can sleep through when you finally get in to a deep sleep.
Make every single sleep a safe sleep.
How Co-sleeping Helps Busy Moms
Whether you are a tired stay-at-home momma, or one that has had to return to paid employment, co-sleeping can help you get more sleep.
Babies love to sleep with an adult. It is something that is built in to them to help them stay safe and to survive in a big wild world. Previously a baby left alone would freeze or be eaten. One of the most common questions asked of me when I was a baby nurse was why won’t my baby sleep in its own bed?
Babies that sleep beside their moms:
- Sleep for longer stretches
- Settle faster after waking
- Sleep through the night faster
These are all amazing benefits that add up to more sleep for you!
Moms that sleep beside their babies:
- Have lower rates of postnatal depression
- Breastfeed longer
- Report feeling less tired
Co-sleeping is a perfect solution if you have a wakeful baby. It is a simple trick that can help you get more sleep, and to feel less frustrated about the whole deal.
Side Note: In case you’re afraid of co-sleeping becoming a bad, unbreakable habit (like pacifiers), don’t be! This article offers great advice on how to stop co-sleeping when you’re ready to pull the plug and get your bed back again.
Final Thoughts on Co-Sleeping for Busy Moms
You might be reluctant to try co-sleeping because so many loud voices, especially in the medical community, speak out against it. But realize that co-sleeping doesn’t always need to be in your bed, although as this post communicates, this can also be done safely.
You can use the different bassinets mentioned in order to have your baby right beside you, but sleeping in a way that allows you to rest easy at night.
There’s no point in co-sleeping if you can’t sleep because you’re worried about your baby’s safety!
An extremely sleep-deprived mom can be far more dangerous. As long as you follow the guidelines listed, co-sleeping can be done safely, and it can increase your baby’s safety by giving you the rest you so desperately need.
If you are a busy momma who needs some more sleep, give co-sleeping a try.