Is it a myth that babies sleep better when you co-sleep? - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > Is it a myth that babies sleep better when you co-sleep?
TranscendentalMom's Avatar TranscendentalMom 07:41 PM 03-24-2003
Here's my experience....when I first had my son, he was sleeping in a bassinet next to our bed. It didn't take long for me to see that it was stupid to keep picking him up after he had fallen asleep on my breast and move him to the bassinet, which would wake him up........I found it was much easier to have him in the bed with us. He was always a decent sleeper - only woke once or twice to nurse during the night. Then around 3 months - I noticed he was waking more frequently - 3,4 sometimes 5 times a night. I'e been more sleep deprived lately than I was when he was a newborn. So the past couple nights (ds is now 5 months) I tried something different - I put him to sleep on the guest bed....my DH & I went to sleep in our room. He slept 8 hours straight! Then 9 hours straight the next night! Hooray! So my feeling is...co sleeping was great up to a point but now I really feel that he's sleeping better on his own. If he woke up, I would still go get in bed with him, or bring him to me. Anyway, what has your experience been?

Kimberley's Avatar Kimberley 08:44 PM 03-24-2003
Holy moly. You are so lucky. And you have insprired me to give it a shot. I had the exact same thing happen with mine. She slept relatively well next to me usually nursing twice a night up until she was 3 months. Now she is six months and I'm not sleeping and she is nursing many times during the night. I feel that she has come to rely on it to comfort her and I see no end in sight. It wouldn't be a big deal if she was only nursing once or twice but I'm seriously suffering from this multiple times a night business. So you put your son to bed and he just SLEPT ALL NIGHT?! no crying out "where's my boob?" I'd like to hear more. I think that really every child is different and some totally benefit from the family bed and some do very well on their own.
RileysMom's Avatar RileysMom 08:59 PM 03-24-2003
It was similar for us....dd fell asleep with us, then I'd move her into our cosleeper after about the 5 month mark.

We ALL slept better!
Novajet's Avatar Novajet 09:02 PM 03-24-2003
My daughter is the opposite and will wake frequently until we go to bed. But, I think you should do whatever works. It sounds like he enjoys his own space.
Robinmama's Avatar Robinmama 11:32 PM 03-24-2003
With the caveat that a generaliztion in just that and every person is different.....

In our experience my dd (3 YO) sleeps the same whether she is with us or on her own, but if she is in a different room from us, WE sleep more soundly. At 3 months old, I would tend to think that may be the case with your son too.
Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 12:17 AM 03-25-2003
I think if you have a kid who is a difficult sleeper, or if your child is one of those who simply sleeps better on his/her own, then it might appear to you that kids who cosleep really don't sleep better.

This forum is not the place to get a "random sample" and do the experiment. People come here b/c they have problems, not so much just to say "things are great". Those who *have* done random samples, crossover/control studies such as Dr. James McKenna, have shown that babies DO sleep much better when in bed with mama.

There will always be exceptions, and this forum is just the place to find them!

What matters is that we each do what works best for our own babies. For mine, she's a wonderful sleeper and is with us each and every night, throughout the night....8 months old and still going strong.
TranscendentalMom's Avatar TranscendentalMom 12:41 AM 03-25-2003
Kimberley,

My son goes to bed at 8 and then usually wakes up around 12, again around 3 or 4 and often each hour afterwards. This time we didn't hear anything until 4. Unfortunately, he was wide awake & ready to go at 4. But hey, it was 8 straight hrs and then he went back to sleep for a few hours around 6. The next night he did the same thing except he didn't wake until 5. I loved co sleeping in the beginning, but I noticed that he started to wake up whenever I would get up for water or roll over etc. I think he sleeps a lot more soundly when the room is totally quiet. I think its worth it to give it a shot. I was becoming such a zombie and was ready to try anything. I had even considered CIO cause I was so tired. Anyway, hopefully this will continue.....tonight I actually have him in his crib which he never used before except for naps. We'll see......
Kimberley's Avatar Kimberley 07:58 PM 03-25-2003
Insprired by your success in moving your son to the guest room, last night I moved all the crap off the guest bed, moved the space heater in there and was ready to move her in there but after she fell asleep on the breast while on the couch i just could not go through with it. My husband was a bit disappointed but I just feel in my heart that she needs to be with me. (Or maybe it's that I need to be with her!). Anyway, ironically we had a decent night's sleep and she actually slept closer to me than usual. I haven't ruled out moving her out of the bed (it would be interesting to know how she does on her own) but for now I'm going to keep the status quo. Continued luck in your sleeping household!
kimmysue2's Avatar kimmysue2 08:59 PM 03-25-2003
My husband was totally trying to get me to put our son in his own room day one. It was so silly. I mean I would get up every 3 hours feed change diapers and go back to my room. Did it one night and said bite me. And kept my son in our bed since
Its the best to be able to roll over and feed him while I keep sleeping. Some nights he is all over or kicks a lot ( my mom thinks this is my pay back since I did the same to her).

Oh another thing for co-sleeping you are tunned to how they sound. If they are getting sick you can hear it coming.

100% awesome.
~Tookasmama~'s Avatar ~Tookasmama~ 11:03 AM 03-26-2003
positive so far. Both the kids started out in our bed from day one (dd even in the hospital which drew looks from the nurses - oh well). When dd was about 16 months old though, I was noticing that she was waking up WAAAAAAAAAAAAy more than "normal" (for her) so we tried moving her to her own bed (a double bed in what is now her room) and she's been there ever since. That doesn't mean to say she's not welcome in our bed, but 98% of the time she sleeps much better on her own. My mother tells me I was the same way though.

Ds on the other hand is 2 and still in our room/bed. He's had a toddler bed next to ours since he was about 1 (he's a big kid, so when he kicks it does hurt - he's split my lip in the middle of the night before flopping around). We'd nurse to sleep in the big bed, and then either dh or I would move him to his bed when we came in to go to sleep. Now he'll fall asleep in his bed (I still have to lay with him to go to sleep at night) and stay there all night; occassionally climbing up with us. That's not such a big deal now though as we have a king sized bed now.

My only concern is when baby gets here in a couple of weeks. I know that ds flops around so much that even with dh and I right there I'm afraid of baby getting whomped. It'll be fine I'm sure but just one of those pregnant things I worry about

To me, the family bed means what works best for your family. I don't think it's best if someone (usually Dad) get's displaced and isn't happy about it. That being said, dh has slept on the floor/couch more times than I can count but honest to G*d, I have never heard him complain about it. He'd rather his kids be happy and quite honestly the man could sleep on the driveway and be fine . Our dd is a PITA to sleep with; she talks in her sleep, kicks, flops and flips, but she will always be welcome in our bed because it's a safe place for her and I would never take that away from her.

~Ash~
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 02:56 PM 03-26-2003
First of all I totally agree with what Piglet wrote.
You can search on the net for James McKenna's MANY amazing articles, or read the Mothering issue from last fall about the science of infant sleep.

My babies: two babies, two completely different experiences. The first baby was an easygoing ray of beaming sunshine who would sleep happily in a crib, most of the time.

My second baby was a sad little soul who would scream inconsolably until she was breathing funny if I EVER left her at night, even to pee for a moment, even if she was in Daddy's loving arms. There was no QUESTION of whether to cosleep with her personality...and while cosleeping she was very happy and cuddly.

Solitary infant sleep is rare throughout the world and throughout human history, if you want to know what the norm is. And it is normal for infants to wake frequently at night. Not very convenient with the way we Westeners expect life to go, but biologically normal. (Again see McKenna's amazing writings.)
But conversely, every family is different and every child is different. It's quite a paradox!
Mallory's Avatar Mallory 05:39 PM 03-26-2003
I don't think that co-sleeping is supposed to stop babies from waking up. Newborns aren't supposed to sleep 8 hours in a row, and even most adults I know don't sleep all night without getting up for something.

But co-sleep does help most of us get the most sleep. Because your child (and you) hardly wake to breastfeed, less sleep is lost then. And sleeping right next to each other should get your sleep cycles in sync so that the infant's is lenthened and the mom is woken at a time that she really doesn't "miss" sleep. Because she is only in a very light sleep, so that it avoids that being woken from REM sleep to get the baby. In fact many of us report regularly being awake before the actual fussing starts.
alexa07's Avatar alexa07 07:14 PM 03-27-2003
I think eveyone is right that it so depends on your family and child. My first DD never wanted to co-sleep. She WOULD NOT nurse lying down, so there was nothing "easier" about all being in bed together because she wanted to be in a mostly sitting position (she could sit unassited at 4 months so its no wonder she liked this better). Moreover, she cried and cried at night. When we went for our three month checkup with DD our doctor said that if she was going to cry and not be comforted, try putting her down. We did and she stopped crying after four minutes and slept so great after that: 11 hours a night in her own bed! Now that is just the wierdest thing, I can imagine. None of my friends kids were like this! DD is now 8 and she tells me l that she just doesn't like to be touched at night, and so even though we told her she was welcome in our bed, she has never come.
Momtwice's Avatar Momtwice 11:44 PM 03-27-2003
An important thing I forgot to say......

Even the most ardent pro-cosleeping advocates (like McKenna and Dr. Sears et al) would caution against putting an infant in an adult bed alone in a room, if that infant is too young to get up and down off the bed themselves. Bed rails made me feel safer but really it can be a risk for falls. If the bed is a futon or mattress on the floor, in a childproofed room and or home, that is safer in my opinion. In Japan for instance, cosleeping is the norm, and so is a LOW futon on the floor, not a high American style bed.

It is surprising how fast a baby can roll or maneuver and if mom is not in the same room it is not as safe. (And yet it is frustrating because being in bed one can nurse the baby to sleep and sneak away easier...what they really need is a crib an adult can sleep in too....oh well there is no perfect set up is there?)
Bladestar5's Avatar Bladestar5 11:47 PM 03-27-2003
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