When your baby’s born, it will need to sleep somewhere. But where will that be? In your bed, a co-sleeper, a bassinet, a crib, something else entirely? In your room or another room?
Of course, it’s not easy to really decide this until your baby arrives, because all babies do have their own sleep preferences. But parents can (should) make a plan for where their baby will sleep upon arrival. What do you lean towards?
With my first, I had no desire to co-sleep…and neither did she. I tried to take her in my bed a few times when she was fussy, but she squirmed and seemed really uncomfortable and upset. Once I put her back in her bassinet (which happened to be across the room, next to my husband, so he could help with her), she’d sleep just fine. By the time she was 3 months-old, she was in a crib in her own room. By 5 months she fell asleep on her own and woke maybe once per night.
Dream sleeper, right? I didn’t know what I had! (And no, I didn’t ‘sleep train’ her, she just did this on her own.)
With my second, I didn’t intend to co-sleep. But by three months he was waking 8 – 10 times every night. 2 hours at a stretch was almost unheard of (usually 45 min. to an hour was the longest he’d sleep). If I hadn’t co-slept with him, either in my bed or with the crib sidecarred to my bed (which it was until he was about 15 months old), I’d have been an insane, walking zombie mother. I was some days anyway. No amount of working to teach him to fall asleep on his own or get him into a routine or fall back asleep on his own did any good, so co-sleeping was our only way of managing.
He’s almost 2 and sleeps just fine in his own room and his big boy bed now. We never let him cry it out, either.
This time, the “plan” (knowing full well we’ll need to be flexible) is to have the baby in a bassinet and/or crib in our room, side-carred if necessary, until 3 to 6 months. At that point we’ll assess if the baby needs to move, and to where. I personally can’t let babies cry it out (even when I am exhausted and ready to scream…I remember holding my son over my head somewhere around 4 am a few times and saying, “Would you just shut up and go to sleep?!”), and I can’t put newborns in their own rooms. I’m way too nervous. Anyway, studies show that babies who sleep near their parents (like in a bassinet next to the parents’ bed) tend to have a lower risk of SIDS than babies who are alone in their own rooms right from the start.
But, parents have their reasons for putting babies in different places. Some plan to co-sleep, possibly for years — that is, holding the baby in bed (which is not safe if you are overtired, on alcohol or drugs, very overweight, or not the biological mother — there is something about new mother hormones which keep you in a light sleep so you are very aware of your baby that apparently doesn’t happen if the baby isn’t yours). Others plan to put the baby in a full-size crib in his/her own room right from day 1. And of course everything in between.
So when you bring your baby home…where will s/he sleep? Why?
Co-Sleeping or Sleep Training: What if parents disagree?