Co-Sleeping: Should Your Child Sleep In Your Bed?
Co-sleeping is the practice where the child sleeps in bed with his parents. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most hotly debated and controversial topics related to pediatric sleep. Let’s see why.
Some people argue that co-sleeping is the right and natural way to raise a child because the practice fosters a stronger bond and a more secure attachment.
Conversely, others will tell you that co-sleeping is risky, ridiculous, or even dangerous and they don’t want it for their family.
So, which approach holds the truth?
First, it’s important to understand that co-sleeping is not magic. Although some proponents of the family bed would disagree, numerous couples have reported that their babies did not necessarily sleep deeper or longer because their parents were close by. In fact, some parents found that their child slept longer and woke less frequently when they stopped co-sleeping and moved him into his own crib.
However, whether families choose to co-sleep or have their children sleep independently is a personal decision, and if both parents and child are safe, rested, and fulfilled, then co-sleeping is nothing to worry about.
If you decide do co-sleep, this commitment requires some very careful thinking about what you and your spouse feel is right for you as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.
Ask yourselves the following questions:
• Is it nice to think about enjoying the coziness of sleeping in close proximity, or does one or more of us tend to stay active during sleeping – potentially disrupting the others?
• Does everyone in our family want to co-sleep, or are we leaning toward it because one of us feels strongly?
• Are we willing to commit to being quiet after our child falls asleep, or do we like to watch TV or talk in bed?
• Will we enjoy being able to feed our baby more often throughout the night, or will having him next to us make it tougher to wean nighttime feeds?
• Are we agreeable to getting into bed when our child does, to ensure his safety?
• For working parents, does sleeping next to our child allow us to feel more connected to him?
As expected, co-sleeping has both advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
• Constant closeness whenever the child is awake. Many children and parents enjoy this feeling.
• Immediate action and support for any sleep-related problem
• The ability to nurse and respond to other nighttime wakings without getting up
• More time to spend with the child
• Possibly better sleep for both the child and the parents, if the child was sleeping poorly to begin with.
• Parents may sleep poorly if their children are restless sleepers
• Parents may end up sleeping in separate rooms, and they may become angry at their child or with each other
• Children’s and adults’ sleep cycles do not coincide
• Parents may have to go to bed at a very early hour with their children and be left with little time for their own evening activities
• Parents have little privacy
• There may be a slight increase in the risk to the infant from SIDS and related causes.
The decision to co-sleep should be yours, made by the parent – or parents – and based on your own personal philosophies, not on pressure from your child or anyone else. Another family’s good or bad experience with co-sleeping should not influence your decision: your child is unique and your family is not the same.
My Child Is An Early Bird – Can I Do Something About It?
Early morning wakings are one of the toughest sleep problems to fix, if not the toughest. If you’re wondering why, it’s because after a decent night’s rest your child has got more energy to fight sleep in the morning. And the truth is, all of us come up into lighter sleep phases in the last hour of our sleep, preparing to take up for the day.
Remember, however, your child is waking early only if he is not getting the right amount of night rest for his age and his body. In other words, if your child sleeps from 7 PM to 6 AM, it’s a perfectly reasonable schedule for him, even though it might feel early to you.
We can’t ask our children to sleep more than 11 hours at night. Their bodies are usually rested after this much sleep, and they won’t be able to do more.
Also keep in mind the following fact: if your child is waking even at 10/½ hours, if he is rested and energetic in the morning and makes it easily till his naptime, then he’s getting enough rest for his body.
Problems arise if your child sleeps from, say, 7 PM to 5:30 AM. In this case, you’ll need to push the bedtime later by 15-minute increments, then watching to see if your child can sleep later in the morning,
A word of caution, though: Making the bedtime later can often have the opposite effect of causing your child to wake up earlier. This is the reason why things need to be done in small steps.
Here are some other ideas to try if your child is an early bird:
• Make sure that your child’s room is very, very dark.
• If there are any sounds that could be waking him – such as garbage trucks, barking dogs, sprinklers – put white noise in the room and make the volume loud enough to protect him from these sounds
• Remove all stimulating toys from your child’s crib or bed, which can be distracting once the sun enters his room.
• If you are checking in on your child within the last hour before his wake time, your interaction may prevent him from returning to sleep. Don’t check on him if it’s less than one hour till his wake time.
• Make sure the bedtime is not too late for your child’s age. Adjust the bedtime earlier by 15-minute increments, and watch what happens in the morning. In doing so, you will allow your child to sleep later, as he is less overtired at bedtime. If he does wake earlier, return to your previous bedtime. If moving the bedtime earlier has no effect on the wake time, you may want to consider using the earlier bedtime anyway to help your child get the right amount of night sleep for his age.
• Make sure your child is not hungry. If you have a child under 12 months and have newly begun to wean feedings, you may want to slow the process down to give him more time to adjust. Moreover, be careful to ensure that you are offering the breast or bottle more often during the day to help him transition his previous nighttime feeds to the daytime, so he won’t be hungry going down for sleep at night.
6 Science-Backed Baby Sleep Strategies
Everything about baby sleep can seem frighteningly high-stakes at 3 A.M. in the morning.
Make one tiny mistake in his or her training and your child’s development will be seriously affected: he’ll either end up waking in the night well into his high school years, or worse, develop anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
And with every sleep expert offering slightly different advice on the ideal timing and method for sleep training you may be unsure about who to believe, how to proceed, or which sleep training method you should follow.
That’s where this article fits in – I’m going to help you separate sleep fact from sleep fiction by zeroing in on 6 science-backed strategies that have been proven to promote healthy sleep habits in babies and young children.
Strategy #1 – Learn to Spot Your Child’s Sleep Cues
Like the rest of us, your child has a sleep window of opportunity, a period of time when he is tired, but not too tired.
If that window closes before you have a chance to tuck your child into bed, his body will start releasing chemicals to fight the fatigue and it will be much more difficult for you to get him to go to sleep. So how can you tell if your baby is getting sleepy? It’s not as if your one-month-old can tell you what he needs. Here are some sleep cues that your baby is ready to start winding down for a nap or for bedtime:
-Your baby is calmer and less active – this is the most obvious cue that your baby is tired and you need to act accordingly.
-Your baby may be less tuned-in to his surroundings – his eyes may be less focused and his eyelids may be drooping.
-Your baby may be quieter – if your baby tends to babble up a storm during his more social times of the day, you may notice that the chatter dwindles off as he starts to get sleepy.
-Your baby may nurse more slowly – instead of sucking away vigorously, your baby will tend to nurse more slowly as he gets sleepy. In fact, if he’s sleepy enough, he may even fall asleep mid-meal.
-Your baby may start yawning – if your baby does this, well, that’s a not-so-subtle sign that he’s one sleepy baby.
When your baby is very young, you should start his wind-down routine within one to two hours of the time when he first woke up.
If you miss his initial sleep cues and start to notice signs of overtiredness – for instance, fussiness, irritability, and eye-rubbing, simply note how long your baby was up this time around and then plan to initiate the wind-down routine about 20 minutes earlier the next time he wakes up. (The great thing about parenting a newborn is that you get lots of opportunities to practice picking up on those sleep cues—like about six or seven times a day!)
Learning to read your baby’s own unique sleep cues is the first step to a more rested and more content baby.
Here’s something else you need to know about babies’ sleep cues, something that can toss you a major curve ball if you’re caught off guard:
Babies tend to go through an extra-fussy period when they reach the six-week mark. The amount of crying that babies do in a day tends to increase noticeably when babies are around six weeks of age.
You aren’t doing anything wrong and there isn’t anything wrong with your baby. It’s just a temporary stage that babies go through.
If your child becomes overtired, your child is likely to behave in one or more of the following ways (results may vary, depending on his age and personality):
-Your child will get a sudden burst of energy at the very time when you think she should be running on empty.
-You’ll start seeing “wired” and hyperactive behavior, even if such behavior is totally out of character for your child at other times of the day.
-Your toddler or preschooler will become uncooperative or argumentative.
-Your child will be whiny or clingy or she’ll just generally fall apart because she simply can’t cope with the lack of sleep any longer.
You will probably find that your child has his or her own unique response to being overtired. Some children start to look pale. Some young babies start rooting around for a breast and will latch on to anything within rooting distance, including your face or your arm! When nothing seems to be wrong (he’s fed and clean), but he’s just whining about everything and wants to be held all day, he’s overtired and needs help to get to sleep.
Learning to read your baby’s own unique sleep cues is the first step to a more rested and happier baby.
Strategy #2 – Teach Your Baby to Distinguish between Night and Day
Because our circadian rhythm (our internal time clock) operates on a 24-hour and 10-minute to 24 hour and 20-minute cycle (everyone’s body clock ticks along at a slightly different rhythm) and all of our rhythms are slightly out of sync with the 24-hour clock on which the planet operates, we have to reset our internal clocks each and every day – otherwise, we’d slowly but surely stay up later and sleep in later each day until we had our cycles way out of whack.
Daylight is one of the mechanisms that regulate our biological cycles.
Being exposed to darkness at night and daylight first thing in the morning regulates the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that keeps our bodies’ internal clock in sync to that we feel sleepy and alert at the appropriate times.
By exposing your baby to daylight shortly after he wakes up in the morning and keeping his environment brightly lit during his waking hours, you will help his circadian rhythm to cue him to feel sleepy at the right times.
Moreover, he’ll start to associate darkness with sleep time and bright light with wake-up time – you’ll find that it works best to take advantage of sunlight (as opposed to artificial light) whenever possible.
Studies have shown that exposing your baby to daylight between noon and 4:00 P.M. will increase the odds of your baby getting a good night’s sleep.
Strategy #3 – Let Your Baby Practise Falling Asleep on His Own
Some sleep experts recommend that you put your baby to bed in a sleepy-but-awake state whenever possible from the newborn stage onwards so that he can practice some self-soothing behaviors.
Others say that you should give your baby at least one opportunity to try to fall asleep on his own each day.
Lastly, some others say that there’s no point even bothering to work on these skills until your baby reaches that three-to-four month mark (when your baby’s sleep-wake rhythm begins to mature so that some sleep learning can begin to take place).
Sleep experts claim that the sleep-association clock starts ticking at around six weeks. They claim that this is the point at which your baby begins to really tune into his environment as he’s falling asleep.
So if he gets used to falling asleep in your arms while your rock him and sing to him, he will want you to rock him and sing to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night – that’s the only way he knows on how to fall asleep.
This is because he has developed a sleep association that involves you – you have become a walking, talking sleep aid.
Some parents decide that it makes sense to take a middle-of-the-road approach to sleep associations during the early weeks and months of their baby’s life – they decide to make getting sleep the priority for themselves and their babies and to take advantage of any opportunities to start helping their babies to develop healthy sleep habits.
Regardless of when you start paying attention to the types of sleep associations your baby may be developing, at some point you will want to consider whether your baby could be starting to associate any of the following habits or behaviors with the process of falling asleep:
-Falling asleep during bottle-feeding
-Being rocked to sleep
-Having you rub or pat his back, sing a lullaby, or otherwise play an active role in helping your baby to fall asleep
-Having you in the room until your baby falls asleep
-Relying on a pacifier
Here’s something important to keep in mind, particularly since we tend to fall into an all-or-nothing trap when we’re dealing with the subject of sleep.
You can reduce the strength of any particular sleep association by making sure it is only present some of the time when your baby is falling asleep.
If, for example, you nurse your baby to sleep some of the time, rock your baby to sleep some of the time, and try to put your baby to bed just some of the time when he’s sleep but awake, he’ll have a hard time getting hooked on any sleep association.
Sleep experts stress that the feeding-sleep association tends to be particularly powerful, so if you can encourage your baby to fall asleep without always needing to be fed to sleep, your baby will have an easier time learning how to soothe himself to sleep when he gets a little older.
Most babies are ready to start practicing these skills around the three- to the four-month mark.
Strategy #4 – Make Daytime Sleep a Priority: Children Who Nap Sleep Better
Scientific research has shown that babies who nap during the day sleep better and longer at nighttime. While you might think that skipping babies’ daytime naps might make it easier to get them off to bed at evening, babies typically end up being so overtired that they have a very difficult time settling down at bedtime and they don’t sleep particularly well at night.
And rather than sleeping in so that they can catch up on the sleep they didn’t get the day before, they tend to start the next day too early and they have a difficult time settling down for their naps, as well.
Simply put, it is important to make your child’s daytime sleep a priority, just as you make a point of ensuring that he receives nutritious meals and snacks on a regular basis – your child needs nutritious sleep snacks during the day in addition to his main nighttime sleep meal in order to be at his very best.
In addition, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who nap are generally in a better mood and have an improved attention span as compared to their age-mates who don’t nap.
Strategy #5 – Know When Your Baby No Longer Needs to Be Fed At Night
Your baby may continue to wake up in the night out of habit even when he’s outgrown the need for a middle-of-the-night feeding.
If your baby is going without that nighttime feeding some of the time or doesn’t seem particularly interested in nursing once he gets up in the night, it might be time to eliminate that nighttime feeding and use non-food methods to soothe him back to sleep.
Eventually, of course, you’ll want to encourage him to assume responsibility for soothing himself to sleep, but the first hurdle is to work on breaking that powerful food-sleep association.
With some children, it happens quickly. With other children, it’s a much slower process.
Once you break that association, he may stop waking as often in the night and may be ready to start working on acquiring some self-soothing skills.
Strategy #6 – Remain as Calm and Relaxed as Possible about the Sleep Issue
If you are frustrated and angry when you deal with your child in the night, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if you’re trying hard to hide your feelings.
Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn the sleep ropes and feeling confident that you can solve your child’s sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.
Scientific studies have shown that parents who have realistic expectations about parenthood and who feel confident in their own abilities to handle parenting difficulties find it easier to handle sleep challenges.
Are You Tired? Do You Feel Exhausted?
You’re a parent, and like any other parent you do everything you can to make sure your child gets nothing but the best. Day and night.
But day and night, sleep is a problem. A big problem. In his room, your baby is restless and crying. He can’t sleep. In your head, your brain is exhausted. You can’t sleep.
What’s worse, your child’s sleeping issue is not only a problem in itself, but it is also one that cascades on yourself. Emotionally and physically.
There’s no denying that sleep is essential. Your child’s health and development depends on it.
Undoubtedly, sleep training counts among the most common – and challenging – things that parents face. You know that. But your baby doesn’t. And the only way to go through – and come out successful – from this process is to properly sleep train your child.
If you wonder where you should begin, what program you should follow, or which training method is the most effective, then ask no more. The answer is here and it’s called Baby Sleep Miracle.
Presented in the form of a very helpful guide, the product outlines an array of proven tactics and techniques designed to help your child sleep well.
By ordering it today, your days – and nights – will turn from stressful to restful. Guaranteed!
So What Exactly Is The Baby Sleep Miracle?
Baby Sleep Miracle is a complete guide designed to show parents an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow method to help get their babies sleep, in a fast and efficient way. Created by Mary-Ann Schuler, mother of two, the product provides general guidelines and specific strategies aimed at establishing healthy sleeping habits for any child, no matter how stubborn or active he is.
According to Mary-Ann Schuler, Baby Sleep Miracle is perfect for parents who are:
- Loving, caring, but cool-headed
- Action-oriented and able to follow through
- Able to invest a short amount of time implementing this method
- Sick and tired of constantly waking up at 2:00, 3:00, or 4:00 AM to put their baby to sleep
Within the guide, the author explains and presents, all in a simple and clear manner, the highly efficient methods and techniques that will help you and your baby avoid frustration throughout the day and lack of sleep during the night.
Basically, inside the Baby Sleep Miracle guide Mary-Ann Schuler thoroughly covers the following topics:
- Why is sleep so important to a baby and what are its benefits
- What are the child’s developmental stages and how they relate to sleep
- What are the dangers of sleep deprivation
- How to prepare yourself and your child for sleep training
- General sleep guidelines for your newborn baby
- Specific sleep rules for your child from birth up to five years of age
- The value of napping
- The importance of routine
- The role of consistent feeding
- Why a sleep friendly environment is essential for your baby
Who Will Benefit From It?
The product is created to help anyone with a child who exhibits sleeping problems and is under five years of age. The reason for which it is designed in such a manner is simple: To solve a problem, you need understand its cause – that’s why a problem clearly stated is a problem half-solved.
By framing the issue first, then continuing by offering an understanding of its causes, it is only natural that the custom-tailored solutions that it provides help fix any sleep problem that your child might have.
Demographically all-encompassing, Baby Sleep Miracle can benefit anyone who is having trouble sleep training their child. The truth is, many people experience frustration during this phase. For this specific reason, it’s a helpful reminder that you are not alone.
Can you imagine having the stress of not being able to rest completely over? Just think about it.
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What’s The Best Thing About This Guide?
Long, restful sleep for you and your baby. What’s not to like?
Developing normal, healthy sleep habits will contribute massively to your child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development, planting the seeds of achievement for any future challenge.
Furthermore, investing in a program that provides a long-awaited solution to your baby’s sleep problems while also focusing on nurturing and strengthening your loving bond makes its price a real steal.
Providing a huge amount of information in an interesting mix of guidance, support, and efficient methods, Mary-Ann Schuler’s eBook is characterized by ease of use and it contains a ton of helpful tips that make the process a lot easier both for you and your little one. And with its 60 day money back guarantee, you are not exposed to any risk at all. If you are not satisfied, simply ask for your money back. It’s that easy.
You don’t need to spend another single day – or night – feeling exhausted or powerless about your child’s sleep training development because every topic is covered. The answer is at the touch of a button.
However, while this guide contains all the valuable strategies and concepts you need to know to successfully put your child to sleep, it won’t be effective unless you’re willing to set aside some time to read it and really take action to walk your kid through the entire process.
You want that, right? Of course you do. You want your baby to sleep through the night, as much as you want him to nap during the day.
So why wait? Order Mary-Ann Schuler’s Baby Sleep Miracle program today to help your baby get the sleep he needs.