5 Tips for Co-Sleeping Families


Co-sleeping brothers

There’s plenty of information readily available on how to safely co-sleep, however there is far less information on the practicalities of co-sleeping. Yes, I know it sounds fairly easy and straightforward, however I’ve learned a few tricks over the past five years of co-sleeping. Here’s five simple tips for c0-sleeping families that utilize a family bed:

1. Have a large sleep surface– I know king sized mattresses are a lot more expensive (as is the bedding for a king sized mattress) however if you are a co-sleeping family it is likely to be a wise investment. More bed room means more comfortable sleep for everyone and less likely to result in dad getting booted out of the bed in the middle of the night. One of the benefits of co-sleeping is the deep emotional connection that is formed through close physical proximity. It’s equally important/beneficial for dad to be a part of that experience. We decided during my pregnancy with my first son that we would be a co-sleeping family so rather than spending money to create a nursery we decided to upgrade from a queen mattress to a king mattress. If a new mattress is on the horizon for you in the near future, perhaps consider going with the king sized bed to best accommodate/support your family bed. One thing that helped me swallow the cost was understand that a bed is: 1)something you use every night 2) a very infrequently purchased item and 3) that a good night’s sleep is important to overall health and wellness. Another option to purchasing a king mattress would be to have two queens pushed together.

2. Put your mattress(es) on the floor – Once baby is able to roll, I find it’s easiest to have the mattress on the floor. That way we don’t have to worry about baby falling off the bed during the night or at nap time (typically a common concern among bed-sharing families). Also from a very young age we ‘teach’ baby how to scoot backwards off the bed. This not only helps ensure baby’s safety it also foster some independence.

3. Make a ‘birth bed’ – In preparation for my home births, my midwife suggested I make my bed so that it would be easy to strip off dirty/soiled sheets to uncover a clean set of sheets underneath. I soon realized this was a great way to make the bed all the times because co-sleeping can occasionally result in extra fluids; babies spit up, diapers leak/ have blowouts, breasts leak milk, etc. It’s nice in the middle of the night to not have to find a clean set of sheets and make the bed when messes happen. I call it the ‘birth bed’ since it started with the home birth of my son. I have a water proof mattress cover on the bottom layer, then a clean fitted sheet, then a regular mattress cover, and then another fitted sheet. If a mess occurs I can easily remove the top two layers and then go right back to sleep.

4. Use a sleep sack – If you are concerned about use of blankets and such with baby, consider using a sleep sack to keep baby warm. Keep in mind that with co-sleeping extra body heat will help keep baby cozy warm too so a lot of extra layers are typically not necessary.

5. Ignore Negativity – There might be people in your life who do not support your choice to co-sleep or even make inappropriate comments to you about it. While that can create hurt feelings, confusion, and/or conflict try to shield yourself from the negativity of others. If you have chosen co-sleeping because you feel it is beneficial to your family and best meets everyone’s night time needs, frequently remind yourself of that. There is no need to convince anyone else of your co-sleeping beliefs…as long as it is working well for your family that is what counts.

What c0-sleeping tips do you have to share? Would love to hear from YOU! 🙂

Sweet dreams all! – Sarah

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3 Responses to “5 Tips for Co-Sleeping Families”

  1. Kelly says:

    We never planned on being a co-sleeping family. In fact, I had always heard not to let me kids into my bed because we would never get them out. But while nursing my first daughter I discovered it was so easy to have her in bed. And then it got to be winter (she is a March baby) and I felt so guilty about having her in a crib all alone while I could snuggle under my covers so she slept in bed with us every night. When she was about a year I discovered she would sleep through the night in her crib, so we moved her. My new one, born in october, has slept in our bed at least some of the night from the beginning. The other portion she sleeps in bassinet right next to my bed. She is almost too big for the bassinet now so she will be full time in our bed soon. I was just telling my husband last night how I wish we had a king size bed so both kids could sleep with us. My older daughter usually falls asleep in our bed after we read stories and we move her when we go to bed. The baby stays with me until I go to bed. I just love knowing my babies are safe and close and warm and man do we need a king size bed! Unfortunately our room is too small 🙁

  2. Megan says:

    I will admit I was one of those people who said they would never co-sleep and that it was unsafe. But after RJ went through some sort of developmental change and seemed to need to be snuggled more I just put him in the bed with me. It was great when we were at my parents over the holidays with their huge bed but posed some problems when we came back to our home in our much smaller bed. My husband didn’t feel safe and none of us were getting sleep and RJ was very cranky. Last night we finally moved him into his bed (that is attached to ours). We all slept better and he woke up with the huge grin on his face again this morning, which hadn’t happened in a few weeks. It is very funny because I have many friends who tell me how bad co-sleeping is. And what I find to be most interesting is it is usually my friends who don’t have kids. Having a baby has totally changed my perspective on SO many things. And mostly it has taught me not to be as judgmental of others and their choices on how they live their lives. My new motto is “whatever works for you!”

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with RJ. I often joke that I was a wonderful mom until I had kids. 🙂 I definitely agree that mothering has taught me to be more open, understanding, and compassionate towards others.