Should My Newborn Sleep Next to Me?

By on June 16, 2013
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Should My Newborn Sleep Next to Me?

Having a newborn is a new experience for new parents that no one is prepared for no matter how much they read and hear about it. The sleepless nights can be the worst part of parenting for many couples. Until your baby is a toddler, be prepared to have broken sleeps and interrupted bed times.
We are not going to lie to you and tell you we have a secret recipe for making your baby sleep. But what we can do is guide you to approaches that you can take to make it less tiring now and as she/he grows when it comes to sleeping habits. You can either sleep next to your newborn, or in a separate room which will have different effects on your night routine. We give you the pros and cons of the two approaches.

First option, you have to accept this new small person in your life, day and night. By night we mean that, just as you are attending to your newborn during the day, you will be attending to her/him equally at night. You can choose to share your bed with the baby, not because it will make him/her sleep longer, but because it will make it less of a hassle to get up and walk all the way to the baby’s room. The feeding and comforting will happen both ways, just without the getting up and walking.

One privilege though, is that because your baby is where he/she would rather be, cuddled up next to you, he/she is more likely to go back to sleep faster. And as they get older, toddlers may not feel the need to wake you for a cuddle since they are already next to you. The negative thing is that it will be difficult later on to move him/her to a separate bed. There will be a lot of fights and resistance till he/she is settled in the new bed alone. Another negative aspect is that you will lose your privacy and will miss your baby-free bed time nights. This includes the intimacy with your partner, or just lying there without worrying about a fragile little human next to you.

The second approach is to let him/her sleep alone in their own separate cot. This way you will be free when he/she sleeps, but will mean that you have to make several visits to his/her room per night either to comfort her/him when crying or for feeding. If you choose this option, and at one night you carry him/her for feeding or soothing to your bed, you will have to carry your baby back to her/his bed when done. The benefit of this approach is less fights and struggling when they grow up as toddlers when they have to sleep on a separate bed. In this approach, you’re thinking long term rather than a solution for ‘just right now’. In both ways, you will wake up and attend to the newborn.

There is no right or wrong option, the decision is totally up to you. Would you rather sleep next to your newborn and cut down on the night activity, butd suffer the difficulty of settling down alone later on? Or would you rather do all the hard work now with him/her as an infant, and have an independent sleeper when he/she is a toddler? Think about your preference, make the decision and stick to it. The first year of having a baby is the most difficult physically, what we can say to make you feel better is, it will get better, and both of you and the baby will be sleeping longer with time.

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