After Pregnancy: The Pros and Cons of Co-sleeping for Dads

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Co-sleeping, or sleeping with the baby in your bed, goes in and out of vogue. Right now co-sleeping is popular with many Dads, although it comes with a twist in some cases: The baby may sleep in a little sidecar, or co-sleeper, that attaches to your bed. You get the whole bed to yourself, but the baby is right nearby.

If you’re not comfortable sharing the bed with baby, traditional bassinets, small playpens, and baby beds also work well. If you’re still debating about keeping the baby in your bed or even in your room, consider the following advantages:

  • Co-sleeping is convenient if your partner is breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is much easier if you don’t have to get out of bed to get the baby.

  • You hear the baby as soon as he starts stirring. Although this itself has pros and cons, the benefit is that he doesn’t have a chance to work himself into a crying frenzy before a feeding.

  • It can give you a sense of closeness as a family. To hear your baby’s soft breathing is reassuring and also enjoyable.

    Also consider the following disadvantages:

  • Very light sleepers, especially light sleepers with a baby who’s also a light sleeper, may find the whole family awake most of the night. If you’re keeping the baby awake or he’s keeping you awake, you’re all going to be excessively cranky.

  • You may be too worried about rolling over on the baby to enjoy co-sleeping. If you sleep very soundly and the baby is right next to you, this can be a concern, but most parents are very aware of the baby’s presence. If it worries you, a bassinet or other sleeping arrangement in the room may be better for you.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your baby in your room but not in your bed because the bedding in an adult bed poses a suffocation risk to an infant; it advises using a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed instead.

  • If one of you works odd shifts, you may worry about getting in or out of the room without waking the baby. However, babies usually aren’t disturbed by normal noises and probably won’t even hear you come and go.

  • When you put the baby in your bed, you eventually have to put him out. Your child may prefer to stay in your bed until he goes to college, but you may want your bed back in a few years. Some children don’t go quietly into the dark night and put up quite a fight about sleeping in their own rooms.

Even if you don’t want the baby in your room with you, baby monitors make it possible to hear the slightest stirring from another room.