Whether you’re already co-sleeping with your young baby or you’re contemplating when to transition your 1–2-year-old away from co-sleeping, there is often debate on the practical applications. Some parents feel that co-sleeping greatly benefits children, although there is some struggle for parents to get a peaceful sleep. And other parents feel that it doesn’t add as much to their children’s relationship to begin with since they’re sleeping. No matter your opinion on the matter, continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons and whether it’s right for you and your child.
Most parents who have already co-slept most likely already know this, but toddlers toss and turn a lot during the night. It’s often difficult for parents to get the sleep they need on a regular basis when they’re woken up multiple times throughout the night. What you may not know, though, is that researchers are finding that children also wake up more often during the night when co-sleeping with parents than when they’re by themselves. And children need this sleep for proper development and brain health, so it’s vital that everyone gets the right amount of sleep each night.
Co-sleeping with your child can also make them more dependent, not being able to support themselves through a night. Babies will begin to self-regulate, and most of this comes from sleeping on their own, in their own crib, and as they grow, they continue this regulating. If they are consistently co-sleeping each night instead, however, they are becoming more reliant on you to set the pace for them.
Co-sleeping may certainly help you form a deeper bond with your toddler, and offers an additional chance to cuddle up with them after a long day. This can help your child form more secure attachments to you and feel more protected. It’s also a great way to make nursing easier and more convenient when your child is right there with you. But overall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t endorse co-sleeping when your child is under a year old. There is a much higher risk for SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, to occur and other safety reasons. They haven’t officially released any recommendations related to toddler-aged children and co-sleeping as of yet.
The ultimate decision on whether you’re going to co-sleep with your child and when to transition them away from this practice is entirely up to you. There are many factors in deciding this, so many so that experts generally don’t recommend any certain age for that reason. It’s up to your schedule, your child’s schedule, and how it affects the flow of the household. The family dynamic in your house will help determine what’s right, and no matter the decision you make, it will be the right call for you and your toddler.