Many fathers are hesitant about co-sleeping with their infants with fears of being woken up during the night or worse, smothering them. While these are normal concerns for new dads beginning to practice co-sleeping with their baby, co-sleeping was normal before babies began to sleep in their own rooms.
Derek Markham over at NaturalPapa.com writes about how dads can safely co-sleep with their babies. Will you get less sleep? Probably, but that’s the case with having a baby. Whether they are sleeping in bed next to you or in their own room, chances are you’ll be woken up anyway.
When you are co-sleeping, or family bed sharing, you can usually respond more quickly and limit your baby from getting fully awake. This limits stress on everybody.
Co-sleeping is one of the principles of attachment parenting, and also one of the most contentious. For those who practice it, it’s normal and healthy. For those who don’t it’s dangerous and irresponsible.
Will we roll over on top of our child and smother them?
Here’s a little test for you: Grab a couple of tennis balls, or a 10 pound bag of rice, throw it in your bed and see if you roll over on it without waking up. Chances are, unless you’re drunk or high, you’ll be aware of something next to you and can adjust your position to accommodate it. For new dads, putting a rolled up towel between you and the baby at first can help to train you to be more aware. And if you’re extremely overweight, or drunk or wacked out, please don’t co-sleep!
A word of warning to dads: As kids grow bigger, their feet are right at the level of the family jewels, so if you’ve got a kicker in the family, you might need to sleep facing away from them (or risk a painful awakening).
No one can decide whether co-sleeping with baby is right for you and your family. It’s your decision and you need to trust your instincts. There are times when you absolutely should not co-sleep, like if you are drunk, taking medications or on drugs, or overweight, but in general co-sleeping with baby has many benefits for the entire family.
Another tip, never co-sleep on a water bed or couch. This is dangerous as your baby could become trapped in a couch cushion or in the soft bed and suffocate.