Attachment Parenting: Co Sleeping As A Valuable Tool

  • Learn about attachment parenting and how this affects your baby
  • Discover 5 ways co-sleeping helps attachment parenting at night
  • Know the importance of safe sleep in attachment parenting
  • Read what attachment parenting advocates say about co-sleeping

Are you considering trying attachment parenting with your little one?

Do you have a new baby or are you expecting a baby soon?

Are you looking for the right way to take care of your child to suit your needs and preferences as well as your little one’s from day one?

If you’re thinking of trying attachment parenting co sleeping may be an element of this style of raising your child that you might not have thought of before. Although these two parenting tactics don’t always go hand-in-hand, they work well together and you may find that one is much easier when the other is taking place.

But what happens when you don’t know much about co sleeping with your child in relation to attachment parenting or otherwise? That’s where this article comes in!

In this article, we’ll help you understand the relationship between co sleeping and attachment parenting. We’ll give you a brief rundown of what attachment parenting really means as well as explain to you several different elements of co sleeping as it relates to attachment parenting.

By the time you get finished reading this article, you should feel much more well-versed in this matter and should be able to decide whether or not these parenting styles and methods are right for you and your child.

Read on to learn more!

What is Attachment Parenting?

Attachment parenting is a pretty broad concept, and co sleeping with child is only one small aspect of a much larger idea. People tend to either be solidly for attachment parenting or very against it, and it has become something of a controversial topic in recent years. Many times, people are put off by the idea because of the term “attachment parenting” itself and they believe they’re going to over-parent their children if they give it a try.

The biggest area of concern in the world of attachment parenting is the formation of a tight bond between mother and baby. From day one, attachment parenting advocates stress that mother and baby should be apart as little as possible. This includes proximity closeness as well as physical touch, and therefore babywearing is another popular activity among those who practice attachment parenting.

There are “Seven B’s” of attachment parenting that families are advised to keep in mind when they’re considering trying this option.

co sleeping family bed

Birth bonding: This refers to keeping mother and baby close together with very minimal separation during the first few weeks after birth.

Breastfeeding: Unless there is some medical reason to avoid breastfeeding, attachment parents prefer it because it encourages closeness between mother and baby.

Babywearing: Keeping the baby close to the mother’s body is a primary goal in attachment parenting, and babywearing can make this happen in a convenient way.

Bedding close by: This is where co sleeping comes into the picture, but it may not necessarily refer to co sleeping in a traditional sense of the word.

Baby’s cry: This refers to understanding what your baby needs when he or she cries and learning, through your bond with your child, to respond appropriately.

Beware trainers: People who insist on training you to raise your baby aren’t the types of people you should be following when making decisions for the good of you and your child.

Balance: Learn to strike a balance between your bond with your baby, your relationship with your partner, your parenting to older children, and your “me time.”

What is Nighttime Parenting in Attachment Parenting?

Nighttime parenting is a subset of attachment parenting that’s closely related to co sleeping with kids. Nighttime parenting is a large term that refers to being present during as many stages of your child’s sleep as possible. This includes establishing a routine from day one that can help encourage your little one to get into a good sleeping mindset, but it may also include the method by which you respond to your child’s needs throughout the night.

Young babies and infants wake up very often throughout the night. You probably already know this, but it’s worth making sure you understand just how often you’ll be awakened when trying to decide the best option for your nighttime parenting experience.

One of the most important tenets of nighttime parenting in relation to attachment parenting is to avoid the “cry it out” method that has been popular for a long time. Although it was once believed that letting your baby cry it out during the night was the only way to train him or her to sleep through the night, it’s now believed that doing this can raise stress levels in your child and make your little one fearful of sleep instead.

Sticking to a routine is important, but not as important as learning to read your child’s needs and helping your little one learn how to tell what his or her body is saying. For example, if you always start your nightly routine at 8 pm but one night you find that your child is still wide awake and nowhere near ready for bed at this time, there’s no harm in pushing it back by a half an hour. On the other hand, there’s no reason not to let your child sleep earlier than he or she is used to if necessary, either.

Co sleeping is often practiced in the nighttime parenting aspect of attachment parenting. Ideally, to follow this method, you should let your child guide the co sleeping arrangement as much as possible and understand that your little one will be ready for his or her own “big kid bed” when the time is right.

5 Ways Co Sleeping Helps Nighttime Parenting

Co sleeping and bed sharing can make a big difference when it comes to nighttime parenting. This is why both of these methods of closeness throughout the night are highly recommended by attachment parenting advocates and practitioners both. When you’re trying to decide whether or not to incorporate co sleeping into your attachment parenting setup, it’s a good idea to have a solid understanding of the benefits you can expect from this practice.

1. Co sleeping can help you form a close bond with your child very quickly.

 When you practice co sleeping from day one, your child will grow closer to you almost immediately, and you’ll feel the same toward your little one.

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    Of course, there are other ways to bond with your child, and co sleeping isn’t the only option. But it does make it much easier to spend time being close physically as well as in near proximity to your little one all night long.

2. Co sleeping makes it easier for you to breastfeed quickly and effectively throughout the night.

If you’re a breastfeeding mother, it’s very easy to simply sit up and reach over to your baby’s cot or co sleep crib to pick up your child and start nursing when you’re awakened during the night. It’s much easier than having to wake up fully to walk down the hallway and get your child from another room.

ways to bond with your child
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    This also means you won’t be waking yourself or your baby up completely throughout the night. Additionally, you won’t have to wake up anyone else in your household when you breastfeed a co sleeping baby.

3. Co sleeping can help your baby sleep through the night earlier than he or she would otherwise.

When co sleeping with your baby, your little one will learn better sleeping habits more quickly by being in close proximity with you throughout the night. And when he or she wakes up needing something during the night, your quicker response will help encourage an easier return to sleep afterward.

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    This works double in that it also means you’ll be able to get a better night’s sleep, too! When your baby sleeps through the night, you’ll be able to do the same. Although at first, you may only notice a few extra minutes of sleep than you would have without co sleeping, it can still make a difference in your energy levels and mood throughout the day.

4. Co sleeping increases a mother’s natural protective nature toward her baby.

This may also be true of fathers who practice co sleeping, but it’s especially correct for mothers who do. When moms co sleep with their babies, they are much more likely to respond to their children’s needs quickly and effectively in every aspect of their lives—not just during the night.

 practice co sleeping
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    Co sleeping can also help regulate breathing between mom and baby, which in turn encourages an even closer and deeper bond between both. This also encourages your child to sleep more safely throughout the night.

5. Co sleeping can help prevent SIDS.

Although some people may believe that co sleeping can contribute to the risk of SIDS, as long as you practice it safely and pay close attention to any risk factors that may be present in your room or sleeping arrangement, co sleeping may actually help reduce this chance significantly.

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    Sleeping close to your baby ensures that your child gets onto a more regulated sleeping cycle much more quickly than he or she would in a separate room. Babies who co sleep don’t stay in deep sleep nearly as long but do experience more REM sleep. When all of these qualities are put together, it means your child will be awake longer and will be at a much lower risk for SIDS.

How Important is Safe Sleep in Attachment Parenting?

When co sleeping with babies in any situation, safety should be your number one concern. Attachment parenting is no different than this. There’s absolutely no reason to risk your child’s safety and well-being in the name of co sleeping, so it’s always a good idea to understand what the basic attachment parenting principles are when it comes to proper sleep safety. Safe co sleeping habits should always be practiced no matter what other types of parenting methods or styles you choose to try with your little one.

 parent child co sleeping

It’s always safest to co sleep with your baby in a separate sleeping crib, attachment or sleeper. Bed sharing is not usually suggested by co sleeping advocates. A separate sleeper or crib in the same room can give you all the same benefits of bed sharing with none of the risks.

If you’ll be bed sharing, always make sure your child is free from any obstructions to his or her breathing as well as any risk of falling off the bed. You will need to sleep with only one light sheet and no blankets as well as ensure that there are no pillows around your child’s face. You should always keep the bed flush to the wall and be sure there’s no way your child can fall between the bed and wall or roll out of the bed.

Never sleep with your baby in between you and your partner. Your partner is not going to be as attuned to your baby’s needs as you are throughout the night and may accidentally roll onto your child or push your child. Sleeping between two adults may also significantly increase your baby’s risk of suffocation even if no one rolls over the wrong way.

Whether you’re co sleeping or bed sharing, put your baby on his or her back to sleep. This is the safest method of sleep for your child no matter what the sleeping arrangement might be—even if he or she is in another room altogether.

Never overheat your baby when co sleeping in any arrangement. Overheating can cause your baby to become ill or even to suffocate if he or she is much too hot. Don’t bundle or swaddle your baby for co sleeping and do not pile your child with blankets or sheets. Understand that you’ll need to control the temperature of the house at night to keep everyone comfortable rather than using extra blankets, even when it’s cold outside.

How is Co Sleeping Different from Bed Sharing in Attachment Parenting?

Your co sleeping family bed situation may be different from another family’s, but when it comes to attachment parenting, those differences are worth noticing. Co sleeping and bed sharing are very similar, but they aren’t the same thing. When you understand the differences between these two methods of nighttime parenting, you’ll have a better understanding of which one is right for you and your situation.

co sleeping with your child
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    Co sleeping: This is the practice of keeping your baby close to you throughout the night without sharing the same sleeping arrangements. This means that you’ll put your child to sleep in a different bed from yours, but you will both be sleeping in the same room throughout the whole night. Older children may be invited to sleep in the bed with you as needed, such as after a nightmare, but do not regularly do this.
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    Sidecar attachment: With a sidecar attachment, your child will sleep in a crib or cot that is attached to your side of the bed. This may be affixed to your mattress or it may stand alone and hang over your side of the bed while still being separated from your sleeping space. Your baby may outgrow this very quickly.
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    Crib or cot in the same room: This is the most common method of co sleeping in attachment parenting. This allows your baby to be close to you without you having to worry about your child being in your bed or in a sleeper that he or she may outgrow quickly. This gives your child a traditional place to sleep that’s safe and designed for use by a baby.
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    Bed sharing: This refers to sleeping in the same bed with your child. Bed sharing may take place in your room or in your child’s room, but it’s safest to practice bed sharing in a king sized bed that gives everyone involved plenty of room to move without causing risk to the baby. Attachment parenting advocates usually don’t suggest bed sharing because of the risk of suffocation or falling that it may pose. If you must bed share, put your king size mattress on the floor for the safest setup possible.

What do Attachment Parenting Advocates Say about Co Sleeping?

Whether you’re considering all night co sleeping or just planning to work co sleeping and naps into your child’s life, it’s always good to know what advocates are saying. There are a lot of reasons why attachment parenting and co sleeping work so well together, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these reasons to help get a better understanding of the whole process.

 co sleeping with babies

Co sleeping can help reduce separation anxiety in children and give parents and babies both a more restful night’s sleep. These are all excellent reasons to co sleep, and you may be surprised at just how well your little one takes to this practice when you give it a try.

Both parents get to bond more equally with the baby at bedtime when co sleeping is practiced. If your partner is not at home much during the day or hasn’t been available to help with a nightly routine, the two of you can enjoy time spent co sleeping with your baby in a safe sleeping arrangement.

Co sleeping has been taking place around the world for hundreds of years. In many countries, it’s still the norm, and in some places, it even occurs all the way up until the teenage years.

Understand that you do not have to co sleep to practice attachment parenting. If co sleeping isn’t working for you and your child, there’s no shame or harm in returning to a traditional separate bedroom method of sleeping. It’s all about what’s best and most comfortable for you and your baby both.

Just because you co sleep doesn’t mean you’re an attachment parent, either. You can have one of these concepts without the other, but they do work well together.


So, have you learned a little bit about parent child co sleeping as it relates to attachment parenting? Whether or not you decide this is the best route for you and your little one, we hope that you’ve come to a greater understanding of this topic and how it might potentially fit into your life. The best way to make any decisions when it comes to raising your child is to be fully educated about the subject, and learning about co sleeping and attachment parenting is a great place to get started.

Of course, children co sleeping with parents is not an all-or-nothing requirement of attachment parenting. You can practice other aspects of attachment parenting without ever inviting your child to sleep in the same bed or room with you. If you choose to do this, that’s okay! You’re not doing anything “wrong” by making the right decision about what works for you and your family.

Remember that the final decision is yours to make. If you have a partner, other children, or extended family members living in the same house with you, they may want to weigh in on the decision as well. However, the end result should always be the parenting style that’s best for you, your family, and your baby.

Good luck, and happy sleeping!



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