Why Our Baby Will Never Have a Nursery.

Guest Post By: Shelby Salinas

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E Sleeping Peacefully In Our Family Bed


Recently I saw a pregnancy announcement where the new mama said, “Now it’s time to plan our nursery!” It’s what everybody does, right? You can’t have a baby without a nursery, right?

The crib with the matching changing table, the glider in the corner, the cute letters on the wall. Oh, and the monitor so that you can see what’s going on in there at all times.
Well, we don’t have any of that and I wouldn’t even purchase it if I had a lot of money and extra rooms to spare. Here are my reasons why, with links to great articles on this topic.

Babies don’t need things, they need connection.

Pregnant mothers are bombarded with advertisements and images of baby items that will supposedly make their lives easier. The baby models are always happy as can be, but I’m confident that real life babies would trade in all of this junk just to be held a little longer (preferably with a boob in their mouth). All they want and need is to be close to you. And when they’re close to you — not in a bouncer or crib — you’re more in-tune with them and can better respond to their needs. No object will make your life more easy than it is when you’re connected. When I was creating my list of “must-have” items, I used this question to guide me: “What will foster connection?” The entire nursery concept didn’t make the cut.

Nurseries are not biologically ideal.

“Irrepressible (ancient) neurologically-based infant responses to maternal smells, movements and touch altogether reduce infant crying while positively regulating infant breathing, body temperature, absorption of calories, stress hormone levels, immune status, and oxygenation.” – James Mckenna
Has anyone ever stopped to think about this one for a second? Babies and small children are vulnerable little beings who depend on us for their safety. Can you imagine our ancestral mothers out in the wild, sleeping anywhere but right next to us? Generations and generations of human beings depended on that closeness. We may be in big houses with locks on our doors, but the biological imperatives remain the same: Babies need to be with their caregivers at all times. Here are some other reasons why co-sleeping is healthy for babies.
  • The highest rates of bedsharing worldwide occur alongside the lowest rates of infant mortality.
  • It reduces the chances of an infant dying from SIDS or from an accident by one-half.
    • Fires, sexual predators, animal attacks, suffocation after vomiting and other injuries can all be better prevented if a parent is nearby to help.
  • The increased exposure to mother’s antibodies which comes with more frequent nighttime breastfeeding can reduce infant illness.
  • The low-calorie composition of human breast milk (adjusted for the infants’ undeveloped gut) requires frequent night feeds.
    • Frequent night feeds helps to maintain the mother’s milk supply, which enables her to continue breastfeeding long-term. This is especially important for mothers who have to go back to work early.

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There’s also the psychological component.

“Cribs force babies to face the long night alone years before they are psychologically equipped to do so. Isolation teaches harmful lessons of mistrust, powerlessness, and despair, creating a deep sense of loneliness that no teddy bear can fulfill. Judging from the reports of adults in hypnotherapy, art therapy, and psychoanalysis, experiences of forced separation from parents in infancy and childhood are traumatic, with long-term effects on the adult personality.” – Jan Hunt
A soft mattress and a stuffed animal cannot replace the warmth, smell and comfort of a human body.

I value my sleep.

“Research has shown that breastfeeding mothers who co-sleep get more sleep than both bottle-feeding mothers and mothers who breastfeed, but do not co-sleep.” – Evolutionary Parenting
My son can just roll over and nurse, and usually I sleep right through it. Both of our needs are fulfilled and we usually wake up feeling rested. There are some nights that are harder than others (growth spurts!) but I know it would be significantly worse if I had to get out of bed repeatedly to comfort my child. And if you know me, you know I’m not okay with “cry-it-out” and that will never be an option. Never. 

I simply cannot imagine sleeping separately from my baby.

I spent almost ten months sharing a body with my son, and we’ve been strengthening our bond every day since his birth. He has also bonded with his father and wakes up every morning ready to see him. “Dadu!” is the first word out of his mouth. We are a family and we belong together — Not Mom and Dad in a room and baby in another room all alone. No. The three of us together, keeping each other safe and warm and loved. Starting and ending each day together

Shelby Salinas is a blogger (sunshel.com), maker (lilabotanicals.etsy.com), mama of one vibrant toddler, and a big advocate for conscious, intentional living. She is currently studying Ayurvedic Medicine and you can find her on Instagram — @sunshel — where she talks about all things healthy living.

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  1. Wow! You just inspire me so much!!! I’m only 17 years old and when I will become a mother one day I want to do it this way because I think it feel right, better and “normal”.

  2. Love this article and it’s attachment message. I’m a believer. But I’m wanting some tips: how do you put your child to sleep in the evening before you go to sleep? Do you just go to bed when they do? I feel unsafe leaving my child on the bed (11months and very mobile) unless I’m there. How do you do it?

    1. We sleep on a thick mattress topper on the floor 🙂 you could just put your mattress on the floor, too and put some pillows surrounding it.

  3. Love your article. Have 2 kids. From the first baby i just could not bear sleeping apart from them. It really really gives both the baby and mom a good nights sleep. And it just feels so much more right.

    1. I don’t. I trust he will do that when he’s ready. By me coercing independence, it actually hinders him becoming independent on his own time, which is the only way to become truly independent. If one is pushed to independence before they’re developmentally ready, it creates an attachment hunger. My mother never let me sleep in her bed and I tried to sneak in her room every night. She would always kick me out and I felt so lonely at night. As an almost 30 year old I’ve always associated night time with anxiety, sadness and loneliness. I’m only now trying to work through and process this.

  4. Yes! We have a very small “nursery” but never planned on baby sleeping there. It’s on the main floor of our house, while our bedroom is upstairs. That seems like miles away! We’ve been co-sleeping, and I can’t imagine it any other way. I totally agree with sleep- the aren’t the most restful nights, but I also don’t have to get out of bed and can keep dozing.

  5. What do you have to say about the mother who co-slept with her two babies and killed them both and now faces a murder trial and prison?

  6. This is fascinating. Thank you! Have you had to spend a night away from your baby? For traveling? I travel for work occasionally but would love to cosleep.

  7. Good Evening and THANK YOU for this post. The line “babies don’t need things, they need connection” truly resonated with me and I think about it almost DAILY! I recently became certified in infant massage and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind if I quoted that line from you on my website. Please let me know as it is THE PERFECT, PERFECT summation of what I believe in…

  8. I’ve tried (and failed) on many occasions to explain this concept to people when they ask me ‘is she a good baby? Do you get much sleep?’ etc
    Every single word you have written nails this evolutionary, natural process ALL mothers and babies go through, and how modern society (driven by greed) is constantly throwing product after product in our faces convincing us we need to buy all this shit for a smoother motherhood journey…..
    Yet our ancestors managed just fine for hundreds of thousands of years, and you explain it so eloquently!

  9. Yes! We had a “nursery” for both of our boys that we only used to store a crib (that was later moved into our room) and their clothes. Our babies only slept in their own rooms after they were over a year old and they share a room now so they aren’t alone. It just never felt natural to have them sleep away from us. So now that we’re expecting our little girl, we’ll have a room set up for her for when she’s older and to put her clothes.

  10. You totally bring it to the point! I love your article and would like to share our Swiss way of having this all important CONNECTION with your baby. For over 40 years many Swiss families use the sleeping technique ‘COSI bed sheet’ with our little angels. We do not use a nursery, although some still do, and let the baby sleep on a big mattress in a COSI bed sheet. The baby is secure, can not fall or roll out, but still has a max. of freedom to move and the best part: Mom and Dad can lay next to her/him and have enough space. We co-sleep in baby’s bed and not the other way round. This brings all the advantages from the connection, not slipping under a blanket, staying covered, feeling secure etc. Our babies loves it!

  11. Why does that baby have a beaded necklace on? So wrong, it could get tangled in the Mom’s hair, or the baby’s clothing while sleeping. Not necessary to wear a necklace in bed or nap time.