When my two-year-old was born, we laid him in a beautiful hand-me-down cradle and placed it right up against the edge of the bed, so that I could easily sit up, lean over, and pick him up during the night for feedings.
Childbirth and other ailments wrecked my body, and it was excruciating for me to haul myself up on my sore arms and aching back and haul him up for me to nurse. Then he would wake the minute the warmth of my body left him and he sensed himself in the cold cradle.
The cradle's reign lasted for three to four nights. It was just easier for me to sit up with him already in my arm several times a night (and I mean several). I wasn't able to nurse him lying down either.
2. Peace and Quiet
The time it takes to wake and sleepily make the way to a screaming infant's nursery is seconds. When each second feels like an hour. If you have a working husband or other children in the house, that increases the chances of their being disturbed and loosing sleep.
Poor as poor, we couldn't even afford a crib for my son. My mother generously bought one for me (boy, she probably regrets that now, seeing as we never used it, except as a momentary playpen while I dressed).
At the least, you'll have to put money down for a cradle or Moses basket or what-not. At the most, you'll be shoveling out cash to furnish and paint an entire nursery. It's much more affordable to put the baby in the bed you already have and were going to have anyway.
Newborns have a while yet to adjust to not being inside you. For ten months, they are a part of their mothers. Allowing your baby to fall asleep in your arms or on your chest eases the transition, and assures your little one that the benevolent force of wonderful goodness on which it has relied all his life is Still There.
Co-sleeping has actually been linked to preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a horrible occurrence that gives no warning and whose cause is unknown. If an instinctive parent is sleeping nearby, the likelihood of "something wrong" alerting the parent to waking and checking on the baby is, common sense dictates much more likely than if the parent and baby are in two different rooms.
6. Preventative Measures
I can't tell you the hundreds of amounts of times I've intervened and successively prevented what promised to be a riotous wake-up by replacing a pacifier or patting his bottom.
7. Bedtime Bonding
Bedtime becomes a bonding ritual, in which you and baby climb in and settle down into the bed you will be sharing for the night. For baby, it's a comfort to know you're right there, and the bedtime experience is that much more peaceful. For you, it's a comfort to be in your own bed, instead of waiting in agitation for the baby to fall asleep so that you can carry on with what you were doing or else get yourself ready to sleep. If you do go ahead and nod-off, you're good for the night!
I looked forward to bedtime when my son was littler, not just because I was exhausted (I was), but because I read to him, and sang him to sleep. and said prayers with him. Whatever your personal bedtime ritual is, you'll be casting the mold for a loving tradition your child will always remember.
8. Good Mornings
The first thing you wake up to is your own beautiful baby.
9. Ease of Travel
My husband is British, so traveling with an infant overseas was even more inconvenient that normal. Co-sleeping really freed us up from restrictions and made us no-fuss guests. When my husband's relatives asked if we needed a cot for the baby, we said, "No, that's all right. Just the guest bed will be fine. He sleeps with us."
To this day, co-sleeping means no hassle. We only have to secure one bed (or, as the case may be, couch), and we can crash anywhere!
10. Treasure It
Soaking every last mortal minute with baby goodness. Co-sleeping means you don't have to miss a second of his childhood, even the seconds when you and he are both asleep.
See more Top Ten at Many Little Blessings.