Gingerly Made: Co-Sleeping

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Co-Sleeping



Sleeping in the crib.
I've been seeing a lot of things on the net about co-sleeping lately; public service announcements, blog posts with questions, and emphatic statements of opinions. Obviously there are a lot of moms (and dads) out there who are curious about co-sleeping. You hear that it's dangerous from one group and that it's perfectly safe from another. So what's the deal?
First, there are different levels of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping can mean that you have your baby's crib in your bedroom. The baby is still in his or her own bed, but just sharing the same room. Yep, that's co-sleeping. Or you could have a co-sleeper attached to your bed. It's like a bed extender just for baby. Baby feels closer to you, but is technically not in your bed. It's also easier for breastfeeding at night.

Then there is the the dreaded bed sharing. That's what we do and is also where all the controversy lies. I have seen horrible, awful advertisements saying that letting your baby sleep in your bed is as dangerous as letting her sleep with a knife! I can't even describe how angry that ad makes me. I think the reason so many people are wary of bed sharing is because of idiocy like that.

Even Dr Sears has some wonderful information about safe co-sleeping. Please check out this brief article for some amazing facts.

Bed sharing was the last thing I wanted to do with my babies. But it happened anyway. The very first night we brought Caitlin home she was not sleeping. Not at all. So Hubs and I decided to take shifts. I don't remember when Eric and I switched, but we all woke up in the morning, in the bed, all three of us. Apparently, Eric set her down for a minute on the bed and the poor guy was so exhausted he totally fell asleep. From that night on we were a co-sleeping, bed sharing family. We couldn't get Caitlin out of the bed. She wouldn't sleep a peep in her crib or bassinet.

Caitlin was a terrible sleeper. She never slept in a stroller once she was too  big for the carrier that attached to the top. She had to nurse to sleep. It wasn't until Hayley was born and I was in the hospital that she would go to sleep for anyone else. She would just cry for Mommy before that. With Hayley, we let her sleep in our bed when it's convenient for us to nurse. But we are also having her sleep in her crib, the bouncy chair, stroller, wherever. I don't want to go through such a picky sleeper again.


And if you are worried that if you let your child into your bed that they will never get out. Don't. They will eventually move out into their own bed. I've never heard of a teenager, or even preteen for that matter, who still wanted to sleep with their parents. It took some effort to Caitlin to sleep in her own bed. But considering her sleeplessness anyway, it wasn't that bad. Once she was comfortable and understood that she was safe in a room by herself, she did great!

Daddy and Hayley taking a nap.
After that first night with Caitlin falling asleep in the bed, I did research on safe ways to bed share. Safebedsharing.org has some fantastic guidelines for safety. If you are smart and careful, bed sharing is a wonderful and safe thing. It's a very personal decision and I won't presume to tell you which is best for you and your family. But I do want people to understand that it is not a terrible or unsafe thing to do.

It's amazing how much differently I sleep with my baby in my bed. I am so very aware of her. I have literally slept through a hurricane before, but if she moves the least little bit I am wide awake.

I recently posted a comment on another mom's blog letting her know some safe tips for bed sharing that I use in addition to what was on the website above. I want to repeat them here for anyone considering it.
  1. Bumpers. If you are worried that your baby may roll into you or you into her, buy some of those bumpers. Just keep them below her shoulders. You don't want anything up close to her face.
  2. Swaddle. Babies love the feeling of being wrapped tight in a blanket. At least both of mine have. They sleep better when swaddled and bonus, they can't roll over.
  3. Scoot baby up high toward the headboard and you scoot down low. Your head should not be any higher than baby's hips. This way, if you pull your covers up during the night it won't cover baby's face.
  4. Turn your pillow. Instead of having your pillow horizontally, turn it vertically. Now your pillow or pillow case can't get in the baby's face. (Notice a trend of avoiding anything getting in your baby's face here?)
  5. Keep baby in the center of the bed. Whatever you do, keep your baby between you. This should go without saying, but just in case... don't put your baby on the edge of the bed; she could fall off.
I hope this helps answer some questions you may have. If not, or if you have more, please comment below or email me. I would be happy to discuss further.

1 comment:

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