Do those two words even go together? In the same sentence? YES!
Here’s were my thoughts on co-sleeping:
Baby #1 – Hell no. It’s dangerous. [Setup a beautiful nursery while baby ended up sleeping in a bassinet in our room]
Baby #2 – Let’s setup the crib in our room. [Baby slept on my side of the room, in her crib until 17 months – WHEW!]
Baby #3 – “What crib? What nursery? I’m too exhausted and tired at this point.” [Baby sleeps in bed with me]
First, lets define co-sleeping, since often times it’s misinterpreted.
Co-Sleeping is simply, “sleeping near to your baby,” literally. For a lot of parents in other countries besides the United States, there isn’t a term to define co-sleeping because that is their norm, simply out of necessity.
Now, for some, that may look a little different. Some may choose to bed share — having the child sleep in the same bed as the parent. Others may choose to room share — the child sleeps in their own separate space, but in the same room as the parent. Lastly, some choose a combination of these — maybe placing a bassinet or “side car” of some sort, in or right next to the side of the bed.
And guess what? Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually recommends that you share a room with the baby for AT LEAST 6 months, but ideally, a year.
You’re worried about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), right? Interestingly enough, even Doctors and Researchers have NO CLUE why babies die of SIDS, hence, why it’s coined “sudden.” In fact, a lot of deaths are incorrectly lumped into this category.
Here’s what Dr. James McKenna, a world-leading Dr who is recognized for his work with mother-infant co-sleeping in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS, says:
“In sum, overwhelmingly, bedsharing deaths are associated with at least one independent risk factor associated with an infant dying. These include an infant being placed prone (on its stomach) and placed in an adult bed without supervision, or no breastfeeding, or other children in the bed, or infants being placed in an adult bed on top of a pillow, or who bedshare even though their mothers smoked during the pregnancy therein compromising potentially the infants ability to arouse (to terminate too little oxygen, or to terminate an apnea). Drug use and alcohol have historically been associated with poor outcomes for bedsharing babies so if drugs and/or alcohol are present, please don’t bedshare.”
Also, it’s been noted that many SIDS deaths occur when parents ACCIDENTALLY co-sleep with their child. We’re all exhausted parents, right? If co-sleeping is something you’re considering, check out these 7 tips on safer ways to co-sleep, a La Leche League International’s book, Sweet Sleep:
Are you a co-sleeping parent/family? What are your sleeping arrangements?