Although bed–sharing is becoming more and more a topic of open conversation in parenting choices in the U.S. these days, before I became pregnant I thought it was kind of strange and not for me. I could not imagine having my baby in bed while still getting sleep and forget trying to have time with my husband. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of ever choosing that for my family. I read in the most popular (at the time) parenting books when to have baby in his own crib and room; how to get a bedside bassinet at first then to move baby to his own room only after a few months. To be honest, that sounded fine. As a new mom-to-be, three months of having my baby in my room seemed long. Plus, I wanted my babies to all be independent and learn to soothe themselves and to sleep through the night.
Well, let me tell you, my pre-mama way of thinking disgusts me, now! I can’t believe I thought that was normal. I can’t believe society and our culture taught me to think this was normal in the beginning.
I’m beyond happy that after I gave birth I listened to my mommy instincts, did research for safe co-sleeping and I kept my baby right next to me. Co-sleeping is one of the best parenting choices I’ve ever made, especially for breastfeeding!
Not only has co-sleeping helped me get more sleep, it helps with my babies sleeping more, too, because breastfeeding is right there when it is needed. No extra yelling or crying for me to come and feed them, therefore no extra waking up and becoming upset. Co-sleeping helped increase and keep my supply up always having my babies right next to me all night; and for me, practicing safe co-sleeping always helped relieve my mommy (postpartum) anxiety because I knew my baby was okay.
Each baby is different so co-sleeping with each might look different. For my son, I started with him in a bedside bassinet, but he and I both hated it. We would both fully wake up at each feeding and we were so uncomfortable. About a month postpartum I finally breastfed him lying down, with him on the inside of our bed and we slept better that night than ever! We co–slept until 13-14 months, and we still snuggle in the mornings, now at 3.5 years old. With my daughter, she is a kicker and LOVES her own space, but does not like being alone. I always babywore her and nursed her to sleep but would put her in a bedside bassinet until about six months old. Then we co–slept in our bed until after her first birthday, and her crib was in our room for a few months after that. I always had monitors on both cribs and check on them a few times (at least) a night once in their own room.
“Each baby is different so co-sleeping with each might be different…”
TRIGGER: As I sat down to finish this post this week, I coincidently saw a post on Facebook of yet another young infant died from SIDS. It frustrates me and upsets me to tears that specialist, doctors and scientists still majority of the time in our country say they cannot know for sure exactly what causes SIDS and disapprove co-sleeping stating they are connected. I’m a journalist and I know better than to contradict the supposedly non-biased facts out there done by these so-called professionals, especially the specialist; however, as a mom, a well-educated, thoughtful, and passionate mom, who uses commonsense (every action has a reaction) I say BS. Because if you do research there are studies and enough data out there that does prove when co–sleeping is done correctly it is the safest form of sleeping for baby. The type of language used in the studies, giving different scenarios of how a baby 0 months–1 year died from SIDS easily confuses the interpretation of the data to put the findings in to a clear answer: Should my baby co–sleep or should he be in a crib?
Another factor that confuses the data’s findings is that co-sleeping WITH exclusively breastfeeding saves thousands of babies per year, and “cuts SIDS risk and may cut overall infant death risk in half” – not just co–sleeping on it’s own.
You will find many organizations with conclusive evidence stating while following safe guidelines for proper co–sleeping (and preferably exclusively breastfed), it is what is best and commonly practiced around the world. Organizations such as La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, and birth professionals and authors such as Ina May Gaskin, McKenna, J. and McDade, T., all support and encourage safe co–sleeping, especially while exclusively breastfeeding.
According to Le Leche League, “The four biggest issues associated with SIDS are 1) smoking, 2) laying a baby facedown for sleep, 3) leaving a baby unattended, and 4) formula feeding.” For majority of babies, these are not always top factors for the chance of SIDS; however, for babies who majority die from SIDS, “it happens in a small group of vulnerable babies who have very specific but undiagnosed health issues.” Therefore, it is unknown if your baby is more vulnerable before, so there is a greater need for a vulnerable baby to be in arms reach of his/her mother to prevent dying from SIDS. Safe co-sleeping provides the biological and instinctual reaction to assist a vulnerable baby and can prevent SIDS. Maybe if our culture accepted and encouraged safe co–sleeping, like in other countries, new and experienced parents would know the benefits of co–sleeping and less babies would die from SIDS.
Let us know your experience with breastfeeding and co–sleeping and please practice safe bed–sharing. Much love to you!
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