Over there to the left… that is my youngest son Benjamin out like a light… in my hospital bed with me in the hospital. Right before the nurse walked in and freaked out that I was letting him sleep in the bed with me, even though I was wide awake…
With both of my children I would have never survived the first couple weeks after birth without co-sleeping. Now mind you, there are a lot of ways for a mother to c0-sleep with her child, it doesn’t always mean bed sharing. Co-sleeping itself encompasses everything from rooming in to the always thought of bed sharing.
Of course, like anything in parenting… there is a right way and a wrong way to do anything. As well as a safe way, and dangerous way. Remember, even cribs can be considered a dangerous place for babies to be sleeping, especially with the record number of parents still using unsafe crib bumpers, stuffed animals, and blankets in the same sleeping space… all SIDS risks.
Alas, without bed sharing with my oldest son, and our arms reach co-sleeper with our youngest son, I would have never got any sleep… ever. And recovering from major surgery with no sleep is no walk in the park at all.
There are a lot of safety guidelines parents should be checking out for co-sleeping though. Improper co-sleeping are the stories of infant deaths we see on the news… not parents who are making educated, and informed decisions in sharing their sleep space.
Things that you should not do when co-sleeping:
- Take prescription medication, drink alcohol, or do any kind of illegal drugs that will alter your ability to care for an infant, or respond to an infant in the bed with you.
- Use fluffy blankets in the area your infant is sleeping (or any blankets in general)
- Smoke! I bet you didn’t know that smoking increases the risk of SIDS!
- Use a soft mattress or water bed…
- Place a sleeping baby next to another sleeping child or an adult that may not sense the infant in the bed. Mothers typically have the best sense for newborns, and infants sharing a bed in general.
- Sleep anywhere other than a bed/mattress. DO NOT co-sleep on a COUCH! It is NOT safe!
- Do not sleep anywhere that an infant can get stuck!
- NEVER leave your baby alone sleeping on a bed or raised surface!
These are not rocket science safety tips right… they all seem pretty cut and dry and simple for keeping your little one safe.
Things that you should be doing while co-sleeping include:
- Have you infant sleep between a breastfeeding mother and the wall, or a bed rail. Some place the infant cannot get stuck, or be put in danger by anyone else sharing the bed!
- Instead of using blankets, dress the baby warmer, but not too warm. Use a sleep sack, or swaddle. Do not use blankets!
- Use an arms reach co-sleeper that attaches to the bed if possible. They work great! We used one with our youngest son, and they are worth their weight in gold!
- If possible keep older children out of your bed.
There are ways that you can safely share your bed, or co-sleep with your infant, and if you are anything like me, and need a decent amount of sleep to function as a human, co-sleeping will help! Although it may not be for everyone!
Also remember, co-sleeping, and rooming in help to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants!