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What I Wish More People Knew About Co-Sleeping

As many of us (me, hopefully soon) await the birth/arrival of our babies, we contemplate many facets of parenting. We read up on how to increase our chances of breastfeeding, debate between which car seat to purchase and start to think about how tired we’re going to be when tending to a newborn and all their needs.

I have talked only briefly on Babble about our decision to co-sleep, but I don’t hide the fact that I am a big advocate for co-sleeping. I also recognize that what I decide for my family is not going to be what everyone decides for theirs — and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know full-well that majority of parents do what they do from what they know at the time and always with the best intentions at heart.

With all that said, I have received some interesting comments over the past few weeks that has to do with our decision to co-sleep. Comments came in that questioned our safety practices, comments that perpetuated a lot of widespread myths and some people even got nasty and started calling me names. It’s cool, I am used to it and can take it all with a grain of salt because we did our research, we know how to co-sleep safely and we don’t buy into those myths that surround it thanks to fear-mongers. For those of you who are open to co-sleeping, on the fence about it and for those of you who don’t agree with it at all — here is what I wish more knew about co-sleeping:

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  • Bed Sharing vs Room Sharing 1 of 7
    Bed Sharing vs Room Sharing
    When people hear 'co-sleeping' they automatically assume 'bed-sharing'. Co-sleeping really means "sleeping in close proximity', so both 'bed sharing' and 'room sharing' are considered co-sleeping.
    Source: The Natural Child Project
    Photo credit: mother and baby sleeping on shutterstock
  • You Can Still Have a Relationship with Partner 2 of 7
    You Can Still Have a Relationship with Partner
    One myth that I have been met with a lot when I speak about co-sleeping is that I must not have any type of intimate relationship with my partner. From those I have talked to, it seems co-sleepers have no less intimacy in our relationships than parents who don't. Creativity is key and also good for a relationship.
    Source: Accustomed Chaos
    Photo credit: parents with toddler on shutterstock
  • Can Be Done Safely 3 of 7
    Can Be Done Safely
    There is so much miss-information regarding the safety of co-sleeping. There is typically no difference in safety from a baby sleeping in their own nursery vs room sharing with parents. Bed sharing has guidelines to follow for safety -- big ones being not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and no heavy blankets.
    Source: Mother-Baby Behavioural Sleep Lab
    Photo credit: happy family in bed on shutterstock
  • It Promotes Breastfeeding 4 of 7
    It Promotes Breastfeeding
    In an article published by Evolutionary Psychology, they studied the effects co-sleeping has on breastfeeding. They found that "bed sharing infants breastfeed about twice as often as regular solidary sleepers". If you plan to breastfeed, having the babe in close proximity will strengthen the breastfeeding relationship.
    Source: Evolutionary Psychology (p. 124)
    Photo credit: sleeping baby on shutterstock
  • Promotes Independent Children 5 of 7
    Promotes Independent Children
    Contrary to this widespread belief that co-sleeping creates a very dependant relationship, the opposite is actually true. One study stating "routinely sharing the parents' bed in infancy has been associated with greater self-reliance and social independence at preschool age than a history of solitary sleeping (Keller, M. A., and Goldberg, 2004)."
    Source: Evolutionary Psychology (p. 124)
    Photo credit: little girl sleeping on shutterstock
  • May Reduce Risk of SIDS 6 of 7
    May Reduce Risk of SIDS
    There is a lot of talk about how co-sleeping is dangerous and causes infant death. Most disregard the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, that sites room-sharing as a key way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
    Source: Evolutionary Psychology (p. 124) and American Academy of Pediatrics
    Photo credit: young mother and baby on shutterstock
  • No Less Safe Than Crib Sleeping 7 of 7
    No Less Safe Than Crib Sleeping
    There have been studies after studies published that look at the 'safety of co-sleeping' and infant injury or death. While, unfortunately there have been instances of it happening due to unsafe practice, the same is true for crib sleeping. One study published by Consumer Product Safety Commission shared data of the injuries and deaths due to co-sleeping however, using the same data it showed there were more than 3 times as many injuries/deaths due to crib accidents.
    Source: Pediatric Digest and Ask Dr Sears
    Photo credit: mother laying son down on shutterstock

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