Thursday, 29 August 2013

Co sleeping

Co sleeping 

Co-sleeping is not for everyone. There are certainly people who sleep better when they are alone in their beds. 

However, the arguments that co-sleeping is unsafe astounds me. Mammals tend to sleep with their children. Gorillas, monkeys, orangutans sleep with their young in order to protect them. Dolphins and elephants keep their babies by their side to protect them from enemies . For centuries, humans slept with their babies for the same reasons. There is both a biological need and safety concern when it comes to co-sleeping. It is advantageous for breastfeeding as well.  

What is it?

It is important to define what we are talking about. Co-sleeping is a range of possibilities
  • Room sharing- Crib is kept in your room so you can easily attend to a baby's needs and frequent wakings- very common in infancy and later on
  • Side car-arms reach reach sleeper (bassinet or crib so babe is next to you
  • bed-sharing- Sleeping with babe in the bed.


Many of the deaths associated with co-sleeping are over-exaggerated. Unsafe sleeping practices are lumped in with deaths from sleeping in car seats.

Risk Factors:

  • Smoking- increases baby's risk of SIDS
  • over fatigued
  • Consumption of drugs and alcohol- do not sleep with your baby if your senses are dulled
  • soft pillows, waterbeds,  soft bedding
  • Not breastfeeding- it is thought that is less of a hormonal connection between mom and infant. Safe Co-sleeping Practices, James Mckenna

Reduce Risks:

  • Arms Reach Sleeper
  • side car the crib
  • Breastfed
  • Don't smoke
  • Put bed on the floor
  • Put long hair in elastic
  • Light sleeper? Have you rolled onto the floor on onto your partner?  Generally your body knows the baby is there. If concerned there is always the arms reach sleeper. 
  • concerned about baby rolling off? Use pillows, hold onto baby, put mattress on floor- there are solutions :)
"It may be important to consider or reflect on whether you would think that you suffocated your baby if, under the most unlikely scenario, your baby died from SIDS while in your bed. Just as babies can die from SIDS in a risk free solitary sleep environment, it remains possible for a baby to die in a risk-free cosleeping/bed sharing environment. Just make sure, as much as this is possible, that you would not assume that , if the baby died, that either you or your spouse would think that bed-sharing contributed to the death, or that one of your really suffocated (by accident) the infant. It is worth thinking about." Maximizing the chances of Safe Infant Sleep in the Solitary and Cosleeping (Specifically, Bed-sharing) Contexts, by James J. McKenna, Ph.D. Professor of Biological Anthropology, Director, Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory, University of Notre Dame.
That said, babies have survived thousands of years by sleeping next to their parents. 

I have co-slept successfully for 17 months.  We sleep better together and dream nurse. One he was small (8lbs), he slept on my chest. But man that size didn't last long. He graduated to sleeping on my side. Then, my arm underneath him and my arm across his chest and his face tucked into my body. Now, I don't always held on to him. Yet, he remains close by. One day I woke up and he was nursing upside down. His head was downwards and his legs were at the head of the bed. It also helps so much that my fiance is on board with our child co-sleeping. 
If you do not like TMI look away now :)

Bedsharers are asked in horror, "But what about your sex life?" :O
Well bedsharing allows creativity in romance. The bed isn't the only place for intimacy. :)

As always- do your own research and do what works for you! Some babies, like bigger people sleep better alone. I only wish to demonstrate the co-sleeper can be done safely and is a normal activity. 

Did you co-sleep with your infant? 

Read more here:
Doctor Sears: 


  1. My daughter and I have shared a bed since she was a few days old. Bed-sharing definitely helped with breastfeeding. Now, at almost 21 months, she is still sleeping with me and still nursing.

    1. It is really amazing how much easier bedsharing makes breastfeeding.

  2. I think co-sleeping definitely makes sense if you're nursing. We only had our daughter in the same room as us for about 2 months...But we all slept better after the move. I've only ever wanted her to sleep with me a few times, but never did, mostly because I toss and turn a lot and don't trust myself not to roll on top of her! But hey, different strokes for different folks. ;)