Co - Sleeping Basics
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Co  -  sleeping Basics

What is co-sleeping? Most people confuse the terms co-sleeping and bed sharing. Co-sleeping is when your infant sleeps in close proximity to it's parents, such as in a crib or bassinet next to the parent's bed. Bed sharing is when the baby shares sleeping space with the parents.

Now I am sure the first thing you are thinking is "well that can't be safe!". Well yes and no. There certainly are times when bed sharing is risky, and it's usually when a parent is not practicing safe bed sharing. Co-sleeping, however, is almost always a better option for the parent and baby.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Room-sharing without bed sharing is recommended— There is evidence that this arrangement decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.” The AAP recommends that babies and parents sleep on separate surfaces, as this is the simplest way to eliminate the specific risks of bed-sharing.

Why Co-Sleeping?

There are several advantages to a co-sleeping arrangement. It doesn't always work for every family but it's always worth a try.

1. Both parents and baby will get more sleep oftentimes.

2. Babies will sleep better because when stirring to wake, as most babies do, it's easier for mom to nurse or lull baby back to sleep before getting fully awakened and worked up.

3. Breastfeeding is easier since baby is so nearby.

4. Night time often will prolong the breastfeeding relationship. It is suggested that overnight feedings allow a more supple and long-term milk supply.

5. Sleeping nearby will prevent your baby from having night time separation anxiety.

6. It's just wonderful waking up to see your baby's smiling, happy face! :)

Is There Safe Bed sharing?

Yes, there is absolutely safe bed sharing. It will be safe as long as you are following some safety guidelines.

1. You want the mattress to be firm. Never put your baby in a waterbed, pillow, beanbag, or sofa to sleep.

2. Make sure the bedding is fitted tight to the mattress.

3. Don't allow pillows or blankets around the baby or near the baby's head.

4. The bed and mattress should be tight the the headboard, footboard, and wall so there is no space the baby can fall into.

5. Do not allow your baby to sleep with you if you smoke, or smoked during pregnancy as the risk of SIDS is higher.

6. Do not sleep on same surface as baby if you have been drinking, using drugs, or have taking any type of sleep aid/medication.

7. No other siblings or children should share the bed with an infant under a year old.

8. Always have baby sleeping by mom, since she will have stronger senses of the baby especially if breastfed. I also, personally, wouldn't recommend bed sharing unless you breastfeed, because you will be more in tune with your baby and will likely wake with every stir the baby makes.

Co-sleeping and bed sharing is quite common, and typically the norm in many cultures outside of industrialized Western societies. A baby being put in their own room has only been seen in the last hundred years or so. Our entire culture changed with the idea of what was "normal", or what society told us was normal, however, the need of the infant to breastfeed and be close to their mother has not.

According to Professor James McKenna, of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, all primal infants, including humans, biologically expect to be in close contact and proximity to their caregivers. Babies are born developmentally immature and require the smell, touch, sound, and movement of their parents so they can feel secure in their environment and have their needs met.


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