2.18.2010

The Co-sleeping Conspiracy

Head in Hands BWWhile pregnant with my first baby, I didn't think much of babies "needing" to sleep anywhere. Yes, we bought a crib and yes, the intention was to have her sleep in it, but I never thought of it as something she HAD to do. It was natural for us, from the very beginning, to snuggle in my bed. After she'd fallen asleep I'd sometimes lay her in her crib, only to bring her in bed with me at the first night time waking. This was just easier, for both of us. Less waking up for her and more z's for mom. Eventually, she naturally slept alone in her crib/bed without needing to come in to mine.

The same happened with baby number 2. I just gave birth to this precious little thing, that last thing on my mind was being separated from her! I wasn't breastfeeding, but that didn't matter. I was able to snuggle close to her, watch her breathing, comfort her while a bottle was made and keep her warm. Again, she naturally "weaned" from co-sleeping to sleeping in her crib. Both of the girls never had a problem napping in their cribs or even sleeping the first portion of the night there.

While pregnant with my son, my third baby, I began to see a lot of debate show up on co-sleeping. Either I never really paid attention to or noticed it before but apparently, it was a huge controversy. There are even campaigns that slander co-sleepers and parents are almost always blamed in co-sleeping deaths, while crib deaths are referred to as "SIDS". I was pretty shocked, to be honest. I had never researched co-sleeping (during my first two pregnancies I didn't research anything at all!) but I just knew there was nothing dangerous about it. I didn't consume alcohol and then sleep with my babies. I always was careful with pillows and blankets. The once heavy sleeper I was in my high school years disappeared as soon as I became a mom and I was aware of every move my babies made in bed. I didn't see the big deal.

For new parents, there can be a lot of information to take in. We constantly get well meaning, but sometimes awful, advice from family and friends. Many people gasp if you mention you sleep with your baby and they are quick to tell you about all the dangers.

But here's the thing: there are always SAFE and UNSAFE ways to do things, especially co-sleeping.

NEVER:
*Drink alcohol or use drugs and then co-sleep with your baby/child.
*Take medications that make you drowsy (this includes types of cough syrup, tylenol pms, sleeping aids, benadryl, etc)
*Use an excess of pillows and/or blankets.
*Pull the blankets up too far or over baby's head.
*Place your newborn between the wall and you.

ALWAYS:
*keep baby off pillows (mostly for newborns)
*Avoid overly stuffed blankets
*Be aware of where baby is at (when you stir or wake up, check on baby, just as you would in their crib).

For those of you about to become parents, do not worry about what people will think. It IS ok to take your baby to bed with you. Practice common sense safe sleeping, in cribs AND your own bed, and do not be ashamed to say you co-sleep with your little one. Motherhood is tiring and those first few weeks and months are not only an adjustment period but a learning experience. You may swear you'll never co-sleep only to find out it's the only way TO sleep. As with anything else, make sure you have ALL the info. Babies sometimes inexplicably pass away and yes, some babies are killed due to UNSAFE co-sleeping. If you do it, do it safely.

Happy sleeping!

1 comment:

♥ Sarah & Illusia ♥ said...

I am a first time, single mom so I, also did not give my where my daughter would be sleeping a single thought...until I had her.

It just felt so, right to do and I have never second guessed it, though I still do get a lot of slack about it sometimes.

Now that she just turned one, she has her own toddler bed and unlike a lot of stressed parents asking for HELP that their child will not sleep on their own, I am taking it as it comes and helping her slowly transition to her bed.

I want to enjoy this closeness and bonding time, not rush it along so she can become 'independent.' Which is a ridiculous notion for a 1 year old anyway.