You’ve probably heard about one or all, and most of what you’ve heard or read is probably conflicting. On that note, this post shouldn’t be the only one (or even the last) you read on this subject. Doing your research will help you make an informed decision, and help you create a safe sleeping arrangement for your family.
So what is co-sleeping and is it different than bed-sharing and room-sharing? Let’s find out!
Co-sleeping is a practice in which families choose to share sleeping arrangements with their children. Co-sleeping has two subsets; bed-sharing and room-sharing.
Is the act of sleeping so close to your newborn that you can sense them (sensory proximity.) Some of the sleeping arrangements include:
1. You in the bed while your baby sleeps in a bassinet/bedside sleeper that is somewhat level/lined up to your mattress
2. You in the bed while your baby sleeps in a crib that is lined up to your mattress and has a side down (or not down.)
3. You in the bed while your baby sleeps in a traditional crib that is placed inside your bedroom.
Why would you choose to room-share?
1. It’s easier to monitor your baby
2. It’s easier/quicker to breastfeed your baby
3. You arguably rest with more peace of mind (not peace and quiet) knowing your baby is a reach away
4. You’re convinced that room-sharing is the right thing for your family
Why would you chose to not room-share?
1. You spent so much time and money on that nursery
2. You want your space to be your space
3. You’re convinced that room-sharing is not the right thing for your family
Is the act of mom and baby sleeping on a shared surface (both in the bed). Bed-sharing has sensory proximity benefits just like room sharing. Some of the sleeping arrangements include:
1. Baby on the outside, mom in the middle, and partner on the opposite side next to mom and away from baby. This is done because mom (who is typically breast feeding in these situations) is hyper aware of baby, and dad/partner is also aware but physiologically unable to stay as aware as mom throughout the sleep cycle.
However there are bed-sharing families, which opt for:
2. Mom on the outside, baby in the middle and dad/partner on the outside too. This sleeping arrangement does require both parents to sleep lightly and both parents to be very in tune to their parental instincts.
Why would you choose to bed-share?
1. Easy to calm a fussy baby
2. Dad/partner has an easier time bonding with baby
3. Breastfeeding friendly
4. You are convinced that bed sharing is the right thing for your family
Why would you chose not to bed-share?
1. You and/or your partner are heavy sleepers
2. You and/or your partner are smokers
3. You are convinced that bed-sharing is the wrong thing for your family
Regardless of the arrangement, your baby should always sleep on its’ back and the sleeping surface used should always be firm. Avoid loose items such as toys, pillows (yes even for mom), and loose clothing on mom or baby. Air permeable surfaces increase safety but it should be noted that anything air permeable is also not waterproof. Avoiding sleeping while under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs, tobacco and other mind/body altering substances is always the safest route. Also avoid sleeping close to window blind cords, or any loose cords for that matter.
Co-sleeping is widely accepted in almost all cultures around the world (except westernized countries) as a standard sleeping arrangement. However, popularity on the subject has also led to an uptick in westernized families adopting the practice. The interest in the subject has also led to, experienced co-sleepers, and leading sources on the subject to publically voice their opinions and state facts on the pros and cons of co-sleeping. A simple google search on “co-sleeping benefits” or “what is co-sleeping?” will yield results from notable authors such as DR. WILLIAM SEARS M.D., March Of Dimes, Cosleeping.org, attachmentparenting.org, DR. JAMES MCKENNA (Univ. Notre Dame), and many more.
There are arguments/opinions that state co-sleeping is dangerous and that there is a link to increased infant mortality. On that note, there are also arguments/opinions that state co-sleeping is safe and that there is link to the decrease of infant mortality. I feel that when equipped with enough knowledge, parents can make the best decision based on their health, safety, happiness, and goals.
We tackled the subject by having a conversation about it before our son was born. We talked about the pros and the cons, the financial implications, safety, bonding, everything really, even our intimacy. We decided to start by room-sharing, then we moved to bed-sharing with mom in the middle, and finally to bed-sharing with our little one in the middle. To this day (our son is almost 5) we still bed-share. We do this because it’s the right thing for our family.
By: Ernie Gochez, Blogger/Newborn Photographer