Co-sleeping/bed sharing

Erin - posted on 06/04/2010 ( 93 moms have responded )

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I co-sleep with my 5 month old, IMO our bed is the most natural and safe place for her. it also makes it much easier to nurse through the night, especially in the earlier weeks when she was nursing around the clock.

I would like to hear what others think about co-sleeping/bed sharing. pros/cons

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[deleted account]

And other people have read and researched the dangers of starting solids early. But they choose to start earlier than 6 months for their own reasons. Their baby looses the tongue reflex thereby making it safe, among many other reasons. To each their own, as long as they are not intentionally harming their child. If you've done your research and make decisions based on that good for you. The rest of us are intelligent enough to do the same. Good parenting is a mix of research, instincts, and knowing your child. And quite frankly, the instinct and knowing your child part is more important than research. Because there is no way researchers can know and study every baby in the world.

Charlie - posted on 06/05/2010

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when it comes to sleeping It just seems to me we all take some sort of risk at some time whether its Co-sleeping , sleeping our kids on their tummies , CIO , to even leaving a child unattended or unsupervised in their own room there are all sorts of scenarios that COULD play out .

The point is we all use common sense , intuition , and medical advise to assess what we consider is safe for our children , the difference is while some of us accept that different people use different methods with some amount of slight risk ( hence using common sense ) others prefer to use their methods with associated risk but refuse to see it , as that is their way of parenting therefore all others who do otherwise are wrong .

I dont care if you co - sleep or not or if your child is a tummy sleeper or not but don't try and dismiss the fact we ALL take elements of risk , its seems to be "do it my way or be held guilty' if it works for you then great .

Marabeth - posted on 06/05/2010

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to the post about the consumer survey saying that 515 babies were killed between jan 1990 to december 1997.. that's 64.375 babies a year (btw, that stat is for 0-2 year olds). sids kills over 7000 babies a year (sids refers to less than 1 year old). both co-sleeping and breastfeeding reduces risk of sids. the US is 42nd in infant survival (really shows how 'advanced' we are). nations that routinely breastfeed and co-sleep rank with half of our overall death rate and negligable sids rates.

[deleted account]

Christina M you said this in the other thread, "When I had my little one, they gave me an overload of information. I wish every hospital did the same. Its ashame."

My hospital actually warned heavily against co-sleeping. They had a social worker talk to me about it. It was posted in the maternity rooms. Now personally I don't have a problem with people co-sleeping. But I agree with Sharon that your reasoning doesn't make sense. You won't risk solids because of info you've been given, but you'll co-sleep despite warnings against it. It's really not up to me to tell you how to raise your child. You have strong convictions and that's great. I just wanted to point out that Sharon's comment wasn't far-fetched.

[deleted account]

Not that much difference than a baby in a bassinet next to mom's bed. The only difference is that I had to consciously pick up my daughter to cuddle and nurse her. I could touch her, hear her breath, etc. (Heck, now that she's in her own room, I can STILL hear her move...across the hall! With no baby monitor!) I was much more at ease knowing she wasn't going to get squashed in our tiny full size bed or smothered by one of the my husband's 5 pillows he thinks he has to have. I'm not saying you are wrong for bed sharing. I'm glad it works for you. But it would not have worked for me. In any case, I was still able to be very in tune to my daughter with her safely in the bassinet (or cradle really).

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Christina Marie - posted on 06/07/2010

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You know what, I actually wanted a SIDS monitor and everyone told me I was crazy.
Never knew anyone who had one..

Erin - posted on 06/07/2010

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jess...if you read back though the discussion you will see that more than one parent has shared how co-sleeping is the safer option.

that being said, i think it is time to move on to a new topic, as this one has become a circular debate.

thank you for your responses. :)

Jess - posted on 06/07/2010

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Erin, My comment about getting more sleep is for the mothers that co-sleep so they can go back to sleep while their baby feeds.

Not one co-sleeping parent is yet to tell me how what they are doing is SAFER than a baby sleeping in its own bed with a SIDS monitor.

If you want your baby to sleep safely than thats the only way to do it ! You may wake up at your baby's every move but a baby who isn't breathing isn't moving and therefore you aren't waking up ! Its too late to save them the next morning when you finally wake up !

Christina Marie - posted on 06/07/2010

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..and yes, I get way less sleep co-sleeping. I wake at every movement she makes! How I would love my bed back..

Christina Marie - posted on 06/07/2010

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SLEEPING SAFELY WITH YOUR BABY

There has been a lot of media claiming that sleeping with your baby in an adult bed is unsafe and can result in accidental smothering of an infant. One popular research study came out in 1999 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that showed 515 cases of accidental infant deaths occurred in an adult bed over an 8-year period between 1990 and 1997. That's about 65 deaths per year. These deaths were not classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), where the cause of death is undetermined. There were actual causes that were verified upon review of the scene and autopsy. Such causes included accidental smothering by an adult, getting trapped between the mattress and headboard or other furniture, and suffocation on a soft waterbed mattress.

The conclusion that the researchers drew from this study was that sleeping with an infant in an adult bed is dangerous and should never be done. This sounds like a reasonable conclusion, until you consider the epidemic of SIDS as a whole. During the 8-year period of this study, about 34,000 total cases of SIDS occurred in the U.S. (around 4250 per year). If 65 cases of non-SIDS accidental death occurred each year in a bed, and about 4250 cases of actual SIDS occurred overall each year, then the number of accidental deaths in an adult bed is only 1.5% of the total cases of SIDS.

There are two pieces of critical data that are missing that would allow us to determine the risk of SIDS or any cause of death in a bed versus a crib.


How many cases of actual SIDS occur in an adult bed versus in a crib?
How many babies sleep with their parents in the U.S., and how many sleep in cribs?
The data on the first question is available, but has anyone examined it? In fact, one independent researcher examined the CPSC's data and came to the opposite conclusion than did the CPSC - this data supports the conclusion that sleeping with your baby is actually SAFER than not sleeping with your baby.
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t10220... Continued if interested.

This is one of many researches done on the subject..

Erin - posted on 06/07/2010

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jess- how does co-sleeping help a nursing mother get extra sleep? iwake up to nurse my baby back to sleep, i also take her to her room where the change table is to change her diaper...how is that selfish? its the same amount of work as if i were getting up to get her from her crib to nurse her. i lay awake and nurse mainly because thats how she likes to nurse, and its comfortable for me.

Sara - posted on 06/07/2010

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I have friends who lost their 6 week old daughter to SIDS and they were co-sleeping. The baby rebreathed the CO2 that she was exhaling and died, she suffocated herself against her father. That was enough to convince me that I would never co-sleep with my newborn daughter...ever.

Jess - posted on 06/07/2010

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Why is that we let go of babies sleeping on their belly's, wicker baskets on the back seat of cars and alcohol for teething and yet Co-sleeping is still seeing the light of day? Co-sleeping in most cases is 100% for the mother and nothing to do with your child IMO *obviously this isn't always the case*. How much research and proof do parents need that co-sleeping is dangerous ?



One mother told me, she knew it was OK to co-sleep because she "loved her baby too much to roll on them in her sleep", yeah that totally makes sense !



My daughter has sleep apnea, we rely on a breathing monitor to watch her all night. Sids is a real issue, and these parents who think they will just magically wake up if their baby stops breathing are kidding themselves! The only safe place for your baby is in their own bed with a SIDS monitor. Take it from a mother who has held her cold, blue not breathing baby you NEVER want to be in that situation !!! Co-sleeping is incredibly dangerous. You could roll on your baby, your bedding could smoother your baby, your baby could fall off your bed. There are so many other ways to have your baby close at night without having them in your bed !



As a breastfeeding mother I understand the appeal of Co-sleeping for those night feeds but its incredibly selfish to risk your babies life for that little bit of extra sleep.

[deleted account]

In all honesty my daughter didn't even notice the transition. She was about 2 months old when she went from cradle at my bed to her own room. She slept the same. And yes, she nursed exclusively. We chose to move her when she was sleeping 6 + hours a night because our room is incredibly small and we were tripping over the darn cradle. It's in storage until the next baby.

Erin - posted on 06/07/2010

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sara- my comment before, when i said "there is a huge difference" i was speaking from a safety point, i was speaking of the security and attachment point. my second statement that you quoted was in regards to safety, which seems to be the bases of the argument against co sleeping.

as far as getting her out of our bed, we have already started to slowly transition her...she naps in her crib during the day, as of the last two weeks or so. she does not nap very well, but she never has been a great napper. the plan for us is...

4 weeks of napping during the day in her crib in her room.
2-4 weeks of sleeping at night in her crib (moved into our room)
then the crib will be moved into her room and she will sleep there.

so far this plan is working well for us, i did not want to have her in her crib until after 6 months, because as christina stated the risk of SIDS dramatically decrees after that. truthfully i dont see it being a problem transitioning her or any other child along as you do it right, in baby steps, letting them feel like they are incontrol instead of just going from one night sleeping in bed with mom and dad to being all alone in a crib in a different room. that's IMO

Christina Marie - posted on 06/07/2010

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This is my concern too. I love my LO, and love having her in my bed, but when her daddy returns home (over seas) I want some "couple time". I think it will be a hard transition, on us both! Thatts where the playpen comes in. From my bed to the playpen (in our room) to her bedroom.
We will just have to take my chances and hope for the best.

[deleted account]

Erin said, ".i dont really see the safety difference between having those on the bed and having the baby in a crib."



Is that not what I said to begin with? And when I said that before Erin said, ".there is a huge difference!!"



I don't know, maybe I'm being nit-picky, but something is rubbing me the wrong way. Please clarify if I'm not understanding.

Sara - posted on 06/07/2010

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I want to ask a question that I'm not sure has been addressed yet...for those that co-sleep and practice AP techniques, what are you going to do when one day, you want your bed back? I ask because I can't tell you how many women I have talked to that complain all the time about how their 8 year old still sleeps with them...I just wonoder, how do you avoid that scenario when practicing a family bed and how old is too old to be sleeping with you?

Krista - posted on 06/07/2010

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That's great. And Erin, I'm sorry if I was coming across like I didn't think that you know what you're doing. I just know that with my baby, he'll go from not knowing how to do something, to knowing how to do it, in the span of a blink of an eye. And I wasn't sure if you had had that experience yet with your little one. I would have hated for something to happen, and for you to wonder why nobody warned you that they can go from not rolling, to rolling like an expert, from one minute to the next.

Erin - posted on 06/07/2010

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yes when that day does come that she can "get herself out of that" than most certainly we will consider moving her to her own bed. and she will not be left alone in ours. i never said i was going to co-sleep until she was 16, we have a crib set up in her nursery and a pack n play and bassinet for our room so when the time comes to transition her we are prepared. again thanks for your concern but we have it under control.

christina- we have one of those rails on each side of our bed for nap time, and the time before we go to bed that she is there alone, makes it look like a big hospital bed haha, but its for safety not aesthetics...i dont really see the safety difference between having those on the bed and having the baby in a crib.

Christina Marie - posted on 06/07/2010

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Before my LO could even roll we got one of those bed rails. Though I have heard from many moms that once a certain age I won't be getting much sleep. From her constant moving, rolling, etc..
When she turns 6 months I have been debating on trying her playpen right beside my bed. SIDS drops by 90% and it will definitely help with the transition from mommy's bed to crib..

Krista - posted on 06/07/2010

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i nurse her to sleep she is in a safe secure wedge made for co-sleeping, if i hear her move or wake i am there before she is even fully aware i was gone. she is alone for maybe an hour, the rest of the night she is right by my side, sfe, secure, and comfy....there is a huge difference!!

You do realize that there will very soon come a day when she'll be able to get out of that wedge, right?

I don't know -- I just think about how busy my little guy is, crawling all over the place and exploring. Even in his sleep he changes position about 40 times. If I slept with him, I wouldn't get a wink of sleep, as I'd be a perpetual nervous wreck about him falling off the bed.

Sunny - posted on 06/07/2010

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I co-slept with my son from the day he was born. He was tucked into bed with me in the hospital. We were in and out of sleep centers for over a year and there was no way any of the nurses could get him to sleep. He went 4 days with no sleep at 4 months old. Sleeping with me was the only thing that worked. He is 3 years old now. He still has sleep issues but sleeps on his own when dad is home. If one of us is away he gets to sleep we us and that is the only time he will sleep well, no night mares ect. I never thought i would co-sleep but i also never thought id do a lot of things i now do, like wear my pjs all day, dont have my hair and make-up done ect lol The next baby we have i will be putting them in the bassinet and cot, fingers crossed they get used, but if not im not stressed out about co-sleeping. We know how to do it safely and that it worked for our family the first time. Everyone strives for a happy healthy family and for some co-sleeping helps to achieve that, no one is trying to put their children in danger.

Nikki - posted on 06/06/2010

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Wow this is such a touchy subject!! I haven't read all of the comments (my bad, too busy) I co slept with my daughter until she was 4 months, full time. It just worked for us, felt natural and normal, I suppose. I never feared of anything happening to her while she was sleeping with me, I was very aware of where she was, where the blankets were etc. As soon as I gave up breast feeding it was another story, I felt differently instantly, I slept deeper and was not comfortable any more. She still sleeps with us of a morning, but I don't really sleep, it's more resting with my eyes closed! I could understand why many are not comfortable with it, in that case, don't do it. But as in my case, I felt more comfortable having her in bed with me. If I had of been able to continue breast feeding we would probably still be co sleeping at 7 months.

C. - posted on 06/06/2010

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(Quoting Erin P:) "i strongly disagree...we practice attachment parenting allll the way, if my baby wants to be help or be close to me allll the time then she will be, and you will not tell me that is wrong!!! there are many other ways infants can learn independence than being left alone in a big crib all by themselves...IMO it is cruel to expect a baby who has spend the last 9-10 months in the tight comforting quarters of the womb to be thrown into a big harsh crib with no comfort. so no it makes absolutely no sense!!



wow you must have been busy listening to every single babies breathing patterns, every single second of the day to determine that NONE of the babies in your family ever had an erratic breath. *note the sarcasm at your blatant exaggeration"





Oh, Erin.. Please do get a grip on yourself and CALM DOWN. I never said it was 'wrong' in any way.. Babies do need to learn some form of independence and that's a FACT. But never once did I use the word ''wrong" when it came to you, now did I? No.



And excuse me, but saying that non-co-sleepers just throw their babies in a huge crib all by themselves is wrong.. You got some kind of nerve, you know that? I'll try to be gentle on you since you obviously don't understand how non-co-sleeping works.. But good Lord.



You can have a baby in a bassinet beside your bed and still hear them breathing.. As I did when my son was first born up until he was almost 9 months old (well, he was out of the original bassinet- by 2 months he had completely outgrown it- but he was in a pack-n-play bassinet and then just a pack-n-play as he got more mobile and started to pull himself up.) ANYHOO.. To me there is no excuse to have a baby in the bed with you when it's that dangerous if you have the option of having a bassinet RIGHT NEXT TO THE BED and can still hear their every breath. And no, I never said I was there to hear every breath of my niece/nephews/cousins.. But I am not a recluse. When I was pregnant, my sisters, cousins and I talked and THEY were the ones monitoring their babies and they have no reason to lie about whether or not their babies had erratic breathing patterns! And I have no reason not to believe them about their own babies. We are a family of firm-believers in not lying b/c it literally gets you nowhere except backed into a corner.



I digress..



Back to throwing a baby into a huge crib. That's just ludicrous.. Seriously? I can't help but laugh. I'm not trying to be rude, but that's just very laughable b/c it is not true and any mother that has not co-slept for any short period of time knows that.



Let me break it down for you.. When you don't co-sleep, you have the option of bassinet or crib. A lot of babies outgrow the bassinet within the first several months of life, so the parents naturally advance the baby to a crib. Now, this is where monitors come in.. You know, the little walkie-talkie-looking devices that they sell in stores- They make them for a reason. So that parents can hear their little ones. I, for one, used to have mine up almost all the way and up to my ear at night when we finally moved our son into his own room b/c I hated not knowing if he was even breathing. Most first parents are like that. I was able to hear my son without having to worry about anything. He was safe and secure in his own crib.



Now, lets be real here.. Just b/c you put your baby into a CRIB (which, by the way they have used cribs for hundreds and hundreds of years- not since the dawn of time, but for hundreds of years..) that doesn't make you a horrible, neglectful mother/father. (Ok, so you didn't use the word 'neglectful' but others have in debates about this very topic, so I just threw it in there to cover all bases..) And just b/c you sleep with your baby in your bed doesn't make you a horrible mother/father.. Not something I agree with b/c I believe it is much too dangerous, but it doesn't mean you're a horrible person. Now, can we get on with it..





And to those who have the argument that babies have been sleeping with their parents since the dawn of time.. Aren't you all the same people that keep talking about evolution of this-and-that?? So, why is it after hundreds of years of having cribs around, people are now more than ever, going back to the stone age instead of continuing to evolve?? That just makes no sense to me whatsoever. Well, have it your way, you can go back in time.. I choose to move forward, thank you.



WHEW! *Takes deep breath*

Erin - posted on 06/06/2010

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i nurse her to sleep she is in a safe secure wedge made for co-sleeping, if i hear her move or wake i am there before she is even fully aware i was gone. she is alone for maybe an hour, the rest of the night she is right by my side, sfe, secure, and comfy....there is a huge difference!!

[deleted account]

Did you not say you put your baby to sleep by herself in the middle of your big bed until you are ready for bed? What's the difference?

Erin - posted on 06/06/2010

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i strongly disagree...we practice attachment parenting allll the way, if my baby wants to be help or be close to me allll the time then she will be, and you will not tell me that is wrong!!! there are many other ways infants can learn independence than being left alone in a big crib all by themselves...IMO it is cruel to expect a baby who has spend the last 9-10 months in the tight comforting quarters of the womb to be thrown into a big harsh crib with no comfort. so no it makes absolutely no sense!!



wow you must have been busy listening to every single babies breathing patterns, every single second of the day to determine that NONE of the babies in your family ever had an erratic breath. *note the sarcasm at your blatant exaggeration"

C. - posted on 06/06/2010

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@Erin P.

Not sure of anyone on this thread that has confused SIDs and suffocation, but Ok.

Out of all the babies in our family, none of them were co-sleepers and none of them exhibited any erratic breathing patterns. I am sure there are many, many others that are just the same..

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_infant_brea...

Your baby just has to be in close contact, such as holding them on your chest where they are able to hear you breathing, to learn how to breathe properly.. You don't have to sleep with them in your bed.

And let me note again, if you have the crib safely set up with none of the frills and the crib is within safety reg's, there really shouldn't be a problem.. However with a parent's bed, the blankets and pillows remain.

My son used to be a horrible sleeper.. He only slept on my chest curled up in a tight little ball. That's how most babies are.. They just want to be held. But that doesn't mean that we are supposed to hold them all the time. The longer it takes to teach our children a little (and I cannot stress the word a LITTLE enough).. A little independence as an infant/baby/toddler/etc.. The harder it is going to be, not just for the parent but for the child as well. I'm not saying ignore your child or anything bizarre like that. Not at all, but there comes a time when they need to learn a little independence so they can learn to deal with certain things on their own, if that makes sense.

@Sarah.. What you said makes sense, yes.. But that's the thing, nobody was getting all wound up about it.

Sarah - posted on 06/06/2010

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Sorry, Christina Prato!
Thanks, at least I know I'm making sense, even if I forget to clarify who I'm talking to! lol
:)

Christina Marie - posted on 06/06/2010

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Me Christina? Or Christina Patro?
Makes total sense.
I find people get sooo defensive that a debate just becomes no fun and more of an argument. Words start getting thrown at the person instead of the topic and its all down hill from there...
I think the only thing to do at that point is swallow your pride and walk away!

Sarah - posted on 06/06/2010

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@Christina
I'm not saying that everyone should become neutral.
I'm just trying to say that people seem to take the debate on this issue (and solids, and many others) very personally, when obviously it's a personal choice that works for some and not others.
Debating the merits/disadvantages etc is one thing. Getting personal and wound up about it is what I don't understand.
If that makes sense?

Christina Marie - posted on 06/06/2010

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I agree. I always said no way would I co-sleep, but after becoming a mom that is the only way I feel comfortable.
Every precaution is a must when sharing a bed with your baby. Safe co-sleeping is definitely (for me) the safest place for my LO to be :)

Krista - posted on 06/06/2010

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* Do not sleep with your baby if:

3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.


Shit, what new mother ISN'T sleep-deprived?

Anyway, I did want to clarify that I'm not against co-sleeping as far as room-sharing goes, or having one of those cosleeper jobbies that attach to the bed. I'm all for those. We had our son in our room when he was first born.

I do feel that bedsharing IS riskier than if the baby is in his/her own space, however. But, if you've taken every precaution and are confident that there is no way that you will roll over onto your baby, then that's totally your prerogative. It's just not something I could ever be comfortable doing, and I just can't understand NOT being nervous of that happening.

[deleted account]

Interesting notation about ""In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement urging that all healthy infants, born full-term be placed to sleep on their backs (Pediatrics, 1992; 89:1120-1126)." And then also recommended in '94 & 2000. My son was not full term-technically. Due to the onset of kidney failure (prevalent in my family), my OB made the decision to induce at 36 weeks. I was extremely lucky that I took home a healthy baby 48 hours later, no oxygen needed, just a small baby. He was 4.8 pounds when we left the hospital. So, I wonder if this contributes to him being a tummy sleeper? Who knows?! Of course he also slept on our chest too, but that's common of all babies! He remained exclusively in the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper for the first 4 months. Then gradual naps in the bed. I was successful with him in a crib for awhile, but then back to mommy's bed...where he still is @@

Erin - posted on 06/06/2010

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I never in a million years thought we would co-sleep, i was so dead against it when i was pregnant. it was a LC/nurse who suggested it to me and even then i was weary. by baby would not sleep anywhere but in my arms, and would wake as soon as she was put down. so i decided to try so-sleeping, and honestly i dont know why i was so worried, it was great, i love having her right there with me where i can keep an eye on her. co-sleeping actually reduces SIDS, as the baby is in tune with the mothers breathing patterns, and studies have shown co-sleeping babies are much less likely to exhibit erratic breathing patterns of most newborns.

also...just to clarify, i think a lot of people have SIDS mixed up with suffocation...SIDS and suffocation are two very different things.

just an added note, they call it "crib death" for a reason...its not "parents bed death" because most cases of SIDS and suffocation happen in a crib!!

C. - posted on 06/06/2010

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"I don't really see why Co-sleeping is such a big debate to be honest. If it works for you, then great! If it doesn't then that's great too!!"



With all due respect, Sarah, that could be said for ANY debate.. So in that case, what would be the point of a debate forum if everyone should stay neutral?



The reason so many people get in an uproar is b/c there have been so many studies done, especially on these topics (solids and co-sleeping) that state the exact opposite of what so many typically believe (that none of it is dangerous). I had this written out better, but I lost my internet connection right when I hit the 'Post' button, so sorry if it doesn't come across as I originally intended. I need to go finish breakfast. I'll be back later.

Charlie - posted on 06/06/2010

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Ok i would like to share this article written by Dr Sarah J Buckley.


For the millions of years of our human evolution, mothers have slept with their babies; it is what we are adapted for, physiologically, hormonally and emotionally. The warmth of our bodies, our vigilance even in deep sleep (actually, a breastfeeding, co-sleeping mother spends less time in deep sleep) the easy access to our breast and the synchronising of sleep cycles all provide an optimal night-time environment for our babies.

These benefits are confirmed by the elegant research done by James McKenna, Professor of Anthropology at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US and his colleagues, (McKenna,J., Mosko,S 1990) who invited 35 mother-baby pairs into a sleep research laboratory, and monitored overnight their sleep patterns as they slept together or in separate rooms. They found that, not only did co-sleeping pairs get into the same sleep cycles, but that babies who co-slept experienced more frequent “arousals”, triggered by the mother’s movements, and spent less time in deep sleep.

As a researcher in SIDS, Prof McKenna believes that these low-level arousals, which did not actually awaken either partner, give the baby practice in arousing itself, and may lessen a baby’s susceptibility to some forms of SIDS which are thought to be caused when a baby fails to arouse from deep sleep to re-establish breathing patterns. (McKenna,J.,Bernshaw,N. 1995)

Professor McKenna speculates our young are not developmentally prepared to “sleep through” in a solitary bed, involving, as this does, long periods of deep sleep. (McKenna,J.,Bernshaw,N. 1995)

Videos taken during the study showed that co-sleeping mothers, even in deep sleep, seemed aware of their baby’s position, and moved when necessary to avoid over-laying. At no time in the study did co-sleeping mothers impede the breathing of their babies, who had higher average oxygen levels than solitary sleepers.

Although there is no direct evidence to prove Professor McKenna’s theories, some of the lowest rates of SIDS are found amongst cultures where co-sleeping is predominant. (McKenna, J., Bernshaw, N. 1995)

In fact, on a word-wide basis, co-sleeping is very much the norm. (Small, 1998) Even in western cultures, bed sharing between mother and nursing baby (usually up to two) was standard practice up until around 150 years ago. Older children would co-sleep with siblings, with a member of the extended family or, for the upper classes, with a servant or nurse-maid.(Thevenin, 1996)

The 1800s saw the rise of the child-rearing expert - usually male - who emphasised self-reliance from an early age, with strict guidelines for breastfeeding, toilet training and sleep. Newborns were expected to sleep with their mother, but they were to be removed to an unshared room before the age of one.(Thevenin, 1996)

With the industrial revolution in the late 1800s, the extended family began to splinter. Mother became solely responsible for the house and children, and the need for children who required little of her time became paramount. The rise of the germ theory, where the populace was warned not to breathe the air of another, led to a further emphasis on separate sleeping. (Thevenin, 1996)

Later this century, smaller and increasingly affluent families began to build houses with separate sleeping quarters so that each child could sleep alone. The myth arose that “cot-death” was caused by mothers over-laying and smothering their babies, which further frightened mothers away from co-sleeping. (Thevenin, 1996)

Thankfully, there has been a recent turn-around, and many parents feel more comfortable about sleeping with their babies. Books such as Tine Thevenin’s classic, The Family Bed (Avery, 1993), have helped to dispel some of the myths around co-sleeping. The most stubborn concern, that of safety, has also been addressed, with recent western studies showing that co-sleeping does not increase SIDS risk unless co-sleeping parents smoke or use alcohol or drugs (National SIDS Council, 1997).

However, our soft western bedding may offer more hazards than that of other cultures. Co-sleeping parents need to ensure that their baby’s face or head does not become covered by bedding ( pillows or quilts can cause problems), that the baby cannot sink into an overly soft mattress - water beds are not recommended - and that the baby does not become entrapped, especially in a face-down position. (AAP 1997, National SIDS Council, 1997)

Co-sleeping is safe, satisfying and pleasurable; and its fun to wake up to a cute smile in the mornings. Co-sleeping does not guarantee a full nights sleep - in fact, in McKenna’s studies, co-sleeping babies fed more often, (although the mothers usually underestimated this) - but, in my experience, waking several times from light sleep is less tiring than the panic and disruption of being woken from deep sleep.

Personally, I have also particularly enjoyed the night-time intimacy with my second and third babies, for whom day times are shared with siblings. Perhaps I have also relaxed, and stopped counting the night wakings, knowing that it passes in its own time and that satisfying my babies needs is an investment which pays rich dividends.

References;

American Academy of Pediatrics Does Bedsharing affect the risk of SIDS? Pediatrics 1997:100(2);272

McKenna, J. J., Mosko, S. Evolution and infant sleep: An experimental study of infant-parent
co-sleeping and its implications for SIDS. Acta Paediatrica Supplement 1993 ;389:31-36

McKenna, J. J., Bernshaw, N. J. Breastfeeding and infant-parent co-sleeping as adaptive strategies: are they protective against SIDS? In Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives.

Stuart-Macadam, P. and Dettwyler, K.A. (eds) Aldine de Gruyter, 1995
Reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); Scientific literature to support the recommendations of the Forum to review the risk factors for SIDS, convened by the National SIDS Council of Australia, Melbourne, March 1997.

Small, Meredith E. Our Babies, Ourselves : How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent 1998 Doubleday. Excerpt published in Mothering
No 91. Nov/Dec 1998

Thevenin, Tine The Family Bed: An Age-old Concept in Child Rearing Avery 1986

Thevenin Tine In Support of the Family Bed. Mothering No 84. Oct/Nov/Dec 1996

Woolridge, M.W. Baby-controlled breastfeeding: biocultural implications. In Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives. Stuart-Macadam, P. and Dettwyler, K.A. (eds) 1995 Aldine de Gruyter.

Charlie - posted on 06/06/2010

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Its only a relatively new theory that co-sleeping is dangerous , considering parents have been co-sleeping since the dawn of time and most parents in other cultures continue to do so , it is only now in recent times in western culture that people have become concerned but like i said there is risk in almost everything sleep wise .

Sarah - posted on 06/06/2010

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Well both my girls were in our room, in their moses baskets, next to our bed. My eldest for 4 months our youngest for 6 months.
I never would have had them in the bed with us though.
When my eldest was born, it was considered dangerous to share a bed with your baby. Plus, none of us would have gotten any sleep! lol
It seems like it's not considered quite so dangerous these days (if done correctly) but as the message was very clear that is was when my eldest was born, i guess it's stuck with me.

I don't really see why Co-sleeping is such a big debate to be honest. If it works for you, then great! If it doesn't then that's great too!!
I don't understand why people get so passionate about it, or the solids thing to be honest. You do what works best for you and yours :)

C. - posted on 06/05/2010

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Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are actually the same thing.. Sharing a room is another.



(Edited to add: )



The difference is, as long as your baby is on their stomach with nothing in their breathing path, like blankets, clothes, toys, pillows, etc.. And as long as the mattress pad is firm so the baby doesn't sink down in, the baby will be fine.



However, it is unlikely that you are going to take all of the pillows, blankets and things from your own bed and I don't know any parent that likes to sleep on a mattress that is firm enough that their baby can't suffocate. I hope that gave you a little clarification as to why I think they are completely different as far as the danger factor.

Johnny - posted on 06/05/2010

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I personally understand that there are many babies who refuse to sleep when placed on their backs, and so I have no judgment or issue with mothers who must follow their children's cues in this area. (My daughter was the opposite and freaked out when placed on her stomach). Some kids just are tummy sleepers, as Sharon says, and that needs to be recognized and safe sleeping precautions for these babies should be shared by medical staff with new parents. There is no need for parents to be made to feel guilty about having a baby that needs to sleep on its stomach.



That being said, I am not sure what is the difference between taking a calculated risk (following safety precautions) to allow a baby to sleep on its stomach and taking a calculated risk (following safety precautions) to co-sleep. Especially when seeing the following strongly worded statement issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health:



"In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement urging that all healthy infants, born full-term be placed to sleep on their backs (Pediatrics, 1992; 89:1120-1126). This advice was based on many research reports that showed babies had a greater chance of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when they were placed to sleep on their stomachs. The AAP confirmed its recommendation in 1994 (Pediatrics, 1994; 93:820), and again in 2000 (Pediatrics, 2000; 105:650-656). The AAP encourages health care providers to read these articles supporting the advice that babies sleep safest on their backs."

C. - posted on 06/05/2010

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Sharon, mine was and still is, too! There is a difference between that and co-sleeping that I think some people just refuse to see, though.

[deleted account]

* Place baby to sleep on his back.



Oh that one just upset me to no end as a new mother! My son shrieked bloody murder when he was placed on his back and was only content on his tummy. It took me a long time to accept it for what it was-my kid is a tummy sleeper. And still is.

Johnny - posted on 06/05/2010

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From Dr. Sears:

Here are some ways to educate parents on how to sleep safely with their baby:

* Use an Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper® Bassinet. An alternative to sleeping with baby in your bed is the Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper®. This crib-like bed fits safely and snuggly adjacent to parent's bed. The co-sleeper® arrangement gives parents and baby their own separate sleeping spaces yet, keeps baby within arm's reach for easy nighttime care. To learn more about the Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper® Bassinet visit www.armsreach.com.

* Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother. Like heat-seeking missiles, babies automatically gravitate toward a warm body. Yet, to be safe, place baby between mother and a guardrail or push the mattress flush against the wall and position baby between mother and the wall. Guardrails enclosed with plastic mesh are safer than those with slats, which can entrap baby's limbs or head. Be sure the guardrail is flush against the mattress so there is no crevice that baby could sink into.

* Place baby adjacent to mother, rather than between mother and father. Mothers we have interviewed on the subject of sharing sleep feel they are so physically and mentally aware of their baby's presence even while sleeping, that it's extremely unlikely they would roll over onto their baby. Some fathers, on the other hand, may not enjoy the same sensitivity of baby's presence while asleep; so it is possible they might roll over on or throw out an arm onto baby. After a few months of sleep-sharing, most dads seem to develop a keen awareness of their baby's presence.

* Place baby to sleep on his back.

* Use a large bed, preferably a queen-size or king-size. A king-size bed may wind up being your most useful piece of "baby furniture." If you only have a cozy double bed, use the money that you would ordinarily spend on a fancy crib and other less necessary baby furniture and treat yourselves to a safe and comfortable king-size bed.

* Some parents and babies sleep better if baby is still in touching and hearing distance, but not in the same bed. For them, a bedside co-sleeper is a safe option.

Here are some things to avoid:

* Do not sleep with your baby if:

1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger of pendulous breasts and large fat rolls.

3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

* Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

* Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

* Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

* Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

* Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

* Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.

Parents should use common sense when sharing sleep. Anything that could cause you to sleep more soundly than usual or that alters your sleep patterns can affect your baby's safety. Nearly all the highly suspected (but seldom proven) cases of fatal "overlying" I could find in the literature could have been avoided if parents had observed common sense sleeping practices.

The bottom line is that many parents share sleep with their babies. It can be done safely if the proper precautions are observed. The question shouldn't be "is it safe to sleep with my baby?", but rather "how can I sleep with my baby safely." The data on the incidence of SIDS in a bed versus a crib must be examined before the medical community can make a judgment on sleep safety in a bed.


http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t10220...

C. - posted on 06/05/2010

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Now.. Geez.. Sara H. made a very good point. Her hospital warned against it, mine did as well.



Co-sleeping is very dangerous. I don't see how having a bassinet next to the bed would be a bad thing, as opposed to having your child IN the bed with you. I cannot tell you how many times I had heard of parents rolling over their babies, either causing serious injury to the LO or death. To me, it's a no-brainer really. Why would you put a small baby in the bed with you where there are covers and pillows and things.. Things that hospitals and news reports keep warning about and telling people to take out of baby cribs?!?! If pillows and blankets can suffocate a baby in their crib, it can sure as heck happen in the parent's bed.. And it has on many occasions. I don't understand how people can sit there and justify it; I really don't. It's more dangerous than letting your baby sleep in a bassinet or crib that has none of the extras in it (pillows- which they don't need at that age anyway- fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, etc..)



Why don't we name a few risks of co-sleeping, shall we?



1) Rolling over your baby

2) Pulling the blanket over your baby unknowingly while asleep (say you get cold in the middle of the night and don't fully wake to pull the covers over you..)

3) When your baby can move, and say you had a rough day and are exhausted, what if they crawl under the blankets and nobody notices until it's too late?

4) Baby falls off the bed in such a way that the baby is left seriously injured



I know what you're thinking.. 'It's not going to happen to me'.. I suppose you wouldn't like to repeat that to the parents that it did happen to. I'm sure they thought the same thing..



It's dangerous. Period.

Krista - posted on 06/05/2010

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These are the same dangers as a crib has without proper precautions.

Call me crazy, but I'm thinking that in a crib, there PROBABLY isn't a whole lot of danger of the adult rolling onto the baby and suffocating him.

Caitlin - posted on 06/05/2010

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I had no intentions of cosleeping with my first daughter. She was in her own room from day 1.. until day 3.. I couldn't deal with her waking every 2 hours for feding and having to get out of my bed in the winter (the hosue was chilly - it's an old house) and nurse her for the 20-30 mins and then go back to bed, just to wake up in about another hour and a half. We set her up a playpen with a bassinet thingy in it in our room next to our bed where she slept on weekends whiel my husband was home, but since he works night on weekdays, she almost always slept with me the majority of the time (I'd put her down the first time in her basinet, then bring her into bed with me afte the first feed).



I loved sleeping with her snuggled up in bed with me, where I could watch her sleep with the wedges to prevent her from travelling and squirming and falling off the bed. I would have loved to continue that, but at around 4 months old she stopped sleeping well in bed with me, every time I shifted she would wake up and fuss, so the playpen was her regular sleeping place. Abotu a month after that she was sleeping in her own room, waking 3 or 4 times a night and I really missed the co sleeping!



When I brought #2 home I was prepared for the worst but we set up the bassinet again, and she started sleeping in there from 9-4 at 4 weeks old and now (3 months old) she sleeps about 8:30 - 7, no waking which seems to be a minor miracle. I imagine she will be in a crib before I know it, the only thing stopping me is she will be sharing a room with her 18 month old sister, and that could prove to be quite interesting since my 18 month old is a light sleeper, I don't want to wake her up when I put the baby down (my 18 month old is down for the night at 7pm).



Neither of my girls seems to be the cuddly type, except when they are sick, but even then they refuse to sleep with me, they are too independant for my liking, because I love my cuddles!



***Edited to add**

My second daughter had reflux issues, which led to many sleepless nights at the begining until I cut out dairy from my diet, she used to wake up choking in the middle of the night on her own vomit, making gasping sounds looking like a fish out of water trying to get some air. Poor thing, I kept her right next to the bed in her bassinet until we solved that issue, I used to have to wake 4-5 times a night to flip her on her side to clear her airway. I'm convinced if I hadn't co-slept (or had her right next to me) we would have lost her to "SIDS" by 2 months old...

Christina Marie - posted on 06/05/2010

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these are co-sleeping deaths, but many of these infants are sleeping alone in adult beds.

Why did they forget to mention that safe cosleeping actually reduces bed deaths??

The crib industry (JPMA) provided a large forum for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to announce this report. Unfortunately, no comparative statistics are provided in their announcements, and even the statistics they report are admittedly anecdotal and irregular. While the report supposedly left out the adult bed deaths that were diagnosed as SIDS (versus accidents), the determination between suffocation and SIDS is often a judgment call. Suffocation in a crib is more often reported as SIDS, while suffocation in an adult bed is reported as "death by adult bed."

The actual SIDS statistics were not measured. Why? Several well-designed research studies demonstrate that SIDS is actually reduced in babies cosleeping along with an aware, protective (non-smoking, non-drug-impaired) mother in a safe bed. Such an announcement would not sell cribs.

The numbers in the largest study on cosleeping around the world suggest that safe cosleeping reduces SIDS! See graph at bottom. International Child Care Practices Study

Another large study on SIDS shows 1/5th the risk of death for sleeping infants simply sharing the room with non-smoking adults. This includes many sleep variations. The rate for sharing bed was not measured directly. New Zealand Cot Death Study.

While SIDS can be greatly reduced by breastfeeding, no one ever mentions this.

Its a great link, if you care to read it. http://thebabybond.com/Cosleeping&SIDSFa...

As for solids, that is a whole othere debate. Which I have said many times to each their own.

Christina Marie - posted on 06/05/2010

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These are the same dangers as a crib has without proper precautions.
Believe me when I say I take every precaution possible with my lo. I have done a ridiculous amount of reading/research on SIDS. I read everything you have pointed out many times and do not worry about it one bit. I feel she is safer in bed with me. Thats the whole point of having her there.
I am pretending nothing..

Krista - posted on 06/05/2010

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From the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
A review of incident data from January 1990 to December 1997 linked adult beds to at least 515 baby deaths. Analysis of the deaths revealed four major hazard patterns:

-Suffocation associated with the co-sleeping of adult and baby.
-Suffocation where an infant becomes entrapped or wedged between the mattress and another object.
-Suffocation due to airway obstruction when the baby is face down on a waterbed mattress.
-Strangulation in rails or openings on beds that allow a baby's body to pass through while entrapping the head.

CPSC's study is the first to quantify the number of fatalities resulting from the practice of co-sleeping with babies. Of the 515 deaths, 121 were reported to be due to a parent, caregiver or sibling rolling on top of or against the baby while sleeping. More than three-quarters of these deaths occurred to infants younger than 3 months. The other 394 deaths resulted from suffocation or from strangulation caused by entrapment of the child's head in various structures of the bed. Entrapments occurred between the mattress and the wall, bed frame, headboard, footboard, bed railings or adjacent furniture.
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Yes, if you avoid smoking, drugs, pillows, blankets, etc., you REDUCE the risk of something happening to your baby. But you do not ELIMINATE the risk. If that is a risk that you choose to take, then that is your business. However, to pretend that there is absolutely no risk whatsoever to bed-sharing is disingenuous at best.

Christina Marie - posted on 06/05/2010

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Actually I got lots of information on co-sleeping.
The dangers. Parents who smoke, drink, do drugs. Pillows, blankets and other things that may be in the bed. ETC. None of which are relovent to me.

So again I will ask, what is unsafe? Maybe I will get an answer this time.

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