When I mention 'Co-sleeping' most peoples first reaction is to bug their eyes out and ask in a concerned tone "Aren't you worried you'll roll over on the baby?!?!"
Okay,well instead of giggling and rolling my eyes,I have to acknowledge that many people aren't educated about the potential benefits of bed-sharing.
In fact,it seems to me that so much of our culture is only aware of 'potential' risks to bed-sharing.
The recent negative publicity-courtesy of Milwaukee,WI-has everyone in an uproar.
There are risks and benefits to sharing the bed with baby and the same goes for crib sleeping.
Become aware of those risks and benefits and then make the right decision for your family.
*To clarify: Co-sleeping means 'close by' and Bed-sharing means just what it is 'sharing the bed' with your baby.
We Bed-share in our house-but we have also roomed with our babies once they were older.
I love having my baby in my bed-and despite many awakenings,it's more of a dreamy fluent state-no getting in and out of bed every time baby cries!
And his crying is actually very rare-and on the occasion that he does cry,it's not for long!
I have bed-shared with all of my boys for at least the first 5 months exclusively and then at least part of the night until they were 12 months/weaned.
I feel it is very comforting and I find security in having them so close-by....And I'm certain they enjoy it too!
Hopefully some of these excerpts from articles will bring attention to the benefits of responsible bed-sharing....
Most early sleep studies were based on bottle-fed, solitary sleepers, with little night-time contact from their parents.
So, much of our “scientific” knowledge base is skewed to this model, and much of our advice focuses on independent sleep, and “self-soothing.”
Sleep Varies Based on Feeding Method:
Breastmilk is low in protein and fat, and high in lactose, so is digested quickly, so babies need to eat frequently.
One study showed that although length of sleep did not vary based on whether baby was formula or breastfed, breastfed babies were more easily aroused.
Sleep Varies Based on Sleeping Location:
Bedsharers woke twice as often, breastfed twice as often (avg. 1.5 hours between feeds), taking in three times more milk.
Bedsharers cry less: .5 hrs per night vs. 2.5 hrs/night for solitary sleepers
Bedsharers get more total sleep
When a committed adult caregiver, sleeps in the same room but not in the same bed with their infant the chance of the infant dying from SIDS is reduced by 50%.
Of known infant suffocation deaths:
139 in adult beds (25%)
428 in a crib (75%)
If 25% of deaths occurred in adult beds, and 75% in cribs, then we need to know what percentage of babies sleep in each location to understand the relative risk.
PRAMS data from CDC: 68% of US babies co-sleep at least some of the time.
Kimmel (2002) in Mothering:
Interpolates from PRAMS data from CDC: At any given time, ~ 44% are co-sleeping
This, combined with previous rates shows:
Bedsharing less than half as risky (42 %)
Crib sleeping had a relative risk of 2.37 compared with sleeping in an adult bed.
“ Almost all SIDS deaths associated with parental bedsharing occurred in conjunction with a history of parental drug use and occurred in association with the prone sleep position or sleep surfaces such as a couch or waterbed.” (Gessner)
Possible protective factors of co-sleeping
Breastfeeding mothers arouse 30% more frequently when bedsharing. Usually awoke before baby. This might increase the chances that mothers could more quickly detect and intervene against a life threatening event.
Babies have immature nervous systems. The bedsharing adult may help cue the baby to regulate temperature, breathing, and arousal patterns.
Where do babies sleep?
Meredith Small cites one study of 186 non-industrial societies. None of them have their babies sleep alone in the first year.
In another study of 172 societies, all infants do some co-sleeping at night.
Where Are U.S. Babies Sleeping?
About 50% say sometimes,19% never bedshare, 39% sometimes, 16% almost always, 27% always
Bedsharing was three times more common amongst breastfeeding families.
The above statistics and information were found here:
Sleeping like a baby~The how,when and why of newborn sleep
And the go-to doctor:
DR Sears addresses co-sleeping concerns
If you are able to view Pdf files,this is an interesting,informative presentation:
Best start co-sleeping presentation
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