What You Need to Know About Co-sleeping and Bed-sharing
Co-sleeping and bed-sharing is a slightly controversial topic in the parenting world. The medical community has not reached a consensus on the topic and thus mixed and false messages are often delivered to parents of newborns. I will lay out the topic here and provide as many resources as possible. It is up to each family to decide whether co-sleeping or bed-sharing is best for them. It is my hope that you are able to make an informed decision for your family and not one out of fear or pressure.First, Id like to give full disclosure that I have shared my bed with J. T. and continue to co-sleep and bed-share when appropriate. I cautiously made the decision to keep J.T. in the bed with us for several reasons.He slept more restfully and longer alongside me. Frequent nursing throughout the night without him fully waking was easier.I was able to get better rest (after staring at him sleeping of course).Compelling research that found that bed-sharing and co-sleeping could be both safe and developmentally beneficial for infants. Now, I know you may be thinking but isnt it dangerous for the baby? Werent you afraid you might smother him? The answer to the latter is absolutely. We didnt originally intend to share our bed with him. We had a bassinet by the bed and a crib in the nursery next door, but when we would lay him down in either, he would wake up and cry. We also found out he was jaundice about a week after he was born so I began breastfeeding him more frequently (every 2 hours) to help flush it out of his system. With that kind of feeding schedule and even once his feedings spaced out, having him right next to me made things much easier overnight. Once I found he was much happier sleeping on my chest or in the crook of my arm, I crept into a panic because of how his pediatrician had cautioned against it. So I began doing my own research, reaching out to other mothers and my own nurse-mother first, then reading scholarly research articles on the topic. Before we get into what the research shows on co-sleeping and bed-sharing, lets clarify some terms.Co-sleeping Terms to knowCo-sleeping: sleeping within close proximity of the baby. It can mean sleeping in the same room as the baby (with the baby in a crib or bassinet) or within the same bed.Bed-sharing: sleeping in the same bed with the baby (not on a couch or recliner)SIDS SIDS is an acronym for sudden infant death syndrome. SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant under the age of 1, usually during sleep. Although the cause of SIDS is unknown, doctors have been able to link its likelihood to certain physical and environmental factors.Suffocation the process of dying from being deprived of airI thought it was important to define suffocation, because many times people use SIDS and suffocation synonymously in relation to bed-sharing, when they are actually very different causes of death. Once again, the cause of SIDS is unknown and suffocation is the process of dying from being deprived of air. What research has found on bed-sharingThe low rates of infant mortality and SIDS in countries where it is cultural practice to bed-share, such as Japan demonstrates that it is how a family co-sleeps rather than the simple act of co-sleeping that dictates the danger to an infant. If bed-sharing were innately unsafe, these countries would have more elevated rates rather than those less than half than that of the United States.Bed-sharing has been found to help regulate babys temperature, heart rate, and provide elevated CO2 from the mother (when sleeping face-to-face) to stimulate infant respiration. Children who co-sleep often grow up to be more independent and more comfortable with their bodies and physical affection.Many studies that have linked bed-sharing with SIDS have done a poor job of separating SIDS from suffocation and illuminating what other conditions were present that elevate the risk of infant death, such as maternal smoking, drinking, drug use, or the presence of other children in bed.Bed-sharing mothers nurse more frequently throughout the night and for a greater number of months than non-bed-sharing mothers. Pediatricians often caution against bed-sharing at all costs without any context, but bed-sharing itself is not innately unsafe. In fact, more families are doing it successfully than you would assume. It is unfair to label it as an unsafe practice solely because, in certain circumstances, children have tragically died. Infants also die tragically in cribs (so much so that SIDS is also referred to sometimes as crib death), but cribs are not seen as innately unsafe. There are certain preventable factors that make any sleeping environment unsafe.When is bed-sharing unsafeWhen the infant has been exposed to smoking prenatally, especially maternal. Exposure to smoking was found to be linked to increases in respiratory events, especially obstructive apnea (interruptions in breathing during sleep) and decreases in arousal (less likely to awake and terminate a respiratory event).With other children in the bedWhen either parent has been drinking, using drugs, or sleeps extremely heavyWith lots of pillows, comforters, and/or gaps between bed and another object for baby to become trapped inSleeping on a couch or in a reclinerOnce again, co-sleeping is sleeping in close proximity to your infant, but does not necessarily mean in the same bed. Even if you do not bed-share, co-sleeping has great benefits for your child as well. If you are interested in co-sleeping, but not bed-sharing there are several different options for you.A long-term option: put the crib in your room if you have the space. Nursery could be an all reading and playing space. A short-term inexpensive option: An in-bed bassinet or travel sleeper. Bear in mind that baby will only fit into this in the earlier months (first 6 if hes not chunky like J.T. was). We tried something similar, but it wasnt comfortable for me or J. T. A short-term more expensive option: Bedside sleeper. I have not been able to find many rave reviews or many reviews at all about these, so proceed with much caution. Im just letting you know whats out there with this one. A longer lasting option: The pack-n-play, bassinet, changing table combo. If you end up unintentionally co-sleeping anyway (like many moms do), it will still be useful for you. You can use it as a changing table and it will grow with your baby. I have this very one by my bed as I type (of course, weve lowered ours).The method of sleeping that is best for you and your baby, will be up to you and your baby. I wish you the best in your journey of discovery. Be diligent in your research and trustful of your instincts.Here are more resources on the topic of co-sleeping and bed-sharing:Kelly Mom: Co-sleeping and bed-sharingArticles by mother-infant co-sleeping expert, Dr. James McKennaDisclaimer: J.T. is not modeling co-sleeping in the top photo, just a chubby baby peacefully sleeping on his daddys back for photo-ops. Happy Sleeping,JasmineRelatedOriginally published at on December 14, 2017 RELATED QUESTION Is there is any side effects of not sleeping in a medicated bed? I dont think so! if you are not a medical patient, you can sleep in any bed you feel comfortable with. But for medical patients, it is necessary to sleep on a medicated because it has so many movable parts that offer comfort to them and for their treatment. If you want a high-quality medical bed at your resident, you can easily get a free demonstration on the same day you will contact one of the best reliable online platforms which is Adjustable beds . They will provide you what ever you need in your medical bed. If you want to take a full experience of their medical beds, then you can use their free no obligation home service that will allow you to use their products at your own home.