We Cosleep

I haven't been shy about the fact that we cosleep with Keira, and have for a long time now. It started in the first week when she let me know that likes to take her time while eating. Mommy (me) falls asleep very easily and would often be on the verge of dozing off during her marathon nursing sessions. I started with her on the Boppy pillow, leaned back in bed. We had the Arms Reach CoSleeper next to us. She was not going anywhere. Still I worried... So I read up on safe cosleeping, mostly thanks to Dr Sears. Cosleeping felt "right" to me.
{Suggested Reading: Attachment Parenting, by Dr William Sears}
I read detailed studies, and what I can interpret from the studies is that cosleeping is unsafe when:
  • the parents have baby in bed because they can't afford to buy a crib, 
  • the parents have been drinking/doing drugs, 
  • the parents smoke cigarettes, 
  • the parent is overweight, OR
  • the parent is over-tired (accidental cosleeping, or comatose sleeping). 

The typical response to these possible threats was to create a campaign against cosleeping as a whole. But for many people it IS safe, the sober, breastfeeding mom is a perfect example. Cosleeping is like oxygen, so natural, so necessary. How likely is it that you will roll onto your baby and suffocate them? Try this- go to the grocery store, find a melon the size of your baby. Place the melon in your bed, go to sleep, see if you roll onto the melon. I doubt it! How many times have you woken up and you were sleeping on top of your spouse? I'm guessing never.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinion, but my opinion (based on research), is that if you meet certain criteria and you are PURPOSEFULLY COSLEEPING, then it is safe for you. If you are ACCIDENTALLY cosleeping, or cosleeping BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO OTHER PLACE FOR BABY TO SLEEP- then you are probably not safely cosleeping.

Cosleeping is more "risky" before age 3 months since babies are smaller and not coordinated enough to push away a stray blanket. I recommend using a sidecar cosleeper and try to place them back in there once they are done feeding. But if you follow the guidelines below, you will be prepared in case you fall asleep while nursing (a natural reaction).

Safe Cosleeping Guidelines:
  • Baby must sleep next to a breastfeeding mom
  • Keep your hair pulled back
  • Use only a light blanket
  • Do not wear any clothing with drawstrings
  • Ensure there is no way for baby to roll out of bed (side-car, or push bed against wall)
  • Don't smoke
  • Don't drink alcohol, or take any drugs (including prescription, if they cause drowsiness)
  • Dress baby comfortably, avoid overheating
  • Use a fan to circulate air
  • Do not sleep on a waterbed, pillow top mattress, couch, or armchair
  • Do not allow any other children or pets to sleep in bed with you

Here are MANY resources on safe cosleeping:

Read them and decide what is right for you. If you think you may ever cosleep, even accidentally (fall asleep while nursing baby) then you may want to plan ahead and set up a safe environment.
(sleeping on a couch, or rocking/gliding chair is NOT SAFE COSLEEPING).

Many moms resort to staying away from their beds, terrified by the anti-cosleeping ads, but falling asleep with your baby in your arms while laying on a couch or comfortable glider/rocking chair is MUCH MORE dangerous.

Other great books about getting safe sleep while breastfeeding:


Happy safe cosleeping, and snuggle those babies!

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