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Thursday 21 November 2013

Baby in the Bed

The idea of "co-sleeping" or "bed-sharing" has gotten a lot of bad press in the last few years. Maybe I have just been paying more attention because I have a child now. Still, it really bugs me to hear "doctor's reports" that say that under no circumstances should babies be allowed to sleep with their mommies, citing statistics of SIDS and relating baby deaths to bed sharing. I understand that doctors and researchers have an obligation to share facts and warn people about the dangers of sleeping with their babies, but saying "don't sleep with your baby because your baby might be smothered and die" is like saying, "don't hold your baby! you might drop her!" Seriously, come on. Who is not going to hold their baby? Furthermore, what mother is going to DROP her baby? Sure, it happens. But is that a good enough reason to put your baby in a carrier all the time, or a crib? For me, it wasn't. David is 4 months in this photo, still sleeping through every night and barely waking up to have some milk before falling asleep again. I didn't have to get up, and neither did my baby.

There is NO way you will roll over on your baby in the bed unless you have taken sleeping pills or lots of hard liquor before bed. I had our bed against a wall and never let baby get close to the edge of the bed so he could never fall off. I encourage all new moms to at least *try* to let your baby sleep with you. For me, cuddling with my baby was not only good for me (I got way more sleep) but I know that my baby loved it and felt safe and snuggled in the place where babies belong - with their mothers. I was skeptical on that first night when I wondered where to put my baby, not knowing what it would be like with a newborn, worrying that he would fall out of bed or get covered up with blankets. I tucked him into my arm and he slept there all night long - through the night, the first night of his life! And then began a wonderful journey of having my baby with me during the night - since then I had an easier time doing midnight diaper changes, nursing my baby without having to get up at all, and then when he was potty training I would pick him up in the night and sit him on a little potty next to our bed. Now he is 2 and 1/2, he doesn't wet the bed, and we haven't worn diapers for almost a year.

I try never to tell other mothers what to do, unless I hear someone asking for help. But I want to say things like "Keep nursing! Its all about the latch! You can do it!" or "Let your baby be naked! The diaper rash will go away!" or "Let your baby sleep with you! He will actually SLEEP!" So here I am on my blog with a little advocating for sharing a bed with your baby. Maybe it is not right for you and I respect other mothers for doing what is best for them and their babies. But if you know some new parents, feel free to let them know that this option is socially acceptable and may be a wonderful solution to sleep deprivation and a "colicky" baby. I encourage all parents who have been discouraged from doing this to try it and see how it is. It might just feel like the coziest, safest, most natural thing in the world.

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