Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cosleeping ~ Is it for you?

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival


Cosleeping is right up my alley! Anyone that knows my hippie ways could probably guess that I cosleep, if only because it isn't the norm. The idea didn't come to me on my own, though. Thirteen plus years ago, when I was expecting Tyler, my then-husband came home from work one day to tell me about a story he'd heard on NPR. The people on the show were talking about how cosleeping reduces the risk of SIDS. The idea is that if a baby does stop breathing, having the mother close by (breathing) kind of kick starts them back into their own breathing rhythm.

That is pretty far from the scare tactic stories you're hearing these days. It saddens me to see the real statistics and how they're skewed. It seems that any unexplained infant death is put under the SIDS category. Not only that, but parents that bring their babies to bed when they (the parent) are inebriated or over tired or are not accustomed to cosleeping who then roll over their baby and cause a death are lumped in with all cosleeping practices. Not fair.

I have had my children room-in with me after their births. I have had them in my bed and it is by far the easiest, most convenient way to handle night care, at least for my family. Once I brought my babies home, cosleeping has just felt like the right thing to do. It is natural.

There's that word. When I think of Natural Parenting, I think back to tribes or even to cavemen! How do you think cavemen (and women) took care of their babies? I'd bet money they didn't designate a space away from their parents! They did not put their babies in cages to sleep! So surely sleeping close together (even if not in the same actual bed) must be the natural way.

Yes, cosleeping can be dangerous. Aside from the dangers I listed above, there are dangerous furniture arrangements. Pushing your bed against the wall and placing baby there is not considered a safe sleeping space. Sleeping on a very soft mattress or on soft comforters is a suffocation hazard. If your spouse is a heavy sleeper, placing your baby between you is not a safe option.

cosleeping on the couchThis is not an example of safe cosleeping! First of all, the cushions of the couch were soft enough to suffocate my 2mo daughter. However, my husband was watching over us while we napped.

You have to find what (safely) works for you and your family. For me (and mine), the first solution was a toddler bed rail. I swear by these things! When I've felt the need for more space in my bed, I've gotten a toddler bed. With one daughter it was an actual bed, which turned out to be the perfect matching height for our mattress and box springs on the floor! This time around, we've used a toddler mattress on the floor next to our bed (also on the floor). We'll be reinstalling the toddler rail soon for our newborn (due in a few weeks).

Newborn Sasha sleeping in the floorWhen we weren't in bed, we still kept Sasha nearby, even if that meant napping on a blanket in the floor. Yes, there are warnings against letting your child sleep on their belly. Our doctor respected our choice here, especially knowing that we were nearby. Sasha has always loved sleeping on her belly.

If your sleeping arrangements aren't working for you or your child, ask other parents what they do. You might find some new ideas! Ask on parenting forums online, too. Ultimately you have to do what (safely) works for you, though. You don't have to cosleep to be a "Natural Parent" or an "Attachment Parent." In fact, you don't even have to have your baby IN your bed to be considered "cosleeping."

You can try a side-car bed. You can even use a crib and just keep it close to where you sleep. This way, you'll still get the benefit of hearing each other breathing, with none of the roll-over or fall risks. For nursing at night, though, I gotta say that nothing beats the convenience of sleeping in the same bed!

Does cosleeping work for you? Why or why not?

Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!

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