32 answers

Co-sleeping - Doylestown,OH

ok, this isn't really a request. i'm just curious as to how many ladies co-sleep, and what its like for them, and why they chose to.

my husband and i share a bed with our son. i started sleeping with him in the hospital, because i just couldn't sleep without him next to me. also, it seemed like every time i nursed i fell asleep anyway, even with the bed cranked up. the nurses said they 'didn't recommend' sharing a bed, but they didn't try to stop me.

now duncan is five months old, and he sleeps partly in his crib at the foot of our bed, and then when he wakes to nurse he joins us. it seemed we all just slept better that way. i've read TONS of articles on it, some for, but mostly against. still, i like to think i know better than they what is best for us.

lots of folks try to tell us that duncan should be in his own bed, in his own room. they say that co-sleeping will make him too dependant on us, and that 'he has to learn to sleep alone sometime.' i just smile and say nothing. because he is very independant, and is able to take naps alone. we just prefer to sleep together. and in my opinion, moving him to his own room can wait until he's older.

at any rate, hope some of you will take the time to satisfy my curiosity. (and give me ammunition the next time my MIL tries to argue with me about it.) thanks!!

as far as the safety issues go, we sleep with duncan between my husband and i. he stays close to me, and my husband is not an 'active' sleeper. but he is also aware that the baby is in the bed, and has been good about it. i am a strong believer in instinct, and i think that men have paternal instinct, just like women have maternal instincts. when he nurses on the 'other' side, i don't fall asleep. (although i may doze lightly.) and i don't worry about rolling over on him, because i always 'just know' where he is. the one time i woke up facing away from duncan, i knew he was cuddled against my back.

and i'm not really worried about transitioning him to his own room. i think that he will let us know when he is ready for that, just like he let us know he was ready for solids. i try to let duncan dictate his own schedule, i don't really go by clocks or what books say he should be doing. if it seems like he wants to try something, we let him.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

lots of ladies have mentioned that co-sleeping is the way its done, all over the world, and all through history. i think we're built to do that, too. i'm glad i've paid attention to my 'instincts' because i love having a 'family bed,' even though before duncan was born i swore it'd NEVER happen.
so thanks again ladies for all your words. its great to be able to discuss things like this without having to feel 'ashamed' or being made to feel like you're doing something 'wrong' or 'weird.' great to know lots of other folks just do what they feel is natural for them and their families.

Featured Answers

There will come a time when it is best that he sleep in his own bed-especially when he wets through all his clothing and you have a wet bed to sleep on-no fun! Diapers do get too full of liquid ! Cloth kind AND disposables ! (mother of 6, one son)

I co-slept with my son, Austin, for the main reason that I was working full time and also nusring him. My husband, who is a very sound sleeper, usually slept on the couch when I had Austin in bed with me. My son is now 17 months old and sleeps fine in his crib. But, since my husband got used to sleeping on the couch that's where he sleeps even now.

For Sandra: Please don't think smothering can not happen, because it can. I had it happen in my family, and no, they weren't on drugs, drinking, or obese. That is just ignorant to make such a statement. My neice was 2 months old and her mom, my sister in law, was co sleeping because she was breastfeeding. She fell asleep and when she awoke, my neice was not breathing. My SIL had accidently rolled over on her. They even had a co sleeper that rolled next to their bed.

More Answers

There are risks to crib sleeping just as there are risks to bed sharing! And P.S. - Cosleeping does NOT necessarily mean bed sharing. What any parent hopefully tries to do is make the safest sleep environment possible, whether that's in a crib or in a family bed. And even parents who thought they were being safe have unfortunately had to suffer the loss of a child. Some of those deaths were probably preventable, while some babies would have died of unknown causes whether in a family bed or in a crib down the hall in a separate room.

Do babies die in cribs? You bet they do. That's why it was called "crib death" for so long before it was given the less negative-sounding name "SIDS." Even parents who have tried to be safe have had babies die in cribs by the baby:
- becoming entrapped between the crib slats
- suffocating when cribs collapse inward
- choking on some toy or crib bumper or object left in crib
- stopping breathing and being too far away from the parents (and that "trusty baby monitor") for the parents to notice & do anything about it
- being seriously sick but the parents not being able to tell how feverish or ill the baby is because that baby was down the hall in another room
- dying of unknown causes

So all of these parents with babies who only ever sleep in cribs, you may think you're being safe but it's always important to double and triple check the safety of the crib and bedding because babies still die in cribs (is your crib recalled? assembled correctly? free of excess bedding, chokable objects, strangulation hazards? firm matress? no gaps between mattress & crib sides?).

Do babies die while bedsharing? Yes here, too. Even parents who have tried to be safe have had babies die while sleeping in the same bed with the baby:
- becoming entrapped between the wall and the bed (never cosleep on a couch, waterbed, recliner, etc.)
- suffocating due to excessive blankets, pillows, etc.
- being rolled onto by a severely overtired parent, a parent who sleeps too heavily in general, or a parent who is on medication that makes them drowsy, etc.
- dying of unknown causes

So all parents with babies in the same bed with you, you may think you're being safe but it's always important to double and triple check the safety of the family bed (bed low to the ground to prevent falling out of bed? no gaps between wall and bed? firm mattress surface? minimal bedding?) AND your own levels of awareness while sleeping + your tiredness levels (too tired? drowsy from cold meds? don't cosleep that night! not very aware of your baby in bed in general? don't cosleep then!) because babies still die in bedsharing arrangements.

Historically, yes, mothers and babies are hardwired to share sleep. Biologically, it is very advantageous for parents to share sleep with their babies (promotes safer, lighter sleep which reduces SIDS rates, promotes breastfeeding to ensure good food supply and smaller, more frequent feeding which is healthier in the long run than larger gaps between big meals).

Not every family should cosleep. Not every family should have their baby alone in another part of the house in a crib. And sadly, regardless of whatever your choice, some families will suffer the terrible loss of a child either in a crib or in a family bed. The REAL issue here is that we create the safest sleep environment for our own family based on our unique physiology (for example, I can't sleep well with my baby in a different room, so I get much more restful sleep when cosleeping - my husband feels the same way - but in general we are very aware of where our baby is at all times. On nights where either of us is just exhausted, too tired to be aware, our little guy sleeps in his crib at the foot of our bed!).

N., it's wonderful that you are able to recognizing what sleeping arrangement is most optimal for your baby and your family! Cosleeping safely is a very valid, time-tested choice, and this is well supported by research (http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/intro.html), though the crib manufacturers would never tell you that! ;) Consider, too, that your MIL may have very different sleep than you (and babies with very different temperaments than yours) such that cosleeping was not optimal for her/her children.

Congratulations on becoming a mother and the birth of your son earlier this year!

3 moms found this helpful

N.,
It was like reading my own e-mail! I, too, read tons of articles on how "bad" it was that a baby slept with you. My husband works third shift. I just felt like putting our son in bed with us when he was about 7 months old. He actually started out in a crib. Waking up next to him made my morning! I thought, why didn't I do this sooner? Babies (especially your own) are just so sweet and so loving, who can help it? And my MIL, oh please, world's biggest critic!!!!!!!! She acted like having your baby in bed was a federal offense. Our son is 18 months old, still in bed with me, and I've never told the MIL or any of the other critics! It's not that I am ashamed, I just don't want to hear it. My son and I have a great relationship and he does fine taking naps alone. I cherish the time that I have had watching him sleep in my arms. My life is so precious b/c as a mom, I have stuck to the choices I feel strongly about. So, I say to you, sleep away! And cuddle your little Duncan to your hearts content. In 10 years when he asks you not to hug him in front of his friends, you'll be glad you cuddled him as a baby!
Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I swore I wuld NEVER co-sleep. My girlfriend has a baby before us and she co-slept. We thought it was the CRAZIEST thing ever. Well along comes my princess (almost 2 months early) and she would NOT sleep anywhere but in our arms. After a week in the recliner fearing I would drop her every night (and having hallucinations from lack of sleep) my husband begged us to come to bed. Well we co-slept form then on out and I cannot imagine it any other way. She "weaned" herself of this at about a year or so. Then we moved and now she is back with us - just due to a lack of space right now. Although I did just put up her toddler bed next to our bed (sidecarred like her crib) and she winds up next to me anyhow. I guess what I am trying to say, like someone else said, is that no highschooler is still in bed with their parents and I think they leave when they are ready. Also just because one kid did it doesn't mean they all will u know?

2 moms found this helpful

I co-sleep and LOVE it!! Check out http://www.attachmentparenting.com/

I believe it is best for the child as well as I sleep better, which is better for everyone! My son is 13 months.

2 moms found this helpful

N.,

I co-slept with both of my children. I nursed and when I would nurse, my baby and I would fall asleep, it was actually safer for me to nurse while laying down.

Most women don't know this, especially those who don't nurse, but when a nursing mother nurses her child she produces a hormone that actually helps both mother and child fall asleep. So it is actually dangerous to nurse while sitting up at night. The fact that you are already tired and releasing a hormone that will eventually cause you to fall asleep one could drop the baby in a sitting up nursing position.

I personally never slept very soundly when either one of my children slept in the bed with my husband and I, so when I had my 2nd child, I was more aware of her and tried to put her into her bassinet/crib when she was done nursing so that I could sleep better throughout the night (I always ended up sleeping with my one arm above my head when I nursed and my arm and shoulder would fall asleep and wake me up)

OK - with all of that being said here is some advice - if you are afraid that your child will fall out of bed - just position yourself so that the child is between you and your husband when you sleep. If you are afraid that you will inadvertently rollover on or knock a pillow on your child and smother him/her you can purchase something like a "Close & Secure Sleeper" (http://www.onestepahead.com/product/117/217761/117.html) or a co-sleeper bed that you put on the side of your bed (http://www.onestepahead.com/product/117/406756/117.html). And finally treat advice from people like this, smile and nod at them and say thank you and then use what advice sounds good to you and your family situation. I believe one poster already stated every family situation is different so others advice doesn't always fit your lifestyle.

Enjoy your little one!
-Mel

1 mom found this helpful

I whole-heartedly believe in co-sleeping. Both of my children, did it. I believe they both feel more loved and confident because of it. I can honestly say in 9 years neither one of them has had a nightmare. If a mother is in good conditions, is not on drugs or does not smoke/drink, then there has never been a case recorded against a child being hurt sleeping by her. This is not true with Fathers, they do not have the maternal instinct. I put the crib right next to the bed with the side down, covered it so there was not holes for them to get caught in and she would lay right by me or in the crib with my arm by them. At one point I did not have the crib next to us, so I had a foldable guard, that you can buy in stores to use. I honestly believe that is the way God intended it....

1 mom found this helpful

Ok, so I know I'm a little behind on the bandwagon, but I'm a co~sleeper and have been since my son came home from the hospital. I had problems getting him to sleep when he was in his crib and I didn't sleep well either because I was paranoid. I started out nursing, but had to switch to formula because his jaundice wasn't getting any better and because of more.. ahem.. personal problems. Anyway, he's to where he can go to sleep by himself (he's 2 1/2 now) but he still sleeps beside me in bed. I have his matress on the floor beside mine (neither of them have frames) and he's only fallen out of bed once. His bed was there for him to fall on and he just got up, whined for a second because it woke him up, got back in bed and went back to sleep. For a long time I held him while we slept and actually had him on top of a pillow that way I wouldn't inadvertantly roll over on him. There was always that reminder there. I wouldn't change co~sleeping for the world, I still love it and am trying to let him tell me when he's ready to go to his own bed. I think it's coming up because he's asking about laying in his bed. Don't let people tell you it's not safe or that it's not "natural" because even if they don't agree with it, it's still a personal choice and for me, it was the best one for us. Moms have to sleep too and if I wouldn't have brought my son to bed with me, I would have never gotten any sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a mother of 5 children, ages 7 and under. I never planned to take my baby to bed, but like one of the other responders I had a baby who would not sleep unless I was holding him. People who have babies who sleep in cribs cannot understand what this is like unless they experience it. I also believe that people who have never slept with their child cannot fully understand the benefits of it.

All five of my children have begun by sleeping in our bed. Three of them are in their own rooms now, but there was a time when we had 3 children in our bed at once. We have a queen and a twin pushed together. Neither is on a frame, so they are very close to the ground. Also, one side is against a wall. This makes it hard for me to get out of bed, but the room is small and there is no chance of anyone falling out that way. When they did express interest in moving to their own rooms, we started by having them share a bed in their own room. It is so sweet to see them cuddled together when we check on them at night.

My advice about your MIL and other nosy people is don't tell them if you can get away with that. My MIL eventually stopped bugging me. She lives in another state, but it seemed to be her mission to correct things like this when she visited! She still tries to potty train and take away pacifiers when we see her now, even if it is just 3 times a year! I don't usually share our sleep habits with people unless a new mom is interested in trying it herself and asks about it (like now!).

Looking back, I would not change my decision to co-sleep. My husband agrees. It is our cuddle time with them. They grow up too fast. I have never been worried about the baby being in danger. If you want more details about how I made the bed safe, you can e-mail me. Best of luck! Enjoy your baby!

1 mom found this helpful

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