Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I Co-Sleep

After my baby was born, we did a whole week of skin-to-skin, as recommended by my midwives. This was to promote my milk coming in, regulating my baby's breathing, creating a bond, etc. There are countless articles you can read about it, but I wanted to focus on why I've chosen to co-sleep with my baby since the initial skin-to-skin sleeping.

Let me say, here, that I do not mean bed sharing. Co-sleeping and bed sharing are not the same thing, though they have similar benefits. Although I have been told that it would be safe, it wasn't the right choice for us. First of all, my husband and I sleep in a single. It's not really conducive to bed-sharing. Second, my husband was uncomfortable with the idea, and I felt we should both be comfortable with the idea for it to really work. Lastly, my baby doesn't sleep as well in our bed; she prefers her own space.

There are four reasons I chose to co-sleep.

1. Co-sleeping reduces risk of SIDS. This was a huge decision maker for me. Even the statistics that talk about how rarely it occurs mean little when I knew how dramatically I could change the statistics simply by having my baby in the same room. You can read Dr. Sears' comments on co-sleeping and bed sharing here.

2. My husband and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and didn't have the space for a nursery. This was a simple truth, and it prevented us from even considering that the baby would sleep in another room.

3. It made nighttime breastfeeding much simpler. My baby's bassinet is at the head of my bed. All I have to do when she wakes up in the night is sit up, take her out, and nurse her sitting right there. It makes the entire process much simpler. I don't have to wake up enough to go to another room, and when we're finished, all I have to do is set her back down.

4. My baby sleeps better when she's in the same room. She can hear us breathing, and she settles down quickly and easily if she startles awake. I or my husband can easily put her pacifier back in her mouth, check her when she whimpers or cries, or adjust blankets when she kicks them off.

I'm sure you've read studies about SIDS being more common with bed sharing. You can read a really great article talking about how that can be made to look true here. The short of it can be seen in this picture, but I wanted the share the link in case you wanted sources.

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