I (Krystle K) have had a few people ask me recently what “co-sleeping” is, but before I get going I would like to say that Whitney J and I do not have an agenda to convert anyone by making you feel bad about what you do already, we simply want to let you know about possible alternatives! We are ALL about “what works best for each family” and we LOVE sharing our passions with anyone who’s interested. So please do not mistake that for judgment. We want everyone to feel loved and welcome at The Snap Mom.com. We are all on a journey and it’s awesome to learn and share with one another!
Basically, my second daughter Evelyn was born at home in my bedroom and has spent every night there, snuggling with me since.
(here we are in bed the night she was born)
I co-slept with my firstborn also but moved her into her own bedroom at 6months old. I did this because of the pressure I was feeling from other people and I have since decided not to do anything I do not feel is THE best fit for my children. Because it is not in my heart to let my children “cry it out”, I attend to them when they wake up. Having them close to me just makes more sense based on our relationship and is far more convenient. My eldest didn’t sleep through the night till close to 9months old, so I spend many nights getting out of bed,going to her room, picking her up out of the crib, nursing her, putting her back in the crib and returning to my bed. Some people think this it’s insane to do this when I could so easily train her to sleep, but I trusted that meeting her needs would help me gain her trust, and also eventually lead to sleeping more and it did (something I learned in our foster & adoption classes).
This style would be classified as “Attachment Parenting.”
What is Co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is either:
- Mother and baby sharing a bed (either side-by-side or with a co-sleeper bassinet)
- Mother and baby sharing the same bedroom (pack ‘n play, crib or if the child is older, a mattress on the floor in the room)
Safe Co-sleeping is NOT
- Falling asleep on the couch/sofa/recliner (infants can get wedged in the cracks and can suffocate)
- Using a waterbed (they are too soft and may have deep crevices around the frame where your baby could get trapped)
- Other children (particularly toddlers) because they might not be aware of the baby’s presence
- Parents who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and even certain prescription medications or sleep aids because they diminish their awareness of the baby
- Parents who smoke as this has been connected with SIDS deaths
- A non-parental care giver who falls asleep with infant (like toddlers, they will not have the protective awareness of the infant)
The Benefits of Co-Sleeping
- Cultures who traditionally practice safe co-sleeping, such as Asians, enjoy the lowest incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Trusted research by Dr. James McKenna, Director of the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory of the University of Notre Dame, showed that mothers and babies who sleep close to each other enjoy similar protective sleep patterns. Mothers enjoy a heightened awareness of their baby’s presence, what I call a “nighttime sleep harmony,” that protects baby. The co-sleeping mother is more aware if her baby’s well-being is in danger.
- Babies who sleep close to their mothers enjoy “protective arousal,” a state of sleep that enables them to more easily awaken if their health is in danger, such as breathing difficulties.
- Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier, which provides many health benefits for mother and baby.
- More infant deaths occur in unsafe cribs than in parents’ bed.
- Co-sleeping tragedies that have occurred have nearly always been associated with dangerous practices, such as unsafe beds, or parents under the influence of substances that dampen their awareness of baby.
- Research shows that co-sleeping infants cry less during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which can interfere with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.
- Infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone. This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.
- A recent large study concluded that bed sharing did NOT increase the risk of SIDS, unless the mom was a smoker or abused alcohol
(click on THIS LINK for all of the research references for the above information)
Dr. Sears is a huge advocate of attachment parenting! These are two of my favorite Sears quotes:
“Oftentimes I felt ridiculous giving my seal of approval to what was in reality such a natural thing to do, sort of like reinventing the wheel and extolling its virtues. Had parents’ intuition sunk so low that some strange man had to tell modern women that it was okay to sleep with their babies?”
“Parents often ask me, “Where should my baby sleep?” I respond, “Wherever you and your baby enjoy the best night’s sleep.” For most parents, this will be sleeping close enough to enjoy easy access to their baby for feeding and comforting.”
I hope this was helpful and informative!
Here are some more sweet pictures of us co-sleeping 🙂
xoxoxo Krystle K
Personal note: I am not out to be the best hippie I can be, I just do whatever feels natural to me. After close to a year of co-sleeping with Evelyn I am testing the waters of moving her to her own room. I make this statement to say, its not ALL OR NOTHING. Its what works best for your family!
CLICK HERE to watch Krystle’s Home Water Birth!