First, let me say that all mama choices are good choices. Parents are doing the best they can to raise their little ones with all the love and care they have in their bodies. This post is, as always, my personal experience raising my baby.
I wish someone had written their honest experience about co-sleeping before I had my little one, because right now? I think a lot of mamas are doing it and not talking about it. Hiding it from midwives and pediatricians and friends and family- why? That’s a long story.
Co-sleeping was said to be a big no no after a study said it can lead to SIDs and other sleep related deaths in babies. Now, this is serious. Heavy blankets, pillows, parents under the influence, parents sleeping on couches, and parents that smoke pose real risks to their babies when sleeping with them, especially under four months.
And? Co-sleeping, when executed correctly, is perfectly safe and amazing for mama and baby. Human babies are contact seekers- what they need most are their parents bodies and their survival depends on it.
I feel robbed of those first four months of sleeping with my baby. I got caught up in sleep training and having baby sleep in his crib or in his own space apart from me when all I really wanted was him next to me.
“Balinese babies are generally held almost every moment — day and night, anthropologists have noted. And in Japan, the most common sleeping arrangement is referred to as kawa no ji or the character for river: 川. The shorter line represents the child, sleeping between the mother and father, represented by the longer lines.”
“When the mom is breastfeeding, she essentially creates a little shell around the baby. ‘The mother naturally arches her body around her baby,’ McKenna says. ‘She pulls up her knees just enough to touch the baby’s feet. Inside this shell, the baby hears the mom’s heartbeat and, in turn, changes her own heart rate. It usually slows down,’ McKenna says. ‘The baby also hears the mom’s breathing, which has a rhythm similar to the sounds the baby heard in the womb.'”
So, what am I saying here? I’m saying I’m no expert. What I am is a mama that is co-sleeping with her baby, and I wish I had done it sooner. I am following my gut, research, and eastern traditions that align with my values.
I want to live a value driven life in all things. If for you that means baby in crib day one? Great. If it means exclusively sleeping with your baby since day one? Wonderful.
Do your research, trust yourself. Medical advice is constantly changing and while so much of it is good and right, some of it isn’t. Instead of saying “don’t bed share or co-sleep” I feel we should be teaching others how to do it more safely.
“We recognize and acknowledge that bed-sharing happens. We don’t promote it, but neither do we judge people about it,” Blair says. “By doing that, you can open up a conversation with the parents about the really dangerous circumstances when you shouldn’t do it.”
“Even babies in cribs, when they’re placed close to their moms, have a similar attraction to their mother: They turn their faces to their mom for the majority of the night.”
“..babies have evolved to experience this closeness, night after night after night.”