SAFE co-sleeping…. (the debate continues)

October 15, 2009 at 9:17 am | Posted in co-sleeping | Leave a comment
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Mother_holding_infant_aa3dIf you read my previous post, you’ll know where I stand on this. When safety guidelines are followed, I think co-sleeping is a great option for many families – including my own.

When Darling Son (DS) was a baby, I had many months of sleepless nights – constantly getting up and down to feed him, settle him, comfort him. He would often end up in our bed, simply because I was so exhausted. I didn’t know about the safety guidelines in advance, only that it was taboo to sleep with your baby, and it became something Darling Husband (DH) and I didn’t discuss with others.  And therein lays the problem, if you’re told you shouldn’t co-sleep, you are ill-prepared when and if it does happen, and if the reports are read carefully, this seems to be when tragic accidents are most likely to happen. We were in the fortunate majority – DS was fine and is now an active pre-schooler who regularly still appears in our bed during the night if he has a bad dream or just needs a cuddle.

When I was pregnant with Darling Daughter (DD) I read-up co-sleeping safety so we could be properly prepared and so that I’d be able to get some sleep this time around!

General Safety Guidelines are:

  • Parents should not sleep with their babies if they are smokers or have ingested alcohol or drugs.
  • Bedding should be tight fitting to the mattress.
  • The mattress should be tight fitting to the headboard of the bed.
  • There should not be any loose pillows or soft blankets near the baby’s face.
  • There should not be any space between the bed and adjoining wall where the baby could roll and become trapped.
  • The baby should not be placed on his stomach.
  • The surface should be a hard bed/mattress not a water bed or other soft surface such as a sofa or chair.

Here are some of the useful resources I found on safe co-sleeping:

There are some great benefits from co-sleeping, and I feel that as long as we are aware of the risks and act responsibly, our DD is safe with us. We have a large Kingsize bed, and a co-sleeping cot alongside which acts as a bed extension – our mattress is very firm and DD sleeps next to me – generally I wake up curled around her while she is flat out on her back. At 6 months she is already strong enough to kick her blanket off, and as a breastfeeding mother, I sleep lightly enough to keep putting it back on her without fully waking.

Each parent needs to do what they feel is the best for them, and hopefully this debate will help more people to become informed and for health professionals to provide more balanced information on something that WILL continue whether they like it or not.

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