Saturday, September 12, 2015

Share my body... now share my bed?

O boy. I never thought I'd think this: maybe bedsharing with a nursing infant is the way to go?

I shunned the idea from the first I had ever heard of it, mostly because ten years ago, a couple at my aunt's parish rolled over their infant in the night, crushing him. The very though of co-sleeping with a babe has been the furthest from my mind since then.

And, I can't fail to mention that while I knew of some families who did this, all of the professional voices I heard from baby experts to my parents warned me of the inherent dangers of such a practice.

Plus, no one ever told me how to do such a thing.

Until... now.

I'm constantly reading up on some aspect of my new profession, that is, motherhood. From Montessori education to nutrition to baby care, I have a constant book-on-loan from our local library or book-in-transit from abebooks.com.

So when a recent book, Diaper Free, suggested that along with no diapers, bedsharing is the way to go with a nursing infant, I ventured to read up on it. This led me to  several books including the out-of-print Three in a Bed.

Eventually, due to the friend's influence that I mentioned in an earlier post, I found a surprising ally in the bedsharing phenomenon in La Lech League, and they have a new campaign to promote "Safe Sleep" with infants through their book, Sweet Sleep.

The benefits of bedsharing include:
  • decreased or eliminated risk of SIDS
  • better sleep for mom and baby
  • baby doesn't need to cry to nurse, only needs to nudge mom... or if mom is topless, just latch on while she continues to snooze
  • immediate help for baby for elimination (if you so choose to do the diaper-free method)
  • emotional security for baby
  • save money on not buying crib or getting larger home with separate bedroom for nursery
  • it's just snuggly!
So, with so many benefits, why don't midwives help moms learn to bedshare after birth? I certainly wasn't made aware of any of these benefits nor was I helped to understand how to safely bedshare if I was going to consider doing it.

That's why I love La Leche League's campaign for Safe Sleep. The two biggest "aha" moments for me in learning about safe bedsharing are:
  • do no swaddle the baby: baby could become too warm, and baby can't flail his arms/legs to tell you when he's in distress or hungry
  • you both will actually sleep better
So, now it's time for me to consider what I'll do when the next babe come along. I already gave away the crib... so you can guess what I plan to do!

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