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.
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!
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