When I joined this website I was shocked at how many families choose to co-sleep, mainly because I cannot deal with fidgety children. I have tried to sleep with my nephew when he was younger, about age four. I didn’t think it would be a problem because he slept with his mom at home, but boy did he twist and turn and kick! I just can’t sleep like that. Every time he would shift, I would wake up. We bought a bed for him to use when he came over, and we never thought anything of it. When we became pregnant I never even considered having my child sleep with us.
We did try once or twice, when I was too tried to carry the baby back to her room after nursing. I would lie her beside me and try to fall back to sleep. I didn’t have a problem, but my husband said the baby ate “too loudly” (as amusing as I found this I have heard other men voice similar complaints) and it kept him up. Not to mention when I put her between us he almost rolled on top of her! Men! So, at least when he was at home, the baby didn’t sleep with us. When he was at work we often fell asleep together after nursing. This worked very well and I found it enjoyable while she was an infant. Now, however, at nearly three years old she too is a kicker/fidgeter, not to mention that she finds it hard to sleep with someone else in the room.
That being said, I recently read an article on Yahoo discouraging co-sleeping. The full article can be viewed here: http://news.yahoo.com/milwaukee-runs-provocative-ads-wake-parents-dangers-co-213117311.html. Basically it says that Milwaukee is running ads showing a baby sleeping next to a knife. The slogan reads “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.” This is being done as an extreme measure because Milwaukee has an infant mortality rate of 10.4 deaths to every 1,000 live rates (statistics from 2009). Apparently this is higher than even some third-world countries, and they attribute the high death rate to—at least in part—co-sleeping. These ads are their attempt to persuade parents not to co-sleep. They are even offering free pack-n-plays.
This article surprised me because I know that this is successful for many families. If you are going to choose to co-sleep you must make sure you are being safe. Some safe rules for co-sleeping are:
- Take precautions to prevent baby from falling out of bed.
- Place baby adjacent to the mother, as mothers are much more aware of baby’s presence than fathers.
- Place baby on his back to sleep.
- Use a large bed, such as a queen or king size.