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Ask the Expert

Co-Sleep: Do You or Don’t You?

By Jun 14, 2011May 13th, 201262 Comments

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Dr. Melissa, our resident parenting expert from Confessions of a Dr. Mom, is back today and talking about whether or not to co-sleep. It is a personal decision that many parents face. Read and learn more about the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your baby.

cosleeping

Co-sleeping, or more specifically bed sharing, is a hotly contested issue and for good reason. At the core of this complex issue is infant sleep safety. Pediatricians and child safety advocates worry that co-sleeping is inherently more dangerous than crib sleeping and may increase the risk of SIDS. And, while several studies have been done surrounding infant sleep and safety, none have been entirely conclusive.

What is clear is that sleep safety is paramount and must be taken into account when preparing a crib or bed for your baby.

The AAP (aka the American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that infants sleep in a proximate, but separate sleep surface than their parents. This means in the same room but in a separate crib, bedside co-sleeper, or bassinet for the first 6 months of life.

However, what if you choose to co-sleep with your baby? Do you know what steps to take in order to set up the safest possible sleep environment for your baby in this situation?

In favor of full disclosure, I ended up co-sleeping with my first child. I didn’t set out to. However, this lovely child of mine needed that sleep touch and comfort to sleep. Believe me, he did. So after months of angst and worry, I finally set up a safe co-sleeping environment and forged on.

My second child was completely different. As children will be. She slept just fine in her bedside bassinet for the first few months and transitioned easily to her own bed when the time came.

Each child is different, this much we know. As a pediatrician and mom, what matters most to me is safety. Safe sleep practices are of the utmost importance when it comes to infant sleep. I’m often surprised when parents seem hesitant to talk about where their babies sleep. It seems the taboo of co-sleeping reaches far and wide.

Being ever so hopeful for open communication and honest dialogue, this is where I ask you: Do you co-sleep? If so, how did you come to this decision? Do you feel you can talk openly to your pediatrician about your sleeping arrangement? What safety precautions have you taken with regards to co-sleeping?

Yes, I want to know. As parents, we arm ourselves with information, educate ourselves on the evidence, and make the best possible decision for our children and our family. Let’s have the discussion and speak honestly about this important and very personal issue.

About Francesca

Francesca has an extensive background in content marketing, public relations, and social outreach. She oversees all Operations at Sway Group, including our robust metrics capabilities. Prior to joining the online world, Francesca oversaw viticulture and oenology at various wineries in both California and Italy, and managed regulatory affairs and facility approvals at the biotech company, Genentech. Francesca has been featured on CBS Sacramento and Food Blogger Pro’s podcast. She has also hosted an AMA webinar and spoken at Social Media World.

62 Comments

  • Sarah Maizes says:

    OMG – I wrote an article about this called “Co-Sleeping with the enemy” because I just can NOT sleep in a bed with my writhing, kicking, teeth grinding off spring!

  • Beth says:

    We went through the same thing! My first co-slept with us after basically having no cjoice. I have to say, I really grew to love it. My second, now 4 months easily goes in her crib for most of the night. Every child is different and needs diferent styles of parenting.

  • AnonyMOMous says:

    I co-slept with my first child for 10 months. My plan had always been to do a modified co-sleeping arrangement (Infant positioner, then side sleeper), but that did not end up being the case. We rearranged our bed, removing pillows & I spent months sleeping with the covers just to my waist (a challenging sacrifice for me) with my arm surrounding our son and of course, did not drink for the duration of our time co-sleeping. It worked out to be a great arrangement for our family, as our son needed that sleeping touch & it made breastfeeding much easier on me. I did co-sleep with our daughter, but only for 4 months. I decided to co-sleep before even becoming a parent because I knew it would allow for easier breastfeeding access and I wanted to be able to have that bonding, snuggle time as I would be a work outside of the home mom. My primary pediatrician was supportive of our decision to co-sleep and even she admitted she co-slept with one of her children. Having that support, rather than guilt or admonishment, was very helpful.

    I really appreciated your post, because co-sleeping seems to be one of those topics shunned to the AP/Crunchy sites, when in reality it is a worthwhile and safe option, if all precautions are taken.