How Did Sleep Become So Controversial
For most of human history, McKenna writes, parents slept close to their babies for their safety and protection, as well as for parents own ease of breastfeeding and sleeping. The particular arrangements variedsome parents slept nestled with their babies on the same bed, mat, or rug others placed their babies in a hammock or basket within arms reach still others placed them in a sidecar arrangement next to the adult bed. But all of them slept within sensory range of their babies.
About 500 years ago, Western societies diverged from the rest of the world regarding family sleep, McKenna explains. Historical records from northern Europe show that Catholic priests heard confessions from destitute women who had overlain onto their newborns, suffocating them in a desperate attempt to limit their family sizethey just couldnt support another child. So the church ordered that babies should sleep in a separate cradle until the age of three.
Over time, other Western trends converged with that decree: Rising affluence and the value on independence and individualism made separate bedrooms fashionable. In addition, Freudian psychology privileged the marriage bed and claimed that babies would be harmed if they were exposed to parents sexuality. Religious and psychological opinion said that children should not be coddled or indulged but required severe discipline to grow up .
What Are The Different Types Of Co
Parents have plenty of options to choose from regarding the type of bed they want for their child. For example, parents who bed share may opt for a baby lounger instead of placing the child directly on the mattress.
These cushioned pads are slightly raised around the perimeter to help keep the child snug. Many of them also feature a mix of kid-friendly designs such as stars or animals. However, parents who prefer something more subtle can pick neutral or solid color patterns as well.
Some co-sleepers are specifically designed to be placed right next to mom and dads bed. For instance, some can be formally attached and removed as needed, and they may have different height options to match the height of the adult bed.
These bedside co-sleepers will also typically have a side panel that opens. The opening side door allows mom or dad to have direct access to the baby during the night.
Bassinets are a cozy option for babies as well. Parents can place them right next to their bed or several feet away.
Some bassinets, like cribs, are convertible, providing extra convenience for the child and parents. For example, they can be used at the crib level or removed for travel. Furthermore, certain convertible bassinets can transition with the baby as they grow into the toddler stage.
What Temperature Can Babies Sleep In
This means you will be sharing the same environment, but its important that its tailored to the needs of the baby. Temperature is a major factor in allowing babies to sleep comfortably, and the suggested range for the room temperature they sleep in is between 61 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Why Do Some Parents Bed
Bed-sharing supporters believe and some studies support their beliefs that bed-sharing:
- encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime breastfeeding more convenient
- increases how many months a mother breastfeeds her baby
- helps babies fall asleep more easily
- helps babies and mothers get more nighttime sleep
- gives moms more time to be close to their infantsy
But the risks of bed-sharing can outweigh the benefits.
Explore Your Options Before Cosleeping
I would encourage you to explore alternative options to bedsharing first. Perhaps putting a small bassinet or a crib next to the bed is a better choice for your situation. Both of these are safe middle-of-the-road options. Cribs with nothing but a tightly-fitted sheet dont pose a suffocation hazard, and you still have the benefit of keeping your baby close to you.
Roomsharing IS recommended. Want to know more?Read: Room Sharing For The First Year: Is It Right For You?
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How Can I Stop Co
Even if you swore youd never, ever co-sleep, once you actually have a baby , even the best-laid plans can go out the window. Most babies love being in the big bed with their parents, and oftentimes just this once turns into, Oh my gosh, will she ever go back into her crib? The good news is, there are ways to reclaim your bed that arent harsh.
Make a personalized plan. There are different strategies to adjust baby, and it starts at bedtime. How you put baby down each night depends on his personality and what you feel comfortable doing. Some babies do better with a parent sitting next to the crib, and others do better with a cold turkey approach, explains Samar Bashour, MD, a pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic Childrens Hospital. If you decide to stay in the nursery for a bit at bedtime, try to leave the room when your baby is dozing off but not yet asleep, she says. And each night, move the chair further away from the crib toward the bedroom door.
Teach baby to fall asleep on her own. Okay, this is the tough part. Every baby wakes throughout the night, but in order to go to back sleep without intervention they need to practice falling back asleep on their own. Some parents find success going to baby in the middle of the night and reassuring her, without picking her up or bringing her to bed with them.
Plus, More from The Bump:
Is My Babys Sleeping Bag Too Big For Their Age
When buying a sleeping bag that is too big for the age of your child now, you are putting your child at risk for safety problems. When a sleeping bag is too big, your baby can slip down inside where the neck opening is or slide around inside the bag. Sleeping bags are generally sized from 0-6 months old, 6-18 months old and 18-36 months old.
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What Do Supporters Of Co
Advocates say that bed-sharing makes it easier to breastfeed at night and helps babies and parents get more sleep overall. Some say the added snuggle time can help you feel closer to your baby, too.
But those things dont make bed-sharing safe or a good idea. And in fact, families can reap the same benefits and more with room-sharing.
Having your baby in her own crib or bassinet right next to your bed makes nighttime feedings just as quick and easy, so everyone can get back to sleep faster. And of course, youll have near endless opportunities to snuggle with your sweetie during the day when the two of you are awake.
Those arent the only pros of room-sharing. The most important benefit is that it can help lower the risk of SIDS by up to 50 percent. Having your baby next to you in her own sleeping space means you can easily be alerted to any potential breathing issues she might experience during the night.
Have An Ideal Sleep Surface:
The mattress has to be firm with tightly placed bed sheets on it. Place one pillow, and a cotton blanket that does not fall over the babys face. Do not use a cushiony bed cover or sheepskins. Put your baby slightly higher on the bed, and you sleep a bit lower than her. For infants , it is advisable to use firm mattress, fitted sheets, no pillows or blankets or toys.
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Our Tips For Safe Sleeping:
The Red Nose Six Safe Sleep Recommendations are based on many years of research and are evidence-based to reduce your risk of sudden infant death and other sleep accidents.
If you choose to co-sleep with your baby, it is important to consider this advice and to follow our tips for safer co-sleeping.
Every family is unique, and every baby is unique so you need to make the decision that is right for you and your family. Red Nose is here to support you on your parenting journey.
Always follow the Red Nose six safe sleep recommendations:
How Common Is Sids
According to Boston Childrens Hospital, approximately 2,300 infants in the United States die from sudden infant death syndrome each year. However, following the safety guidelines set forth by pediatric healthcare professionals should help reduce a childs risk of SIDS.
Experts do not know what causes SIDS, but they hypothesize that it is linked to several circumstances. These include the childs inability to wake up from sleeping, notice low oxygen levels, or detect an excess of carbon dioxide in their bloodstream.
While newborns, in general, are more vulnerable to SIDS, the following factors also put babies at an increased risk.
- Stomach or side sleeping
- A plush sleep space that also includes soft blankets or toys
- Mothers who smoked during their pregnancy are three times more likely to have an infant with SIDS
- Exposure to smoke, either direct or passive
- Mothers younger than 20 during their first pregnancy
- When the mother has had minimal to no prenatal care or care given too late during her pregnancy
- The baby was born premature or had a low birth weight
- The child has a sibling who died of SIDS
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Dont Put Off Sleep Training Because The Baby Is Teething
Newsflash: Your baby is always teething. Or sick with a cold. Or coming down with something. Or recovering from something. Or over-tired. Or suffering from Unexplained Fussy Baby Syndrome. If youre hoping to sleep trainplenty of parents dontits important to know that it may never feel like the right time. Experts say its easiest to sleep train a baby between the ages of six and 12 months, but use your judgment and listen to your gut. If youre not fully committed to sleep training before you start, you wont stick to it.
Creating A Safe Sleep Area For Your Baby
Any sleep surface that baby uses should be made safe for baby:
- Baby should be placed on his back to sleep.
- The sleep surface should be firm. Do not put a baby on a waterbed mattress, pillow, beanbag, sheepskin or any other soft surface to sleep.
- Bedding should be tight fitting to the mattress.
- The mattress should be tight fitting to the headboard and footboard .
- There should not be any loose pillows, stuffed animals, or soft blankets near the babys face.
- There should not be any space between the bed and adjoining wall where the baby could roll and become trapped.
- Babies should never sleep on a sofa, couch, futon, recliner, or other surface where baby can slip into a crevice or become wedged against the back of the chair/sofa/etc.
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Can You Sleep Train While Room
When your baby is a newborn, shell need to feed frequently through the night, and shell continue to wake up overnight in need of a bottle or a nursing session for at least a few months.
But once your baby reaches the 4- to 6-month mark, she may be waking out of habit, not because she needs to. This ritual isnt a healthy long-term strategy for your baby , and at some point shes going to have to learn to get back to sleep on her own.
The AAPs recommendation that infants stay in the same room with their parents for at least six months may further dampen your hopes of ever getting any sleep. Thats where sleep training comes in.
Sleep training, also known as sleep teaching or soothing training, means teaching your baby to fall back to sleep on her own when she wakes up at night. The goal is for you and your little one to get more sleep, even though at first, you may have to deal with some tears.
Your baby should be at least 4- to 6 months old before beginning sleep training, because by that age she probably no longer needs nighttime feedings , she’s developmentally ready and she understands that crying usually leads to being held. Sleep training isnt healthy or appropriate for younger babies or newborns.
Remember that sleep training is a personal decision that may or may not be right for your family. If you’re not comfortable sleep training your baby, or decide against it for any other reason, that’s fine.
Research Products That Might Help With Co
Manufacturers are trying to settle the co-sleeping debate by offering a range of products that could help you solve your dilemma. These products tend to provide a compromise between co-sleeping and putting your baby in a cot or Moses basket. Principal among the new products is the Co-sleeper Bedside Cot which stands beside your bed, eliminating some of the dangers of co-sleeping while keeping your child within easy reach. The Next To Me Crib has also proved popular with Mumsnetters. Check out what Mumsnetters say about these products on our discussion boards.
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More Sleep For Parents And Baby
Experts say that co-sleeping also helps both babies and parents sleep longer, which is likely because it takes less time to get up and check on them. Better rest is vital for parents physical and emotional health as they navigate raising a baby. The experts add this helps them make better decisions and lowers the risk of postpartum depression.
What About Marital Intimacy And Bed
How to have sex when bed-sharing is a very valid and legitimate concern that many new parents have. Many are on board with bedsharing but don’t want it to interfere with sex and intimacy. One option for maintaining non-sexual intimacy can be having the baby on the outside of the bed and both adults beside each other so that they can still snuggle and be close, without feeling like the baby is literally coming between them. Another option is tapping into your adventurous side. There are plenty of creative places you can have sex while your baby sleeps somewhere safe. The floor… the bathroom… the shower… if you don’t have other kids or housemates… another bedroom… the kitchen… the laundry room… the couch… the garage… the back deck… your options are endless, just like before you had kids. Who knows?! Being forced to get creative might even re-ignite a spark you didn’t expect it to. I must say… as a mom who has co-slept with all of her kiddos for about 2 years each, I’ve clearly had no issue figuring this one out… considering all my kids are also 2 years apart! If we could figure it out, and if teenagers can figure out how to sneak around parents, you can figure out how to sneak around your baby. I promise!
Jaimie Zaki is a Mother, Air Force Wife, IBCLC , birth doula, and motherhood photographer.
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