Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Jan

Co-Sleeping: How to Do It Safely

Co-SleepingLast week, I broached the topic of co-sleeping. The reception was almost unanimously positive, with plenty of you chiming in with your own c0-sleeping success stories. Before you toss the crib, however, realize that co-sleeping isn’t as simple as flopping down in bed with your baby and drifting off to sleep. Co-sleeping is a healthy, effective, and arguably “natural” way to raise independent children, but it must be done safely. Remember those studies I cited last week where co-sleeping was associated with infant deaths? Yeah, when co-sleeping is done poorly or incorrectly or unsafely, it becomes an effective way to harm children. Sadly, most parents no longer have access to the “village,” that treasure trove of knowledge full of parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and infinite cousins with parenting advice for days, so we read books, and articles, and magazines, and blogs for tips and knowledge. These aren’t the same, sure, but they are helpful in their own way. Certainly better than left to fend for ourselves.

So, how does one co-sleep safely?

First off, let’s go over what not to do. Let’s identify unsafe co-sleeping. It may sound like a lot of don’ts, but c’mon – these are our kids!

Co-Sleeping DON’Ts

Do not smoke, drink, or use drugs that affect judgment and awareness (prescription, illegal, or over the counter – think Tylenol PM), especially before bed.

Overlaying (where a sleeping parent absentmindedly rolls over onto the child) is a rare occurrence that pretty much only happens when the parent is too messed up to wake up and realize they’ve just rolled over onto a small human. A sober, alert parent will wake up if it ever happens. Heck, I sometimes have to hide the ball from Buddha (my lab) in bed at night to keep him from pestering me to toss it, and if I roll over onto it, I wake up in a flash. A huge part of the benefit of co-sleeping is the increased awareness of the baby’s position and status, but being inebriated removes that entirely.

Avoid tobacco altogether. 

You know how when a smoker comes into the room, you know it just from sniffing? That smell only lingers because the smoke itself – with all the tars and toxins – lingers on the clothes, in the hair, and on the skin of the person who smokes. Now imagine how much of that smoke the baby will be ingesting, and just how little smoke is needed to hurt the little thing. This goes for mom, dad, and, you know what? Just make the entire house smoke-free and don’t let people smoke around the baby. They’re a lot more sensitive to the stuff than we are.

Don’t let babies sleep next to other children or pets.

As sensitive as your dog is, there’s a good chance he’ll think nothing of walking all over this strange new creature in the night, scratching its tender feet, or laying a fluffy tail across its nasal passageway. Toddlers, who are even less thoughtful than dogs and have opposable thumbs, are probably even worse.

Do not co-sleep on the couch, sofa, loveseat, or recliner.

Couches are plush and cushy, and they have cushions that infant heads slip between all too easily. They’re elevated off the ground and relatively narrow, meaning the baby can easily fall off and crack something. I’ll make an allowance for rickety wooden rocking chairs, but avoid doing so in a room full of cats.

Be careful with very small, very young infants.

By virtue of their diminutive size, very small infants are more susceptible to being smothered, crushed, or otherwise roughly manhandled. Plus, if this is your first kid, or your first attempt at co-sleeping, you’re already going to be nervous about what to do and how to do it and likely sleep-deprived. Consider room-sharing for the first few weeks to months, where the baby sleeps in an adjoining cot or mattress. You can still reach out and touch those cute puffy cheeks, but you won’t worry about making any catastrophic mistakes.

Don’t co-sleep if you’re a heavy sleeper, are excessively sleep deprived, are obese (disregard if you’re a bodybuilder with obese BMI; just cool it on the pec popping) and/or have sleep apnea.

These conditions will all reduce one’s ability to stay apprised of what’s going on in the bed. You need to be sensitive to your child if you’re going to share the bed safely. They may also make any mistakes made all the more damaging. If you’re severely sleep deprived – which will happen fairly often – consider keeping an adjoining cot/bed/crib in the room next to your bed so that you can still room share when necessary.

Don’t use thick bedding.

Huge frothy comforters full of imitation goose down are unnecessary for most people and downright dangerous (suffocation, smothering, overheating risk) for young babies. Even normal pillows and blankets can be excessive for infants; consider that most crib babies are bedded down with minimal bedding, a sheet or light blanket at most. That’s kinda what the adult co-sleeping bed should look like, too.

Don’t use overly soft mattresses.

Don’t use anything that you or the baby can “sink” into, like beanbag mattresses or those really soft beds that some people seem to like. Water beds are out, obviously, and not just because it’s no longer the 1980s.

Don’t co-sleep if not everyone is onboard. 

Co-sleeping is a family event. Both mom and dad need to be up for it for it to work. If there’s major anxiety about the method, I have to think it’s going to manifest as poor sleep (or worse).

Co-Sleeping DOs

Keep the bed low, preferably on the floor.

Make sure the bed is as low as you can manage it. This will make any falls less catastrophic, and as a bonus, it will force you to do more “floor living.” Those with carpeting can get away with higher beds, while those with hardwood flooring are advised to go a bit lower.

Use a firm mattress.

There should be minimal “give” to the sleeping surface. This will reduce the chance of suffocation.

Use a tight-fitting sheet.

Make sure the sheet fits well, without bunching up. Bunched up sheets can be a choking or suffocation hazard.

Breast feed.

Studies show that breast feeding makes for safe co-sleeping, while bottle feeding is associated with SIDS. According to James McKenna, the “breast feeding-bedsharing landscape is highly differentiated from the bottle feeding-bedsharing landscape.” (PDF) In his clinical experience, “breast feeding mothers typically keep their babies away from pillows, position their infants on their backs, placing them below their shoulders, while raising their arms above them,” and they “lay on their sides… in ways that can prevent accidental overlays.”

Put the kid next to mom, not wedged in between mom and dad.

By virtue of not having given birth, the dad is going to be less “connected” to the baby and possibly less aware during the night. Plus, a big advantage of co-sleeping is the ease of breast feeding, and you don’t want your baby getting confused in the middle of the night, reaching for the wrong breast, and ending up with a mouthful of hairy man nipple (although that would definitely establish a connection between father and child).

Place your baby on its back to sleep.

Sleeping in the supine position (on its back) is the safest way for a baby to sleep and reduces the risk of SIDS.

Eliminate any crevasses that the baby could fall into.

If the bed is up against a wall or headboard, make sure it is flush against the surface – no cracks or openings. Some people even pull their bed away from the wall to eliminate the possibility of getting stuck between the bed and the wall. If you can’t eliminate the crevasses, consider pulling the bed away from the wall. Products like these are also helpful for preventing falls or crevasse wedging.

Get a bigger bed.

When it comes to co-sleeping, bigger is usually better, particularly when you start introducing multiple co-sleepers.

Pay close attention to the list of don’ts up above.

Don’t do the don’ts.

I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of James McKenna’s book on the subject, Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping. It’s under $10, it’s a quick read, and it’s written by the premier expert.

And whatever happens, don’t feel like you have to co-sleep. Try room sharing, perhaps, which offers most of the same benefits as bed sharing. Convert cribs into side-cars that sit alongside the adult bed, thereby making it bigger. Just do what works for you and your family.

Now let’s hear from you guys. Co-sleepers: how did you do it? What did you learn? What didn’t you do? How did you determine co-sleeping was right for you? Everyone else: what made you choose the methods you chose? Let’s get a good discussion going. Let’s get our own village established.

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Babeeeeeez. Wonderful tips! Love the picture of the baby and mum at top. There’s a product called the Snuggle Nest that some couples might find useful, too, if they feel worried but want the baby in the bed.

    Joy Beer wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I looked up the snuggle nest. Not only can you sleep with your baby in the bed without worry, it apparently allows you to look like a model and sleep with flawless hair and makeup! 😉 joking aside, that looks like a good solution. Has anyone had experience just sharing rooms rather than beds? I’m kind of a roly poly sleeper… I would be anxious about flying squirreling it right over my baby. My hypothetical non-existent baby.

      Susie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • our son is in our room in a crib

        Marcia wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • I co-slept with one and room shared with the other.

        ponymama wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • We did a combination of bed-sharing and room-sharing with our twins. We had the Arms Reach Full sized co-sleeper and they shared that until about 9 months. One twin usually ended up in the big bed before the night was over. Because tey started to try to crawl out of the co-sleeper we transitioned them to their own cribs still in the same room for a few months. Around 11 months we moved them to their own room. We do not have good sleepers (they take after their Dad) and at 15 months I still wind up bed-sharing with one several times per week (more if they’re teething).

        Stephanie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • We’ve mostly room-shared. i had her in a cradle next to my bed and would pull her in with me to nurse and then pop her back or keep her with me. now her crib is in our room and she’s over a year old. we actually moved it back from being in her own room more for my mommy anxiety and being able to respond to her quicker in the morning.

        Hilary wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • We co-slept/room shared with both our boys. We each had our own beds- Mom and Dad in a queen, 6 year old in his twin, and 13 month old in his twin all laid side by side on the floor. It worked well as each mattress was just a couple inches taller/shorter than the one next to it so for the most part everyone stayed in their own beds.

        Amanda wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • For the first year of my daughter’s life, we were in a studio apartment. For four months, she was in a bassinet right up against the bed (in a snuggle nest, too). We would have put her in the bed, but I was worried there wasn’t enough room for the three of us. After 4 months, she was put in a crib on the other side of the room (about 6 feet away). To be honest, I slept horribly through that first year because every sound she made woke me up. She was a great sleeper, but made lots of noise. When we moved in a house when she was a year old, she got her own room and I finally started sleeping again. However, now that she’s almost 3, when I do share a room with her (because she’s sick), I sleep better than usual. She doesn’t make noise in her sleep anymore and it feels very comforting to be so close to her.

        Casey wrote on January 24th, 2013
      • I have 16 month old twins (jake and june) who both have cribs in our room. June ALWAYS wakes us up to hop into bed with us but Jake stays in his bed usually and they are both happy, healthy, smart and surprisingly very well behaved. I don’t know if that has anything to do with them sleeping with us but that’s my observation.

        Jennapher wrote on February 25th, 2013
      • Susie, don’t you know that all first time and other time moms are supposed to look perfect and the parents are a total FAILURE if they do not.
        I sincerely think the most important thing parents can do is to make their decisions for the best good of the child AND to trust their decisions. (Especially of the other parent!)

        John Lozauskas wrote on February 28th, 2013
      • Yes! We love our Snuggle Nest! We tried the crib at first but I couldn’t bare to leave her all alone! My husband was reluctant at first but after 2 nights he loved it. Now we’re dreading when she outgrows it.

        Tracy wrote on September 23rd, 2015
    • The Snuggle Nest was great until my son figured out how to wiggle out of it and over to me. Then we had to worry about him wiggling off the bed. We have alternated between having him in the crib and in our bed. At nine months old, he still prefers to sleep touching me.

      We had our daughter in our room for three months, but she wouldn’t sleep unless she was alone. Some babies don’t take well to co-sleeping or room sharing.

      Jessica wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Thank you for saying this. I’ve been experiencing some mother-guilt over not co-sleeping with our kids, but none of them ever stopped moving, kicking, or screaming while in bed with us. Once in the crib, though, they settled and slept for hours at a stretch, waking enough to fuss for some food and then return to sleep.

        I breastfed all of them and thought co-sleeping would be best to help avoid sleep deprivation, but in our case it only made it worse. The best solution for us was baby in crib (but in our room until 9mo or so).

        Amy H. wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • Us moms feel guilty about some of the silliest things, don’t we? (I am right there with you when it comes to the mommy guilt – over other issues.) There are plenty of benefits for room sharing too. And if that didn’t work for you, then there would be nothing wrong with a crib in another room. As long as you went with the best solution for your family, which you did, you’re good. Even when you don’t just remember that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are going to make mistakes, but our children will be fine. And there is no “one size fits all” parenting technique, because every child is different. So go easy on yourself.

          b2curious wrote on January 24th, 2013
        • I was told as a baby I was this way too. As an adult, I prefer having my own bed, so maybe it is just how some people are!

          Casey wrote on January 24th, 2013
    • You can also get a co-sleeper that attaches to the side of the bed. They keep baby at arms reach without actually having them in the bed

      Michelle wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • My daughter, at 10 days, scooted out of the snuggle nest so she was lying right next to me–which is where she wanted to be! So, that was it for the snuggle nest!

      Nicole wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Same thing here. Not sure exactly how old but all of our kids snuggled up to us (mainly momma). Right out of the nest.

        Scott K wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Co-sleeping can be done safely with just the simple application of common sense. We co-slept with our two daughters for 5 years, and we gradually let them get accustomed to their own beds and now they sleep in their own beds as a preference. On weekends they both jump into our bed when they wake up in the morning. This time is very precious and they are never going to babies again so enjoy it while you can.

      Gus wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • sadly, my son who is a city police officer has been first on scene of 3 co-sleeping fatalities in the last 3 years! when they had their baby recently,they used a rock-n-play next to their bed….

      Nancy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • We co slept with all four of our children. They all weaned around 18 months to 2 years. My husband and I loved the bonding time and happy little face to wake up to.:)

      K10 wrote on May 27th, 2014
  2. We used the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper, which is kind of like a mini-crib that sits alongside the bed. It was very useful when the kids were very small and waking frequently in the night. We did find that the kids outgrew it fairly quickly – probably 3-4 months old, if I remember correctly. After that we found that one of our kids actually slept better in a separate room, and the other didn’t sleep no matter what we did anyway. :)

    Lesley wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I thought of this when I read Mark’s DON’T regarding tiny babies – that’s exactly when cosleeping (with breastfeeding) offers the greatest benefits in protecting against sleep deprivation in the parents. By the motto ‘begin as you intend to continue’ it makes sense to work out how you’re going to sleep early on.
      Babies are so primal that feeling and smelling their parents is often key to relaxing enough to sleep. It felt unfair to me to spend all day building connections to my child, only to ask them to enter alone the most vulnerable state for the human body.

      Lauren wrote on February 14th, 2013
      • I agree with Mark on tiny babies. Mine was 5.5 lbs when she was born, I felt she was WAYYY too tiny for cosleeping. She slept in a crib beside my bed. Starting around 4 months I’d let her sleep with me after her early AM feeding, by 7 months we were cosleeping.

        Angelique wrote on October 8th, 2013
  3. We did not co-sleep with our kids. Nor did we sleep in the same room. When our kids were babies, they slept in a crib directly across the hall from our room. Both doors were left open, so they were at most 15 feet away and we could hear anything going on.

    We’re not opposed to co-sleeping in general, but it just wasn’t for us. My wife has a medical condition that requires prescription medication that can pass through breast milk, meaning we had no choice but to bottle feed. My wife also uses a CPAP machine. Finally, I’m a really light sleeper and I have trouble falling back asleep if I’m woken up.

    So unfortunately for us, we had to do the separate rooms thing. That said, our girls are well adjusted and healthy.

    Jon wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Jon – It’s really okay. YMMV with co-sleeping and yours is one of those unique situations where co-sleeping is not the answer. I never bought into the idea that there’s some sort of “permanent” damage from co-sleeping or not. I still don’t. It’s about infants and parents getting enough sleep. If it’s happening, it’s all good. :) (At least from my point of view.)

      Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • I agree! Do what’s best for YOUR family!

        Stephanie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  4. We started with the arm’s reach cosleeper and managed to get our son into it a few times but usually he slept right next to me. As he’s gotten older we sidecarred crib to a queen sized bed and all of us have plenty of space.

    Selina wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  5. While he’s sleeping in his own room now (I can’t believe how LOUD babies are when they sleep), wee have co-slept with our 6-week old several times since he was born and slept with him in the same room for the first few weeks after he was born. I’m a fairly heavy sleeper, but I slept on my back with him in between my arm and my side and I felt like I was super aware of what I was doing and was never worried about rolling over on him. We still sometimes cuddle and doze together when he feeds at night, and there have been a few nights when we’ve brought him into our bed to sleep when he’s been fussy but not hungry or needing to be changed. In short, I LOVE co-sleeping and would do it every night if he didn’t make zoo noises when he sleeps, which disturbs Daddy.

    Chelsea wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  6. Mothers have hormones at the end of her pregnancy and following birth that make her a light sleeper. As mentioned above, this does not happen with dad.

    We got the snuggle nest (with the plastic looking family in it) and used it half the first night and once when I was over-tired. It’s nice to have, but it defeats the purpose of bed sharing. Having your newborn against you will do several things: regulate temperature, regulate breathing, and it is difficult to nurse in the snuggle nest.

    I highly recommend safely bedsharing if the parent feel comfortable doing so! Our 21 month daughter is still in bed with us, though sometimes she prefers her cot on the floor next to us.

    Sara's wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Yes, the hormones are crazy! I am 8 months pregnant and all of a sudden EVERYTHING wakes me up! I’m such a light sleeper now. Noises that normally don’t phase me (the heater turning on, wind, the dogs rustling) make me jump out of bed now!

      We have a white noise machine for when baby arrives but I’m going to try using it for myself tonight (to drown out the small noises that are waking me up too often). I remember being VERY easily woken when my son was an infant too… I would literally jump out of bed if he made the slightest peep while my husband didn’t hear a thing (or pretended not to!).

      sara wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Hormonal changes are amazing. I slept with my babies a lot but didn’t learn until I started having what I thought were hot flashes when my youngest (of four) was sick. Turns out the mother’s breast tissue will heat up as much as 4° (can’t remember where I read this) in response to a baby having a hard time staying warm enough. It would even happen when I had her in a bassinet next to the bed and had just a hand on her.

      christy kennedy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  7. I am still presently co-sleeping with my almost 1 yr. old son. It has been such a wonderful thing for us. Since I nurse him, its hard to imagine him sleeping anywhere else but next to me!! Great tips and co-sleep on!

    Rachel wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  8. we’ve co-slept with all four of our children. i sleep better, they sleep through the night faster, it’s a win-win. we do have a crib for naps.
    a giant pool noodle under the bottom sheet is a far cheaper alternative to the amazon product linked above.
    yes, children adjust to sleeping alone, but we are the ONLY species that thinks that’s normal. animals ALWAYS sleep with their young, we should too.

    sally wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  9. I co sleept with all of my children(3) I was always aware and noticed our breating was in sync so even a change would wake me.I slept lightly and never had any accidents.

    When the bed became too crowded eithr by the addition of a sibling or the child getting older they moved out,onto the floor or their own bed.

    Ok not to everyones taste but it worked for us

    lusana wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  10. We coslept with our babies and followed these same “rules” except we did have baby in the middle sometimes (reverse cyclers need to switch boobs in the night, so we flip flopped accordingly)but our bed is HUGE so it wasn’t an issue.

    Stacey wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Us too, Stacey. We always had our son in the middle – which I suppose could be considered a bad thing if you ignored any of the other precautions. But I wouldn’t have felt safe with him on the other side of me – at the time we lived in a beautiful *old* apartment on the east coast, with equally beautiful *hard*wood floors. I just wouldn’t have chanced it. Anyway he turns 10 at the end of this month, so we made it. 😉

      Kristin wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • We also slept with our daughter in the middle, most of the time. It is a king size bed, which allowed us plenty of space, and she slept closer to me, since I was nursing. I’d move her to the other side whenever I switched breasts. The bed is in a corner, so there was no risk of her falling out, and we kept it snug against the wall.

      I did break the rule about OTC medication that can affect your awareness. My allergies were crazy bad, and are still problematic, so I took generic Benedryl (diphenhydramine HCl – which is the sleep aid in Tylenol PM and others) throughout my pregnancy and while nursing. Of course, I’d taken it for years, so it no longer made me sleepy and still doesn’t.

      b2curious wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I almost forgot, we broke the rule about letting animals sleep with the baby as well. Trying to keep the cats out of the bed was useless. During the day, when my daughter napped in her crib, it was not unusual to find a cat curled up in one or more corner of the crib (sometimes all 4). As she got bigger, they’d sleep closer to her, eventually snuggled up against her or laying on top of her.

      b2curious wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  11. I coslept with both of my daughters for 4-6 months…usually after the first nightly waking they’d stay in bed thereafter and I’d periodically roll to the other side and give them the other boob each time they woke up. I only started after about 6 weeks because before that they sleep so easily on their own that they could go back into the crib without complaints. I tried the Snuggle Nest for a while, but you still have to take the baby out of it before feeding them (or, my boobs aren’t long enough – lol). So it was not as nice as letting them eat while I slept soundly next to them, but a good alternative indeed for the parents that are aprehensive. I do remember a couple of times rolling briefly onto my second daughter and I woke immediately (no drugs or smoking here). With my third, my son, he never slept in the bed because I heard too many SIDS stories by then and got the “tsk tsk” from a lot of people when I told them about my daughters sleeping in the bed with me. But, it was my choice and it felt so natural that it made sense for us.

    Mama Miller wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  12. Very useful post!

    I think that the issue of infant sleeping position could be examined more closely. The medical institute might be mistaken regarding the added safety of the supine sleeping position.

    Lior wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Back in the day when my kids were babies (30 to 40 years ago)the prevailing wisdom was to put the baby on its side, so if it vomited, it wouldn’t choke. Made sense to me then. Still does. I breastfed, but had a cradle next to the bed. When feeding, the baby’s head was on my arm, and I could doze. Later, the baby’s sucking in his/her sleep would wake me, and I’d put them in the cradle so I could go into deeper sleep.

      Maxmilliana wrote on January 24th, 2013
  13. My daughter however did exactly the opposite her baby was left to cry itself to sleep in a separate room.

    My babies were content and happy,hers is a bit of a madam who knows if the sleeping affected anything

    lusana wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  14. Co-sleeping worked great for us for all sorts of reasons. Never any accidents or incidents. The big benefit now that he’s older is that he never went through the ‘nightmare/boogie man under the bed’ stage that so many children seem to go through. Sleep was always a safe, cozy experience for him, not one wraught with fear and feelings of being abandoned (when tiny). He’s got great sleep habits now. I’d say that’s a huge benefit right there. Thanks for this post – it’s an important one!

    Victoria wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I have never considered that complex developing from fears of being alone at night! Thank you for the insight

      Michelle wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • We’ve gone from 4 billion people to 7 billion people in 40 years. How bout we cut way back on the kids so our planet can survive. If the earth is destroyed, there won’t be any kids to sleep, co-sleep, cuddle, etc. Another problem is they keep having shows on countries where there is famine, like Ethiopia…millions starving to death. It’s not that they don’t have lots of food production there, it’s because of way too many people. David Attenborough from England has some chilling info. on the world population.

        Nocona wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • Well, to begin with I’m pretty sure the *planet* will survive most anything we throw at it. :) There’s been life around for billions of years and it’s survived several catastrophes already (as far as we can tell). I think it’s a tad ego-centric to think we are the final Bringers of Doom for Planet Earth.

          So it’s really our bacon we need to worry about. As much as I love David Attenborough’s accent, I’m pretty sure that no one really knows what the carrying capacity of the Earth is. It’s all guess work and I betcha noone thought we’d get to this many people 300 or 400 hundred years ago. We don’t really know what’s sustainable until it well, stops.

          As it is, another black death like plague could decimate the Earth’s population pretty quickly. (That might perk up those who think there are “extra” humans, just like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.) Another 40 years from now, we could be looking back fondly on the golden years of high population.

          At any rate, fertility rates are dropping everywhere on the planet. Developed countries no longer replace themselves, developing countries are seeing their fertility rates drop as women become more educated and have more options with their lives. It’s unlikely that the next 100 years will bring problems of an over population; rather it will be what do with an aging population.

          Phew! The executive summary: have the number of children you feel that is responsible on a personal and environmental level. Any other future population considerations/predictions are quite like the weather — to be taken with hardy dose of pickle brine.

          Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • Funny thing — to bring this back on topic — cosleeping increases the effect of lactational amenorrhea. That is to say, if you breastfeed and cosleep, your kids will naturally be spaced further apart. This may be way out in left field — I’ve never heard anyone say it before — but I wonder if the baby boom was caused/increased by people suddenly switching to bottle-feeding instead of breastfeeding and putting kids in cribs in a separate room on the advice of their doctors … both things that have been pretty much unknown for the rest of history. It’s pretty rare to exclusively breastfeed and cosleep and have a baby every year. Many hunter-gatherer tribes go three or four years without getting pregnant again, taking no other precautions.

          Sheila wrote on February 1st, 2013
        • @Sheila,

          My parents subscribed to that theory of natural contraception and were still breastfeeding my brother, but I messed it up – there’s only 18 months between us 😉
          Clearly I just couldn’t wait that long.

          Emma wrote on March 15th, 2013
    • We did not co-sleep with our kids, and neither of them developed the ‘nightmare/boogie man under the bed’ stage either.

      Jon wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • My son has never slept well, with occasional night terrors and we co-slept and breastfed him. My eldest daughter falls asleep in 5 minutes flat, never wakes up and we co-slept and breastfed her.

      I have had a lot of good with parenting that had absolutely nothing to do with me. 😉

      Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  15. I love the sidecar idea, and when wife and I bring our first child into the world, that’ll probably be the move for us as I think I’m too nervous to share the exact same bed :)
    This has been my favorite series by you, Mark.

    Carlos Morales wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • We co-slept in a king for the first two and we’re sidecarring a crib with a queen for the third. We all much prefer the sidecar arrangement. The adults keep the smaller bed, there’s always a “safe” adult free place to keep baby, and if Grandma wants to buy the crib she can do it. :)

      Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  16. My daughter is 2 1/2, and we’ve been co-sleeping since day one. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach (each parent has a unique situation), but it has worked well for us. I read about it when I was pregnant and thought that I would be too nervous to do it, but once she was born it was the most natural way to go. I had one of those Arm’s Reach Co-sleepers, and I think they’re great, but my baby hated it. She preferred staying in bed with me. This made nighttime feedings a breeze. I was always so warm when she was an infant, so not having the blankets higher than my waist wasn’t a big deal.

    Liz wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  17. I resisted co-sleeping for a few weeks, because the pediatricians kept saying NO NO NO. We upgraded our bed and started co-sleeping. I got more rest than I ever did when we didn’t co-sleep.

    Just a tip, sleep with your arm tucked under your pillow or out, and with a pillow tucked between your legs, it’s almost impossible to roll over.

    Happy safe co-sleeping!

    Esther wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • That’s a good tip–you reminded me that this is what I used to do, too. The pillow between your legs and a rolled-up blanket in front of your legs can give you a little more peace of mind.

      Liz wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I usually slept with one arm under my daughter’s head and shoulders. That is how I would position her so she could nurse, and since I often fell back asleep while she was nursing, she stayed there. My husband would sometimes awaken and find me more or less wrapped around my daughter. He said it looked like I was almost laying on her, but with her still laying on my arm, I was not. Sleeping with my arm under my pillow just means that later I will pull my arm out from under it. The pillow between my legs usually winds up on the floor. However, that does not negate the fact that for some people, those are excellent suggestions.

      b2curious wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Yes, that’s how I did it also. Worked great.

        Maxmilliana wrote on January 24th, 2013
  18. We co-slept the first few days because we hadn’t thought about what else to do, but neither of us were feeling rested because we were afraid we’d hurt the baby. After that we had him sleep in a bassinet right next to the bed, and once he was sleeping through the night we moved him to his crib. If my husband or i take a daytime nap we’ll snuggle up with the baby in bed, but for overnight sleep we all do better with the baby in his crib.

    Rebecca wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  19. A few years back I saw some research done around co-sleeping that showed the risk of baby’s death during co-sleeping was far, far higher if the baby was formula-fed and/or slept with someone other than the mother. The researchers theorized that mothers who are breastfeeding are more attuned and sleeping less deeply, which provides an evolutionary instinct against rolling over or smothering one’s baby. I think the argument for co-sleeping would be much more solid if it included this variable (which certainly Dr. McKenna touches on in the link above). I work in a hospital where medical staff counsels families against co-sleeping due to some horrendous accidents that have come through here…I wish there was more information given like what’s outlined in this post about how to do it safely. We all know as parents you’re going to sleep in a way that everyone in the family gets the most sleep, so people are always going to co-sleep with babies. It seems like the smart move would be educating people on doing it safely.

    Kara wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Well said. I had no intention of co-sleeping for fear of baby-slaughter, but it happened in spite of the fear and I’m so pleased it did.

      Waking every two to three hours to get up, take the baby from my husband and sit for five minutes till the baby slept again then staying wired awake in case baby woke again- often for three hours till he DID wake again- was literally killing me.
      The fatigue hit torture proportions, I remember it well and it hurt to live. The sweet baby hormones kept me going but what hell is sleep deprivation.

      One night I told my husband (sleeping in the spare room beside the baby in the crib) to put the baby in bed with me- I didn’t have the physical strength to get up.
      This was probably at the 2.5month period. We were the walking dead, so destroyed with sleep deprivation. He did, the baby fed and suddenly we all woke up relatively refreshed at a decent hour, nature had sorted us all out. It’s been like this ever since- 3.5 years.

      Mother nature knows best, it is my firm belief.

      Madama Butterfry wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • totally agree. the idiots who tell everyone not to cosleep clearly didn’t have a baby screaming to be held all night or needing to nurse every hour. two months was all i could take of getting up to feed her, and i think that’s typical – the 2 month power plod, and then the hormones drop. how is it safer to be so sleep deprived you’re getting into car accidents??

      Hilary wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  20. We had a full-sized (think playpen sized) arm’s reach cosleeper that we ended up not using as a cosleeper at all. My daughter coslept in our king sized bed with me and daddy, always next to me with her head and shoulders around my breast level, with me on my side facing towards her. We slept this way for the first several months of her life before her snoring and wiggling encouraged us to transition her to the cosleeper bassinet (used with the wall up as a crib). She shared our room for the first 8-9 months of her life but now has her own room because mommy wakes up every time she talks, whimpers, or laughs in her sleep.

    She is the most independent little girl, refuses my cuddles, and has no separation anxiety issues. I mention these things specifically because in any co-sleeping discussion I’ve ever participated in these are the issues people bring up as counter points. Do I think co-sleeping made her this way? No idea, but it certainly didn’t enforce the clinging, crying mess of baby that many people seem to think it does.

    Kari wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Not disagreeing or disputing anything you said, but just to offer another personal story about co-sleeping and room sharing…

      My sister-in-law and husband had their second child share a room with them for the first two years of their son’s life. I believe he slept in a crib that was in their bedroom. Anyway, they decided it was time to transition him to his own bedroom. He literally screamed every night for one month straight. They got no sleep. I remember my brother-in-law telling me about how he’d go to his car on his lunch break and sleep for an hour, because that was often the only good sleep he’d get.

      I don’t know if they tried the transition too soon, or what could have been done differently in their case. I’m sure it could have been handled better somehow by the parents. Nonetheless, this is a true story that turned out badly, at least for them.

      PS. I think I would have gone crazy if that had happened to me!

      Jon wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Jon, it sounds to me like it was just a really *abrupt* transition. I’m not sure why people come up with these strict deadlines for themselves – “Okay, at two years we’re moving him across the hall…”. I can understand how that would be sudden and scary for a tiny person who hasn’t known anything else up to that point. We coslept with our son, and it just kind of tapered off on its own. As it invariably will – they really *don’t* want to sleep with us forever. 😉

        Kristin wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • Yeah, good point. Like I said, I’m sure they could have handled the situation better. They are great, loving parents that probably thought they were doing the right thing. As we parents know, just like everything else in life, hindsight is often 20/20. :)

          Jon wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • I don’t remember what triggered them to decide when to make the transition, but my “guess” is that it was time to move him from a crib to a bed. Without calling them up and asking, that’s just a guess, but it would make sense and at least explain their thought process.

          Jon wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Sounds like NOT cosleeping was the nightmare.

        Stacey wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  21. My hearing was really acute after the babies came home and sleep was a strange mix of listening but having my eyes closed. I barely slept post-partum and finally both boths moved out around five months. Every click, sigh or lip smack was enough to make me look around. But I can’t imagine not having the baby right there to touch – what an amazing reward after everything we had gone through. The picture above reminds me of the delicacy of those days.

    Vanessa wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  22. We are accidental cosleepers. We tried an Arm’s Reach sidecar but she couldn’t sleep unless she was right up against me. She’s now 2yo3mo and still sleeping with us, but usually only one of us because of space limits. Our “big” bed is only a queen size. The other parent sleeps alone in the spare room.

    I think cosleeping guidelines are good in general, but use your own judgement for your own situation as well. For example, my husband and I are both super-aware of her so we didn’t follow some of the guidelines exactly. We have always shared a blanket with her. She has always slept between us. Our mattress was elevated on the frame until recently. She often fell asleep on her side (after she finished nursing) and I never moved her onto to her back.

    That said I think there are some absolutely non-negotiable guidelines, such as no drinking/drugs/smoking, and that everyone has to be on board. Cosleeping cannot work well otherwise.

    Stephanie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  23. Great article, great comments. I’m not a mother yet but am thinking about co-sleeping a lot. Really enjoyed all the info and stories!

    Anna P wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  24. This article came just in time for us! We are getting ready to have our first little one, and I was looking into a co-sleeper bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed. Thanks for the tips.

    Michelle wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • Congrats!

      Madama Butterfry wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  25. I had a co-sleeper that was attached to my bed. After two nights of waking up inside my sons co-sleeper (I was constantly worried if he was breathing – I think a common worry amongst first time mothers), I finally just pulled him in to bed with me, tucked him under my arm and finally slept. It was like second nature to me – to have him close. I would hear him wake and would roll him to his side while I was already on mine so he could nurse and we would both drift off back to sleep. It was wonderful. By age two he went from our bed to his own big boy bed and the transition was seamless. Now that I have baby number two on the way, I look forward to the co-sleeping again. It’s an amazing way to bond as a family. My son is now 4 and quite the hellion – but he is also the bestest snuggler.

    Lea wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  26. I co-slept and breastfeed my twin girls for about 18 months. They never slept for more than about 3-4 hours at a stretch, and people would always feel bad for me and would tell me I should have put them in a crib so I could sleep. What they didn’t realize is that I’d barely even notice that i woke up to feed them and feeding them took maybe 5 mins, so I was actually the most well rested mom I knew at the time!
    When they were 18 months, they stopped nursing, moved into their own beds and room and I never had an issue with them falling asleep, staying asleep, nightmares or anything. It worked out perfect for us.
    Now they are nearly 12 years old, fall asleep in 5-10 minutes, sleep 10 hours a night in their own room, and will occasionally ask if we can all sleep together on a weekend night for girls night… I really love it, and I know I won’t have too many more years of these times… wow they grow up fast! Enjoy them while you can. :-)

    Cher wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  27. We tried co-sleeping and none of us slept! So sad…we all were sweaty and grumpy, so we went back to the crib. Maybe it will be different with our next little one, who knows! Props to everyone who does this successfully! Wish I was in the ranks with you :)

    Sarah wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I am a huge believer in doing what works for you. If co-sleeping did not work for you, then not doing it was the right move. I did not co-sleep with my oldest, which is probably for the best, since I owned a water bed.

      b2curious wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Co-sleeping didn’t work for us either. Everyone stayed awake. We have a Queen bed and I think it was too small. We went on an Alaskan cruise when my son was 7 months old. We had a King bed in our cabin and co-slept for 7 days. That time it worked out perfectly! Back home we tried to continue but our son just wasn’t having it again. He likes his space!

        Julie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  28. We started out co-sleeping the day our first baby was born. No issues whatsoever. We kept our son to my side so that I could nurse throughout the night (in those early days, he would root while I was asleep and I would often wake up to find my boob in his mouth. Very strange).

    Around two months, my son started kicking and flailing his arms in his sleep. Active sleeper! And it became uncomfortable for us, so we moved him to a bassinet a few feet from our bed. We were very very lucky – he started sleeping 10-12 hours at night at that time, so it wasn’t too cumbersome. Around six months, he got his own room and crib, and now sleeps down the hall from our bedroom. He is back to waking up in the middle of the night to nurse or find comfort, so it’s tough – I can’t find a way to comfortably co-sleep with him without having my arm go limp. But I loved CSing. My husband was on board with it and I think we got much more sleep than other new parents as a result.

    CW wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  29. Just be careful, it’s easy to get the kid into your bed, not so easy to get them to sleep in their own bed once they start to get bigger.

    Treespeed wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • We had zero issues transitioning our daughter to sleeping in her bassinet in-room with us, and then sleeping in her crib in her own room once I was too pregnancysleepdeprived to deal with her waking me up throughout the night. She has a very regular sleep/nap schedule and has been sleeping through the night since 2 weeks. I’m sorry you had a less enjoyable co sleeping experience than my family.

      Kari wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I wonder where you get that from, since none of the successful co-sleepers on this forum mentioned having any problems moving their children to their own beds. Sometimes they make the move after less than a year, sometimes when they’re toddlers. They do whatever works for them and none of them have reported any problems getting the little one to move out.

      Susie wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • None of the co-sleepers have mentioned whether or not they have had trouble. Doesn’t mean they haven’t had trouble. If something you do works you’re very quick to tell everyone but if it fails spectacularly people tend to keep it to themselves. I work with families who go through hell trying to get children out of heir bed and into their own rooms. There are two sides to this- it works for skins but for many others it ends in tears and endless nights of no sleep for anyone.

        Hazel wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • Having successfully transitioned children into their own bed beds, it’s shake the idea that it’s the approach to tapering off co-sleeping that’s the issue, not co-sleeping itself.

          Issues that come to mind with that will cause co-sleeping “weaning” –

          1) Artificial deadlines. The kid is 6 months, 18 months, 24 months or whatever and now it’s time to kick the kid out of bed lest they never leave home in another decade and 1/2. So the process is duely begun because someone looked at a calendar rather than what was best for the entire family.

          2)Expecting a mature reaction from children. Adults seem to forget that there’s a reason that it’s a 2 decade process to raise a child. It’s amazing to me how frustrated adults get when their 2 or 3 year old can’t be talked into reason. It’s a complete setup for failure if you’re not prepared for some emotional bumps along the way.

          3)Inconsistent and abrupt changes – Like Fido, young children thrive on routine. If all they have ever known is sleeping with their parents, then sticking them across the hall one random day is not going to work. Of course they are going to scream. In the worst case scenario, the adults let them “cry it out” for 2,3,4 hours, they relent and they come back to bed. Rinse and repeat for an endless power struggle.

          From the kid’s point of view, he or she successfully screamed his way back to routine.

          Adults need to be, well, the adults and consistently transition their child out. Start with putting their new bed on the floor of your room and lie down with them to get them to sleep. A month later, sit on the bed and get the child to sleep. In another month or so, sit nearby and get the child to sleep that way. Then move to another room, etc, etc. Slowly and gradually with respect for the child’s needs in mind.

          And yes, there will be the oddball very stubborn child that has none of it. But I find very often that the parents who ending up in tears about sleeping, eating, etc have refused to put the consistent time into make things successful.

          Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • We did not try to get our kids to leave the family bed. They decided at age 6 for the boys and 3 for the girl. If my husband and I wanted to have sex we went someplace else. Now that my children are adults, I think co-sleeping is part of why they are so centered and why they take responsibility for their choices. We did not have problems with co-sleeping ever. Going through “hell” is what happens when you have an attitude about reality instead of adjusting to reality and making it work well. If any parenting situation feels like going through hell, then you’re not seeing all the alternatives. You can always find a strength to strengthen instead of a weakness to angst about.

          Julia wrote on January 23rd, 2013
        • +1. Many of my friends co-slept with their babies and toddlers, all of them were happy they did it. Every single one of them had trouble transitioning the kid out of their bed until after age four or five.

          Allison wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • That’s ok, apparently I’ll still be wearing him in a sling and breastfeeding when he goes to university – so it’ll probably make everything easier 😉

      ibby wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Ha Ha! I only stopped the sling (a Baby Bjorn) when they were physically too heavy for me to carry around. My kids are both bigger than me now, and they still try to sit on my lap. Thank goodness they are not still trying to nurse!

        Paula wrote on January 26th, 2013
  30. We co-slept with both of our children. We tried a bassinet in the room with us at first with our older son, but noticed that after I nursed him to sleep he would wake up as I got up with him to put him back to bed. Putting him down for naps in it didn’t work any better. So we got rid of the bassinet and started co-sleeping with him, then put him in a small bed nestled between ours and the wall when his baby brother was born and co-slept with him. Their father was between both children.

    Now they’re both young adults starting to make their way in the world and doing well, having had a secure start with a breastfeeding mom, co-sleeping with their parents, and being held as much as they needed. I thank Dr. Sears and his books for the wonderful start we were able to give our children, rather than the horrific way our parents were taught by Dr. Spock.

    Diane wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • I was 18 when my son was born. (He’s a healthy 40 year old now). He was a smallish baby who seemed to get hungry every 3-5 hours and I was much too tired to get up and deal with bottles in the middle of the night, so it seemed natural to feed him myself. I slept on my right side with my son on his back next to me, my right arm sort of curled around behind the back of his head. He only had to turn slightly to his left to nurse whenever he wanted. I would wake up just enough to see that the whole procedure went smoothly and then we were both warm and soon fast asleep. My husband slept on the other side of us and of course, rarely woke up until time to get up for work. I didn’t study co-sleeping or look into it beforehand. I wasn’t nervous about it. Just seemed natural. My grandmothers had done the same and it seemed the easiest way for everyone, including baby to get enough sleep. What Mark said about being sober and smoke-free is paramount. Happy co-sleeping to all.

      ShaSha wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  31. I work for a State Department that deals with infant deaths on a routine basis. Co-sleeping has proven to be very unsafe in many many situations. I agree with Mark that all the things he suggests are NECESSARY to make it safer, but I wouldn’t risk it with my own child after the things I’ve seen. Also be advised that, whether you agree with it or not, parents can be charged with child abuse/neglect if something happens to the child and they violated “safe sleep” guidelines, which is a nightmare no parent should have to face. I would just strongly caution people to be extremely careful with this.

    Primal Migraneur wrote on January 23rd, 2013
    • If you do the research, all the babies that sadly died when co-sleeping were fed formula in a bottle (Formula also causes baby to sleep deeper not waking when needed) Thus, the mothers propped baby on a pillow. In addition when co-sleeping and nursing, the mother is more aware/ baby is positioned correctly to nurse and is not at risk for smothering, rolling, etc. So, instead of harping on co-sleeping being unsafe let’s talk about how giving formula to a co-sleeping baby is dangerous.

      Megan @ The Ipps wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Getting huffy and turning a blind eye doesn’t change the facts. Also, your info regarding formula-fed babies is suspect. Where is the “research” you mention? Please provide references.

        Shary wrote on February 1st, 2013
        • PAEDIATRIC RESPIRATORY REVIEWS (2005) 6, 134–152
          Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding
          James J. McKenna* and Thomas McDade University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, IN 46556, USA

          Kelli B wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • If you’ve never had kids, it’s hard to know it’s like to face months or even a year or two of midnight feedings and trying sooth a human that’s far more animal than rational. To ask most competent parents to face endless sleepless nights because you’ve seen many of the rare bad apples is not helpful.

      Lack of sleep also sets children up for other types of abuse or neglect other than smothering. An adult without enough sleep is far less rational and more prone to leaving infants in unsafe situations or outright abuse. An infant without enough rest is far more prone to screaming/crying and triggering the already sleep deprived adult.

      There is no one guaranteed “safe” way to raise a child. Risk is always with us, whether or not we follow the guidelines from a government agency who specialize in raising theoretical children. The absolute best way to negate risk is and will always be personal responsibility.

      Amy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
      • Amy, Amy, Amy. Don’t you know that regulations are paramount to eliminating risks and hazards? I’m too stupid to think for myself and be responsible for my actions. I am extremely thankful for all the actions taken to eliminate illegal drugs, eliminate obesity, make real healthy foods more available, and the continual issuance of risk free treasury bonds that allows perpetual spending to support these lofty goals…

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  32. I always did co-sleeping with my babies in the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, which is a side car that attaches to the bed. Keeps the baby in a safe environment while still being close. There were times when I did fall asleep while feeding the babies while they were in bed with me, and this is certainly a nervous situation if you roll over in your sleep or your spouse does. I do have to say that around the 6 month mark when babies are more sensitive sleepers and if you have a spouse that snores it is usually more beneficial to have the children sleep in their own room at that time. But that’s just what worked for me!

    Jennifer K. wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  33. Our third baby just turned six months and we side car the crib to the bed. There is great tips online of how to do it. I am able to nurse whenever necessary during the night. For the flip flopper nursers a secret trick I picked up is to roll yourself more onto your stomach and offer the other breast. Granted my breast size allows for this and it may not work for others, but just a suggestion.
    We co-slept with the other two but my biggest struggle was my middle child not wanting to wean to her own bed at 2. It took over a year to move the mattress inch by inch to her own room. :)

    Angela wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  34. Another thought. My midwife asked me, “when’s the last time you fell out of bed? You’d know if you rolled on your babe.”

    Angela wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  35. Been co sleeping and exclusively Breastfeeding since our daughter was born (now 6 mos). She’s our first and at age 43 I don’t know if there will be more. I am sure i sleep better with her nearby. We do not drink, smoke or take any medication and my husband has been on board from the start. I work full time and if it weren’t for co sleeping I’d see and snuggle with my little girl a heck of a lot less. I love being close to her and I know she’s safe.

    deb wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  36. I co-slept with my eldest son from day 1. I sort of instinctively developed a knack for not moving at all during the night! He moved into his own bed of his own accord when he was almost 3. I am now still co-sleeping every night (after the first wake up) with my 18 month old twin boys, and have done almost every night since they were born. We all sleep better, for longer, and nothing quite beats the bonding with your child through the night. It’s the most natural thing in the world, and I wouldn’t change it for anything :)

    Nix wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  37. Fully agree with Treespeed. Never a thought in my mind to have my children in my bed. That’s where Mom and Dad sleep. They slept through the night like champs pretty quickly (10 weeks and yes, I did breastfeed both kids) and they understand that they are not the center of the universe in this house. But then I’m not a fan of Dr. Sears.

    Cathy wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  38. I co-slept with both my babies from hour one. I had the first in Northern California, where there’s a very baby-friendly culture. The hospital room had a double bed, so the baby slept between me and my husband. I watched the two of them with amazement about 12 hours after he was born – both were asleep, in the same position. When one would move an arm, the other would follow suit. Perfect unison for hours! The second was born in Southern California, but I brought all those crazy hippy Norcal ideas with me. I was one of those high-risk older mothers but I declined the scheduled C-section and then the pain meds for a 10 lb baby (that they predicted would be 12 or more pounds.) It was an easy labor. The doctor begrudgingly admitted that none of the problems he was afraid of had happened, and I wondered what on earth he was talking about. Baby and I then went and co-slept in recovery. I kept my babies out of those plastic boxes as much as I could. They still co-sleep with me, on on either side, at 2 1/2 and 4.

    Caroline wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  39. I didn’t plan to co-sleep, but that was just how it played out. With my first child, a few months in, I tried using the crib and room-sharing (caving to outside pressure); I couldn’t sleep. I slept with the first child until the second was born, when my husband took over sleeping with the toddler and I started again with the newborn.
    I now have an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old, and our family sleeping arrangements remain “loose,” as I like to call them. We sleep in “musical beds,” depending on who feels like they might need company.
    For years, my husband traveled extensively, and our family bed was one tool to help maintain a sense of security in his absence and closeness when he was home.
    Husband comes from a traditional culture, and houses in his villages don’t have bedrooms. Co-sleeping is normal there and done by everyone most of their lives.

    Jo wrote on January 23rd, 2013
  40. HI! My three children always slept with us through out their early years, sometimes they seem to still want to stay there! ha ha

    I enjoyed it so much, you can’t get those years back, they stay little for such a short time.

    With my youngest, a daughter, she was only 6’8 when she was born, very cold natured. I would bundle her up and still under our covers, she slept well. As they got a little older they moved into the bassinet. Later a toddler bed, and yes still in our room. We didn’t ever push them out. They eventually did on their own.
    We tend to disconnect from our children a little too soon, but each there own.

    I only hope as they have their own, they too will treasure this.

    Thank you for all the wonderful information!

    Elvia wrote on January 23rd, 2013

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