An Unsafe Environment
While we here at Inhabitots do not agree that co-sleeping is attune to sleeping with fat butcher knives, we do admit that co-sleeping is not the right choice for every family. In some cases, the sleep environment itself may not be safe. If you have an extremely tall bed and aren’t willing to let your baby sleep in the middle, don’t co-sleep. Waterbeds or very soft mattresses aren’t safe either, as your baby may roll into a bed ditch. Excessive bedding is unsafe, as are loosely fitted sheets that may roll up. Also, although it may happen occasionally, try not to co-sleep on a couch or chair – too little space makes co-sleeping less safe. Parent issues that may contradict safe co-sleeping include being very overweight, being an overly restless sleeper and taking medications that induce heavy sleep. You should also never, ever co-sleep if you’ve been drinking alcohol or if you smoke in bed. Well, don’t smoke in bed no matter what, but you get the picture. You do need to make sure the entire bedroom environment is safe before you try co-sleeping.
You Don’t Really Want to Co-sleep
Co-sleeping, over the last few years, has become more fashionable. This alone is not a good reason to co-sleep. You actually have to want to co-sleep or it won’t work for you. In my case, I couldn’t imagine having a baby then putting him far away in some other room to sleep. Co-sleeping was a natural decision for my family. However, I have known parents who feel pressured into co-sleeping – yes, even attachment parents can be judgmental, and these parents often express frustration towards their baby or partner surrounding co-sleeping. I’ve also known parents who are overly anxious about co-sleeping because they don’t think it’s safe, but because they’re feeling pressure, they do it anyway. If you’re nervous about co-sleeping, you won’t get much sleep, which can be far worse for your mood and your child than if you put your baby in a crib and got some shut-eye. If you want your child close by, but don’t honestly trust that co-sleeping is safe, don’t lose sleep over it, try a bedside bassinet instead.
Parents (or Others) Disagree About Co-Sleeping
If friends or family disagree with your choice to co-sleep, it’s not that big of a deal. Welcome to the world of judgmental parenting. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, will have something to say about your parenting style at some point. Ignore others – you know what’s best for your own family. A bigger problem is when parents disagree about co-sleeping. In most cases I’ve seen it’s usually the dad who doesn’t want to co-sleep. If you find yourself in this position and you still really want to co-sleep, point out some of the many benefits of co-sleeping to your partner, such as…
- Co-sleeping is cost effective – no crib needed.
- Co-sleeping may reduce stress.
- Co-sleeping is just as safe, if not safer than crib sleeping.
- Co-sleeping is kinder than letting a child cry it out.
- Co-sleeping does not negatively impact development.
- Co-sleeping encourages longer and more successful breastfeeding.
- Co-sleeping is a biologically and historically sound practice – only very recently have babies slept alone.
- Co-sleeping may reduce SIDS risks and result in better baby-parent bonding.
- Co-sleeping is easy, allowing you to care quickly for your baby without getting up all night long.
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