Thursday, December 15, 2011

Safe and Sound Sleep

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Dear Delilah,

When you were born, I wanted to keep you as close to me as possible as often as possible. The nurses scolded me about sleeping with you in my arms in my hospital bed, so rather than put you down to sleep in the lonely hard plastic bassinet, I continued to let you sleep in my arms, opting not to sleep myself. It's no surprise that within moments of arriving home, we were seen like this:

I did a lot of research on cosleeping both while I was pregnant and while you were a newborn. I knew I wanted you close to me, but above all, I wanted to make sure you were safe. Your father had concerns about bed-sharing, one method of cosleeping. You were so tiny, and he was afraid of you getting squished. While I was confident about the safety of a nursing mother sharing bed space with her baby without blankets or pillows near the baby, I knew that the pain medication I was on after your cesarean birth made it unsafe for you to sleep in bed with me.

We compromised and opted for another method of cosleeping, placing you in a bassinet right next to the bed. This arrangement gave us all of the benefits of having you close by, without the risks associated with those pain medications and the blankets that are a permanent fixture during cold Wisconsin winters. Even though you were next to my side of the bed, when you woke to nurse, your father had to get up to get you, as the recovery from surgical birth makes any shift from a lying down position a very slow and painful process. Still, I was committed to safety, and until I didn't need those medications anymore, we either stuck by our plan, or I sat up in bed, awake, holding you in my arms, as you always slept better and longer that way.

Our sleeping arrangements evolved as you grew bigger and more mobile. Once I mastered side-laying nursing, there was no turning back! I could sleep while you helped yourself to my milk, and everyone was happier that way! When you outgrew your bassinet and we started putting you down for naps in the crib in your nursery, we discovered that you seemed to fall asleep better on your own.

That began the journey toward the sleep arrangements we have today. You start out the night in your own bed. Now that you're sleeping through the night more often, you often stay there all night and wake up happily before I bring you into bed with me to nurse you while I catch a few more winks. When you do wake up in the night, you join us in our bed, being returned to yours if you get too squirmy and need more of your own space, and then joining us again in the morning. Even though you don't spend all night with us, we consider our bed to be a family bed, as you are always welcome in it. Without our family bed, we'd miss out on moments like this, waking up and looking out the window together for the first glimpse at the winter's first snow:

Still, all of the warm, fuzzy moments in the world would not be worth it if they meant risking your safety. There is wide agreement among professionals and parents alike that the safest place for babies to sleep is in close proximity to their parents. That said, there is also widespread misinformation about the dangers of bed-sharing. When appropriate safety guidelines are followed, bed-sharing is a safe and secure cosleeping option. When bed-sharing is not safe, or just not what works best for a family, safe cosleeping can be a traditional bassinet near the parents bed, a co-sleeping specific bassinet (the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper is a popular choice), a side-carred crib (read about how Monika of aias dot ca side-carred her crib), or even a firm mattress on the floor.

Just as with all parenting choices, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people sleep better alone, and some sleep better snuggled up to a loved one. Anyone who questions where our family falls on that spectrum need only glance at the three of us snoozing comfortably on your father's side of our king sized bed. I am thankful that we had an open mind about cosleeping and bed-sharing, that we took the time to look into the risks and safety precautions, and that we have embraced the concept of a family bed, even if all of us like to be alone in it once in a while!




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Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!


  1. I love how you found something that worked for your family, and adapted as things changed. Sweet pictures!

  2. I love that first photo. How very sweet.

    Also...I didn't know that you were also in Wisconsin. That's so surprising to me since it seems like all of my favorite bloggers are so far away. Hi neighbor.

    Our children are very close in age too. My son was born in December, 2009 (Christmas Eve).

  3. Beautiful photos! And a lovely story. I also had a cesarean with my oldest, and found it cumbersome and painful to get out of bed for quite awhile afterwards.
    Good for you, researching and planning beforehand rather than trying to catch up afterwards like I did!! Lol! And cosleeping has all kinds of evolutions and manifestations; bassinet, bedshare, start in their bed-move to your bed, etc, etc. Being responsive and following and balancing everyone's needs is key, I think, to healthy parenting.
    Great post!! =)

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  5. Many people are looking for a mattress today that will give them a better sleep. Some people swear by the traditional mattresses and some still like the waterbeds. However, many people are turning to the air mattress or air bed.
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  6. The sleep or taking rest is one of the important thing that human should take daily in his life because for performing our daily life activity we must need a safe and sound sleep of 6 to 8 hour, as shown in the picture the mother is sleeping very comfortably with her child in a bed, when we talks about taking comfortable sleep so we must buy a mattress topper which give us a very safe and sound sleep after whole day activity.

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