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  Baby Sleep – Sharing Mother’s Bed:
 

The exhaustion of motherhood is so overwhelming, but things have improved since I took the baby into bed with us, and that is where he has stayed. We all get a bit more sleep, and are content with the situation. The problem is that my mother finds is distasteful, and also thinks it isn’t safe for the baby.

Parenthood is a totally individual experience. What works for you may not be right for the next person. That is why it is so important that we figure out what works for each of us, listening to the advice we are given and only taking from it what is relevant for our own lives. Your sleeping arrangement is one that would have been frowned upon when you were a small child – and the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ motto was the one that parents lived by. Things have changed a lot since then and this is your chance to be a mother – which means you get to choose how you are going to do that.

But don’t be tempted to throw the baby out with the bath water! Your mother does have many years of wisdom and experience under her belt. Just because you do not agree on this particular issue, does not mean that you should not listen to her opinion on other issues. Just don’t allow her to tell you how you should run your life. Take what works for you, and leave the rest.

In fact, babies that sleep with their parents tend to be very content, and to sleep well. It is easy to attend to baby’s needs, and to feed in the night, which can be a huge bonus in cold weather or when baby is not well. Early risers can usually be persuaded to drop back to sleep if you are cosily tucked up in the same bed. All the physical contact can be very good for a baby, helping him develop and grow because he is so secure.

But you do need to be aware of the downsides of this arrangement. The first and most obvious one is the lack of intimacy with your partner. This is an issue that only the two of you can figure out. Just make sure that your partner is coping with this situation. While babies tend to sleep well in their parent’s beds, the same is not always true of the parents. New babies in particular are often noisy, restless sleepers, and this can disturb the sleep of the parents. You do need to get enough sleep in order to function, so be careful to monitor the situation.

Babies who sleep with their parents do not learn how to fall back to sleep when they surface in the night. This is an important skill, and it is just good for you to be aware of the fact that your baby will have to learn it at some stage. Should the need arise for you to move your baby from your bed, this can be a very difficult experience for your baby. However, it is not necessary for you to worry about situations that may never arise, just to be aware of the possibilities. It is perfectly likely that a toddler will ask for his own bed, and the whole situation will be without stress!

Meanwhile, do have a room which is his own and make sure that you carry out pleasant activities in there. Perhaps baby can play in his cot while you sort the washing, singing and chatting to him all the while. He needs to be comfortable in his cot and his room, so that if the need arises to move him in there, he has happy associations with the room. It may also be worth trying to let him have his day time naps in his own cot. He may enjoy that. If he objects, then revert to the previous arrangement, and persist with letting him spend time in the cot when he is happy.

Your mother may be worrying about the safety of baby. She may fear that you will roll on baby or smother him in his sleep. In fact research has shown that babies are perfectly safe sleeping with their parents unless the parents are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Make sure that baby is on his back and that his face is not covered by the bed covers. However, if you or your husband are smokers, then this is not a good sleeping arrangement for your baby. There seems to be a link between smoking parents and the incidence of cot death. The link is even stronger if the smoking parents sleep with the baby in their bed. It is also not a good idea to sleep with baby on a sofa, as there is a risk of baby getting wedged between the sofa and your body and being smothered.

See also:

Baby Sleep - Compromise

Baby Sleep - Controlled Crying

Baby Sleep - Cot in parents’ room

Baby Sleep - Doing it your way

Baby Sleep - Overtiredness

Baby Sleep - Own Room

Baby Sleep - Position

Baby Sleep - Teaching baby to sleep

 
   
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