Safe Co-sleeping. What is it?
Are you wanting to co-sleep with your baby, but are a little nervous about just popping them into your bed with you? A co-sleeper, like the Bednest, may be just what you’re looking for. The benefits and advantages of co-sleeping, or at least having baby sleep within the same room as you, are well documented. Combine them with the fact that generations upon generations of families have safely co-slept (it’s what we’re designed to do from a biological perspective!), and you’ll understand why so many families choose this option. We have outlined some of the main benefits below.
Night feeding is easier.
Having baby closeby through the night can certainly make life a little easier, especially when it comes to those night feeds. Babies are designed to wake frequently to feed, and being able to simply reach for baby makes the repeated feeding sessions a little easier to cope with. As you’re both not waking fully every single time baby needs you, you’ll find both you and baby usually enjoy a better quality of sleep. It has been suggested that mothers produce more of the lobe drug, oxytocin, when their babies are nearby, and this in turn can improve sleep quality, and boost milk production.
Baby usually sleeps more peacefully.
Babies rest more soundly when they feel secure, and knowing Mama is closeby will likely help them sleep better, and startle and/or cry less. Settling baby back to sleep after they do wake is often easier, because there’s nothing more soothing than a snuggle to help you drift off to sleep! You’ll likely find that you become more aware of baby’s early hunger cues, and can tend to baby before they begin to cry too.
Co sleeping can help foster a secure attachment with your baby, and strengthen the bond you share. This is not only due to the increase of oxytocin production, but also due to the fact you are right there, able to respond to baby’s cues, at all times. This gives baby a sense of security and comfort, and this can transcend throughout childhood, knowing that your child can always feeling secure in the knowledge that you will always respond to their needs. Co-sleeping also offers you the opportunity to enjoy lovely cuddles with your baby, which is especially important if you are unable to enjoy this time frequently during the day due to work commitments or tending to older children.
Lower the risk of SIDS.
Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception. This risk level is thought to be four times lower than that of babies who sleep in a separate room. This may be due to a number of factors, number one being that the parent can respond quickly to any sign of distress. Co-sleeping babies sleep in a physiologically safer way too. Studies show that babies who sleep near their parents have more stable body temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone.
Safe co-sleeping. Some guidelines to follow.
Sleep baby on back
Use a new, firm mattress if using a co-sleeper, with a breathable mattress protector.
Keep all soft furnishings, blankets and pillows away from baby’s head.
Dress baby appropriately – warmly, but without risk of overheating. Use a safe sleeping bag or swaddle.
Don’t smoke in the bedroom, near your baby, or go to bed wearing bedclothes that may be contaminated by cigarette smoke.
Don’t sleep with your baby whilst under the influence of alcohol, medication that may cause drowsiness, or illicit drugs.
For More Information:
Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping by James J.McKenna (2007). Platypus Press. The Scientific Perspective McKenna, J., Ball H., Gettler L., Mother-infant Cosleeping, Breastfeeding and SIDS: What Biological Anthropologists Have Learned About Normal Infant Sleep and Pediatric Sleep Medicine. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 50:133-161 (2007) McKenna, J., McDade, T., Why Babies Should Never Sleep Alone: A Review of the Co-Sleeping Controversy in Relation to SIDS, Bedsharing and Breastfeeding (pdf). Paediatric Respiratory Reviews 6:134-152 (2005)
When it comes to co-sleepers, there is an increasing choice available to Australian families. Birth Partner has been helping families hire or buy co-sleepers for a few years now, and I asked the founder of Birth Partner, Nicole Ronay Sundin, to outline some of the options available: The Bednest Bassinet is very popular with Birth Partner’s clients, and with good reason – it is stylish and extremely versatile, as it can also be used as an independent bassinet or as a Moses basket. It is available to buy or hire from Birth Partner. The Troll Sun Bedside Bassinet is also European made, and can be used in freestanding as well as co-sleeping mode. It comes in a choice of two colours, so you can match your nursery decor, and the wheels make it easy to move if you need to. The Arm’s Reach Mini Co-sleeper is endorsed by paediatric expert Dr William Sears, and is able to be attached to the parent’s bed for extra security. It is also available to either buy or hire from Birth Partner. The Arm’s Reach Cambria is a wooden co-sleeping bassinet available from the same manufacturer, in a darker wood option.
To Buy or to Hire?
Babies can be expensive – with all the new items you may choose to buy for them, the costs can really add up! You can make this easier on your budget by hiring the things you only use for a short period of time. Bassinets are a good example – they are usually only used until baby is about 6 months old, sometimes earlier than that if baby is starting to push up on hands and knees. Hiring a bassinet simply makes sense – and you don’t need to store it between babies, either. Birth Partner makes hiring easy, with a range of hire periods available, from 1 to 6 months. If you decide to buy instead, Birth Partner has specials on some of these co-sleepers right now – the Bednest is currently $535, instead of the usual $599 (with free delivery if you live in Sydney or Melbourne). The Troll Sun Bedside Bassinet is $369 (usually $379), and the Arm’s Reach Mini is $325 (usually $339). If you are a client of Jessica, use the code “jessicanash” for a special discount on your order. *Advertised prices correct at time of publication, subject to change.