MYTHS ABOUT BEDSHARING
Parents are often warned not to let their babies sleep in the parental bed. All sorts of horrors are held up as reasons why not. Let’s bust a few of them!
“If you let your baby sleep in your bed now…”
“You’ll NEVER get him out of your bed…”
Not true. All children eventually move to their own beds. Usually once they graduate from high school. (Just kidding. It’ll happen many, many years before that.)
“You’ll have HUGE problems getting him to move out later…”
Says who? Most of them do so with no trauma! There may be a period of adjustment, but when done gently, when the child is ready, it should not be traumatic.
“You’ll roll onto your baby and smother him…”
Not if you bedshare properly. This only happens when parents are drugged, drunk or hugely obese. Mums sleep protectively when their baby is in their bed. Be sure to educate yourself on safe sleep and safe bedsharing.
“Your baby will keep you awake all night…”
Not true. Your baby may stir more, but research has shown that mothers whose babies sleep close to them get more sleep in total than those whose babies sleep alone.
“Having the baby in your bed will make your marriage fall apart…”
Not true. Your marriage and sex-life will change, for sure, when you have a baby, whether they sleep in your bed or not. But it’s not as simple as baby in bed = divorce, thankfully, otherwise human beings would have died out long ago.
“You’ll have a clingy, insecure child…”
Not at all. Research has now shown us very convincingly that having baby in the bed is more likely to result in a confident, secure child than a clingy, whiny child.
So relax. These are myths. Forget them. Do what works now, do what feels right now.
“Having infants co-sleep or sleep in close proximity to parents, rather than in a physically separate crib or a crib in a separate room, can greatly mitigate or completely eliminate problems that a parent may have in getting their infant to sleep, and in dealing with night wakefulness.” ~ Miller & Commons, 2010.
Tips for safe bedsharing:
Don’t do it if one or both parents smoke – let baby sleep in your room but not in the same bed (doesn’t matter that you never smoke in the bedroom, that’s not the issue)
Don’t do it if you are drunk or drugged – better yet, don’t get drunk or drugged if you have a baby!
Babies must NEVER sleep with you on a sofa, couch or waterbed – these are not safe for babies.
No soft bedding materials (duvets, heavy quilts, fluffy pillows etc.)
No spaces next to the bed that could trap baby – make sure the bed is either firmly against the wall or far away from the wall.
Baby must sleep on his back, not side or stomach.
Don’t let other children (or pets) sleep with a small baby.
Extract from: How Babies and Toddlers Really Sleep by Erica Neser (c) 2015
For more information, please visit www.babysleep.co.za
Erica Neser is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Infant Massage Instructor, Infant CPR Instructor and mother of three. Her passion is to help parents understand their babies and how they sleep, and to encourage a gentle baby- and parent-friendly approach to sleep problems. She is the author of Sleep Guide for Babies and Toddlers (Protea Books, 2006), How babies and toddlers really sleep (self-published 2014) and Coping with Crying (self-published, 2008), as well as the co-author of Breastfeeding Guide (self-published, 2010). She has been working with mothers and babies for 20 years and often writes articles for parenting publications.
For more details, please visit www.babysleep.co.za
This is the last post from our Sleepy Time Expert Erica Neser.
We would like to thank Erica for her wonderful contribtion and wise, gentle words when it came to the very sensitive subject of sleep.
Please visit Erica at www.babysleep.co.za