Home
New Baby Checklist
Co-Sleeping Guidlines & FAQ's

This article is courtesy of:

TresTria 100% Natural co-sleeping solution:
The simplest way to turn your bed into a safe,
comfortable place to sleep for you and your baby.


See the TresTria here.

 

What is co-sleeping?

Co-sleeping is the simple act of sharing your sleep environment with your child. As radical as it might seem, if you ask a group of parents, we think you’ll find that most share sleep with their children at least on occasion. Many parents co-sleep on a part- time basis, for example, during times of stress (i.e. a move, or travel), when a child is ill, has a nightmare, or just during the wee hours of the morning to allow for a little more sleep. Other families co-sleep full time. In our own lives, we feel this practice makes life a little more consistent. Statistics show that over 70% of families share a bed with their young children in one way or another, and that three times more nursing moms co-sleep than non-nursing moms.  

Does anyone really co-sleep?

Well, for starters, we do (and so does everyone else involved in our company)! Co-sleeping is actually the norm in most other countries. In fact, the idea of babies sleeping in their own cribs was really only introduced 200 years ago. America remains the only place in the world where placing a child in his own bed in his own room is the norm. Ask a European, Asian, or African parent if they sleep with their child and they may give you a confused look; they may not even understand what you mean. In fact, in more than two -thirds of the cultures around the world, mothers sleep with their infants and instinctively (yes, without even waking up!) soothe their infants back to sleep when they show any signs of arousing. 

What are the advantages of co-sleeping?

Everyone sleeps better! How’s that for a big advantage? A parent (usually mom) doesn’t have to get out of bed to attend to his/her child’s nighttime needs (i.e. nighttime feedings, diaper changes, extra cuddling). Babies also go back to sleep much more quickly because they aren’t left to cry long enough to really fully awaken from sleep. A drawn-out bedtime ritual doesn’t have to be developed to get your children to sleep – usually you end up asleep as well and somewhere much less comfortable than your own bed (i.e. chair, sofa, or floor of your child’s room). Because of the simplicity of the task, and because they know their parents will be near, children don’t fight going to bed; they don’t see sleep as the enemy. Children that sleep with their parents are also more securely attached; if you must be away from your child during the day, co-sleeping offers a way to really reconnect with your child.

Are there different ways to co-sleep?

Yes. Since co-sleeping is a loose term that means sharing your sleep environment it can be used to describe any of the following arrangements:1. Having your child sleep in your bed. 2. Having your child sleep in a crib next to your bed with the side down so the crib and the bed are "connected." 3. Having your child sleep in a cradle or crib next to but separate from your bed. 4. Having your child sleep on a mattress on the floor in your room.

Many families rely on the use of a co-sleeping bassinet – a sort of “side-car” that pulls up to the side of your bed. We found that our co-sleeping bassinet became a glorified laundry basket and didn’t really provide the kind of closeness we craved. In addition, it does not eliminate the need for mom or dad to get out of bed to attend to the nighttime needs of an infant (i.e. nursing, diaper changing, and cuddling)

Other parents simply place their child between them in bed and share-sleep in that manner. This practice makes some people a little nervous as baby can roll around easily between the parents. It is better to wait until the toddler years to co-sleep in this manner.

Still others set up bed rails or use an unusual array of pillows and rolled blankets to keep a child on one end of the bed. While this practice is, for the most part, safe, the pillows/blankets/bed rails really seem to take up a lot of the actual bed space, making it less comfortable for all involved.

We have always felt that there had to be a better alternative to all of the above ways to co-sleep – something more simple, more secure, more practical. That is why we invented the Tres Tria. Simply slip the natural latex bolster under the fitted sheet on your bed and sidle the baby right up to it. It creates a lot more room in the bed, but at the same time keeps the baby safe and secure. It can also be used in many more ways later on down the road – to support a pregnant mother, position a tiny nursling, keep a toddler in his/her “big kid” bed, or just as a fantastic reading pillow. 

What are the guidelines for safe co-sleeping?
(answer taken from AskDrSears.com)

Here are some ways to educate parents on how to sleep safely with their baby:

Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother. Like heat-seeking missiles, babies automatically gravitate toward a warm body. Yet, to be safe, place baby between mother and [what else, of course, but your Tres Tria] ...

Place baby adjacent to mother, rather than between mother and father. Mothers we have interviewed on the subject of sharing sleep feel they are so physically and mentally aware of their baby's presence even while sleeping, that it's extremely unlikely they would roll over onto their baby. Some fathers, on the other hand, may not enjoy the same sensitivity of baby's presence while asleep; so it is possible they might roll over on or throw out an arm onto baby. After a few months of sleep-sharing, most dads seem to develop a keen awareness of their baby's presence.

Place baby to sleep on his back.

Use a large bed, preferably a queen-size or king-size. A king-size bed may wind up being your most useful piece of "baby furniture." If you only have a cozy double bed, use the money that you would ordinarily spend on a fancy crib and other less necessary baby furniture and treat yourselves to a safe and comfortable king-size bed.

Some parents and babies sleep better if baby is still in touching and hearing distance, but not in the same bed. For them, a bedside co-sleeper is a safe option.  

Here are some things to avoid:

Do not sleep with your baby if:

◦ You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

◦ You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea making it hard for you to be responsive to your baby during the night.

◦ You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

◦ You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

◦ You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.

Parents should use common sense when sharing sleep. Anything that could cause you to sleep more soundly than usual or that alters your sleep patterns can affect your baby's safety. The question shouldn't be "is it safe to sleep with my baby?", but rather "how can I sleep with my baby safely?" 

What do doctors say about co-sleeping?

Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. Two very notable physicians, namely Dr. William Sears, MD (author of many books on attachment parenting) and Dr. Jay Gordon (also a very noted and well-published physician) work tirelessly to promote co-sleeping and its place in our lives. Many pediatricians are still balking at the practice, but the research is there and definitely supports co-sleeping all the way. In countries where co-sleeping is the norm (that is, almost every other country except the United States) SIDS is unheard of and breastfeeding is far more successful. Dr. Sears’ website link (provided in the link section of this article) includes his own research into co-sleeping, carried out in his own home, with his own wife and children. A third doctor, Dr. James J. McKenna of the Notre Dame Mother Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, has done much research to bolster the body of evidence supporting co-sleeping in various forms. His work is paramount in the fight to make co-sleeping a more acceptable practice in this country.

Co-sleeping is also highly recommended by the La Leche League (the unequivocal leader and authority on breastfeeding practices) because it makes ecological breastfeeding that much easier by not requiring mother to get out of bed at all during the nighttime hours. 

Where can I learn even more about co-sleeping?

SUGGESTED READING

The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin

The Attachment Parenting Book: A Common Sense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears

Good Nights: The Happy Parents’ Guide to the Family Bed (and a Peaceful Night’s Sleep) by Maria Goodavage and Dr. Jay Gordon

Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sharing Sleep With Your Baby by Deborah Jackson

The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

Safe Sleeping with Baby: A Parent’s Guide by Dr. James J. McKenna