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The great co-sleeping divide

Thinking about co-sleeping with your baby but worried about safety issues? Find out about one solution that has all of the pros but none of the cons of co-sleeping.
Many people believe that there are a few controversial subjects you must absolutely avoid in all social situations - politics and religion being among the top few. But, in my humble opinion, there is at least one more topic which should also be on that nefarious list. . .Co-Sleeping.

Now, I am SUCH an advocate of safe co-sleeping! I think, in most situations, it is the best, healthiest, safest, most bonding, incredibly beautiful way to sleep. However, there is an important point I am pretty adamant about - I believe it needs to be done safely. This may seem like a reasonable concern, but it puts me squarely between the extremely vocal opposing factions on a precarious strip of no-man's land.

Those that are staunch advocates of traditional co-sleeping often point to the benefits of this world-wide practice, such as increased bonding, easier breastfeeding, and reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Cot Death), etc. They are so focussed on those admittedly wonderful benefits that, sometimes, they overlook any potential risks and believe that co-sleeping in any configuration is the only responsible choice. After all, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the NHS, to name a few, all believe that co-sleeping, at least in the first six months, is best for baby.

Those against co-sleeping usually point to two particular criticisms - one is the inherent dangers of possibly rolling onto or suffocating the baby, and the other is that some believe that co-sleeping creates clingy, needy children. Though current studies have all but silenced one of those concerns with their findings that co-sleeping actually helps children to feel more secure and sure of themselves as they progress through life, I do identify with the concern about keeping a baby safe in an adult bed. . .especially if you drink alcohol, smoke, take prescription or illegal medications, or are over tired. (aren't ALL new parents over tired?!)

Now, I completely believe in the benefits of co-sleeping. I do. I think in every important way, it is the best choice for most babies and their parents. However, I also recognise the potential risks and, to be frank, those risks are serious enough for me to carefully consider whether to co-sleep or have my babies in another room.

Thankfully, making a choice between the two is no longer necessary. . .a number of products have recently come to the UK which offer a safer alternative to sharing a bed or sleeping in separate rooms, without losing any of the traditional benefits of co-sleeping. The best of the lot, in my opinion, and the one I have used for years, is an Arm'sĀ® Reach Universal Co-SleeperĀ®. Newly arrived from the US, where it has been sold for years, it attaches to most adult beds and gives baby their own sleeping environment, while being right next to you. It is the baby's own secure space, but it is still co-sleeping in every important sense of the word.

Purists would argue that unless the baby is in your actual bed, you aren't co-sleeping. But on this issue, I am with the opponents. . .if I can co-sleep in a way that gives me all of the benefits and erases the risks, then I don't mind straddling the fence a bit. I may not ultimately please either camp, but I don't mind. After all, the point is to do what is best for you and your baby, isn't it? In my opinion, safe co-sleeping does just that.

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we have to have our daughter in our bed, because she has out grown her moses basket and there no room in here for another cot, council am not helping us get a place, my daughter is 10months old, i do not agree with baby in same bed, that why me and my fella dont sleep at night, we end up one in bed with her and the other in a chair,
by avfcgal 20th Jun 2013, 3:00pm
i say the opposite. my sister slept with her son and he past away. thats what makes me so cautious about things like people having their baby sleep with them, because im the one who found him that way. so i say, not to sleep with the baby in bed with you. i say it reduces the risks of SIDS. i have my son in a bassinet next to my bed. i sleep near the edge anyways so it doesnt bother me to sleep so close. but i am able to see my baby and know that he is okay. so everyone who lets their baby sleep with them in the same bed is nuts and shouldnt do that. im sorry if i affend anyone but thats just my believe.
by RJMJR 3rd Feb 2010, 9:49am
My son has slept in the same bed as me and my husband since day 3 - day 1 in hospital and day 2 in moses basket. We are so aware that he is in our bed and many nights I have spent balancing on the edge as the little one has taken over our king size bed. We both agree this is the best place for him. His little face when he wakes up and see's us both there is priceless. It makes breastfeeding so much easier. I wasted so much money on moses basket, bedding etc We are also light sleepers, do not drink or smoke. I feel so close to my son and am glad we let him sleep with us.
by julie64 13th Jul 2009, 9:13am
I stopped mentioning that my baby slept in the bed with me as people were so negative! I breastfeed and while he goes to sleep initially in his moses basket when he wakes for his night feed I just let him sleep with us - it is lovely to have him beside us - you are very aware that he is there, so don't be afraid you will roll onto your baby.
by cjmac 26th Mar 2009, 9:35am
I also think that co-sleeping is good for bonding - and I myself let baby sleep in cot till morning then bring him in with me for the last hour I think this gives the best of both worlds.
by MummyMaz55 1st Dec 2008, 9:28am
This is a fabulous cot and definitely worth a look for safe co-sleeping!! I have one and could be an agent for the company I am so sold on these! There are other options out there, and some may work for you, but no matter what you do, co-sleeping without bedsharing is definitely worth considering. I am on baby number three and find that I am as happy with this one in her Co-Sleeper Cot as when I found them with number one.
by ChelleDKelley 4th Aug 2008, 9:14am