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's® Reach Universal Co-Sleeper®. 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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