Most new parents spend a great deal of time preparing for their birthing experience and getting ready for baby to arrive.
They have spent numerous hours decorating and organizing the baby’s room only to find that upon arrival, their baby doesn’t like being in the bassinet. Some parents feel pressure from family or partners or even an internal conflict within themselves to get baby in the basinet at night, because we have been told that is safer.
Babies are simply more content laying on your chest, curled up and close to you and most parents find that their baby sleeps better and for longer periods this way. Parents also state that baby is more content when close to them.
“skin to skin in a biological sense, human newborns are born immature, and therefore completely dependent on maternal care for a prolonged period. Dr. Nils Bergman
All babies are born with a need to feel safe, warm and protected,
Dr. Nils Bergman, a Swedish specialist in perinatal neuroscience says that, “skin to skin in a biological sense, human newborns are born immature, and therefore completely dependent on maternal care for a prolonged period. He goes on to state that the first days and weeks of life this happened through continued physical contact with mother, in skin to skin contact. “
Researchers measured the heart rate of sixteen, two day old sleeping newborns for one hour and compared a baby sleeping on its mother’s chest and then sleeping alone in it’s bassinet.
By measuring the heart rate they could verify the stress levels of the newborn and which method proved to be less stressful on the infant. Scientists from the University of Cape Town found that separating babies from their mother proved physiologically stressful for infants and produced babies to have more “anxious arousal” and less “quiet sleep” states. Which translated into unnecessary stress on the infant.
The question is still debated amongst many as to where is the appropriate place for the newborn to sleep at night, alone or with it’s family? The controversy still exists as there is concern for its link to sudden infant death syndrome.
Inevitably there will be a time that exhaustion sets in and sleeping with baby in arms just happens. There are safe ways to practice co -sleeping to minimize risks and parents need to be educated and aware of these in order to reduce the potential hazards to their infant,
Current guidelines for Safe Cosleeping can be found here: .http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/
The author of Sweet Sleep, Nighttime strategies for the breastfeeding family and La Leche League put together the following 2014 copyrighted document on Bedsharing Talking points tear sheet http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000001Tear_offs
They also put out another tear sheet for talking your doctor about bed sharing, should you feel inclined to discuss your sleeping arrangements with your physican or other health care provider: http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000001Tear_offs/talking_
Sleep arrangements are a personal choice, that needs to be made exclusively by the parents and their unique situation and needs.
Debating what is the best method can make the decision a challenge and sometimes cause a rife in the relationship when one parent is not in agreement with the other. Take the time to read and explore before baby arrives, it might make it easier to fully dive in and discuss your thoughts and concerns without the pressures of being new parents transitioning into parenthood.
As always, we suggest parents to have an open mind, follow their instincts and explore options to find what makes life easier for them and their situation.
Further resources and information:
'Sweet Sleep": Nightime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, Theresa Pitman
"Sleeping with your baby; A parent”s guide to co-sleeping" Dr. James McKenna
Dr. Sears Addresses Recent Co-Sleeping Concerns
An excellent compilation of Safe sleep resources https://www.platypusmedia.com/safesleepresources
Frequently Asked Questions
The Natural Child Project, co-sleeping articles:
Mothering.com, co-sleeping resources:
Attachment Parenting International, co-sleeping information and advocacy:
CoSleeping page on Facebook
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