Co-Sleeping and Breastfeeding

Each time I brought my daughters home from the hospital I wholeheartedly determined that I would not be a sleep-deprived mother of a newborn. I’ve always been the type of person who believed there are several ways of solving any issue. And I’ve always been the type of person who rails against general consensus or “expert advice” on most topics of discussion. As a semi-crunchy, new mom, I believed that if I relied too heavily on conventional wisdom espoused by so-called parenting experts, I would fast become a sleepy, cranky, depressed mom on the verge of losing it all. For me, though, early motherhood was a refreshing lesson in bliss and tranquility, and that’s only because I set my mind for that to happen for me and my children.

When my daughters were infants, they always slept with my husband and me. We didn’t believe in letting our children sleep away from us, in their own crib, in another room. That just never made any sense to us, but that’s our parenting philosophy. Co-sleeping, for me, was the undeniable saving grace for my sanity and alertness because without adequate sleep who can function well? I know I can’t.

I am proud to say that each time my daughters were infants I never missed a ounce of sleep. I was always well-rested and alert during the day when the girls needed me most. Whenever the girls woke up in the middle of the night, all I’d have to do is give them my breast, they’d drink and fall blissfully back to sleep. And when they got a little older, they’d find my breast themselves, eat and go back to sleep. For me, being a new parent was purely uncomplicated (for the most part) and I attribute a lot of this to co-sleeping and breastfeeding.

An article I ran into this morning suggests moms and dads should think twice about co-sleeping because of the dangers of accidental suffocation. As a mom who co-slept with both of my children, I just don’t see how a mother can roll over her child and suffocate it. You’d have to be a pretty heavy sleeper or on drugs or alcohol to do that. That’s why Dr. Sears, who advocates co-sleeping, recommends parents should reconsider co-sleeping if they are overweight or use drugs or alcohol. That’s completely understandable, to be sure. But for the rest of us, co-sleeping is a wonderful method to get adequate sleep and to be awake and present during the day for your baby.

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