Right. Can we get this straight about co-sleeping?

(66 Posts)
OutsideOverThere Fri 01-Mar-13 11:05:25

I've been told twice in the last week not to co-sleep, first by a HV at clinic, then by the GP when I asked her to clarify.

I'm assuming these are government guidelines but have they recently changed?

I co slept with ds1 and ds2 and am now doing so with ds3, who is 8 weeks old. Heck I even had a long quote in the MN book on babies a few years ago, on this very topic <expert> grin but now suddenly I feel rather alone and a bit worried that no one else is doing it, it's all terribly wrong anddangerous and I need to stop now.

I love co sleeping. Ds2 is still in the bed and he's nearly 6. But I wanted to check on here as I've always got the impression from this place that co sleeping is good, and wholesome and best for the baby.

And isn't it the case that babies regulate their breathing better when next to their parent? I'm sure I read this somewhere.

Help sad

aufaniae Fri 01-Mar-13 12:01:21

"How on earth do you manage with HVs and so on though"

I'm actually looking forward to being frank with the HVs this time!

Last time we had a lovely one in our old town, but when we moved here, we got one visit from a HV when DS was 18 months. She asked me if I was having any trouble. I couldn't think of anything really, but tried to find something to give her so I mentioned that DS was still waking in the night. I'd previously told her that I was still BFing DS to sleep, and she seized on this as the cause, telling me that his tummy must be too full and he's waking up because of it. This really annoyed me as she didn't ask anything else about his sleep. (e.g. what kind of bed does he sleep in, is his room warm enough / dark enough etc, what's his bedtime routine like etc etc). IMO she obviously had a problem with "extended" BFing and seized on the first opportunity to tell me I should stop. I didn't argue I just smiled and nodded and carried on like before!

This time round however I am going to stand my ground and try to get them to talk to me about evidence based stuff. If any medical professional tells me to stop BFing before 2 years without good reason this time they're going to get lots of questions about why they're giving me advice contrary to the WHO guidelines. If they tell me to stop co-sleeping, I'm going to speak to them about the actual studies the advice is based on, and ask if they know what the figures on ^safe& co-sleeping vs not are.

They will probably end up hating me but I don't care, bring it on! Or I'll probably end up having a lovely HV like the one I got at first last time and I'll be slightly disappointed grin

Although, smile, nod and ignore - while doing your own research to find out what the evidence actually is - is probably a more diplomatic approach!

OutsideOverThere Fri 01-Mar-13 12:06:59

Good luck! I did question it with the HV last week and tbh she did say, look, we know some people will carry on co sleeping whatever we say, which is why they give out the safety guidelines too - but she said they HAVE to trot out the govt recommendations as law as that's what they're paid to do and they can get into trouble if they don't.

So maybe smile and nod is all we can really do.

FascinatingNewThing Fri 01-Mar-13 12:10:50

I co slept with dc2 in.hospital. I was only there for one night. They came through to check on us (we had been quieter than anyone else, probably due to the co sleeping tbh!) and he was asleep next to me. I said pleasantly "This works better for us" and they just put the sides up on the bed and left us to it. When seeing health visitors I told them we had made the choice to co sleep and nobody ever questioned it. Neither of us drink or smoke and we followed the guidelines. Also, dc2 sleeps 8-8 , sometimes more, and naps for 2-3 hours, in his own room now at 13 months, so the "rod for your own back".comments would have been nonsense if anyone made them!

Lifeisontheup Fri 01-Mar-13 12:25:49

I was tucked in bed with my second baby in hospital as he was cold and that's the best place to warm a baby up. I hated it, hardly slept and was freezing myself. I tried it when I got home with the same result, baby didn't sleep as much and I was awake a lot more as I only sleep well when muffled up to the eyebrows. He was BF for nine months and slept happily in his crib, co-sleeping isn't for everyone.
I think HV's and GP's advise against it simply because some people only take the bits of the guidelines they want to and do not safely co-sleep then if the worst happens will then say , the GP/HV told me it was ok and didn't mention the risk factors.
I think you should do what suits you and your family and follow the safe co-sleeping rules if that's what you decide to do.

HeadFairy Fri 01-Mar-13 12:32:42

I didn't even mention it to my HV, it was none of her business and she didn't ask.

Loislane78 Fri 01-Mar-13 17:07:51

Re. co-sleeping in hospital, I naively didn't know it was a 'thing' iyswim and that you were/weren't supposed to do it. It was my MW who was helping with latch/feeding early night-time that tucked us up so I guess I was lucky. The bed seemed quite wide and they put the side rails up and that seemed perfectly fine. I was given the NCT feeding magazine and it showed how to feed lying down so I practised that when I got home.

Maybe it depends on your hospital/MW? During labour MW was giving me a foot massage as contractions slowed so they're obviously a bit lentil weave-y round my parts! smile

PoppyWearer Fri 01-Mar-13 17:24:06

Midwife also tucked me up in bed with DC1, although that was back in 2008, which I appreciate is light years ago in terms of guidance etc.

Anyway, I've co-slept with both of mine.

wiganwagonwheelworks Mon 04-Mar-13 10:19:10

we cosleep. Baby sleeps on top of our sheets in a sleeping bag. I don't think I'd have been able to carry on BF-ing much longer if we had not, I went back to work when she was 5 months and she does most of her bf-ing in the night. I've never been asked by an HV about sleeping arrangements.

megandraper Mon 04-Mar-13 10:34:47

I co-slept with all mine - DC1 from about 3 months on, then DC2 and DC3 from birth. With DC3, the midwives in the hospital didn't like it, but we were only there for part of one night anyway, so it didn't matter too much.

I don't smoke, don't drink, paid attention to all safety rules. Babies always slept with their head on the crook of my elbow, facing me, so I was constanty aware of every movement. Around a year old they started not settling in that position, so I began putting them in their cot.

They are now 5, 3 and 20 months and I usually end up with at least one of them in my bed at night. Though we do get the odd night, like last night, when they all stay in their own bed, and I think now that DC3 is finally sleeping through, that will increase.

I never discussed it with any HVs. With DC2, we had to spend a night in hospital when he was about 15 months. They gave us a big cot for him and a little trestle bed for me. There was absolutely no possibility of him sleeping in a strange cot when he was ill, so I just brought him into the minute trestle bed. No-one said anything. The nurse even managed to take his temperature several times during the night without waking him and barely disturbing me.

I also slept on the sofa with them many times, though not with them lying on the sofa - me sitting up and them bf in my arms until they fell asleep in my arms - I'd nod off with my head back against the cushions. Neither they nor I ever moved an inch. But I don't advocate sofa-sleeping, I just felt the particular position and circumstances (DH almost always in the room as well, awake) we did it in were not risky.

PashaFox Mon 04-Mar-13 14:59:31

DH 7mo DS and I co-sleep, our bed is central in the room (not against wall) DS sleeps in the middle of us under our duvet (i know, I know, naughty mummy) and we've never had an issue. I find we all sleep better this way as DS feels safe and secure, and we actually get some shuteye!

Schooldidi Mon 04-Mar-13 15:11:44

I co-slept with both of mine. Dd2 still regularly comes into bed with us in the middle of the night and she's nearly 3.

I made sure I followed all the safety guidelines and I am absolutely convinced that it was safer for them to be in my bed than for me to be trying to stay awake to feed them and ending up falling asleep in an unsafe place.

My hv asked the question once, I answered honestly that we co-slept, she advised me not to then followed up by saying that actually she had co-slept with all 3 of hers, she thought it was wonderful but she wasn't allowed to advise it. We never mentioned it again, either of us.

npg1 Wed 06-Mar-13 21:56:47

I just think its so bad to co sleep, sorry. Im a mum of 2, been a nanny and now a childminder and always hear of bad sleep routines! Babies should be in their own beds

MysteriousHamster Wed 06-Mar-13 22:05:10

Why should babies be in their own beds, npg1? It's fair enough if it works for you, but mums have been co-sleeping with babies for aeons. So long as it's done right, then it's perfectly safe. They won't be doing it when they're 15.

My DS goes to bed in his room but wakes up most nights and heads straight onto our own bed. I love sleeping with him in the bed, he's no trouble, sleeps well, and we get just as much sleep as if he was in his own bed.

npg1 Wed 06-Mar-13 22:13:06

Because it disrupts the whole routine. You put them to bed in their owm bed but let them get up to your bed. They know they can sleep with you!

sweetkitty Wed 06-Mar-13 22:13:22

I have coslept with all four of mine from birth to about 15 months. I had a cosleeping/side car cot, best thing ever but half the time my bum was in it and the baby was in the middle of the bed.

DP said he used to watch me sleeping, babies head at my boob, my arm tucked round them, knees up underneath their feet, I was constantly checking them in my sleep and would even push him away if he turned over or got too close.

It's a very primitive, instinctive thing. Sorry but I think sticking a newborn baby in a little box especially in another room is sad. Cosleeping is the norm in most other parts if the world.

The HV never asked me where they slept at night and two were born at home and the ones that were born in hospital we never stayed a night luckily.

sweetkitty Wed 06-Mar-13 22:16:02

Mine all went into their own cots (well the cosleeper with four sides done up) fine and their own rooms no problem (sticks two fingers up at the rod for your own back brigade), they will all be sound asleep until about 7am tomorrow morning when at least one will come in for a cuddle grin

I so miss sleeping next to a wee baby and we've just put the last baby in a big bed so no more cot hmm

BertieBotts Wed 06-Mar-13 22:23:19

It's always been against official advice, I think you've probably been reading very pro-co-sleeping literature. (Which I agree with totally grin)

In fact the official line is that co-sleeping is okay but because there are so many guidelines to follow, it's easier for HVs, GPs etc to advise against it. Research shows that done properly, it is as safe as cot sleeping and some people believe that the awareness mothers have of their babies means that it is safer - this is just a theory though as it has not been proven by research (and never will now as cot death is thankfully so rare).

You sound like you're doing great smile And I used to deal with questions by sidestepping them. "Is he sleeping alright?" "Yes great thank you!" <Most likely we have a wildly different perception of "alright" but never mind!>

ShowOfHands Wed 06-Mar-13 22:23:24

"They know they can sleep with you! "

So?

I co-slept with all three of mine. We never had any problem with routine. They grew out of it in their own time and we've never had any issues with sleeping in general. It works for some people; for others it doesn't. Follow the guidelines, and don't take any stupid risks and be as safe as you can.

FlyingUmbrella Wed 06-Mar-13 22:36:38

We co sleep with 13 month old DS and have done since he was 6 weeks old. I think it made BF at night much easier and possibly safer as I wasnt at risk of falling asleep whilst holding DS whilst trying to stay awake on a chair next to his cot whilst feeding him. We follow all the guidelines.
It works well for us. He now sleeps in his cot until first waking, usually at 11ish but is then in with us. We recently night weaned but he still loves coming into our bed for a cuddle and we love having him there! Quite a few friends think we're mad and ask when he'll sleep by himself all night, I just say he'll do it when he's ready.
I appreciate it isn't for everyone but if it works for you and you follow the guidelines, I fail to see a problem with it.
Anyway, given the option of being alone in a cot or in a cosy bed with loads of cuddles for the night, I know which I'd pick!

BertieBotts Wed 06-Mar-13 22:38:41

Yep, my child knows he can sleep with me. 99% of the time he chooses to sleep in his own bed, however. In fact I had to put him in my bed the other night because he had croup and I wouldn't have slept a wink listening to him breathe through the wall, but he wasn't bothered about being with me particularly.

I think it would be very sad if he felt he wasn't allowed to come for a cuddle in the night if he needed one.

Carolra Wed 06-Mar-13 22:42:55

I co slept with mine. Loved it and would do it again. There is excellent info on the BabiesKnow website if you want to read some recent studies and safety tips etc.

Carolra Wed 06-Mar-13 22:44:56

npg1 - I think I've already mentioned that out of my coworkers, the three who coslept had much better sleep than those who didn't cosleep. If you had been minding our 10 children then you would have presumed that cosleeping = good sleep, baby in own room = poor sleep. As we all went back to work when our babies were very tiny (about 14-18 weeks) poor sleep quality would have been a major issue. Thankfully we had the family and friends support for cosleeping.

Sleep routine and quality of sleep has never been an issue for us, and we remain completely pro-co sleeping.

AlwaysWashing Thu 07-Mar-13 08:35:06

I had the same from our early days Midwife, she practically begged us not to co sleep & told us that she had lost 2 babies due to co sleeping over her 25 year career. I really liked her as she was hugely supportive in every other way but felt a bit cross with her for what felt like scare tactics re co sleeping.
The upshot was that DS2 hated his Moses basket so slept on me for the first few weeks, which worked well with bf and as he got bigger we built his cot, left off one side and used it as a co sleeper (just simply as the specifically made co sleeping cots seemed so over priced) and then gradually got him to sleep in that for longer and longer periods. DS2 is now 14 weeks and is almost there with sleeping through and in the interests of us all getting a good nights sleep what generally happens is that he's put into his cot to settle himself to sleep and then comes in with us at about 2am when he naturally stirs and sleeps until somewhere between 3.30/6.30 when he wakes for a feed.
Bit long winded sorry! I was happy to co sleep and I was surprised to find that DH was too. It was important to me that DS2 could self soothe and settle himself to sleep but co sleeping seems to be working well for us and him.
I think you have to go with what suits you and yours best observing the guidelines as much as you can.
Incidentally DS1 hated being in with us & still does - squirms like a monkey!
Good luck with it all grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now