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Co-sleeping - now am I being stupid about this?

(50 Posts)
emkana Sun 21-May-06 21:36:28

Heard this on the news today.

Now if hopefully, hopefully this baby I'm having is well then I'm planning to co-sleep with him just like I did with dd2 (less so with dd1 in the beginning). I will probably sleep in the back bedroom in a double bed, just me and the baby, to keep baby away from dh (who smokes a few fags every night, outside, but still) and from dd's who might come into our bed. I will also try and keep baby well away from my pillow/duvet.

Doing all this I just cannot believe that co-sleeping is that risky. OTOH I am worried that I might be a bit pig-headed about this, believing what I want to believe, when I would in other debates berate people for not taking the research evidence seriously.

So I don't know what to think really. Over to you!

fishie Sun 21-May-06 21:43:12

it is all smothering cases though, not just bedsharing, but falling asleep on sofa, armchair, etc. for some reason they don't record it differently. i read up on this a lot last year whenco-sleeping with newborn, and it really doesn't seem to be anything like the same risk if take rational precautions, just like you plan. esp if bfing of course.

jamiesam Sun 21-May-06 21:45:22

I heard this on the radio this morning and tbh I was disgusted at how sort of 'anecdotal' it was.

Yes there are risks in co-sleeping, but the article doesn't explain if there were any circumstances surrounding the deaths that mothers ought to be avoiding (ie all the things that you state emkana).

Or the put it another way, the article doesn't say that the coroners had found incidents of deaths where all the precautions had been taken. The headline refers to sleeping in bed or on the sofa - i thought sleeping on the sofa was one of the things we already knew to be risky?

I'm also disappointed that the RCM spokeswomen is quoted in a way that makes it sound like co-sleeping is something that 'other' cultures do.

BTW emkana, am quietly rooting for you both.

emkana Sun 21-May-06 21:52:09

Thank you jamiesam.

SueW Sun 21-May-06 22:03:51

A potential danger with NOT co-sleeping is that mum or dad gets out of bed to breast or bottle feed andbeing exhausted, falls asleep on a totally unsuitable place like a sofa with baby and suffocating occurs.

Research has shown that a breastfeeding mother sleeping with a baby will curve her body slightly round the baby and will be responsive to it during the night (video'd in a sleep lab).

rummum Sun 21-May-06 22:10:03

If our children ever slept in our bed when they were that small, I used to lay them on a feather pillow on top of the duvet with their own sheet on top of them...

harmonicacarrier Sun 21-May-06 22:15:05

emkana - I agree with you and Jamiesam. this was a lousy, scaremongering report IMO. No distinction between sleeping on the sofa and in bed; nothing about the additional risk factors ~(bottle fed vs breastfed; smoking; alcohol; drugs; soft covers etc).
and absolutely no mention of the benefits.

expatinscotland Sun 21-May-06 22:17:03

i felt WAY too shattered and was ill w/PND to sleep w/either girl in the bed w/me.

we do have a cot that folds down on one side and connects to the bed, so they were in their cot, but adjacent to the bed.

now we have moved them in together - this is a two-bed flat.

they're 'co-sleeping' allright, sibling style!

harmonicacarrier Sun 21-May-06 22:18:46

but yes, emkana, I feel the same
usually I am the one listening carefully to the research evidence.
but I don't want to believe this

Nightynight Sun 21-May-06 22:20:18

Ive thought this for years, that it depends how you co-sleep. I always gave the babies their own blankets, and put them between me and the wall, so that they couldnt fall out.
I wouldnt like to put a baby between 2 adults, because there would be too much body heat, and risk of smothering. But none of the official advice seems to take these important differences into account.

kiskidee Sun 21-May-06 22:29:10

it was also on the bbc's breakfast show this am - second news item sort of thing.

i felt at it for a reason i never see discussed really.

in the early days after dd it was sleep deprivation from sheer exhaustion that made me a danger to dd.

its easy to say breastfeed baby and put him/her back to cot. I found myself countless times waking up anything from 10 mins to an hour later, still majically cradling dd and still sitting up. we must have angels looking after us.

the problem is that the majority of new mums only have a bit of help to cope earlydays. i had no one. dh was working away in scotland. mil lives 110 miles away and dm lives 7 timezones away who didn't want to travel so far to see her own dgd.

no one speaks of the fragmentation of the family support system where sisters, aunts, parents and grandparents all band together to look after the children and home for a new mum.

i used to think how quaint that even in the 90's, there are towns and villages in the Caribbean where mums are confined to their bedrooms/homes with baby and not allowed to do anything - including leave home. gawd how i wish i had that luxury last year this time.

Tatties Sun 21-May-06 22:35:36

I wouldn't have been so sleep deprived in the early days had I been 'allowed' to co-sleep. Co-sleeping is the only way I get a decent sleep these days. Surely we should be informed how to co-sleep safely rather than be told not to do it. Reports like this really aren't helpful when they don't give you the full picture and figures are based on estimates.

milward Sun 21-May-06 22:35:47

I've co-slept in a bed with my kids when I was bf through the night. Never slept really deeply but was aware of their breaths & movement. When ds4 got a high temp in the night I knew straight away for example.

Bf in bed helps mums to bf for longer. I tucked little one right next to me and would sleep smelling his head! - bliss. When he was more mobile he would move to be next to me. He'd would wake up really smiling - plus as he'd bf through the night the mornings were easier in getting the other kids to school as he'd already had his breakfast whilst I bf & slept!

Check the unicef baby friendly leaflet on bed sharing. Lots of good tips.

hunkermonkee Sun 21-May-06 22:36:44

Until they separate those babies who die on sofas, sleeping with parents who smoke/have been drinking/taking drugs, etc - this cannot be taken seriously.

harmonicacarrier Sun 21-May-06 22:38:40

co sleeping is fabulous and the key to getting some sleep and dealing with the night feeds

Pruni Sun 21-May-06 22:43:51

Message withdrawn

Moomin Sun 21-May-06 22:50:19

[sigh] this is just the sort of coverage that brings MIL out in a cold-sweat as she knows i was co-sleeping with dd2 for about 2 months when she was first-born.

the coroner who was quoted spoke of 'at least 12' cases that he'd dealt with... i would like to know under what curcumstances did these 12 tragic deaths occur? how many were actually on a sofa? how many were involving parents who smoked/under the influence of medication/alcohol etc? How many of them involved mothers like i was (and others posting here) who made sure my baby was covered differently and not by the duvet; not between me and dh but on my side of the bed; raised up on a firm pillow with my arm behind her, so much so that i had a constant crick in my neck for 2 months... etc etc

it's so easy to listen to the headline and jump to the wrong conclusions.. but there again, i suppose if they issue a 'blanket' ban or actively discourage it, smothering cases will decrease by default so they can justify doing it to a certain extent. i get fed up with not being trusted to go with my instinct and what i felt was best for us at the time though...

MrsDoolittle Sun 21-May-06 22:57:09

Well I co-sleep with ds who is now 14 weeks old and I have never once felt that this wasn't the right thing to do. DM has always made her feeling clear that she doesn't like it and was the first to tell me about this report. I'm confident that ds is safe and happy lying beside me at night.
To be honest I am feeling the need to turf him out lately only because he seems to stretch himself out leaving me to lie on the bed in the area of a postage stamp.
Infact, I do sleep better without him in the bed beside me because I am always aware of him when he is in the bed with me. It's just he doesn't see it like that, he seems to sleep better with me!!

harmonicacarrier Sun 21-May-06 23:00:48

btw I find this response very helpful:

Interfering mother/MIL/midwife/bystander - do you know you aren't supposed to co sleep?
Me - Mmmm? <mildly interested>

moondog Sun 21-May-06 23:08:07

They know that there are loads of oiks out there who may co-sleep after taking drugs/getting pissed whatever,so as with all these things,have to direct advice at all when really they are only targetting feral underclass.

I thought co-sleeping great in theory but couldn't do it myself as have trouble sleeping even with dh in with me.
That 'Three in a bed' book is good.

Interesting,in Turkey where I live, babies are sooooo bundled up,even in boiling hot houses.
Had very frank discussion aboyt child rearing with one of dh's colleagues' wife and told her this considered a huge no no in UK.
She riposted with the observation that the baby would never ever ever be alone so if it stopped breathing,parents would know pdq.

sparklemagic Sun 21-May-06 23:10:19

Emkana, this sort of media scaremongering really does make me cross, as it's just lazy journalism - as others have said, mention MUST be made of the different risks (on sofa, drink or drugs, etc). I was touched by Kiskidee's post as it really illustrates the utter exhaustion of feeding in the night! I couldn't BF personally, (though I really wanted to, it's a long story!) but I had friends who were feeding every hour or two, 24 hours a day. If you attempt to do this, and put baby to sleep in cot, go back to bed, get up next hour, feed, put baby back etc etc....obviously co-sleeping has to save sanity in this sort of situation! I really feel for mothers nowadays. BF till 6 months, then IMMEDIATELY get them a varied diet, otherwise they'll be fussy eaters; breast is best, feed on demand, but don't you dare fall asleep with your baby, it's your job to stay awake for 20 hours a day....


Am thinking of you and your situation Emkana, just wanted to say that - I find myself fervently hoping that all works out well for you and baby...

emkana Sun 21-May-06 23:11:47

But even if as a parent you are around when they stop breathing, would you be able to do anything to help? Worrying thought.

Btw with both my dd's I had terrible nightmares for about a year every night - with dd2 I would find myself waking up screaming, cradling her after having vivid dreams of finding her dead.

Not looking forward to that happening again!

moondog Sun 21-May-06 23:12:49

It's part and parcel of the whole parenting thing though eh Emkana?
Used to wake convinced I had lost baby in the bed.
Lots of rummaging and shouting would ensue...

emkana Sun 21-May-06 23:12:51

Thank you sparklemagic.

emkana Sun 21-May-06 23:13:26

Glad it's not just me then.
Dh used to think I was completely off my head.

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