Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reader Response; Infant sharing same bed as mother

From Cheryl R:

I recommend it! I recommend it both from a personal point of view, and then from a large body of research that conflicts with recent reports that have alarmed many new parents about co-sleeping.

 My Story

     With my first child, I was terrified to sleep with her because I had heard horror stories of mothers rolling on their infants, so I tried sleeping separately. When my baby cried, I would rouse myself from delicious sleep to get her. It was so cold outside my cozy blankets, and when I picked up my baby, her body temperature seemed to fluctuate so much that I could not decide how to dress or cover her. When I nursed her in a chair, feeling chilled and nauseous from weariness,I was afraid I would fall asleep and drop her to the floor. When she finally fell asleep, she would wake up when I tried to lay her down, especially after the first week. I can see why exhausted mothers decide to let their infants “Cry It Out”.
      My husband came from a large family that believed in the “family bed”.  I certainly didn't want a "family bed", but I didn't want to leave the baby to cry nor keep getting up. I was desperate. My husband recommended that I call his sister who was an expert on the subject. She is a very intelligent woman, and I respected her and her children very much, so I decided to call her, but I still had strong reservations. I told her of my fear of rolling on my baby, and she said if I lay my baby on my upper arm, I would not roll on her. I tried it while I was awake, and it seem unlikely that I would roll on her, so I decided to try it. She was so light that it was not uncomfortable for me.  It was a blissful change for us! When our baby began to wake, I could stay half asleep, and comfort or nurse her in a warm comfortable position. She and I maintained a comfortable temperature. Her sleep patterns became more regular and matched mine. As she got older, I was able to adjust to what was comfortable for our family, the I have never regretted the decision as I believe it made a major difference in my health and the relationship with our children, all without taking extra time!

The Research

     It turns out there is a lot of controversy over the subject of co-sleeping. The U. S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) did a study that concluded that co-sleeping increased the risk of SIDS, and this study is widely quoted. This is why there is such a recent scare over co-sleeping. Several medical practitioners and researchers disagree with the conclusions of this “study”and contend that the validity of this research is weak. In his book “The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family”, Dr Sears says that the CPSC research does not follow research protocol, and does not coincide with many other studies, including those in other countries, that show co-sleeping reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For more analysis, please read my book review of this book posted on this website, especially paragraphs 5 & 6 of the review. 
      In a class at the University of Utah, I was also taught that the research shows that co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS because the mother's breathing helps regulate the infant's breathing and other bodily functions (Diamond, fall 2011). This certainly matches my personal experience, that co-sleeping is more safe and natural and is the preferred sleeping pattern around the world. A website,, written by a family of doctors, has a page that talks about co-sleeping. Dr Sears said that the risk of SIDS increases when infants sleep alone because their bodies have trouble regulating on their own. SIDS has often been called crib death because these infants were found dead in their cribs (

Further Recommendations

If you still worry about co-sleeping, there are still ways to be near your baby. At type co-sleeping in the search box. As you scroll to the bottom of that webpage, it shows a cute little bed that attaches securely and safely to the side of the adults bed, for those who don't feel secure with co-sleeping. It gives a link to the website that sells these within arms reach "cribs".

Diamond, L. M. (Fall, 2011). Psy 2800, Psychology of Love, University of Utah.

Sears, W., Sears, R., Sears, J., Sears, M. (2005). The baby sleep book: The
     complete guide to a good night's rest for the whole family (Sears parenting
     library). New York: NY: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group.
     Available in paperback and eBook Edition.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I have been wondering what I am going to do when my husband and I start having children. I do think that there are pros and cons to sharing a bed. After reading your post I think that I will try co-sleeping.

  2. Great post. Co-sleeping seems a little weird in the U.S., but is pretty normal for many other countries in the world. I also liked reading about your personal experience compared to the research, thanks for sharing.

  3. I really liked this post. I think that co-sleeping is a great thing and that it will definitely help exhausted mothers and fathers. I also think it is very comforting for the baby. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It is a great thing. I have never regretted the bonding that I think has helped my teens not be rebellious through the teen years. Before you do co-sleeping, read a book that encourages it, like Dr. Sears "The Baby Sleep Book", for he tells rules to make it safe.

    2. Cheryl R made the reply to Janey

  4. I really like how you threw in your own experience alongside the research. Co-sleeping like many other practices, such as public feedings is highly discouraged in our culture when compared to others. I feel that although there are risks for this practice, perhaps the benefits can outweigh them. Great post.

    1. It truly is the natural way and most used around the world. In the United States, we do need to follow precautions, which are listed in Dr Sears "The Baby Sleep Book" on which I did a book review on this blog.

    2. Cheryl R made the reply to Kristin L.

  5. I love this post. In my Strengthening Families class at the University of Utah, our instructor went over the benefits of co-sleeping the baby's sleep patterns will sync with the mothers, the baby's body temperature will regulate with the mothers as well. SIDs research is showing that the baby gets in to the really deep sleep and doesn't come out of it. Co-sleeping the mother and baby sleep facing each other the baby will breathe in the mothers exhaled breath; this action prevents the baby from going in to the really deep sleep that they don't wake from.
    And face it, you spent 9 months co-sleeping already, you really aren't going to roll over on the baby.