Tuesday, July 19, 2011

6 Cosleeping Rules - Simple safety and beyond

The boys get some rest.

I highly recommend co-sleeping to any parent expecting a new baby.

It's not the best publicised option, but it's the most common family arrangement worldwide with huge benefits.  The risks are quite frankly and irresponsibly exaggerated.

Co-sleeping is one facet of attachment parenting - a wide-ranging philosophy questioning the current Western custom of separating children from adults as quickly as possible.

It starts from the race to cut that pesky umbilical cord and gallops madly off in all directions from there.

So what do you need to know?  Start with basic safety, but there's more to learn from those in the know...

6.  Make room

The more room you all to sleep on, the more comfortable everyone will be.  Once past baby stage, small children move very easily in their sleep and can and will roll all around the bed. 

Like cats, children are also likely to snuggle up to your warmth no matter how much cold bed is available.  Or they may lie sideways or head down.  Some real estate on our bed is already taken up with pillows and rolled up blankets to protect against bumps into a cold wall at night.

We have a king-sized bed which first had an open-sided cot, and now has a double next to it.  We don't always need all that room, but...

5.  Stay safe

As your children get larger, they move even more!  And harder!  Adults move a bit when asleep but with smaller bodies, kids' involuntary sleep twitches can send arms and legs hammering out at startling speeds and angles.

So if you have little feet in your face - get some distance between you.  See The Dangers of Cosleeping.

4.  Dress for the occasion

To get the full benefit from co-sleeping and breastfeeding, your nightwear needs to button down or lift up so easily you can do it while barely awake.

You may also need to bring extra blankies to bed when you are co-sleeping with your child, especially when breastfeeding. 

The recommended level for the covers is at your child's chest.  If your child falls asleep after a lying down feed, your child's chest is no higher than your rib cage.  If you are not lucky enough to have central heating, your top half is going to be pretty chilly, and those nice warm knitted blankies you got from Auntie Selma will be very welcome for covering your shoulders when you can't bring yourself to disturb a sleeping child by wrestling for covers.

3.  Co-sleeping vs other fun stuff

Once you have some energy, you and your partner will need to find somewhere else for getting into the sort of trouble that led you here in the first place.  Give some thought to your own comfort!

2.  Cozy chats

If your little buddy starts talking to you at night, you probably don't have to talk back.  A dream conversation (no matter how intriguing) usually just requires a reassurance and a pat back to deeper sleep.

When she starts fighting with her brother in her sleep, feel free to use a timeout.

1.  Enjoy it

This is positively rule #1.  These are such precious hours bonding with your growing child, and that is never wasted.

Watching Nadia wake up and her first smile of the day, the sillies and the giggles and the little traditions we share only with each other... the only thing to regret is having been unable to do this very long with Alex.

Good night!

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