by Elizabeth Pantley
This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Baby Care
|"We're expecting our first baby soon and thinking about using a family bed. We've done a lot of research on the "whys" and there's lots of information out there. But what about the practical tips? How do we set things up?"|
The family bed, co-sleeping, shared sleep -- no matter what you call it, it means that your baby sleeps with you, or very close to you. The family bed is becoming more and more common (or perhaps it's always been common but more people are now talking about it.) Sharing sleep is very popular with parents (particularly nursing mothers) of young babies who wake throughout the night, since it allows parents to avoid getting up out of bed and traveling up and down a dark hallway. Co-sleeping is popular also with parents of older babies who enjoy the nighttime closeness with their child.
There are as many different styles of family beds as there are families! Here are a few of the typical sleeping arrangements:
The use of these arrangements varies from home to home also. Some of the common sleep situations are:
Every family has different nighttime needs. There is no single best arrangement that works for all babies and parents. Even within a family, there may be several "right" options to choose from. The key is to find the solution that feels right to everyone in your family.
It's very important to eliminate your need or desire to satisfy anyone else's perception of what you should be doing. In other words, no matter what your in-laws, your neighbors, your pediatrician, or your favorite author says about sleeping arrangements, the only "right" answer is the one that works for the people living in your home.
If you decide to have your baby sleep with you, either for naps or at nighttime, you should adhere to the following safety guidelines: