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Attachment Parenting

What if your dh isn't comfortable with co-sleeping?
From Our AP Forum Archives
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From skp: My dh is nervous about having such a small baby in bed with us. It's not that he doesn't agree with co-sleeping. As a matter of fact that's the way he and his siblings were raised. He's mostly afraid of rolling on the baby without knowing it.

I know I can put the baby on my side of the bed with a rail. My dh and I love to sleep together but on the same hand we like our own space and I'm afraid we'll only end up getting on each other's nerves sleeping so close.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

From traci: My only suggestion would be to be open to many different possibilities. All three in bed with a rail is one idea. You could use a sidecar for the baby. You could put a mattress on the floor for baby (that you can land on for middle of the night nursings). You could put an extra twin bed next to yours for more room. You could buy a king sized bed. You and baby could sleep in one bed and Dad in another room. Lots of options . . . Hope you'll find one you're comfortable with!

From Tylersmom: I agree . . . try to see what works for you. My dh was also scared at first of rolling over ds, but once he got used to the idea, he was fine. Co-sleeping is a great experience, but you have to find the best arrangement for you. We just all sleep together in a queen sized bed. Hoping for a king soon!

From Ursula: I've wondered about rolling over onto the baby too, mainly because it seems like:

A) A person doesn't roll off the edge of the bed, so why would he or she be less aware of a baby and more aware of the edge? (Unless the person is ill or inebriated, in which case, there is a risk)

B) Wouldn't the baby put up a pretty big fuss if you rolled over onto it?

From Laura Z: I have the same concerns as your husband. DH and I would love to have our baby in bed with us, but we're scared to hurt the baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported 121 deaths attributed to infants being rolled over on in bed. We finally agreed that our bed probably wasn't a good place for a young infant, because I am not a calm sleeper. (I actually feel sorry for DH having to sleep with me.) We're planning on keeping the baby's crib in the room with us. She won't end up there until she's asleep, anyway. This way, we know she'll be safe, but she won't be alone.

We'll see how close real life comes to our plan later . . .

From SusanH: While there have been deaths reported from co-sleeping, keep in mind that the studies were very badly done. They made no attempt to analyze where and how the co-sleeping was done, lumping all babies sleeping anywhere other than a crib under the category of co-sleeping. Deaths attributed to sleeping in obviously unsafe conditions, such as on a sofa or with a drunken parent are all counted as "co-sleeping" deaths, and we have no idea if any child has ever died from safe co-sleeping. Since the majority of the world has co-slept for the majority of history, it seems like we would have noticed if babies were constantly dying from it! It just drives me crazy that when babies die in a crib, we get told all of the ways to make cribs safer but when babies die outside of a crib we get told that we should under no condition co-sleep!

I also have no idea how they could determine that a child died from being rolled over on unless they were filming the death. Perhaps the child died of SIDS and the parent rolled over afterwards? How would you know - people move so much in their sleep. There is no way that I could have rolled over on Susy without her struggling.

*stepping off of my soapbox now!*

From Ursula: I'd like to know how many children have died because they weren't sleeping with their parents (i.e. parents didn't know the child was in trouble). I have a feeling that these deaths are much, much higher. There have been deaths by window blind cords, by ill-fitting mattresses, by kidnappings, etc.

From skp: I agree Susan, the studies are most likely poorly done. I feel a mother just *knows* that her baby is there. It's an instinct. But does the father have that same instinct? Then again, maybe the mom would know when dad was rolling on baby because of her instincts . . . hmmmm. (Am I making your head spin yet!?) I'm sure we'll work things out. Thanks ladies for your input.

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From Flatfork: Do you have a guest room? Or is there a bed in baby's room? I slept on the couch a lot with my little one, only because we have a 5 year old and hubby and me and baby in a double bed. Finally added on a new room with a king size bed! I still find myself going with baby into sleep in my daughter's bed. Like she sleeps there, it's just a piece of furniture she can climb on! Unless he has been drinking, just put baby in with you; he will be close to you on your side of bed. Don't put a pillow above his head. I kept my pillow just barely on my head and way over on opposite side of where baby slept.

Ms.Dmoe: The times that DH has gotten close to DD I punched him in my sleep. We woke up in the morning and he told me about it, though I don't remember a thing. In fact most nights I don't remember much of feeding DD and I know that I did. I was scared of co-sleeping too until about day three of no sleep and finally home from the c-section I fell asleep in bed with DD. I woke up scared that she was squished or something, but she was sleeping away peacefully. Since then I haven't worried. Good luck with finding what feels right for you!

From traci: I always figure we slept with a 25-pound dog for 2 years . . . never squished her. So the baby should be pretty safe too! Since Noah is not a great sleeper, in my case DH is in the guest room so he can get some sleep. Works for us!

From Laura Z: First, I did not mean to offend anyone in his or her decision. I merely wanted to point out that even though sleeping with an infant in bed with parents is not comfortable or safe for all parents, it is possible to keep the baby nearby in a manner that allows for closeness and safety in the circumstances. I *PERSONALLY* would not be a safe person to sleep with - you can ask my husband. DH on the other hand will nap with the baby in our bed during the day when I'm not around.

Second, comparisons to sleeping with your dog may be applicable after an infant has developed some motor skills, but for one who cannot roll over yet?

Third, the CPSC study DID differentiate between the different types of death associated with babies sleeping in adult beds. Of 515 deaths during the period of 1990 to 1997, 108 were from co-sleeping where a parent, caregiver or sibling rolled on top of or against the baby while sleeping in an adult bed (an additional 13 deaths occurred in the same manner in a waterbed). The remaining 394 deaths were the result of suffocation or strangulation caused by entrapment of the child's head in various structures of the bed. A detailed listing of each type is available on the CPSC web site.

Every potential danger that is applicable to our children's lives deserves our attention on a factual basis. You do not hear reports of deaths caused by strangulation in window blind cords and say, "I like my window blinds they work well for me - it's a bad study". You check out your window blinds and determine if they are similar and evaluate a method to prevent any danger to your child. That doesn't mean you necessarily get rid of the blinds, but you may cut the cord or make another modification to ensure that your child cannot strangle on the cords. You don't hear reports of danger from a toy and say "my child loves this toy - it's a bad study". You review the toy and either toss it or make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the toy is safe for your child.

I was actually hoping someone would offer factual information that would counter this study.

dominic'smom: Laura Z - There are some guidelines to SAFE co-sleeping. I would love to have a slatted sleigh bed but until all the babies are in their own rooms, it just isn't going to happen. I don't like a waterbed but my friend does . . . she had a mattress specially made to fit their waterbed frame so they could safely co-sleep. I admit to often napping with Dominic on the couch and yet I know it is not considered safe for co-sleeping. I do make every effort to ensure his safety and it works for us. I know for all of us it is the only way we would sleep at all. We didn't "train" him this way - it is the way he is. I NEVER planned to co-sleep before he was born . . . he had other plans. I thought it was unsafe and not smart. However, after seeing that we were getting no sleep at all, I did some research outside the box and found that it can be done safely. I think that all the studies are flawed because unless there is a tape of the deaths, you cannot be sure what had occurred. I don't think many can make a good argument against centuries of co-sleeping in comparison to mere decades of nurseries and cribs with fancy bumpers and quilts that match the wallpaper border. I wish you luck in finding what works best for you and you family. If you truly want to co-sleep I think you might be able to find some helpful suggestions to how it could be done safely. Moderators? Anyone know of a printed list of safe guidelines? But you might just find it doesn't work for your family. Regardless, I wish all new mothers a gift of a child who loves to sleep. It's the one thing that I have heard over and over that is the biggest adjustment of a new babe!

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