Rebecca Wolf

This blog is a chronicle of my daughters' growth - born July 2003 and May 2007. Be sure to check out the Thriving Babies homepage, for videos and instructions on how to use every type of baby carrier. For literacy and homeschooling tips, visit my Rochester-based Learning Center blog at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to Safely Co-sleep with Your Infant

Well, I just watched the news story that WHAM-13 interviewed us for on Co-sleeping. It amazes me how so many parents co-sleep with their children yet public officials just give a blanket condemnation of co-sleeping rather than taking the time to disseminate information on how to safely co-sleep. I have to give Rachel Barnhart credit for tackling this issue on many fronts but also for attempting to get information on how to safely cosleep with infants out to the public.

As a breastfeeding mother, co-sleeping makes it easier for me to comfort my baby when she is sick or wakeful without disturbing my own sleep. This provides my child with the best possible nutrition and it helps me be the best parent I can be because I get a good night's rest.

Other benefits to cosleeping include knowing what's going on with your child. Arianna woke up and couldn't breathe one night. I was right next to her, woke up immediately and was able to call 911 and get her help that much quicker. Many children die in fires, but less do when they are cosleeping because they are woken up and helped to safety by their parents.

In my e-book, I also describe how baby's developing vestibular system is improved by being in close proximity to an adult. I don't think it's natural to have a baby go from mother's womb to sleeping in a crib in a room all by herself. But I also believe that every family has to make choices that they can live with. (I am trying to hold myself back from getting sidetracked by the fact that crib manufacturers have funded the research that claims co-sleeping is unsafe. I would just like to spread the word about how to safely co-sleep.)

So, the long and short of it is: if you are going to co-sleep, make sure you take the necessary precautions. Just as you use your seat belt when driving a car to help mitigate your risk of injury, so you should take care when sleeping with your baby.

Cosleeping Safely
• Make sure that your mattress is firm and fits tightly in the frame.
• Sheets should fit your mattress snugly.
• Loose pillows or soft blankets should be kept away from your baby’s face.
• Always place your baby on his back or his side to sleep.
• No one who shares sleep with your baby should drink alcoholic beverages, take drugs, be exceptionally obese, or be on medication that makes him or her less alert.
• Consider keeping your young baby next to his mother only, because mothers seem to be especially aware of their babies in bed.
• Keep an adult between any older child and your baby.
• Use a crib or commercially available “sidecar”next to the bed.
• Make sure the sides of the bed are either tight against the wall or far enough away from the wall that your baby can’t become trapped. Or use a bed rail on the side of the adult bed.
• Keep the bed low to the ground, maybe even on the floor, to minimize any falls.

Sources: Good Nights by Jay Gordon, MD and Maria Goodavage and Sweet Dreams by Paul Fleiss, MD

Go to: for the news story on Infant Deaths Related to Co-Sleeping.

If you'd like to listen to the ENTIRE interview done with us, rather than just the few seconds you might have seen on TV, go to:

What did YOU think of the interview?