This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.
Shortly after the birth of our first child, I was on the phone with my grandmother. We had just discussed the fact that our child had been born via a planned unassisted birth. After a pause in the conversation, she demanded, “Is that baby sleeping with you?”
I cringed. Having dealt with grief from my husband’s family for every pregnancy and parenting related decision we had made, I wasn’t expecting a pleasant response. I may not be forthcoming to everyone about our decisions, but I’m not about to lie. So, I replied that yes, we coslept.
Instead, I heard, “Good. That’s where babies should be – snuggled with their mamas. Babies need to stay with their mothers in order to stay warm and keep breathing, and so they remember to nurse throughout the night.” This was what had been passed down to her through generations of women. Interestingly enough, studies have shown it all to be true. Sleeping next to mom helps a baby’s body regulate temperature and stimulates breathing. The scent of the mother’s milk and the mother herself signals a reminder to babies to nurse frequently so that they can gain enough weight and grow.
We have enjoyed cosleeping with our children. We now have four children in bed with us, although it looks like our oldest will probably be moving out in the next couple of years. Our family bed, using safe cosleeping practices, has been a wonderful experience.