I have grown weary of some of the sensationalism surrounding cosleeping. It is nothing like allowing a child to ride in a car without a carseat. And even less like letting a baby sleep with a knife.
“You have a crib?”
“I do. With a nice firm mattress.” I don’t bother to add that I have removed one side, raised the mattress and bunjee-corded it to our king sized bed to make a nice big space for diaper changes, napping cats and my water bottle.
She even sleeps there for short periods of time at the start of some nights when I want to curl up with my head tucked onto my partner’s shoulder for a little while. (I make sure it is empty of napping cats and other things first.)
Wren sleeps next to me.
She always has.
In the deepest part of our sleep cycles neither of us moves. Then as she rouses from sleep her little movements rouse me. Before she even makes a fussy sneezing sound to call for me, she has latched on and is nursing back to sleep.
When she is done I reach between us and take her little hand, pulling it up a bit and rolling her onto her back again. In the dark her little lips quiver in her sleep. I fall asleep kissing her little head.
My arm is stretched out above her head, below my pillow. and my other arm lays across my blanket, curling under her feet. Or my leg curls under her feet. My blanket is tucked between my legs so that the edge can’t move above her waist and she can’t migrate underneath it.
My bed is not empty of things. But they cannot move without me knowing. She cannot move without me knowing. I cannot move without me knowing.
Once in an episode of 3AM insomnia I read an article about overlaying and rolling over onto babies. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to roll over on or into my sleeping baby without dislocating my shoulder in the process. I already knew it to be impossible, but I re-evaluated Every time I moved, she startled a bit. Her hands started to fly and crashed into me. or her fingers twitched against me. Too many tiny startles woke her up and she started rooting to nurse.
I do not think bedsharing is safe for everyone.
I do not believe that it is dangerous for everyone.
I do believe it is safe for us.
And for many other families as well.
I have never shied away from reading about the dangers of bedsharing. Understanding things like overheating and rebreathing are important. Knowing about overlaying as well as rolling is important. Knowing about air circulation is important. Understanding how a baby can become entrapped between a mattress and headboard, against a crib bumper, or even between a bedframe and the rail of a sidecarred crib. Important.
These are important discussions that we don’t have because cosleeping is currently being treated in a disproportionately sensational way.
Imagine if we were told flat out that we should never bring our infant in the car. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children under 13.
Instead we talk about how to keep children safer in cars. Instead we talk about the types of scenarios where people should not drive, and why it increases the danger of driving.
What if that were the type of discussion we had around cosleeping?
Parents are cosleeping anyway. The lack of discussion about safety is leading to cosleeping practices and devices that decrease rather than enhance safety.