For those who are new to my blogs or my social media pages, I want you all to know that I am a big advocate for SAFE bed-sharing.
My purpose with this blog and my new career as a Baby-Led Sleep Coach, is to educate and inform new and expecting parents about safe infant sleep and how to safely do bed-sharing if that is what you end up wanting to do OR it is your ONLY option.
I will share my bed-sharing journey in a future post, but just as a little background, bed-sharing was our ONLY option as a family. We live in a small one bedroom apartment in the city and so we had to figure out what to do when my first was born.
I had no idea there were ANY safe bed-sharing guidelines out there so I just winged it and just trusted my maternal instincts. Looking back I definitely could’ve been a lot safer with how we first slept together (eg. He slept on my chest and I surrounded myself with pillows and slept that way; definitely a big no-no). I will state the Safe Sleep Seven at the end of this blog, but I’ll also be making another blog about how to safely bed-share and what I wish I had known as a new mother to make the best and safest choices.
Now most of you must be wondering what the heck is “breast sleeping“?! And why I have used that term instead of bed-sharing.
Well, breast-sleeping is a term coined by Dr. James Mckenna, to refer to a mother who breastfeeds their baby to sleep bed. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading his book ‘Safe Infant Seep’, it‘s a game changer.
“Breastsleeping is biological driven, both by the infant’s need for nutrition in the form of breastmilk and by its inherent need for physical contact” - Dr. James McKenna
Now to get to the good stuff, the AMAZING benefits of breast-sleeping!
The 9 benefits of breast-sleeping for babies:
1. Greater milk supply
2. More frequent breastfeeding
3. Longer breastfeeding sessions
4. Longer breastfeeding period
5. Increased safety
6. Increase infant sleep duration
7. Lower stress levels
8. Temperature regulation
9. Increased sensitivity to mothers communication
The 8 benefits of breast-sleeping for Mom:
1. Greater breastmilk supply
2. Increased protection from breast and other reproductive cancers
3. More rapid excess weight loss after pregnancy
4. Enhanced attachment and parental fulfillment
5. Reassurance that baby is safe
6. Increased sleep duration for mother
7. Lower stress levels
8. Increased sensitivity to baby’s communication
Bed-sharing/breast-sleeping is truly amazing! We’ve been doing it for 3.5 years now and there is no plan to stop. I‘m currently still breast-sleeping with my 18 month old and it’s just what works for us as a family
Remember bed-sharing is not for every family. Some families prefer a co-sleeper next to the bed or if they have the space in the bedroom to have a crib in the room.
If you do choose to bed-share or if it’s the only option, please follow these Safe Sleep Seven guidelines from Le Leche League:
If you are:
1. A Non-Smoker
2. Sober and Unimpaired
3. A breastfeeding mother
Your baby is:
4. Healthy and full term
5. On their back
6. Lightly dressed
You both are:
7. On a safe surface
Remember, always trust your instincts, listen to your heart and cuddle your baby ❤️