One of the most aggravating situations I see parents running into when they’re sleep training is the sudden onset of a minor illness when they’re finally seeing some progress.

After months of sleep issues, they finally decide to take the initiative and get serious about getting their baby onto a schedule, baby starts getting the hang of it, the whole family is starting to see longer periods of consolidated sleep, and everyone’s getting ready to break out the champagne…

And then BAM! Baby gets a cold, or an ear infection, or a bout of diarrhoea, or one of the other seven thousand illnesses that babies are prone to, and the whole thing goes off the rails.

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When you first got pregnant, how long did it take before you started visualizing what your baby’s nursery was going to look like?

Go ahead. I won’t judge. Because for me it as once I had passed my second trimester.

I knew I wanted a Winnie the Pooh theme and wanted my baby to feel like she was in the 100-acre woods! I wanted her to feel like she was in an enchanted place! I searched the internet and found a painter who was able to do a 3D Muriel of exactly what I had imagined!! When I think of how much it cost to have this done I actually gasp! But at the time all I could think of was having the perfect nursery for her

If I had known then what I know now, I would have painted it a nice, neutral earth-tone and spent the rest of my resources researching cot sizes, mattresses, sleep sacks, video monitors and room temperature monitors!

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Bed sharing with your baby the risks - Baby Winkz Blog

Bed Sharing or Co-sleeping with your Baby ?

Many experts and parenting authorities have come out against parents sharing their bed with their infants, citing safety concerns. On the other side, organisations that promote attachment parenting or breast feeding believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

Bed-sharing and co-sleeping are closely related: bed-sharing involves the infant sharing the same bed as one or more parent, and co-sleeping involves the infant sleeping close to, but on a different surface than, the parent(s). Here, we will mostly address bed-sharing with your newborn or infant. Let’s look at both sides of the debate in detail.

The Risks of Bed-Sharing

Experts cite studies showing an increase in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation amongst newborns and infants who engage in bed-sharing. The increased risk comes from soft mattresses, loose sheets and blankets, pillows and other impediments to infant breathing. There is also an increased risk of a parent rolling over onto the child, crushing or suffocating it. Opponents also point to the risk of death and injury from falling off the bed or becoming wedged between the wall and the mattress.

Beyond the physical risk, opponents claim that bed-sharing or co-sleeping create stress for a child once they are expected to sleep alone. Another claim is an unhealthy dependence of the child upon the mother or father. Finally, co-sleep may interfere with a healthy relationship between the mother and father, as it reduces sexual intimacy and communication at bedtime.

The Advantages of Bed-sharing

One of the most cited arguments for bed-sharing is that sleeping outside the parental bed is a relatively recent phenomenon – it had its onset in Europe and America in the 19th century. Bed-sharing then had another peak in the 1990’s. Beginning in 1992, a global SIDS awareness campaign effectively cut the rate of SIDS deaths by over 50%. Whilst there are studies showing a decrease in bed-sharing, many researchers believe bed-sharing is underreported due to social stigmas involved. The current reported rates in various studies range from 12-45% of parents engaging in the practice of bed-sharing with infants and young children, from routine to occasional. Yet despite this rate, the incidence of SIDS has continued to decrease.

Proponents of attachment parenting cite scientific studies showing reduced levels of stress hormones (especially cortisol) in both mothers and babies who co-sleep, and others that show a more stable physiology in co-sleeping babies, including more stable temperatures, fewer long pauses in breathing and more regular heart rhythms. Additionally, psychological and emotional health has been shown by numerous studies to be higher in co-sleeping children. This includes increased happiness and self-esteem, less anxiety and fear about sleep, fewer behavioural problems and more independence as adults.

Finally, co-sleeping and bed-sharing help mothers get more sleep, especially when breastfeeding. Older infants and toddlers are able to breastfeed without waking the mother.

Balancing Risks and Benefits

Much of the risk specifically applies to bed-sharing. Co-sleeping using specialty products can help reduce the risk of proximity between parent and child while promoting the benefits. Parents can purchase bedside bassinets that attach to the bed and are open on the parent’s side, bed-top sharing surfaces that keep baby from rolling off the bed and are raised enough that the risk of parents rolling over is reduced, and infant enclosures that are placed on the bed and prevent rollover, suffocation and wedging.

Remember that you can have the advantage of proximity through a co-sleeping arrangement as opposed to a bed-sharing arrangement.