What to Say When Your Doctor Tells You Not to Co-Sleep
Hey all you co-sleeping parents! It's come to our attention that we've got some rebels out there. Despite all the awareness raised about the dangers of sleeping with your babies, bed-sharing is on the rise. You're getting the warnings from your doctors, and yet more and more of you are choosing co-sleeping anyway. What's that all about? Is it because of all the benefits -- or do you just love defying your doctors' orders? I suspect it's the former. But even if you have strong convictions about co-sleeping, it can be hard to defend yourself in the pediatrician's office. Here's a few points you can bring up when you talk with your baby's doctor about co-sleeping.
1. Yes, I read about that latest study on bed-sharing and SIDS. You really should familiarize yourself with the research, even if you still decide to co-sleep. Your doctor knows it's ultimately your choice, but it's important that your choice be well-informed.
2. But that study didn't take into consideration other factors, like bedding type and temperature. Other researchers have responded to the Carpenter et. al. SIDS study and say the conclusions reached by it are unsubstantiated. You should read this before talking with your doctor as well.
3. We know the risk factors and we co-sleep safely. Tell your doctor that you know what the risk factors are (drinking, drugs, smoking, bedding type, baby sleeping position, fatigue of parents, etc.), and that you give them all careful consideration. You really do need to be aware of these risk factors and be honest with yourself about how well you're managing them. Attachment Parenting International has guidelines to inform parents about how to co-sleep safely. Don't just wing it, parents.
4. I want my baby to get the benefits of co-sleeping. These include supporting breastfeeding, more stable sleep, and better emotional health for babies. But you already know the scientifically proven benefits to co-sleeping, right?
Basically, do your homework and be respectful of your doctor. (I mean, this is a professional with a medical degree -- don't be a jerk about it.) Hopefully you can have an open dialogue where you both learn something.
What does your pediatrician think about bed-sharing?
Image via Victory Gregory/Flickr