How Co-sleepers Do It…

by Birth Without Fear on December 7, 2011

Here are more pictures of BWF Families cosleeping! Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, you can read more about safe cosleeping suggestions here. If you don’t like what you see, keep it to yourself. Everyone else…enjoy!

Mother fills in a missing ingredient.

“In the early months, much of a baby’s night is spent in active sleep—the state in which babies are most easily aroused. As we discussed previously, this state may “protect” the infant against stop-breathing episodes. From one to six months, the time of primary concern about SIDS, the percentage of active sleep decreases, and quiet, or deeper, sleep increases. More deep sleep means that babies start to sleep through the night. That’s the good news.

The concern, however, is that as baby learns to sleep deeper, it is more difficult for him to arouse when there is an apnea episode, and the risk of SIDS increases. By six months, the baby’s cardiopulmonary regulating system has matured enough that the breathing centers in the brain are better able to restart breathing, even in deep sleep. But there is a vulnerable period between one and six months when the sleep is deepening, yet the compensatory mechanisms are not yet mature.

During the time baby is at risk, mother fills in. In fact, mother sleeps like a baby until the baby is mature enough to sleep like an adult. That warm body next to baby acts as a breathing pacemaker, sort of reminding baby to breathe, until the baby’s self-start mechanisms can handle the job on their own.” ~Dr. Sears

Pictures!

This was sent in by Rain and she said, “This is my client, Danna Lewis, and her little girl who I was a doula for at her birth. She gave me permission to share. I was raised in a cosleeping family and I’m pro-cosleeping as long as the parent isn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol as I think that’s why most of the cosleeping tragedies happen. Also, if someone is taking a picture than obviously there is an adult awake in the home. Anyway, I think it’s absolutely adorable, but maybe I’m a little biased because I was there when she was born.”

I love Rebecca’s pics. I have used an insert like this for babies. Can help a cosleeper feel a little safer.

Kim sent these in of her hubby and daughter. “My loves on Valentines day. Lillie is 27 months now and has been sleeping in our bed since day one…she was born at home.  I was a pediatric ICU nurse before having her…I should really know better! ;) Ha!”

Sent in by Brittany…

“I couldn’t pick just one or two to send.  I love all of these pics of my hubby co-sleeping with our little man.  I also included Grandma co-sleeping, well…co-napping! In all of the pics except the one where he is smiling, Kieran was about a week old.  In the smiling pic, he was nearly a month old.  Too cute, if I do say so myself!” ~Susan

I couldn’t pick just one either Susan! ~Mrs. BWF

Wanna talk about supermom?!!! Celeste is cosleeping and tandem nursing her 2 year old and 3 month old…

…and here are all her precious babies…

Siblings cosleeping…

Another BWF Mama shares this one of baby and Papa…

Zabrina and her baby are just gorgeous resting together.

Here is her baby with Daddy…

“The first picture was taken a couple of years ago with my husband and my two older kids. The second picture I took about three weeks ago of my husband and our new little VBA2C baby when she was one day old.” ~Mandy

Melissa’s pic will make you smile!

Rachel, “My husband Tucker & our 2 girls Annelyse 2.5 years, & Sophelia 2 months.”

Sibling love…

Kylie and 8 day old Aubrey…

“The tiny bundle by her side stirred a little, and though it was scarcely more then the ruffling of a feather, she awoke; for the mother-ear is so close to the heart that it can hear the faintest whisper of a child.” — Kate Douglas Wiggin

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

victoria December 8, 2011 at 12:58 am

Very gorgeous pictures
I co sleep with my son atm and it’s not through choice I’ll admit. Its the only place he sleeps longer than 30 minutes so I gave in. My favourite thing about it is when he wakes up and puts his hand on my face gently and sometimes not gently! My daughter came in with me from 9 months-23 months and occasionally before that, she would always sleep best if she was touching my face or hand….any spare skin. it may not be my choice but I still love it. Xx

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Momma Jorje December 8, 2011 at 1:00 am

The only thing cuter than a sleeping baby is a COsleeping baby. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing them with us!

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Stephanie December 8, 2011 at 1:31 am

<3
Thank you for sharing

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Shelley December 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

Beautiful! Brings tears to my eyes as I lay snug as a bug next to my 2.5 yr old and nearly 8 month old daughters :) The baby was diagnosed with apnea…wonder if our cuddles saved her life? I’d like to think so.

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Amanda December 8, 2011 at 11:03 am

Reading this as I nurse in bed with my little 3 month old cosleepy guy! Great inspiration. Think I’ll lay here a while longer. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it ;)

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Mindy December 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

I love love love the photos! Thank you for sharing!

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Kati December 8, 2011 at 11:39 am

LOVE THIS!! I wish we could have co-slept longer until he was 1.5yr, but my son has this obsession to crawl on top of my husband’s head during the night. Now, that he is 3, we co-sleep during naps or when he is sick. Our son is in his own big boy bed, but if he ever feels the need to climb in our bed, he is more than welcome!

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Amy Heimlich December 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

Love the Supermom pic! The first thought in my head was, there is no way you could bottle feed a 2 yr old & newborn HANDS-FREE without getting up or barely causing a stir in the middle of the night! :D Love co-sleeping & breastfeeding!

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Sarah Layton December 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

We co-sleep because there is absolutely no way I am getting up out of bed to go pick up a baby, nurse them, and then try to get everyone back to sleep 3 times a night.. reading this though just adds more evidence to my “lazyness” habits, lol. I have 4 kids, and we need all the sleep we can get, which means co-sleeping. There’s simply no other way to survive in this house..

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Mandy Jane Designs December 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thanks so much for sharing our pictures! Wow the super Mom one is amazing. Love this post and love your blog!

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Becky December 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Awww… there something about babies that makes you drift of into blissful slumber… xxx

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christie December 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

love it i have some beautiful pictures of my hubby sleeping with bub at about 3 weeks and then another at 16 months i love looking at them now that there’s no way my son will sleep in our bed he thinks its a playground now :) we also had one of those close and secure sleepers in one of the pictures it was the best especially since we could take it when we were visiting and not worry about where put bub to sleep :)

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kyla spain December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Love the pictures they are so cute. My first child, 4yrs now, I went by the books he slept in his own bed like his dr told me to. My daughter, 6 months now, I started co-sleeping with her shortly after coming home from the hospital because I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time for fear of her to stop breathing. I am a medical assistant now and with the knowledge of the medical field and working for her pediatrician I worry so much more now than I did with my son as a nieve 19 year old brand new mom. Now we still co-sleep and I won’t have it any other way. Her pediatrician of course advises against it and reminds me I will regret it in a few years, but I say he is wrong I love co-sleeping with her and will even if she is 8years old or older.

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S December 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I think co-sleeping is very benificial- Our first child would only co-sleep with us during the daytime for little occasional naps (it was the ONLY way any of us could get him to sleep, however we couldnt get this to work everyday but we tried, even the child health nurses could not get anything to work so he would sleep during the day)
Our second was a shocker, she would ONLY sleep if she was with us, and she would cry for hours if she wasnt with us- co-sleeping became the ONLY way we could get sleep, I had a talk to the doctors and a read and found out that some babies are like that, nothing you can do will get them to sleep on their own but it wasnt something to worry about she would be ready to sleep on her own in her own time not ours- and she let us know by trying to crawl off and not staying lying down when she was ready to be in her own bed- she was around 6 months, we took that as a sign and we were right, we placed her in her cot and she went straight to sleep, she has slept there ever since- easily able to wake but settles herself easily too.
We plan on co-sleeping from day one with the next baby too instead of trying to force him/her to sleep on his/her own- and we will put that baby into its own bed when its ready- its not unsafe to do this as long as you still practice safe sleeping (i.e dont be intoxicated with anything, dont have babies covered with a blanket that is too heavy, make sure your partner is aware their is a baby in the bed, dont smoke and then get into bed with a baby- plus its always a good idea to check out the Sids website- they do have sids safe co-sleeping intructions- its not just for cots)
My husband is a irregular smoker- when we were co-sleeping with our daughter he would smoke anywhere from one a week to 1 a fortnight (which isnt too much but still too much for a baby) and to ensure safe sleeping if he had had a smoke that day he would not sleep in bed with us.
I beleive if you practice it responsibly its perfectly okay and perfectly safe- plus its fantastic for bonding

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Donna Marie December 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I co-slept with my first two children as well. My daughter (now 5) slept with us until she was 3. My son who is now 3 years old still sleeps with us and my youngest (8 months) sleeps next to us in a playpen. But naps with mommy on the bed during the day :) I love having my children close to me while sleeping because I know they are safe with mommy and daddy. I like to keep them close because when they’re older they’re not going to want to snuggle next to mommy and daddy. I cherish times like these. These pictures are beautiful!

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Rain December 9, 2011 at 2:02 am

Oh man that’s a whole lot of cuteness in one blog, lol!

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Andi December 9, 2011 at 6:37 am

Co-sleeping saved my son’s life.
When he was born, I had seen all of the scare tactic PSA’s and said he would NEVER be in our bed. We woke up one night to discover he had stopped breathing. Luckily he was quickly revived, but that was one of the scariest moments of my life. His doctor immediately ordered a sleep study, in which he stopped breathing 13 times and never went into a deep sleep, which she said was a natural defense because his body knew he would not wake up.
It was then that our very anti-cosleeping doctor told us that our bed was the safest place for him. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I did a lot of research and was shocked! Everything that I had seen about how dangerous cosleeping was, was entirely wrong! We brought our son to the family bed, and his sleep apnea went away. He learned to breath from me.
We have been a bedsharing family ever since, and our other two children both slept with us from day one.

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Angela December 9, 2011 at 7:16 am

Aww! Jealous! I co-slept with my first daughter and loved it, she’s now 4 and in her own bed but our newest 4 month old daughter doesn’t like to co-sleep (who would have thought) she’ll just toss and turn and fidget until I put her in her own bed and then sleeps soundly. I tried so hard to co-sleep! Super jealous of those that can! So she sleeps in her cot (was her bassinet until tonight) right up next to our bed, and I sleep as close as possible, so she can still smell me and I can touch her and hear her.
Thanks for sharing =)

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ruth December 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

don’t be sad angela!! there have been many many nights we wanted the baby to sleep in bed with us but we just can’t. he doesn’t sleep well AT ALL!!!! he fidgets and whimpers and cries until i put him in his pack n play and then he sleeps great!! each babe is different and to each his own.

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Lisa December 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

OMG how can anybody look at those pictures and not melt!! LOVE the cuddly pictures…especially when it’s with daddies and siblings. We have an open bed policy and every night have at least the 2 youngest in it at 4 and 16 months. The 4 year old always snuggles with daddy. <3 Even our oldest at 8 and 11 know that if they ever need us, we are there and they still take us up on it if they happen to have a bad dream which isn't very often, but they know they are welcome regardless. The mom who mentioned her little one had apnea made me think of a few times when I swear cosleeping saved our children. I vividly remember waking to find my 1 son having an asthma attack 1 night and 2 other times I woke to children with horrifically high fevers that they were somehow sleeping through. (The one time the temperture had gotten to 105 and was still climbing when I decided to stop taking the temp and just deal with bringing it under control.) All very scarey moments and moments I was thankful they were in bed with me and I sensed them in distress.

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Dayra December 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

Those photos are so precious! We cosleep with our daughter, since day 1, in the hospital, and is now almost 14 months old. I love it, I love waking up, and watching her breath, her little mouth moving, as if suckling, her chubby warm cheeks like peaches, place my hand on her chest and feel her breathing… It’s just so magical.
The only bad thing is she doesn’t like to be covered, and it’s winter, so while we’re asleep, she uncovers herself and me, and I freeze to death!

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Sarah December 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

These are SO precious! I love when my boys snuggle up close, and I love even more when we all lay in bed and chat early in the morning. :-)

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Tanya December 10, 2011 at 12:49 am

LOVE these pictures!! I have co-slept with all three of my children, including my premature baby. I wouldn’t have let him out of my sight when he came home from the hospital. I was a lot more worried about SIDS with him because of his numerous health issues, but he won’t go to sleep unless he sees me laying next to him. I have his big brother in a crib right by the bed- and I have to hold his hand to get him to go to sleep. If I leave the room to do work at night, I’ll come in to find that his big brother has snuck into our bed and is cuddling with his brother. It’s the best feeling in the world. I got into a discussion with our OT the other day about the ad in the paper- she had never even CONSIDERED that they’re not listing the facts about formula feeding, second-hand smoke, and intoxication/drug use as factors in the death of infants in co-sleeping! Amazing what even health professionals don’t know!

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tasha December 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm

i love these images! at the moment, my arms are stretched over my 9mo old son who is now fast asleep (so that i can type and catch up on my emails/fb!); and pressed against my back is my 2yr9mo old daughter, with her leg swung up over my hip, also fast asleep :) and there is nowhere i’d rather be right now!

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Chelsea December 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

those pictures are ADORABLE!

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Dr. Kacie December 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

The bonding that takes place with co-sleeping is primal. Babies EXPECT to be with their mommas. This is genetically encoded within our DNA. All other creatures of the earth sleep close to and even embrace their young while sleeping. It is natural, it is innate, it is an essential part of the continuum of children feeling secure, safe, and protected in their life.

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ElishaC January 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Agreed! Even when you think about being next to mom’s skin for temperature regulation in infants and how breastfeeding makes mommas drowsy – I think there are lots of signs that nature intends for babies to sleep with mommas. Plus, there is the fact that you will never see a Baby Lisa or a Baby Ayla in the news who was co-sleeping. No way is somebody going to snatch a sleeping babe from in between 2 parents and remain undetected.

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NML December 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm

what beautiful pictures!
and yes, our little one has never slept by herself either, neither should she if this rule wasnt even imposed on our puppy many years ago ;)

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Sadie Hart December 15, 2011 at 6:20 am

My sons are 26 and 20 now so I guess me and their dad were co-sleeping before it was cool! Love these pics, they reminded me of the few good memories of my first marriage! Lol

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Janine December 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I was never good at co-sleeping with my kids when they were tiny as I just couldn’t sleep myself, luckily they were fabulous sleepers in their own cots generally. My son(now 4) loves to sleep with us now, until it gets ‘too squashy’. Unfortunately for me my 19 month old will not sleep with me at all!! She will sleep with her daddy just fine but if I am there she is constantly fiddling with my hair or poking me, ‘talking’ so daddy gets the night time loving on the rare occasion she doesn’t want to sleep in her cot. :(

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Nicole January 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

Thank-you all for sharing, I am a doula and I have a mummy who is finding it really hard getting up to breast feed every 2 hours in the night, she hadn’t even realised co-sleeping was an option. I will forward this to her and maybe she can find a way of coping with feeding and sleeping. I would love any tips and tricks for her to help her cope. At the moment she sits bolt upright to feed then lays baby back in her cot and goes back to bed to sleep. I have managed to show her that she does not necessarily need to fee 10 mins on each breast and I have also shown her some more relaxing feeding positions but am yet to show her a balanced view on co-sleeping. It may not work, but I do not want her to give up breast feeding until she has tried every avenue. Thank-you all again for sharing your precious pictures and thoughts. x

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Jessie January 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Even though my brother and father used to nap together constantly, my mother is very upset about my husband and I not buying a crib. We got a mini co-sleeper at a thrift store for our first child(due in 2 months!) and are hoping the 3 of us will all fit in our queen when he outgrows it. Pictures like these help remind me that despite what people may think, my idea of parenting is not dangerous, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

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Becca January 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I never planned to co-sleep but it became such a natural part of how we parent and nurture. Now it is a beautiful part of how we connect with our boys while maximizing our sleep.

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Chandra January 28, 2012 at 4:40 am

Aw! Maybe I should send my pics to you. ;)
My husband and I still cosleep with our daughter who will be 4 soon. We all fit in a queen! :)
(and my husband is 6’7″, so ya, we like snuggling!

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Laura January 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I have read several studies lately, and the one thing that stands out to me, is that they emphasized in all the co-sleeping deaths that they investigated, there was ONE FACTOR they all had in common–formula feeding. Not a single breast-fed baby died from co-sleeping. There were plenty other factors in the different cases (smoking, drinking, etc.), but the one thing that never changed was the formula-feeding. So that is something to think about.
Personally, I find it difficult to co-sleep and nurse (although I have tried), so I have always compromised by putting my babies’ bassinet right next to my side of the bed. They are close enough to hear, touch and smell. It works for us! =)

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Amanda February 8, 2012 at 2:33 am

I love nearly all of these pictures, and I am a cosleeping mama with 3 kiddos that have slept in my bed, a time or 2 all 3 have. I’m a little bit bothered though that on a blog post that is supposed to be promoting cosleeping that I would find pictures of very unsafe cosleeping situations, ie unintentional and somewhere other than a bed. It is not safe to sleep with a baby on a couch or a chair. This is common knowledge among those of us who promote cosleeping, and to say that I’m shocked to see such situations being promoted as safe and a way to prevent SIDS is quite the understatement.

Cosleep, when done on a bed, with a firm mattress, free of fluff around baby is SAFE, sweet, loving, and something I have practiced in my home for nearly 6 years. Please think about this responsibly for a second…

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Jessie June 14, 2012 at 12:21 am

I have semi-co slept with all 3 of my kids. I just can’t do it 100% so we have the cot right beside the bed which means I can interchange as needed. My 3rd child has other ideas though and MUCH prefers being in bed with me. Hmmm.
When he was a few days old he caught his first cold. Poor little man was all stuffed up and had 1 of those gluggy moments where he had gone to breathe in but his nose was too blocked and it took a second for his mouth to open so he gasped a bit for air. I had been fast asleep but was wide awake and alert to hear his gasped breath. I had reacted in my sleep to those few seconds where he was not actually breathing whilst he opened his mouth. TOTALLY believe that co-sleeping, when the appropriate precautions are taken, is completely safe.

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Hollywood June 14, 2012 at 2:58 am

love love love sharing dreams! love and cuddles to all!

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Elizabeth June 14, 2012 at 7:18 am

I co-sleep with both my daughters (5 and 6 weeks)…wouldn’t have it any other way! My 5yo loves cuddling up to daddy and I love being able to hear they’re both breathing (yes, I’m paranoid that way, even though my oldest is 5, the few times she’s slept on her own, I’ve gone in to check *grin*) and I love not having to get up to nurse! Both my girls are happy and well-adjusted, and I credit cosleeping with some of that because they know mama’s always there :)

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Amy June 15, 2012 at 12:15 am

Great pics! By the way, my son is almost 5 and still loves to cosleep. I am a single mom so it is not a big deal to me. How do I know when he needs to go to his own room or do I just wait?? Thanks!

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