No Thanks to Bed Sharing: A Second Time Mom’s Perspective

Am I a parenting expert? No. I’m sure I make 800 mistakes before lunch time. As a recent second time mom, I now know that I will always be offending someone else’s standard of parenting. For example: I can disagree with both Baby Wise and Dr. Sears. I think the most important thing is to figure out your no compromise issues.

For me, one of my biggest issues is safe sleep.

As in, the ABCs of it: Alone, on baby’s Back, in a Crib (or other approved surface like a bassinet). I get the issue people have with safe sleep. It’s really hard when you’re in the trenches of newborn life. Everything is a hazy fog of exhaustion, hormones, and caffeine. Still, safety has to come first. I wonder about a lot of my parenting choices, but I have never questioned if following the guidelines put into place to keep babies from accidental death is the right thing to do.

Because, I cannot un-see what I have seen.

My experience is unique. I am very aware that, as a pediatric ICU nurse, I have ugly scars from resuscitating newborns gravely injured or killed as a result of unsafe sleep. I also know that telling you I think your decisions are reckless will just make you hate me and likely not change your opinion.

Just like you won’t change mine by stating that other countries do it (they often use non-Western mattresses or classify accidental infant death due to asphyxiation differently, skewing statistics) or your kids were fine (there also didn’t use to be car seat laws). See? I’m pretty stubborn. But here’s what I have to say…

To the Bed Sharing Mom:

I will not shame you or tell you you’re a bad mother if you chose to do something different. I will tell you the evidence behind my choice that you can research on your own. I will share articles about tragedies on social media in the strongest hopes that you will make safe decisions for your family. I will pray that you are never a headline in such a tragic story when all you are trying to do is the best that you can.

So what should you do when safe sleep is a struggle?

  • Keep your baby next to your bed on a safe, separate sleep surface with tight fitting sheets that smell like mama, and swaddle under 8 weeks of age or until baby can roll over.
  • Use white noise to mimic sounds from the womb.
  • Build a consistent bedtime routine that you repeat every night.
  • ASK FOR HELP! Especially if your personality is anything like mine… DON’T FEEL GUILTY TAKING THE HELP.

We all have the same goal at heart—to raise happy, healthy babies. Stick to your guns on the side of safety and you’ll never have to ask yourself, what if? And know that, someday, they will be teenagers sleeping until noon.

Resources:

National Institute of Child Health

Healthy Children – Why Back Is Best

CDC

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