Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Benefits of Breastfeeding and Bed Sharing to My Family

As I start to write this co-sleeping has been in the news again and as usual it is being portrayed as something bad to do.  Here are some links you might want to take a look at because at the end of the day you are the parent and you make the decisions for your family about where they all sleep -

The study itself

The NCT response

The Lullaby Trust Response

The UNICEF response

Helen Ball Commentary

Before I had my first baby, I knew that co-sleeping was recommended (in the US).  Now hold on! you might say but it's true.  Co-sleeping is a term now used by the media when talking about bed sharing and it's a term that now has negative beliefs associated with it.  Co-sleeping encompasses any way that a baby might sleep within close proximity to its caregiver.  Bed-sharing, using a side car crib or having the crib in the same room as your bed are all ways of co-sleeping.  In most cases the media are usually referring to bed-sharing.

The Current American Academy of Pediatrics Sleeping Policy Statement (current statement now uses the term room sharing instead of co-sleeping)

I purchased an Arms Reach Co-Sleeper before William was born and attached it to my side of the bed.  It was never used after the first night.  I lay William in the Co-Sleeper until he woke for the first time and never put him back.  He slept on my right upper arm for almost a year and then slept 3 inches from my side until he turned 3.  After a few weeks we couldn't imagine him being anywhere else.  I also had a third degree tear from my first birth experience after an episiotomy and getting out of bed each time I needed to feed William was really painfull.

I did read "Sleeping with your Baby, a Guide to Co-sleeping" by James McKenna and I saw him speak at a WIC Conference in the US in 2010 in San Diego (If I recall correctly).  He's a great speaker, he does a lot of research on the sleeping relationship of the breastfeeding dyad (Mum and Baby) and he is an advocate for safe bed-sharing in the US.  He outlines safety guidelines for bed sharing in this book.  I think the most important guideline for me is that bed sharing has to be a conscious decision for all involved.  You cannot bring baby into bed without all parties being aware of it and being OK with it.

There are lots of benefits to everyone when you choose to breastfeed and bed share -
  • Baby has access to food and comfort all night long which is great for your supply.
  • It takes less time to respond to baby's needs when they wake or cry.
  • You can sleep better without having to get out of bed each time baby wakes. 
My husband also benefited hugely from bed sharing when our daughter was born.  At the time he was working very long days in London.  Ellie took to nursing like a professional from the beginning and was nursing well in the lying down position from day 1.

Ryan boasted to his friends at work how great breastfeeding and bedsharing was as from day 1 he woke up only to tend to William (3yo) which wasn't very often and I was able to care for Ellie pretty much by myself at night and we all got lots of sleep.

Bedsharing is great for all involved as I'm sure sleep deprivation is one of the top three complaints after the birth of a newborn (isn't it funny that we ignore everyone telling us this before they are born?)

Share with me what you have found to be the greatest thing about breastfeeding?

This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt which is running from June 23-29, 2013 during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.  Over 40 bloggers and 25 companies are taking part.  Bloggers will be writing about their breastfeeding experiences all week and there will be lots and lots of prizes up for grabs.  Each time you read a post you will have the chance to earn points by entering the rafflecopter attached to the post.  The more posts you read, the more points you gain.  At 50 points you become eligible to be entered for the chance to win the main prize with over £1000 worth of breastfeeding goodies.  Please enter using the rafflecopter below, and check out these other fabulous bloggers to read more about breastfeeding and to find more rafflecopters to enter.

 







The lovely new company Snoob have promised a lovely breastfeeding scarf to the winner of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt.

Here is the rafflecopter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

38 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Fabulous read. My favourite breastfeeding benefit is how convenient it is (once you get through the early weeks)

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  3. I love co sleeping with my little one! The bemefits of breastfeeding are amazing the bonding and relaxing time are my fave!

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  4. Definitely the convenience! I'm intrinsically lazy, so not having to prepare anything, just pulling out the boob, is a big plus in my eyes! We co-sleep too - saves my sanity!

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  5. Got to be the fact I can feed anywhere and everywhere with no extra equipment!

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  6. Having food instantly ready whenever and wherever my babies have needed it has definitely been the best thing :)

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  7. just knowing all the good it was doing my baby boy!!

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  8. Breastfeeding is so convenient, free and a wonderful way to settle baby and have a relax yourself. A great excuse to leave the house work and enjoy your baby. I love it x

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  9. Breastfeeding is so convenient, free and a wonderful way to settle baby and have a relax yourself. A great excuse to leave the house work and enjoy your baby. I love it x

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  10. It's easy to roll over and feed my daughter back to sleep, but I wish I didn't have to do it so often!

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  11. The health for the two of us and its ready whenever.

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  12. Breast milk is free and always available when needed.

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  13. The convenience does it for me, plus knowing it's so good for my daughter.

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  14. bedsharing is soo much fun when done safely

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  15. I love the closeness and bond that is brought together by breastfeeding and bed sharing.

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  16. Same as all the above. It's great, helps bonding, clears infections, milk can be used for all sorts of rashes and inflammations, free, convenient etc.
    We bedshare from day 1 and I have always felt supported in my choice. I love it, nothing better then waking up next to your baby smiling at you!

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  17. I think my favourite benefit is feeling like I'm able to help on the rare occasions he's ill. As a parent you so often feel helpless when the diddybits get sick but at least I can comfort him and support his immune system during these times, it makes both of us feel better :-)

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  18. Breastfeeding has helped me get a lot more sleep!

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  19. Knowing their getting the best!! (frances hopkins)

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  20. It was free. I was on a tight budget so that really helped!

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  21. I think for me the biggest benefit is the money we've saved and can spend on other things, we've had big period of unemployment and being able to feed the baby and not worry about whether we can afford to has been very reassuring

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  22. I can't choose just one greatest thing... for me it is the only option - healthy babies are born to breast feed and healthy mothers are perfectly designed to nurture them. If only profiteering hadn't blighted our trust in that innate physiological function...

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  23. I love that breastfeeding can soothe tears and calm toddler tantrums!

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  24. The convenience and how easy it is to soothe a baby by breastfeeding

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  25. I loved that no matter how poorly, upset or over tired my son was I could soothe him with a breastfeed. It's magic!

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  26. It's free and I don't have to guess how much o take on a day out x

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  27. I suffer from a lot of allergies along with asthma and eczema, so I love the fact that by breastfeeding my little girl I can hopefully protect her from suffering the same.

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  28. that i get an excuse to have baby back for squishy cuddles <3 x

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  29. I love the convenience of breastfeeding. I have food availabel almost immediately 24/7. Really useful!

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  30. The quiet, close time with my little one.

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  31. Tip: Persevere, it's worth it!

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  32. I loved that I was forced to relax and catch my breath again when my son wanted feeding.

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  33. I love that it doesn't cost anything

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  34. I love that I can feed his body and spirit.

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