Sleeping with your baby has several benefits for moms and babies. Studies show that sharing a sleeping space offers some protective effects against SIDS, and most moms will tell you that sharing a bed with their baby ultimately helps them get more rest, even when frequently night-nursing, as it requires them to get in and out of bed fewer times in the night.
In keeping with our commitment to providing parents with eduction and information so that they can make informed choices about every aspect of their pregnancy, birth and parenthood journeys, we keep open conversation with all of the families we serve about the benefits and risks of co-sleeping. James McKenna and his team at the University of Notre Dame are doing some important and thorough research on mother-baby sleep behavior, and from that research has come a set of guidelines for sharing sleep safely.
At the birth house, we utilize a Swedish product called Dock-A-Tot to give parents who give birth at the birth house the opportunity to test drive bed sharing with the extra layer of support and safety it provides. Our friends at EcoBuns in Holland (which is our favorite place to go for all things cloth diapering, too, by the way!) donated two of these to the birth house this spring. We've obtained some stylish covers for them (of course!) and one is available for use in each of the two birthing suites.
Babies in the fourth trimester are most contented when they're kept close to their moms, where she can be smelled, her breath heard, her body heat shared, and her breast available at a moment's notice. We love that Dock-a-Tot helps support that closeness.
Baby Maeve (age 4 months), who's been tagging along to prenatal and postpartum appointments at the birth house these days with her mama (Brooke), has given the Dock-a-Tot her stamp of approval. She thinks it's a great place to take a nap while her mama does her student midwife thing. :)