Probably the most controversial aspect of Ecological Breastfeeding are the Fourth and Fifth Standards involving sleeping with your baby. I understand the fears because I had those fears until I lay down for a short nap with my baby one afternoon on top of the bed. Three hours later I woke up. My baby was still latched on; my fears vanished. Then I understood better why mothers around the world have shared sleep with their babies. There are many benefits for bedsharing.
Bedsharing supports good breastfeeding.
Bedsharing is extremely important for breastfeeding amenorrhea and thus natural child spacing. Babies nurse frequently and longer during the night when near mother. You can’t get this pattern of nighttime breastfeeding when baby is not present to the mother.
Mothers and fathers get more rest with bedsharing, and babies benefit from the skin-to-skin contact with either parent during the night.
Babies are more settled and cry less with bedsharing.
Bedsharing helps to regulate baby’s temperature and breathing. Think of mother’s breathing being like a “pacemaker” for her baby’s breathing.
Mothers are well rested in the morning due to bedsharing. Breastfeeding is one job a mother can do well in her sleep. Nor does she or the father have to get up at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this benefit of feeling rested in the morning as a nursing mother.
Dr. Abraham B. Bergman, the original SIDS researcher who made SIDS known to the American public and was the first president of the National SIDS Foundation, says baby bedsharing is not dangerous. (October 2014)
Breastfeeding protects against SIDS, and breastfeeding babies usually end up sleeping on their backs during the night. Lest we forget, SIDS was formerly called “crib death.”
IMPORTANT: For safety guidelines on bedsharing, see “links” at the NFPI website.
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding