Like many parenting topics, sleeping with your baby is very controversial. The term co-sleeping means sharing a bed or room with your baby and is sometimes described as having a family bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests infants sleep in the same room, in a separate crib, bassinet, or play yard, but recommend you do not share a bed with an infant under the age of 1 year old.



Establish a well thought out, educated plan to for consistent and safe sleep. Sleep quantity and quality is extremely important for your baby's development and healthy sleep patterns are established very early. Babies with consistent sleep arrangements (early co-sleepers or early crib sleepers) develop fewer sleep problems compared to babies termed "reactive co-sleepers", who end up sharing a room or bed with caregivers in response to early sleep problems. Families reacting to sleep problems may also be less prepared for co-sleeping and thus less knowledgeable about safety guidelines, making it critical to establish well thought out plans for your baby's slumber! 


Learn safe sleep environments 

Brain Science for Your Baby

Experiences early in life affect how the brain's stress responses develop.  The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands are the HPA axis.  The HPA axis controls reactions to stress.  How does this work?  The hypothalamus sends signals to your pituitary gland that tells it to send a signal to your adrenal gland to produce a stress hormone - cortisol. 


Too much cortisol for too long is bad for anybody's brain and body.  What does cortisol have to do with co-sleeping? A recent study (Beijers, R. et al., 2013) looked at the relationship between co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and cortisol regulation in 193 infants.  The researchers gathered information on breastfeeding and co-sleeping* during the first 6 months of life using diaries. At 12 months of age, infants were separated from their parents (the Strange Situation Procedure) for a few minutes, which was a stressor.  Cortisol can be measured in saliva.   Salivary cortisol was measured before and at 25 minutes, 40 minutes, and 60 minutes after the stressor.  After controlling for other factors - the researchers found that more weeks of co-sleeping predicted lower infant cortisol reactivity to the stressor.  More weeks of breastfeeding predicted quicker cortisol recovery.  The researchers concluded that co-sleeping and breastfeeding were good for stress hormone (cortisol) regulation in 12 month olds.


*Co-sleeping was defined both as sleeping in the parent's bed or sleeping in the parents' room.  As mentioned - the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend that babies sleep in the same bed as their parents.  Sleeping in the same room though may help your baby's stress response system in the first year.

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Make a sleep plan! Decide what sleeping arrangements are right for your family and safe for your baby.


Remember the ABC's of safe sleep, always place baby:


On their Back

In a safety approved Crib


Some other safe sleep tips include:


The safest place for baby to sleep is in a room where others sleep, but not in a shared bed.  
Baby should NEVER sleep on sofas, chairs, recliners, waterbeds, soft surfaces such as pillows, cushions, sleeping bags, sheepskins, or any bed with another adult or child.  
Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.  
Remove all soft, fluffy, loose bedding (including pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, sheepskins, etc.), toys and stuffed animals from the sleep area.  
Bumper pads, wedges and positioners should not be used.  
Make sure that baby is not too warm. Keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for a lightly clothed adult

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Making good decisions for you means making good decisions for your baby. Both breastfeeding and bottle feeding mothers should carefully consider healthy and unhealthy habits and how these choices impact baby.


Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke puts your baby at an increased for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


Alcohol and drug use increase the risk of an accidental death when sharing a bed with baby.

Sleeping with your baby on non-bed surfaces such as couches or recliners increases the risk of accidental suffocation.





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Gene's Research Tip!
A study from the New York University School of Medicine looked at women and the habit of watching TV while eating during the third trimester and then again when the babies were 3 months old.


They found that 70% watched TV while eating during pregnancy and that 30% of infants were fed in front of the TV.  Those mommies under 25 years were more likely to feed the babes in front of the boob tube, and bottle fed babies were also more likely to experience media.  So, is this bad?

Well, numerous studies show that when our attention isn't on eating, we have a tendency to eat more.  One theory of this is that we aren't paying close attention to the signals the body is giving, so we just keep "shoveling it in!"


And the concern can be, that we get in the habit of "shoveling it in" to our babies, as well, especially, if we are thinking of something else, like that TV show, or that new text message...rather than really watching TSK (that special kid)!  Read More

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Katrina Ostmeyer-Kountzman, PhD, BCBA

It happens almost every day.  I walk in the door with my 2 year old son after a long day at work, and he turns around and says, "Mommy, pay with me."  This is usually followed by a large arm gesture, and a "come on" to get me to come to the toy he has wanted to play with all day.  When this happens, many thoughts go through my head.  I think about how cute and special he is, but I also think about everything I need to do.  There's unfinished housework, paperwork I brought home, dinner that needs to be cooked, and sleep that I desperately want. 


Usually, one look at that sweet little face helps me forget about some of those things.  Other times, it's knowing how important it is for my son (an only child) to be able to play with me.  Read More

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