Kingsley: Bedsharing

Wednesday 18th June 2014, 9:52PM

This evening you rest soundly, my child. Flat-out on your back, hands opened and limp – clear indicators that you are deeply relaxed. Your need for sleep hits hard especially after a day at nursery. And after a bath and lots of milk, you don’t fight it at all – total submission to the calling of Hypnos, god of sleep.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, here’s the scoop: Kingsley, Erroll and I share our King-size bed, and have done so since the moment we brought our lamb home from City Hospital. A few nights during the first month he slept in the Cocoonababy, but in the main our son wanted the body warmth and touch of his Mumma. I completely yielded to this desire, instinctually. My instinct keeps our son close to my breast, real close, during the night to this day.

Our six month old lamb sleeps the family bed

Our six month old lamb sleeps soundly…in the family bed

The effect of mother-infant bed-sharing on nocturnal breastfeeding behaviour has been  studied recently. Two groups: 1) in 20 routinely bed-sharing and 2) 15 routinely solitary sleeping mother-infant pairs when the infants were 3 to 4 months old. All pairs were healthy and exclusively breastfeeding at night.

The most important finding was that routinely bed-sharing infants breastfed three times longer during the night than infants who routinely slept separately: this reflected a two-fold increase in the number of breastfeeding episodes and 39% longer episodes.

Sleeping 006

The Hartleys are bed-sharers, ever since King was born. Here, at six and a half months.

I could have told the authors that, and saved them their research money. I swear something comes over this peaceful, sleeping infant during the night: INSATIABLE HUNGER. Our bed-sharing bebe likes to get a mouthful, all night. All night long.

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