1. says

    I grew up with the notion that *of course* I would breastfeed! I know it’s very un-PC, but the view of my family growing up was only infants that had moms who abandoned their infants to daycares and went back to work (a distinctively bad thing in my family) formula fed. I didn’t realize how prevelent formula feeding really was until I was in high school. As far as I knew almost everyone breastfed for at least the first 6 months or a year. Although my mother did not co-sleep with either of us, and she didn’t practice physiological breastfeeding as far as duration went.
    My 1st ended in the NICU for 32 days immediately after birth. I pumped for the duration of his stage, and like so many whose breastfeeding relationship starts with stress and pumping I struggled with supply issues. But once we got him home it only took about 2 weeks to get him switched from bottle fed (breastmilk) to straight from the tap. Supply issues meant he got 1 bottle a day of formula, usually about 2am when I was dry as a bone and he was hungry, but he also nursed EVERY hour 24 hours a day. And not little feeds either. When I pumped and gave him a bottle (as still happened on occassion) I produced 6-8 oz of milk every feeding. Truly that first 2 weeks where I was: trying to nurse, giving him an expressed bottle, and then pumping meant there was typically only 15 min before the start of the next round. If I hadn’t slept when baby slept and co-slept I wouldn’t even have gotten those 15 min for the 1st 2 weeks, nor the 45 min per hour during the night for the next 6 months (he had 24 feedings until well into his 7th month). Long story short(er), I barely slept co-sleeping and breastfeeding. Had I needed to: get up, get baby from 2nd room, prepare bottle, feed baby, get baby back to sleep by himself, return to own room to get back to sleep myself…well, there just isn’t enough time in an hour to do that *and* sleep for more than 10 or 15 min!
    I will continue, cuz I definately have more to say, but gtg right now.

  2. Jo says

    I love your articles! As a Psychology (not quite) graduate and complete evolutionary psychology nut I think the phrase ‘evolutionary parenting’ is the simplest and most effective way of expressing the way that I parent, more so than attachment or ‘natural’ which is a bit of a minefield really!

    To answer your questions, although I am still a relatively new mum with baby being 16 weeks (but it feels like forever!), we have coslept since the start and even in the first week I was getting about 7, albeit very broken, hours of sleep a night. I too thought it couldn’t make sense that parents should suffer from sleep deprivation, how could infant care have evolved to involve such a thing?

    My husband and I are deep sleepers, he doesn’t wake all night, and I wake a few times to feed my son beside me, and wake often to place my hand on his tummy to settle him if he seems to be stirring and it settles him instantly. There would be very frequent wakings if he wasn’t right beside me.
    Bedsharing is the best parenting decision that we could have ever made as for us it delivers all the ideals that it promises.

    We have an amazing breastfeeding relationship too. I have a great supply, we got feeding and latching on established really quick after a home birth and a midwife returning a couple of hours later to help us with positioning/latching. He didn’t drop weight in his first week, and for the first couple of months he was gaining around 10oz a week and he was only 7lb4oz when born so not big at all. Cosleeping has definitely meant he feeds as much as he wants to and it just feels so right. Nature is pretty fantastic :o)

    If only something could have gone wrong so I didn’t sound so smug that I’ve been able to parent in exactly the way I wanted and it has turned out so well! So I tend to keep quiet about it, even when people comment on me babywearing, I sort of mumble about it like I’m just doing it for a laugh or to try something different as I don’t want to offend people with my anti-pram stance!

    • says

      Congrats on the new(ish) kidlet and your homebirth! And you don’t come off as smug just cuz things worked out, it’s AWESOME they are! With my 1st we had horrendous latch issues for the duration of his 1st 13 months because he had been intubated for as long as he was, but I’m always so happy to hear new moms who don’t have to struggle with that kind of thing! For those of us that had something go wrong (in general) we wouldn’t wish it on anyone! The annoying smugness really only becomes a factor if you follow us mentioning problems with ‘well if you’d just X…’ Besides the one trueism in life is change. I guarentee something will go wrong eventually that went right for someone else you know. So I hope you can just revel in it for a while!

    • says

      Jo – I was about to write pretty much exactly what Jespren said when I saw she beat me to it. I will add an addendum though – know that you are doing everything that’s in your baby’s best interests and that will help minimize the number of things that can go wrong. It’s why I always feel lucky that my daughter doesn’t have health issues to worry about, but I also know that my breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing self am also contributing to her well-being. Given the cards I was dealt, I know I’m giving her the best possible chances to be healthy, happy, and secure.

      Many of the things people complain about these days are a result of not doing practices that benefit baby AND mother. These aren’t health issues, but complaining of a fussy baby when they rarely hold their child, things like that. Again, as Jespren pointed out, by doing practices that we are biological built to do (breastfeed and co-sleep), she may have still be sleep-deprived, but it wouldn’t have even been possible to sleep at all had she taken other routes.

    • says

      Congrats on your little one! My first was a hospital birth and we had all kinds of issues with breastfeeding-I won’t get into it here, I eneded up exclussively pumping for him. With my 2nd, who is creeping up on 7 months, was a homebirth and breastfeeding has gone fabulously! He was also 7lbs 4 oz and now is almost 20lbs!

      • says

        Congrats on both your little ones! Were you able to co-sleep with either/any of your kids? Did you find that it helped?

        Homebirth is such a blessing for those who can do it. I just hear of so many more positive birth and beyond stories when babies are born at home. Of course, there’s a time and place for the hospital and not everyone is comfortable at home, but with education, perhaps more people can share in these positive experiences so many people have!

        • says

          Thanks Tracy! Yes, we co-slept with our 2 1/2 yr old. He still sleeps in our room in a twin bed. He climbs in with us still sometimes. Our little guy is still in bed with us. I think for our first, his breastfeeding experience was traumatic/stressful so that is why he resisted it. Everything was much more relaxed with the little one.

          I loved my homebirth. We are still paying for it. Our midwife was fantastic in allowing us to set up a payment plan. I know it is not for everyone. I do wish that it were available for more women to be able to make the choice though. We have been taught to fear childbirth rather than embracing our bodies letting them do what they were made to do.

          • says

            I have to say that I find the fact you have to pay for your midwife out-of-pocket to be one of the glaring signs that this whole insurance business in the US is out-of-whack with evidence-based practice and safety of the patient. I had a midwife and planned homebirth (though had to transfer) and it was fully covered by our provincial health care. And that’s the way it should be. Women should be able to choose how they birth without consideration of finances. Especially when one of the options currently unavailable to most has been found to be as safe or safer than a hospital birth.

          • Kristin says

            A similar thing happened with my first son’s birth. He had a traumatic first nursing experience – the lactation consultants at the hospital forced him to nurse even though he was screaming the whole time. It was a nightmare. I had a fabulous supply but he was never able to nurse. I pumped for months but eventually the mastitis and endless antibiotics got the better of me and he went to formula. Do you think this happens to lots of first-time moms? I don’t think I’ll ever recover from that experience, emotionally. It’s amazing how easy it is to disrupt or obliterate the nursing relationship. My second child was born at home and breastfeeding was a breeze compared to two years earlier. He is 2 and a half and still nursing.

  3. Kathryn V says

    I just want to say I agree with article and I believe it is very accurate. My son was born via c-section I did not do home birth or midwife or anything and I am glad I went traditional hospital because I needed a c-section my stubborn boy just didn’t want to come out after more than 24 hours of labor. I got to hold him skin to skin for about 15 minutes when I was in recovery he was wide awake the whole time but wasn’t ready to nurse. that night there was 32 babies in the nursery and after him going I didn’t get him back until 1:30am (he was born about 8:15) and while I missed him during that time as soon as he got back he latched immediately and I never once had any issues with him nursing he always latched properly I can honestly say we had no issues with him nursing in the hospital he only went to get weight checks and baths, my lactation nurses were extremely wonderful and supportive. it was all together a great experience. he always slept in my hospital bed with me and after going home nothing changed he stayed sleeping with me and nursing I thought after my c-section healed enough for me to comfortably get up and down he would move to his own bed but we never did, for the first 6 months until he decided to start taking his naps on his own all his naps were laying on me either on the couch or in the moby now I understand not all moms have this luxury as some have to work I was very blessed and lucky to be able to stay at home the first year full time. But all our breastfeeding & co-sleeping has been amazing never any issues and he is now 2 we just weaned 2 weeks ago because we are in the works of #2 and he still co-sleeps most of the time he has his own toddler bed which he chooses to sleep in sometimes. But I know now that 2 things I never thought I would do have perfectly played into my well rounded smart toddler and I have really enjoyed the experience. I know all parents think their children are the smartest most amazing kids ever but I can honestly say my son is really exceptional he has hit all his milestones months before they were due to be hit and for a boy he has been AMAZING verbally his first word was mama at 4 months he was up to 10 words by 8 months and past 30 words at a year, he is now 2 and speaking in sentences. His independence has always amazed me he has always done things on his own time without us having to push him, we have barely even started explaining potty training but just in the beginning of talking about poo poo in the potty and yesterday he pulled out his potty took off his diaper and went in the potty. He continually amazes me and I have to say I think it is large in part of my decision to breastfeed and co-sleep.

    I think honestly too from a young perspective that sometime co-sleeping and breastfeeding are thrown into the category of being an “earthy mom or “chrunchy granola mom” or whatever pot they throw it into to and I honestly think that turns people off to the idea I dont know why it cant be just considered doing what is best for your baby. sometimes its ok for people to not choose every part of natural parenting but just the part that feels right.

  4. martha says

    I bed share and still breast feed my 11 1/2 month old. I never planned to bed share. When my daughter was 6 weeks old she was sleeping in a bassinette. I was so sleep deprived that to this day I don’t remember getting her out of the bassinette and breast feeding her. I woke up with my chest exposed and my little baby kicking around on my chest. I freaked out, panicked because I could have dropped her on our tile bedroom floor!! My husband then said well just sleep with her in our bed. That night we slept 4 hours straight! The answer to our sleepless nights! I would and still will bed share with all my children.

  5. Kendra says

    I certainly did breastfeed and co-sleep. Both with my oldest children aged 8yrs and 9 yrs but am currently bf’ing co-sleeping and babywearing my 12week old. I come from a family where this is the norm both my mother and both grandmothers breastfed. My oldest was a baby who didn’t sleep. He would cat nap for 20min at a time for.maybe a total of 8 hours a day. He did this until about 3months old. Co-sleeping saved our sanity. The next 2 babies much moreepleasant. I never had one moment of baby caused sleep deprivation once we eliminated the allergy triggering foods. ( all my kids are allergic to milk which is very common in our family. )

    • says

      I had the same thing with dairy and sleep! As soon as it was cut (luckily our midwife picked up on this very early – day 5), I was never sleep deprived. In fact, the only times I’ve been tired have been when my daughter was sick at 2 months and I was so worried I couldn’t sleep (it was a cold, but I couldn’t help it) and when my husband snores. My little girl doesn’t cause me to lose sleep :)

  6. Andrea S says

    I have an almost 3 year old. She repeatedly tells me that “we share my boobs” they are a source of happiness to her. They fed her for the first 2 years of her life, I didn’t even plan to co-sleep or breastfeed as long as I did, it just happened. The night she was born the nurse told me I could sleep with her, so I did, it was easier and I was exhausted, easy was all I wanted. Nursing was easy, but so hard for the first couple months, there is so much going on with your body, and sore nipples just isn’t fun. I think more people need to be aware that even for people who didn’t have milk supply issues still have a hard time. It’s all work, and what made it easier was having my daughter in our bed, I would roll over and she would nurse. We still had a basinette in our room which she went into periodically, but she slept best in our bed. She still loves sleeping in my bed, and I can remember being a kid and thinking sleeping my parents bed was the best place to be, but I didn’t sleep there forever. Enjoy the time with them in your bed, and enjoy nursing for as long as you can. It’s something only you and your baby can share, you will have that forever.

  7. Andrea S says

    Kathryn, I couldn’t agree with you more, I get a lot of comments on the whole crunchy granola thing. That’s what it seems people have lost sight of, I am a young mom, but I am a mom and my baby comes first. Yes, it’s nice to go out an do things you did before you had a baby, but I do have a baby and I want what is best for her. I am okay with giving up a few things, because what I am getting by being a mom surpasses anything else I would get if I didn’t have her in my life.

  8. says

    I am mommy to three little girls, ages 7,4, and 8 months. With my third baby I have really embraced a more lax approach to parenting from everything to co-sleeping to baby wearing and I must say that if I would have known how much easier things would have been for me I would have done this with all three! My little one is still nursing and sleeps with me every night but I have only felt sleep deprived a handful of nights. I remember feeling so frustrated that my middle girl wouldn’t go to sleep, crying because I was so tired and I had to rock her to try to even attempt to place her in her crib… it was horrible. My new baby has never cried because it was time to go to sleep all alone and I am so grateful that I just did was felt right to me, not what everyone else told me was right. This baby has nursed the longest, is the most content, and I actually feel like she is safer with me in the bed than somewhere else- she doesn’t even have crib or another sleeping space!

  9. says

    I have 2 daughters. We co-sleep. I didn’t expect to with the first one, but it was ‘instinct’ to pull her in bed with me to feed. She is 8 now and still sleeps with me occasionally, though she does so in her own space now (other end of bed). My 2 yo and I still cuddle throughout the night, though I have taken to moving away to limit night feeding somewhat, she was latched on all night long. I stay home with my children and homeschool the oldest. I breastfed her until 3.5 and plan on going as long as the little one wants to also. It is what is meant to be and works out the best for the furtherment of our species.

  10. says

    oops I forgot to say I got plenty of sleep this way. I lie down with my babies every time they do and stay with them while they sleep. I would read or do other quiet activities if I was not sleepy. This afforded me 12 hours of broken sleep in the newborn phase, which equates to a good sleep IMO. Even now, I lie down with my 2.5 yo every time, though I sometimes get up to do housework now.

    • says

      Carrie – you’re so right about the lying down with babe to help with sleep. It may be broken, but you end up fully rested! I did the same with my girl (and still do, though for naps I do my writing and research) and as I’ve said elsewhere, thanks to no physical problems, I just haven’t been sleep-deprived!

  11. says

    Great article! Agree wholeheartedly. Breastfeeding & Co-sleeping is the norm in my house, & it has made parenting so enjoyable! Everyone is healthy & gets plenty of sleep :-) Thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    Thank you for this article. I have four kids, my youngest being 21 mos. old and still nursing :-) The more kids I had, the more in-sync I got with them, and of course co-sleeping and breastfeeding came more into play. It’s instinctual, really. I definitely believe that nursing and co-sleeping both reduce the risk of SIDS. I am so bonded and so aware of Baby’s breathing and temperature all the time; how could it not reduce the risk?!

  13. Loni says

    We co-sleep (family bed) and breastfeed on demand. I can’t imagine not doing it. Going to sleep with my baby curled up in my arms with my husband’s arms around both of us is the best feeling in the world. I would not trade it for anything. I can count on one hand the number of times I felt sleep deprived since my 13 month old was born.

  14. Alissa says

    I didn’t actually plan to co-sleep but found it was the only way to get any sleep myself. Once the babes got a little older, they could actually wake up, latch on, nurse, and go back to sleep all without waking me up. Yea!! My first was in the NICU for 3 months so when he got home, I was happy to hold him 24/7. I did that until the second was born 2 years later and he is still the one who needs bear to sleep at night – he’s now 10.

    Cannot imagine getting up at night to prepare bottles, wash bottles, hold bottles… Sounds exhausting to me.

  15. Erin says

    I loved this article. I wholeheartedly agree; I sleep just fine by co-sleeping my baby and breastfeeding, and can’t imagine we’d be successful without being together at night. She is away from me all day when I work, anyway; if not at night, when would she nurse? I’m happy for the skin to skin time at night when we are able to put the rest of the world behind us and be connected. One area of disagreement, however; although I am a side sleeper, I find the side lying position uncomfortable for nursing. I am able to sleep peacefully and nurse my baby on my back! She lies across me, and has always done so. Your article states that a nursing baby cannot latch this way, but we have always done this without problem. Perhaps we are a medical marvel?

    • says

      I’m sorry if I implied that it *couldn’t* be done, but the recommended safety is a baby on the back. I just wanted to adhere to that :) I too had my little girl across my stomach for a while but know the research enough to not *promote* that :)

  16. Becky says

    I agree with all of the above, especially the comment that the more children I had, the more in-sync I got with them and the whole concept of co-sleeping. I ‘discovered’ co-sleeping by mistake, when my first daughter was 6 months old and was hooked from then on. My only regret is that I didn’t fully co-sleep with my eldest two daughters – I breastfed them both but didn’t start the nights with them in our bed – by the morning they’d be with us so why, oh, why didn’t we just start each night with them! My third daughter has slept with me from the beginning (she’s now 7 1/2 months old) and, despite my husband’s occasional questions about when she’ll move, I have no intention of forcing the issue! I find if we just relax about the whole parenting thing, and when we ‘should’ do something, these things have a way of resolving themselves and you move the the next stage with no emotional upset from anyone.

  17. says

    I am still breastfeeding and bed sharing with my 18 month old twins. Getting enough sleep was a huge issue in the early days. Long story short, I suffered from compounded sleep deprivation and was a miserable shell of woman for months. What finally changed? My husband and I brought our boys into our bed. It saved me. We’ve gotten creative with sleep positions, and now I can nurse both of them through the night without waking. It’s a beautiful thing :-) The full story of our evolution of sleep is on my blog: I hope it can help another nursing mama of twins! Thanks for a fabulous article. I’ve already shared it!

    • says

      I’m so pleased to hear of people making it work with twins – it always seems so much harder and so many people I know give up and put the twins in cribs in a separate room. I’m so happy you found co-sleeping to help your whole family :)

  18. Maxine says

    I am still breastfeeding and co-sleeping with my 19 month old girl, and have found everything in this article to be true. I also strongly support that this knowledge and option should be universally promoted! I didn’t co-sleep with my first child and our breastfeeding only lasted for four months. She was moved into her own room at 2 months, and i truly wish i could turn back the clock! My eldest isn’t as loving and cuddly as my youngest and i wonder how things would have been different if i had had better information on which to base the decisions i made.

  19. Marianne says

    Thank you! I am on my 7th baby, and it took me until my fourth to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of co-sleeping. I found that I couldn’t be up all night walking around the house back and forth to the nursery, and then have the energy to properly care for my older children during the day. I think it is such an easier way of doing things, that people think it must be cheating, or wrong somehow, but yet, it is better for all of us. So much so, that I can say that co-sleeping is my very favorite part of having a baby. The bond, the sweet moments, feeling her body breathing against mine…too sweet.
    About the SIDS reduction, I believe it, because often times when baby is sleeping against me and I take a deep breath, she responds with a deep breath in her sleep. It’s really amazing. Sometimes if I just test it out, and sometimes if I can’t hear her breathing I’ll take a deep breath just for my own peace of mind. There is *something* going on with breathing patterns and co-sleeping, for sure.

    My husband doesn’t like me to co-sleep, though, because for him, it is easier to sleep not having to worry about the baby in the middle. He also doesn’t like the separation between the two of us. Baby does “get in the way” of nighttime snuggling between partners to a certain extent – but my opinion is that it’s just life at this point and temporary. The benefits outweigh those issues for me.

  20. Laura says

    Of our six babies: The first was combination breastfed/formula fed for a variety of reasons. Part of it was my need to work full-time and then some, being a single Mama. Part of it was the lack of support from my family, lack of knowledge and resources, and lack of support from the court system when deciding about overnight visitations/Mama stopping in to nurse. She slept across the hall, doors open, from about 7 or 8 months, and because she was able to hold her own bottle, I figured it was ok. I weaned her by force at 11 months because she bit, and I couldn’t cope. I know, I know……It’s well in the past, and I’ve certainly learned. I married my husband when she was 18 months old; he adopted her when she was about 3.

    The second was fully breastfed for a year–he wasn’t interested in table foods until just about 12 months. He absolutely refused to sleep with us, even though we tried. While we did have him in the same room, he was in his crib, and well away from our bed. Any nearer, and there was sleeplessness all around. He weaned himself at 17 months–7 months into my pregnancy with #3. What can I say? The boy’s always been something of an anomoly.

    The third was the charm, eh? :) Well, with her, we finally figured it out and did the sidecar arrangement with the crib. We also finally discovered that we got much better sleep that way, and we shared sleep with her until she was about 2. She nursed for about 2 1/2 years old, and weaned on her own.

    Seven years later, we had our fourth–and our first homebirth. At home, in the water, surrounded by the other children, immediately to the breast. Co-slept from day one, didn’t even think of anything else. He nursed through my next pregnancy, tandemed with his sister for just over a year, and we mutually weaned at 4 years.

    #5–another home water birth. Another immediate latch, and we’re still sharing sleep occasionally 2 1/2 years later. She moved into big sister’s (15 y.o.) room at about 18 months, and loves having a sister to snuggle up to. (Sadly, she’s also been snoring like a dockhand for the past 2 weeks, which definitely makes it low-quality sleep for Mama. Ear infections will do that, though.) She also nursed through my pregnancy with #6, and happily tandems with her sister to this day–usually first thing in the morning once or twice throughout the day, and just before bed.

    …which brings me to #6, our 3rd home water birth, and she was 4 weeks early. We had nursing issues because of how little and sleepy she was, but we persevered. It’s been a looooong road with this one. I ended up with an ovarian blood clot at 4 days PP (rare complication), was being assessed in the ER literally as my milk was coming in, supplemented with formula almost immediately because I was so pumped full of drugs I could not coordinate nursing a little tiny sleepy baby, suffered from low supply due to the meds I was put on for my blood clot, did kangaroo care for hours and hours every day for weeks on end, shared sleep, took herbal supplements, pumped frequently, nursed almost constantly, hand expressed the milk into her mouth at every feeding because she was too sleepy to latch well, struggled with massive guilt………………….and now I’m nursing exclusively, and she will no longer take a bottle–of anything–at all. I feel wildly successful!! 😀 Happily sharing sleep, exclusively breastfeeding, and starting to feel like things are going “the way they’re supposed to” is a great feeling.

    • says

      What an amazing and wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing with us! For anyone who’s having it rough, read this and know you can do it :)

  21. Bee says

    I’ve been co-sleeping and breastfeeding and breastfeeding seems the only way for my 8 month old to fall asleep. He also refuses the bottle and a pacifyer. I’ve been trying to break these habits so that he will be more independent of me (so his dad can feed him with a bottle and put him to sleep too). I’ve been told I’ve messed him up by allowing him to be/grow like this.

    • says

      Bee – you haven’t at all. In fact, I recommend reading Co-Sleeping: Fostering Indpedence (on this site) – you’ve actually done things that will help him be MORE independent. I’m going to post your comment to the FB group and then post the answers for you just so you can see how you have NOT messed him up :)

    • says

      Bee – here are the responses to your comment from various evolutionary parents on Facebook:

      Mandy George You have totally been doing the right thing. There is no rule that says a baby MUST take a bottle or dummy. Independence comes from a child who has a strong attachment to their mum, which is what you are fostering with bfing and co-sleeping. These aren’t bad habits, they are perfectly normal behaviours that millions of mums and babies worldwide and through the generations have done.

      Danielle Bridges She is not messing him up. He still needs you, and your milk, and your closeness. There are other ways dad could be involved, like bath time or special daddy play/story time.

      Trina West Moore I think you have done exactly the right things. There are lots of things that dad can do with him besides feed. He can bath him, change him, rock him, etc…. I also think co-sleeping is a wonderful thing. Most adults don’t want to sleep alone in a room, why would a baby? Keep doing what you are doing. The opinions of others do not matter. What matters is the relationship you share with your child, and that is wonderful. By being so “dependent” on you, they will learn they always have a secure place to be safe. They will venture off with confidence, knowing if they fail, they have you as a safe haven!!! What child doesn’t need that??? Good luck, and I say keep going the way you are.

      Joy Ramirez ‎”Humans are the only mammals who force their offspring to do things they are not yet ready to do.” I can’t remember where I read that but I love it. And I agree, keep up the good work and don’t listen to others’ criticism. You are doing a great job mama!

      Claire Gilmour ‎8months old is still less time out of the womb than in it…and 8month olds still need to be fully attached to their mammys. To fall asleep at the breast is natural and not a habit that needs breaking. The child will move on to a new stage when he is ready and will be lessindependent if forced to move on prematurely. Your baby is so fortunate to have his birth rights met by such a loving attentive mother – to co sleep and continue breastfeeding will meet yoru childs needs for attachment..As the mother of adult children (and littlies) – I can assure you that they do move away from you and then in a blink of an eye, they are gone, left home…so enjoy this precious time and try not to take to heart others opinions/criticisms and comments! peace

      Elizabeth Dovre-Kokinos My 6 mo is just like this too. It’s tiresome, and I wish my husband could do more to help. But she only wants me and a boob at night. She wakes frequently. I get frustrated. But eventually i believe there you will reap the benefits of raising your baby this way. When you have a happy, independent, well-adjusted and confident child who doesn’t whine constantly(my pet peeve) you will be so glad this is the way you’ve done things. You are absolutely doing things right! Moms know best and dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

      Jo Abbott Bottles and pacifiers have been around for a miniscule part of human existence and only in some societies. Before then we relied on biology. It works well! Breastmilk contains chemicals that help to put your baby to sleep. They were meant to use it to fall asleep. As they get bigger and their brains develop they learn to sleep without it. Putting yourself to sleep is hard. My little boy always fed to sleep and I got the same comments and started to wonder if it would ever stop. Well one night he fed, popped off the breast still awake. Lay down and fell asleep himself. Since then he has always done it on his own. He was ready. And your little one will be too in his own time. There are countless stories and research out there showing that pushing a child to do something too early has the opposite effect. You’re doing a great job. Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy the cuddly feeding while it lasts!

      Claire Gilmour OK – my 5 year old still only goes to sleep with the breast (takes about 2 mins!!!!) and I find it a fantastic resource – we have no bedtime tears/strops’s quick/easy. I nurse the 20mnth old off at same time (takes a wee bit longer) and ENJOY the chance to lie down, get a bit of downtime and relax..we light a candle, read stories first then all snuggle up – its a wonderful connecty end to the day and I am amazed at how Mammas without it manage!!! LOL xx

      Tali Kannenberg My 8 month old DD is the same! No bottle and no binky for her. And when she wakes at night and her dad tries to sooth her back to sleep she cries harder. Only me, only the breast will put her back to sleep. I sometimes get annoyed that I’m always the one that has to do the night time work, but I know I will look back fondly at this time. Also last night as I was nursing her to sleep I realized that I have been with her EVERY single night of her life ♥ why change it if it’s working?

      Clare Caro You are doing every thing right, as human are designed to do, well done!!!!

      Jannine Bishop Try to remenber your baby is only 8 months old…their wants are their needs. Our babies need us to be night time parents aswell as daytime parents. sounds to me like you are doing all the right things so far.

      Debbie Sterling breastfeeding and hugs are the best thing in the world for a baby, time goes so quickly, time is so precious with your baby/child and so is the bond between the two of you. You can never spoil or mess up a child with love and security,sounds to me like you are doing everything nature intended for you to doi breast fed both of my boys, first one for ten month, and the youngest one until he was 22 month old, the little one is now 3 and still wakes up and runs in to our room for hugs.

      Mandy George The current thinking is that human babies are born 9 months premature, due the size of our brains. No other mammal is born as helpless as a human baby, for the 1st year of babies life should be as close to life in the womb as possible.

      Tamlyn Corr I did exactly what you’re doing and my husband supported us fully. She’s now 4 years old and has a wonderful relationship with her daddy. Whether or not the dad can feed and put the baby down does not effect their bond. I fully support what you’ve been doing and hope that you follow your instincts and not the instincts and ways of others. It’s your family, your baby and yourself no one else gets to decide.

      Elissa Moise Please suggest that she call her local La Leche League leader for support.

      Penny Dill You are doing a wonderful job. Sometimes family and friends don’t understand when we ignore their “advice” and go with our instincts. Great article about how dad can bond with baby without involving bottles.

      Hopefully you find these comments helpful and comforting. You are doing exactly what you’re biologically and evolutionarily designed to do :) Stick with it if you feel it’s the right thing to do :)

  22. Bee says

    Thank you so much for your support! I’ve been made to feel like I was a bad mom and your replies tell me I’m on the right track. It was terrible because they said making my baby solely dependent on me was selfish and lazy (it takes more effort to prepare bottles). I’m a little more confident now and not worried anymore. I cried when I read your replies. Thank you

    • says

      Bee – I’m so glad the comments helped! It’s always nice to know you’re not alone and even better to know that research and history are on your side 😉 Just keep doing what you’re doing – you’ll have the last laugh when you have a happy, secure, and independent baby!

  23. Lisa Boulton says

    I love this article, but it’s preaching to the converted and most people I speak to, including family and friends, have this idea that I’ve ‘spoiled’ my little one by co-sleeping and still breastfeeding at 14 months. There are so many advantages to both, but it doesn’t help my argument that he has been super clingy and a terrible sleeper from the start – this is the proof that my techniques are wrong for most people. However, thanks to support from other sites, such as Dr Sears, I’m reassured that there are just some babies who are more ‘high need’ and ‘demanding’ than others and it’s not to do with attachment parenting. While he is very clingy and has had to be taken out of nursery after just a few tries, he’s brilliantly independent as long as I’m in the vicinity and he’s full of confidence to try new things and meet new people, as long as Mum’s not far away. In a big group, he’s usually away doing his own thing and I’m running after him.
    It’s a relief to still be able to breastfeed when he’s ill and won’t eat or drink so he’s well fed and has always been ahead of his age in terms of growth and development, walking at 10 months and doing tasks designed for 18-24 months.
    it’s been very hard work, more so because of the lack of understanding from others and it would be nice to believe that this more natural and logical philosophy will eventually come back into the mainstream and stop being seen as a ‘hippy’ trend.

    • says


      High need babies (I had one, too) may still be fussy, clingy, and have erratic sleep patterns. However, think how much worse off he would be emotionally and possibly physically if he WEREN’T sleeping with you. I so wish that with my high need baby I would have trusted my instincts and cuddled and co-slept with him more often. Even though it may seem like it isn’t paying off, it is! You may be keeping him from developing emotional and behavioral problems by practicing attachment parenting principles. Also, babies are, as you know, SUPPOSED TO be attached to their caregiver. I hate it when people tell me that a baby is “too attached” or “clingy”. What else should they be?!

      Keep it up!

  24. says

    I keep receiving a javascript error popup when
    I attempt submitting a comment. Does this happen
    for anybody else? I don’t exactly have the most current pc so possibly that’s the issue.

  25. Elizabeth says

    This article is great! I was unsuccessful with breastfeeding my daughter, because I thought I was not supposed to let her sleep with me, and I became overly exhausted. She would wake up every time I laid her down, and I spent a half an hour getting her to sleep every time she woke up for a feeding. I was much more successful with breastfeeding my son, and he always slept in bed with me. It was wonderful, and I kinda feel bad because I bonded so much more with him than my daughter. He died January 2012 at 9 weeks of SUID. I went to sleep on my back instead of my side cuddling him, and I woke up on my side with my back to him. I’m not sure if I accidentally rolled him when I moved to my side or what (this was the first time I moved positions without waking up). When I woke up, he was on his tummy with his head to the side, and he was dead. I believe that he would have died no matter what, we die when we are meant to. And weird things happened that made me worry even during my pregnancy that he would die despite the fact that I had a generally healthy pregnancy. In my opinion, he came here to bond with me and die (and to teach myself and a few other people some lessons). I am so happy that he didn’t die away from me. After co-sleeping with him, I have wanted to have another baby and successfully co-sleep. It felt more natural than having my child sleep in a bassinet in the same room, and the bonding was so different and the breastfeeding was much easier. I’m so glad I found this article to learn better how to co-sleep and to reassure myself that I’m not crazy for wanting to do it again! It is healthy, it’s what we’re made to do.

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son, but I think you’ve hit on something many people don’t want to acknowledge – that sometimes these deaths will happen, co-sleeping or not. I firmly believe that barring drug use or unsafe environments, people just want something to blame and co-sleeping is an easy target.
      I hope your next co-sleeping journey is as blissful as you hope!

  26. Joelle says

    My little guy is 8.5 months old and we have been officially cosleeping for over 2 months now. By officially I mean deliberately, but it had been happening accidentally and intermittently since his birth. I made the deliberate decision to cosleep when he started to experience separation anxiety around 6 months and I was getting out of bed to resettle him every couple of hours (before this he would wake twice a night which was fine). It just wasn’t working for me and I saw cosleeping as the obvious option.

    Unfortunately I have had to move into a separate room from my husband as he has sleep apnoea and insomnia, and uses a cpap machine and medication every night so it is not safe or sleep-inducing for bub to share the bed with him. I have definitely noticed an increase in night feelings, but most importantly my quality of rest overnight has improved significantly.

    My husband doesn’t really like the idea and is concerned that bub won’t want to sleep in his own bed until he is 2, but he does go into his cot during the day. It sometimes causes “debate” between me and my husband, but ultimately I’m doing what is working for us right now, and if it stops working for us, I will change.

  27. Liz May says

    Thank you for writing this article and sorry for being a pedant. It is my understanding that Dr McKenna defines co-sleeping as any arrangement were adult and baby are sleeping in the same room so this could include rooming in with baby in a cot, parent and baby sleeping together on a sofa or the whole family including older siblings all in the same bed. His definition of bed-sharing is more narrow. In terms of the media reporting on SIDS deaths this distinction is very important. In terms of educating mothers about Safe bed-sharing and the dangers of sofa sleeping the distinction will save lives. I heard a very sad story on BBC radio 2 about a mother with a newborn who didn’t want to bed-share because she had been warned by health professions against it, only for her to feed the baby in an armchair in the middle of the night. So exhausted due to night feeds she fell asleep and the baby became trapped and died due to suffocation. Different types of co-sleeping carry different levels of risks and safe bed sharing can offer benefits, distinction and clarity will help to educate families so that that can make an informed choice based on evidence. It will also inform doctors, coroners, law enforcement, social workers, midwives and health visitors who are involved in serious case reviews following a child’s dealth and inform their daily practise and safeguarding training.

  28. says

    I loved this so much! I wish I would have seen this and other resources when my son was younger, before we put him in his own crib. I did move his crib to our room, though, because being separated just didn’t feel right. I recommend co-sleeping to any new moms that I talk to, in hopes that they’ll at least make an educated decision about it.

  29. Jare says

    I am just very glad to come across this site. A lot of the things published here are supporting my practices; I exclusively feed my baby with breastmilk (I am a working mom, I breastfeed whenever I can), I bedshare and I carry my child more often than my colleagues do (I wear him when I am out of the house).

    My little one is not fussy and many ask me why. I really don’t know how to answer them except that I am grateful for such. Only through reading these articles did I realize that my practices must have been contributing to a secure child. He seldom cries and if he does, it is easy to soothe him… breastfeed!

  30. says

    Love the article! Thanks for sharing! We bedshare with our son who is 19 months. We also have exclusively breastfed (no formula!) for 19 months. My husband and I both absolutely love bed sharing. I worked for about 10 months from when my son was almost 4 months to just over a year. During that time I missed him so much and it made it a little bit better for both of us that we could spend the whole night snuggling. It was still terrible to be away from him but I felt like I just got to spend so much more time than if he were sleeping alone. Plus it helped me to get more sleep because I could let him nurse and go back to sleep. Now I stay at home with him and run and still love to snuggle all night long. Its the very best! By the way, if anyone is interested in educational, Eco-friendly, and innovative baby and toddler products please check out We carry organic bamboo nursing covers and organic bamboo wraps that will help to support nursing too! Thanks!!!

  31. Anne says

    I have a 10 months old boy. I continue breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping. It is much easier to feed him at night when he slightly wakes if I co-sleep, just pop out my breast and he drinks and continues sleeping. He doesn’t really wake-up, neither do I. Therefore we sleep together for 11-12 hours every night. He gets lots of nutrition by this way as well. Although we started solids at 7 months and not very regular, these night feeds keep him healthy and chubby. Because daytime he is easily distracted and active, he doesn’t drink very much. Besides our emotional bond is priceless. He doesn’t get sick and everyone says that he is a smiling – happy baby. I am happy to hear many other mums use this way and share their experiences. There are so many articles about sleep-trainings/ cry outs, products such as security blankets, dummies… I wanted to read what I am doing is right, even though my instinct says so. Thanks for the article and comments.


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