While feedings are easier when co-sleeping, it's important to take some precautions if you and your spouse choose to have your baby in bed with you. Nolan always had a bed rail and slept close to her husband, keeping her son, Jamie, between the bed rail and her. "I could protect Jamie and not worry about my husband rolling over onto him," Nolan said. She also notes the obvious, but it deserves repeating: Never use drugs, alcohol, or sleep aids when you are co-sleeping with your baby.
Conversely, if you choose not to co-sleep with your baby, you can still practice a modified AP sleeping method. If your child is in a crib in his own room, make yourself available at his first cries. Use a baby monitor, keep his door open, and listen for your baby when he needs you. Pantley says AP parents go into action at the first whimpers. "They go to their little one when he awakens, whether in the morning or the middle of the night."
Keeping Baby Close
Another aspect of AP is keeping Baby close—literally. Baby-wearing is a major tenet of the philosophy: AP parents understand and acknowledge their baby's need to be held. "Physical closeness fosters healthy emotional and physical growth," Pantley says.
Whether you use a sling or baby carrier, having your baby nearby is a constant reassurance to him, and will probably make you feel happy, too. (How can you not feel good with a warm baby snuggled up against you?) And not to worry: When you graduate from a baby sling to a stroller, you can still practice AP. The point is to keep your baby nearby, to meet his needs when he needs you, and to reassure him that you're not going anywhere.
Pantley describes baby-wearing as a "grand circle of deliberate design":
- When Baby is content, he cries less.
- A parent enjoys the non-crying baby more than if he were crying.
- Happy parents are more likely to want to hold and cuddle their babies.