Co-Sleeping - good or bad idea?

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2010 ( 248 moms have responded )

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So I'm sure this one will illicit a firestorm b/c people are either very for or very against this topic...but I'm curious to see where it leads in a "debating" forum like this one.

I will state right now that I couldn't possibly be more against co-sleeping! There are a million reasons I'm against it, you need to maintain a bond with your significant other, it can be dangerous, no one (including the baby) sleeps as well/soundly, its a HORRENDOUS habit for your child etc etc etc. I promise you someone will post that "no school age kid is still in bed with his parents" and I'm going to state right now that one of the many reasons my daughter has never slept 2 minutes in our bed is b/c my husbands son WAS still sleeping in bed with his mom at the age of 10. he would come to our house where my husband absolutely did not allow it (a big part of the reason why he's my husband now...he was flat out against it and slept on the couch in the end of his first marraige b/c of it)...and at 9 years old it would take my husband 2 HOURS to get this kid to bed. So yes, it is a horrible habit that no they don't just "grow out of". My main reason for being against it is b/c I see absolutely no reason to do it. Your baby doesn't "need" to sleep with you all night, I know many children who have slept in their cribs from the day they came home from the hospital - including my own daughter. THey are all very healthy, well adjusted babies who get plenty of mommy/daddy time during their awake hours. Of the baby group that we are part of, there are 6 babies and the only 2 who do not sleep well are the 2 who were brought into bed with their parents. The rest of the babies have been sleeping 11-12 hours/nite since they were very very young. So...in short, sorry if that got winded, I feel strongly about this one, I do not agree with co-sleeping, and I have more I could say but I'll wait for some responses. I am interested in seeing where everyone else is coming from.

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Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

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To the OP: Your husband's son was obviously dealing with a lot of emotional stress from his parents' marriage collapsing, and his mother was probably (wrongly) compensating for the lack of attention she got from her (now ex-) husband by encouraging their son to sleep with her. That is not a good situation, but it's hardly a useful example for why co-sleeping with an infant or toddler may or may not be a good idea. You cannot prove a theory using one or even a few examples -- the same goes for all of the "many children" you know who have slept in a crib from day one. You were not in the hospital room with my the first night after my son's birth, when he squirmed and cried, despite being securely swaddled and full of milk, every time he was placed in that cold hard plastic box. As soon as he was close to me, though, he peacefully drifted off to sleep.

Are you a child development expert? On what do you base your wildly ignorant opinions? The fact is, babies emerge from the womb never having known hunger, cold, silence, or the sensation of being alone. Their instincts drive them to suckle on their mother's breast and seek the warmth and safety of human touch. Newborns are meant to be close to their mothers -- ALL newborns, even those who appear content being stuck in a box or "mechanical mommy" away from human touch and warmth. Some babies are just less able or willing to vocalize their needs, especially when they are ignored day after day. Thankfully, my son was quite vocal about his needs, and helped me learn what he needed and how to meet his them.

As for your wildly unscientific sample of children who sleep well vs. those who do not, the fact is that the children who "sleep well" were probably forced to lie alone in their beds, crying/screaming for an indefinite amount of time, while stress hormones coursed through their bloodstreams, permanently altering their brains and predisposing them to anxiety issues later in life. And eventually they gave up on any hope that their parents would answer their cries, damaging the critical trust relationship which must be built in the first year of life. But hey, that's a small price to pay so mommy and daddy don't have to deal with the little ones for 11-12 hours, right?? (/sarcasm) I'm not ignoring the very real importance of quality sleep -- believe me, we've struggled with a "difficult sleeper" from day 1 -- but co-sleeping helped us ALL get more sleep while we waited for our son to develop the ability to self-soothe and be ready to sleep in his own space.

Despite your poorly chosen examples, the research shows the benefits to babies of being held/worn, having their cries responded to, being nursed, and yes, of co-sleeping: they cry less, gain weight faster, form more secure attachments (healthy bonds with caregivers), are more independent as toddlers, and are less likely to die from SIDS due to falling into unnaturally deep sleep while sleeping alone in the early months of life. That's just one of the specific benefits to co-sleeping; also, it's practically indispensible for the breastfeeding mom who is getting up every 2-4 hours throughout the night to nurse in the early months. And because babies are predisposed to not wanting to sleep alone, pushing a baby in that direction almost inevitably means CIO -- which has documented short- and long-term risks to the child's health and development.

I do think that children should have their own sleep space between ages 2-3 years, unless they show a preference for it earlier (my son slept much better on his own starting around 6 months), but I would not go around telling other parents they are wrong for doing so, as you have done. I realize this is a debate board, but is it too much to ask that people use proper debating techniques and do just a tad bit of research before posting these wholly uninformed threads?

Cassie - posted on 02/17/2010

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Christina, could you provide any evidence or research yourself that shows that when done properly, co-sleeping is unsafe.

Your son's doctors could have been simply giving their opinions. If it is a well-known statistic, could you please give an example.

I think this discussion is not one that needs to be rooted in fact that it is dangerous or safe. It is simply one that is a discussion about personal opinion and preference. Parents who choose not to co-sleep are not doing psychological damage by leaving their child alone in a crib just as parents who safely co-sleep are not doing psychological damage by allowing their child to bedshare. It is simply opinion. Anyone can show research that supports or discredits both sides. There is no right or wrong for the entire population but rather a right and wrong for an individual child and family.

Rebecca - posted on 02/17/2010

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First of all, I'm not going to apologize for my post. It was no more inflammatory than the original post or the first few replies. I responded the way I did because the OP made an inflammatory post, accusing parents who co-sleep of having no regard for their spouse/partner or baby's safety and well-being, based on NO evidence other than a few select anecdotes which don't even prove her points.



As another person said in their reply, the OP is obviously very bitter about the situation with her step-son and her husband's ex-wife, so I don't think we can trust the accuracy of her assessment of that situation. Further, when the boy began sleeping with his mother is irrelevant; the potential "issue" was that he was still there years later, which is when the marriage was collapsing. I was pointing out that he would have moved to his own bed without issue except for all the problems in their family situation.



Regarding the 2 babies in the OP's playgroup who don't sleep well and have co-slept, the OP assumes that co-sleeping caused these problems but never considers the more likely scenario: as newborns, the babies had some kind of issue -- feeding problems, reflux, colic, or just difficulty sleeping -- and the parents responded sensitively by co-sleeping rather than leaving the babies to CIO as most parents in our culture would do. Very few babies sleep 11-12 hours straight, alone in a crib, when they are "very very young" unless their parents ignore their cries and the babies give up signaling their needs. It's just not developmentally appropriate for a newborn to sleep that long without waking to eat or interact with his/her parents.



To Jackie -- I did not mean to imply that you were doing anything neglectful toward your daughter because you did not co-sleep -- even though you basically accused co-sleeping moms of the same -- I was simply generalizing about how the majority of non-co-sleeping parents behave. My generalization was based on facts and statistics, not on a few anecdotes like your generalizations.

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

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Christina, your experience with "co-sleeping" is not an example of safe shared sleep. One of the first rules of safe bed-sharing is that BOTH parents must be aware that the child is in bed and must not be under the influence of drugs/alcohol OR unreasonably exhausted. We co-slept full-time and then part-time with our son, but there were times I was so exhausted that I wasn't aware of getting him out of his crib in the middle of the night. When that happened, I knew that I needed to take more naps, go to bed earlier, and rely on my husband's help in getting up with our son during the middle of the night.



Your example about stomach sleeping vs. co-sleeping is also incorrect. Statistics show that many more babies die of SIDS while sleeping alone in cribs, including on their backs, than co-sleeping. Many of the (relatively few) deaths attributed to SIDS while co-sleeping are not actually SIDS, but rather overlying or suffocation due to not following the safe co-sleeping rules. Co-sleeping can be dangerous if you don't not use common sense, but that's true of just about everything in life. A brick wall can be deadly if you beat your head against it enough times.

Heather - posted on 02/17/2010

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My 10 month old has been co-sleeping with us since he was born. He will not sleep in his own crib, and we do not believe in the CIO method, at all. He does sometimes sleep in the pack n play for naps, but I am a nurse and I work the midnight shift, his dad will usually lay him down with me during the day for naps. It does not interfere with our sex life and we dont go to bed with him at 8pm, he usually falls asleep around 7 or 8, we lay him down in his pack n play, have our alone time while he is sleeping...and bring him to bed whenever we go to bed. He sleeps so much better, and we sleep better knowing he is right next to us.

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Lise - posted on 12/27/2011

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It's fantastic. I love being able to get so much sleep! That said, it's not for everyone - but I do NOT believe it's bad, ever. It just doesn't work for everyone! If you aren't comfortable with it, don't do it.

Jaime - posted on 04/12/2010

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You can call it selfish if you want, but I choose to not co-sleep because my bedtime is my 'ME' time and I'd like it to stay that way. Chasing 2 kids under 2 all day, every day can be exhausting and when I'm ready for bed, I want to sleep well so I can have the energy to be a good mommy. I admit to taking an occasional nap with my 6month old son but all I do is worry about him falling off the bed, getting crushed or suffocated by me, the blanket or my pillows. Needless to say, the sleep I do get napping with him sucks cuz I wake up every time he moves. Now, their daddy really scares me when he sleeps with them cuz he's not a small man and a deep sleeper so once he's asleep, he's out...he wouldn't even notice if I move the child off of him, so that's a big NO NO in my house and Daddy gets yelled at for not putting them down in their own bed before he falls asleep. Plus, this is one less thing to worry about having to stop or take away as the child gets older. I definitely don't want a 10 yr who is unable to sleep on their own, in their own bed. That said, different things work for different people. So i feel that if the parents are following safety guidelines for co-sleeping then they should go for it.

Brandy - posted on 03/20/2010

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I really think it depends on the family. If you are not comfortable with the idea, then don't do it. I think you should have a firm mattress and if you smoke or have to take medication, you shouldn't do it because you can sleep heavier and roll. And the baby shouldn't be beside daddy because daddy doesn't have that instinct that we have that tells us to be aware of our babies when we sleep. I let my daughter sleep with us until she was 6 months old. She went into her own room without a problem. When she was sick or teething, she would sleep with us and when she got better, she would go back to her own bed. No problems. I never had to let her cry by herself or fight with her. She's never had any sleeping problems. And I have a niece that doesn't co-sleep and is almost 2 and still wakes up a few times a night and needs to be comforted back to sleep, so I disagree with your theory that babies who sleep by themselves sleep better than co-sleeping babies. As for the "dangerous" part, statistics say that more babies die of SIDS while sleeping in their cribs than with their parents. If you are smart about it, it's not dangerous. As for "maintaining a bond with my significant other", we have a great relationship that if anything, has gotten stronger since we had kids. Sure, he had to sleep in the spare room some nights when she was not feeling well and up alot but that hasn't bothered him or effected our relationship in the slightest. He feels that "mommy knows best" and if I thought I needed to sleep with our babies, then that was what we would do. And when it comes to sex, there are alot of rooms in a house, be adventurous. I think that your hubby's ex obviously went waaayyy overboard with the idea and I would have probably been a little turned off from the idea after that too, so I don't blame you. Just wanted to let you know that in the right situations, it can be a wonderful thing but just like any decision you will make in parenting, it has to work for the whole family.

Julia - posted on 03/19/2010

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I'm on the fence on this one.



On one hand when I had my first daughter I was active duty military...I would have to be in formation every day at 0630 so I was up by 0500 every day. My husband at the time was deployed so I co-slept with her (she was breastfed) so that I could get some sleep and not want to kill someone during the day. However when the time came... meaning I dried up (because of my unit...whole different story) and she started sleeping through the night she went into her own bed. Thankfully I have never had an issue with the transition.



Since I have gotten out of the Army I have not co-slept given the fact that it is not safe. My current husband can sleep through mortar attacks and I know for a fact a crying baby will not wake him up. So my lazy ass gets up and feeds the baby then goes back to sleep. Thankfully I can take a nap during the day when the baby's are sleeping!

Nicole - posted on 03/19/2010

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co-sleeping is great. we sleep soundly and it promotes breastfeeding. co-sleeping dangerous? how about those crib recalls folks? with baby at your side you can better attend to their needs. they are never left to cry alone. heck, Phoebe rarely cries about anything because she knows her needs will be met. heh, for another thread- I think CIO is child abuse! * cue thw angry mob ;) *

LaCi - posted on 03/18/2010

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I'm not for or against co-sleeping. I think its a personal decisions.



My son slept in our bed the first night we came home from the hospital (we all had the most peaceful night sleep to date), he slept in my bed the three days we were in the hospital as well, made it easier to breastfeed after the c-section when I couldn't get up and move around quickly those few days. From the second night until 19 months he slept in his bed only. Suddenly at 19 months he would have what I call baby panic attacks as soon as he hit that crib mattress, it didn't help for me to be in the room, he wouldn't unlatch from me. So for the past two months he's been sleeping either in our bed or with my in the living room (sometimes he keeps daddy up on worknights so we head for the sofa).



I have no problem with him sleeping with me EXCEPT for the fact that he beats the crap out of me in his sleep lol. I've got bruises from him flopping around and kicking in his sleep. So I bought a twin mattress, colorful new bedding and what not, and I lay with him until he falls asleep there, then I move elsewhere. Two nights so far and he's sleeping on his own all night. But he will not settle down and go to sleep unless I'm in bed with him. I did the same thing as a kid, its just a mommy phase. If he weren't such a terrible cosleeper I probably would have let it go on longer because the idea of it didnt bother me at all, just the sleepytime abuse. :)

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Co-sleeping totally would not work for me, but good for those of you that do it! We only have a full sized bed, so there is not much extra room to comfortably fit another human. Plus I move A LOT! My husband sleeps like a rock so my night time antics don't bother him. But I'd be worried that I'd push the baby out the bed. I mean I've woken up with my head at the foot board. That is serious night time moving! We did have a cradle right next to our bed so I was able to easily breastfeed and comfort my baby. Then I put the baby safely back into her cradle.



Co-sleeping is not for everyone, but kudos to those of you that can make it work!

Christy - posted on 03/09/2010

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i just wasted about 30 mins skimming through these posts, not because i really wanted to but because it was like a train wreck, so horrible i just couldn't look away lol! i agree with the others that have mentioned this, i can't understand how people can get so worked up over what someone else chooses to do in their own home with their own child...



that said, i am a co-sleeper and i fully believe that if it's done right and the other aspects of parenting are well in place there won't be any kind of emotional scarring or 9 year olds in your bed. my daughter co-slept with us full time from birth to 13 months. she absolutely hated her crib to the point where if she fell asleep somewhere else and we put her in it she would instantly be wide awake and screaming. up to 13 months i did go upstairs to bed when she did, around 8 pm give or take an hour, and i didn't really mind. it's not like i was resigning myself to going to bed at 8 pm for the rest of my life and i am all for sacrifices in the early part of my child's life to make her more comfortable.



anyways, when she turned 13 months we got her a mattress for on the floor of her bedroom (didn't want to take the chances of rolling out of a toddler bed or twin bed frame) and got her The Little Mermaid bedding since Ariel's the most awesome thing on the planet to her lol. as soon as we did that we started a bed time ritual of me singing 4 songs to her, telling her good-night and i love you, and leaving the room. it was a bit of rough going in the beginning and i had to go comfort her every 5 mins for the first week or so but after that she would either fall asleep before her lullabies were finished or just watch me walk out the door.



now at 19 months she falls asleep great, no problems whatsoever. she does still come to our bed sometime in the middle of the night, anywhere from 4-7 am, and goes back to sleep with us till 8:30 or 9 am. i personally think it is the most amazing thing in the world to be woken up by a beautiful toddler smile and a sweet, loving "hi mom mom" in the morning, it truly makes my day =).



her daddy has no issues with our situation either. she doesn't sleep between us as i don't feel entirely comfortable with that so he doesn't even notice if she's squirming around a bit. and he is just as thrilled as i am when she gets out of my side of the bed, runs around to his side, and says "hi dad dad" as many times as it takes to wake him up lol. our relationship certainly isn't lacking in anyway, in fact i think it makes us closer to bond over our beautiful daughter.

Brandi - posted on 03/09/2010

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My husband and I co-slept for the first couple weeks Isla was home. Honestly, I DID sleep much better with her there. When she started sleeping in her crib a week ago or so, I just stayed up all night looking at the monitor, lol. We put her on a co-sleeper thingie, though and she couldn't roll over and it was very firm. The main benefit was that it was so much easier to just pick her up and nurse her and put her back to sleep next to me. Plus, I miss the cuddling. :) But my husband insisted we transfer her to the crib when we got the go ahead to let her sleep through the night with one or less feedings. I didn't like it at first, but he was right. She sleeps great by herself and I think she'll benefit from that.



I don't believe at all that children who co-sleep stay in bed with mom & dad throughout their adolescence. If they do, it isn't due to co-sleeping, it's because their parents waited too long to transition them. My niece & nephew co-slept with my brother & his wife until they were six months old and neither of them currently sleep in bed with mom & dad. In fact, my niece goes to bed and takes naps every day/night without a fight. It's part of her daily routine and she enjoys it. She even rearranges all of her toys when she gets in her crib to sleep at night.

Kate - posted on 03/09/2010

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Cosleeping works so well for us. My baby boy is now 8 months old and has never slept anywhere else. I personally would rather have my finger nails pulled out than here my baby crying in his crib alone. I know they say it doesn't do any harm if it isn't for too long but it goes against every instinct I have.



For those of you who don't cosleep and are worried that if you did you would roll over your baby or let him suffocate, then let me assure you, if you follow the safety guidelines (which are just common sense) then you will not. Apparently, when breastfeeding a baby you naturally sleep lighter (but still really well in my experience). My baby and I have always slept tummy to tummy so that when he needs to he can nurse without waking up. In this sleeping position my bent legs stop him from moving down under the covers, and my arm that is against the bed forms a cradle around him. In this way if he moves at all I am aware of it and if my husband rolls over he hits my arm first and I wake up. I never thought any of this was possible for me because after many years of being single I was used to tossing and turning all night in a big queen-sized bed. But it all happened so naturally and we all sleep through and have sinced about 2 or 3 weeks (of course little one gets milk while sleeping). And as for our sex-life, there is nothing like being really well rested to get you in the mood.

As for getting them out of the bed, in many cultures around the world, once the 2 oldest siblings are old enough to safety sleep together, they go into their own bed and each sibling just joins them when the time is right. They never HAVE to sleep alone. And then when they crave their independence they move into their own bed.

You learn a lot of tolerance when sleeping together with other people. And I sleep much better now that I'm not able to wriggle.

Krista - posted on 02/27/2010

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That's good to know about that machine, April. My brother is deaf. He has a cochlear implant, but has to take the receiver off to sleep. He doesn't have kids yet, but it's good to know those devices are available for when he does have kids, if the mother is away or out of the picture.

Dana - posted on 02/27/2010

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April, I have a deaf sister. We lived together for the first year of her daughters life. I would get up every two hours and bring my niece to my sister. It worked well for us and I got an early lesson in how to take care of a new born. I just wanted to say I know what you mean, it's a whole different story if you are hard of hearing or deaf. As I imagine it is a different story no matter who you are, obstacles in your way or not.

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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i think co-sleeping works for some families and not for others. some people are heavier sleepers, others practically sleep with one eye open.



i'm profoundly deaf. i wear a hearing aid. once it's removed, i cannot hear anything. i have a special machine that shakes my bed when our son cries. it's powerful, but doesn't work unless my son is in the same room as me.



to have him in our bed would be dangerous because i don't have my hearing as a backup sense (in additon to being able to physically/mentally know he's there). also the shaking system is strong enough to scare him if he were in a deep sleep and that's unsafe too.



as a breastfeeding mom whose son wakes every hour or 2 to nurse, it would be so much easier to bedshare, but it just doesn't work for our family.



my point is...we all have a story. we all have to do what's right for our families.

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Nicole: I was bored the other day and went back thru a lot of threads and this one sounded interesting........once I started reading I was amazed by the strong reactions and couldn't stop! LOL! I don't think it was locked cuz it let me in to make my comments just fine!

I'm gonna say it again; as a society we are far too judgemental! And that obviously doesn't apply to everyone here but some people get very intense about these topics and this one seems to be a sore spot for a lot of you?? I consider myself very opinionated and can be pretty harsh at times but I've learned that EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions, good, bad or indifferent and I just don't understand why some people get so angry when others don't agree with them? I personally find it more interesting to talk and listen to someone who has a different opinion from me; you never know what you might learn or maybe missed thinkin about the first time around?!! Isn't that why we're here?

Happy Debating!

Sue - posted on 02/26/2010

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I have not read all the replies .... read through a few on the 1st page.

I have and on occasion still do co-sleep with our daughter [5yo].

It doesn't effect our sex life because our sex life isn't confined to our bed.

My partner works 3rd shift so our sex life isn't at night either.

She will go to bed without us and is quite happy in sleeping in a bed without us.

Saying all this .... co-sleeping is not for everyone .... every child is different and co-sleeping with some just would not work and I will not push what worked for me onto anyone else.

Co-sleeping with mine did work.

She is confident, strong willed and very independent.

We followed the safety rules. Never had alcohol, sleeping aides, meds that made us drowsy when with her in bed. If we did it was us that moved to another bed. Not her.

Nicole - posted on 02/26/2010

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I thought this thread was closed?????? At least everyone sounds more friendly since it has been reopened....

Krista - posted on 02/26/2010

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Yeah, that just wouldn't work for me. I'm a night owl, and am never in bed before midnight, whereas my son goes to sleep at 7pm. And he IS an active little fart, so I'd be constantly freaked out about him rolling off the bed. To each their own -- if it really does work for you, and you're taking every safety precaution, then I'm not going to say that my way is better than yours (or that yours is better than mine).

[deleted account]

Krista, I actually DO go to bed when my son does.... which is 7:30. I've never slept well, so really love the 'excuse' to spend as much time in bed as possible. :)

I'm usually up before he is, but his crib is up against 'his' side of my bed so he doesn't roll off the bed. Of course, he IS almost 2 now.

Cassy - posted on 02/26/2010

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This isn't a debate! This is like watching animal planet in here!! We are supposed to be adults!

Traci - posted on 02/26/2010

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How old is your daughter? I could never do that with my baby, because he's very into rolling over right now, and I'd be terrified of him rolling face-first into one of the pillows and not being able to get back off of it.




She's 7 mos now, but she's never moved much in her sleep. I don't pile like, 12 pillows on top of her or anything, but closer to the edge of the bed so that it would stop her. Now, I don't worry about it as much, because she would wake herself up. She's gotten her head under blankets at nap time (not in the bed) and has woken up getting herself out of them.

Heather - posted on 02/26/2010

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we kind of shared a bed at times. mostly because i would bring my baby to bed to nurse and would fall back asleep. my husband would come home and put the baby back in his bed. sometimes he would end up back in there for another nursing session, but he would eventually make it back to his bed.

that decreased as he got older and after the nighttime feedings stopped so did the trips to our bed.

he's 13 months now and goes right to sleep when i put him in his crib.

Krista - posted on 02/26/2010

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My daughter usually goes to bed around 930pm (gets up usually between 8 and 9), and I usually go to sleep around 11 or so. Sometimes she sleeps in the bed alone, however, our mattress is on the floor and I place pillows around her so she won't roll off.




How old is your daughter? I could never do that with my baby, because he's very into rolling over right now, and I'd be terrified of him rolling face-first into one of the pillows and not being able to get back off of it.

[deleted account]

WOW! I read about half way down this thread before I just gave up........I'm truly surprised by everyone's intense reactions and opinions to this!



I've never co-slept and I don't necessarily agree with it HOWEVER, it doesn't anger me to know that other parents are!?? Who cares what people do with their children in their homes......people need to learn to mind their own business......our society is far too judgemental! What gives any of us the right?



I've often brought my daughter to bed with me for short periods of time when she was way young and still occasionally allow her to cuddle with me when she's not feeling well!

I think for me the main reason I don't do it is because we both seem to sleep better in our own beds alone! Happy sleeping.....

Traci - posted on 02/26/2010

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I have a genuine question for those of you who practice bedsharing: do you and your baby go to bed at the same time?




My daughter usually goes to bed around 930pm (gets up usually between 8 and 9), and I usually go to sleep around 11 or so. Sometimes she sleeps in the bed alone, however, our mattress is on the floor and I place pillows around her so she won't roll off. As of right now, she knows how to get in and out of the bed without tumbling head over feet off the side. Plus, it's on the floor, so it's only inches to go.



For the past 2 months, she's been sleeping the first part of the night in her crib, most of the time at least. We had no issues getting her in there, and did not have to resort to CIO. It seems that she simply likes falling asleep alone, which is pretty okay with me.

Krista - posted on 02/26/2010

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I have a genuine question for those of you who practice bedsharing: do you and your baby go to bed at the same time?



From what I understand, part of the rationale behind bedsharing is that a baby should not be sleeping alone. So by that, I'm assuming that they're not left alone in your bed, but that you all go to bed at the same time, is that correct?



If that's the case, where babies eventually get to the point where they sleep 12 hours a night, what do you do? Do you just lay there and stare at them 'till they wake up? My baby sleeps from 7pm until 7am, usually. If I bedshared, would I be stuck in bed with him that entire time?



I'm genuinely curious. I know that bedsharing isn't for me. Co-sleeping (having the baby in the same room)? Sure. But not bedsharing. But I am very curious as to the logistics of how you make bedsharing work.

Cidalia - posted on 02/26/2010

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Generally, I don't agree with it HOWEVER, not all situations are one size fits all. I have 3 children. All but the middle child slept in a crib. I could not get that child to stay in a crib, car seat, swing, stroller...anything. If she couldn't see or touch you, she would freak out (and this was right from birth, so it wasn't a habit thing). I tried "cry it out a bit" as I did with my other two, but she would only get more and more worked up until she vomited. Every time. It turns out, she was high needs and had a high level of anxiety. Her crying really was markedly different from her siblings. She literally sounded terrified and anxious. She was a nervous child too, and it took years and patience for her to outgrow her anxious nature (I wonder if it had to do with the great deal of marital stress I was under while pregnant with her). Had I persisted in forcing her to sleep in her own bed, she would have been a mess and so would I. I had no problem with rolling on her because I am a light sleeper. It's a curse in some ways, but a blessing in the sense that I don't move around unconsciously while I sleep, and the slightest sound (a sigh) or movement from my child will wake me. So, while I don't agree with co-sleeping in general, I am not adamantly against it because there are situations where it really is the best solution for everyone, and it is not my business to tell someone else what to do in their house if they have considered all the factors including safety.

Dana - posted on 02/21/2010

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My son is 18 months. He slept in our bed until around 12-13 months. Not exclusively, naps were in his crib. Part of the night was in our bed and crib. He still sleeps in his crib in our room but that's our fault. We've been wanting to fix up his room but haven't had the time. We're actually putting in new carpet for his room today and moving him into his room next weekend. Oh, and he wakes up at around 6, I then bring him into our bed while he nurses/sleeps for the next hour. I plan on doing that until he's done nursing.

Jane - posted on 02/21/2010

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At the risk of sounding like an idiot after all this debate I have a few questions. Does co-sleeping include your child sleeping in his or her own bassinet in your room? For those moms that do co-sleep is there an age that it stops or do you let your child decide when it's time? At what age is to old to sleep in your bed? How many kids do you have in your bed @ once? If you have to kids close together in age do they both sleep in there or do you try to put the oldest in his/her own bed? If you do have an older child sleeping w/ a newborn how do you keep that older child from your newborn? Like I've said in previous posts I'm not for or against it but I'm just curious about these things.

C. - posted on 02/21/2010

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@Traci.. I don't need your crappy apologies. I also don't need you to patronize me. Yes, I thought you were out of line and I posted one comment and you said I was "harping". It's apparent that you don't even know what "harping" means. Anyway, don't go telling me to let something go. There was no need for that. Especially when I said at the end of my last comment:

"All I'm going to say is, you can't expect someone to post something as you did and not get something coming back at you from anyone. It's a public message board and everyone has the right to comment on whatever is posted, whether it is directed to a specific person or not. It's there for all the world to see."

I was just stating a fact. And the part where I said "ALL I'M GOING TO SAY IS.." implies that I don't want to continue this conversation.

Mary - posted on 02/21/2010

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I've browsed through a lot of these replies...and all I can say is wow! Lots of emotional, heated responses based on...well, what? Truth is, none of us really know for sure exactly what causes attachment or dependency issues...not even so-called experts! Sure, they conduct studies, present evidence-based research, and plenty of anecdotal examples of whichever theory they are supporting, but really...who knows for sure? I look at my own family...I have one sister, 16 months younger than I am. My mother breastfed us both, and, for a time, co-slept with us both. We were raised in the same, nuturing environment, and yet, we are radically different personalities. My mother would tell you that this was evident from the day she took us home. One of us is just naturally more affectionate, confident and easy-going. One of us is a bit more "prickly" about physical affection, independent and strong-willed. Both of us are relatively happy, successful and well-adjusted adults with children of our own. Our mothering styles are immensely different, despite growing up in the same household. My point is, you can follow the same recipe of attachment parent, and end up with very different results. We ALL have some type of 'issue'...I'm just not convinced that it can always be linked to co-sleeping, breast/bottle feeding, CIO, babywearing or whatever other parenting methodolgy is in question.



What I have learned in my 15 months as a mother is that adapting to the need of you and your baby, to ensure happiness/sleep/good nutrition is the key. I have also learned (mostly on this site) that EVERYone thinks that there way is the best or right way to do things. And, I hope that ALL of you ARE right, for the sake of your child...whatever those choices/methods may be. I also know that what is 'right' for you baby is not necessarily right for mine, and that's okay...YOU are not raising my child, I am.

Lady - posted on 02/21/2010

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I personally do think each to their own - if co sleeping works for you, your partner and your child then that's fine. If you prefer your child to sleep in a cot then that's fine too. There is really no right or wrong answer. Each child is different, each family is different and we can only decide what's right for ourselves. I have co slept with my children when they were tiny babies and my third child when she was older as daddy was away and it was the only way either of us was going to get any sleep. But as a rule co sleeping is not something we practice. I had no idea before reading this topic that people had such strong feelings about it one way or another - to me it's just a personal choice that people make.

Leighanna - posted on 02/21/2010

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Why would people assume that bedsharing leads to attachment/dependency issues? I shared a bed with my daughter from birth, she is 13 months now, I have had her own bed next to mine for about 2 months now and she happily goes to sleep in it on her own, no I don't go to bed at 8 with her nor do I make her stay up until my bedtime as someone previously suggested we do. If she wakes during the night, or earlier than normal then she climbs over to my bed and goes back to sleep. What is the problem? she certainly doesn't need me to go to sleep. We both get plenty of sleep. She is a happy child, developing as she should. Yes there are parents who have trouble with their children going to bed but in my experience I have come across more parents with troubles with children who haven't co-slept than ones that have

Jackie - posted on 02/21/2010

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Actually Susanne, I (and the other people who agree they are against co-sleeping) have been accused of emotionally damaging our children by people who assume that because she sleeps in a crib she has been left to scream herself to sleep until she passes out from stress. So while the comment may not have come from you, I have been addressed in the exact same way.

Rose - posted on 02/21/2010

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I let my daughter sleep with me and the hubby until she was 6 weeks old we all slept good when she slept good. It was more convenient also for those midnight feedings. After that she had to go to her own bed it was just to crowded. Sometimes when she wakes at night i bring her to bed with me for a couple of minutes than i carry her back to her bed but that very seldom happens. She did sleep in our room till she was 1 tho. We decided to move her to her room because we thought she might sleep better and boy we were right. I don't believe in co sleeping after a certain age. My little brother slept my parents for the longest time. When my dad and his mom got a divorce she would guilt him into sleeping with her he was under 10 but i knew of it and i would tease him finally he told his mom that he didn't want to sleep with her cause he was to old. But i guess what ever floats your boat everyone has their own opinion!

Jodi - posted on 02/21/2010

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Oh, no, sorry, that's not what I meant. I was actually talking about Jackie. I was making the point that I don't think anyone else is "bashing" at all :) My apologies, I should have been clearer. I was probably just trying to be too tactful by not naming names, LOL.

[deleted account]

Jodi if you arent one of the bashers then im not talking about you and im sorry if you thought i was. The main one here is the one who started this thread int he first place.

Jodi - posted on 02/21/2010

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Susanne, I will repeat what someone said earlier - there is only ONE poster in this thread who is "bashing" co-sleeping. Most other posters who don't co-sleep or don't strictly co-sleep are saying each to their own, it's not my thing and its not for my family but good luck to you. So using the term "bashers" indicates plural, which really is inaccurate.

[deleted account]

Laura have you even read how this thread was started. With HORRENDOUS in capitals, telling everyone how dangerous it is, then Jackie went on to tell us our kids will all be emotionally damaged etc in further posts. Not one co sleeper will tell you that putting your baby in a cot will harm them in any way even though many babies have died of cot death in a cot. Not one co sleeper will tell you your child will grow up funny in the head because of cot sleeping. So this is why im a bit annoyed this isnt a debate its a lets bash the co sleepers and only the bashers will disagree with me.

Geralyn - posted on 02/21/2010

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In response to Jackie's comment "I do firmly believe the co-sleeping is a solid factor in attachment/independence issues," by this, I assume you mean co-sleeping results in an unhealthy attachment/dependence whereas having the infant or toddler in his own bedroom results in an independent little one?



The use of the word "attachment" can be confusing because attachment can mean different things. I do believe that co-sleeping fosters attachment, but not in the way that Jackie means. Many moms who co-sleep actually do it as part of an overall parenting approach based upon attachment theory. While Dr. Sears is credited quite frequently with "attachment parenting," as he has a number of books on the subject, attachment theory has been around for a very long time. So with attachment parenting, co-sleeping is a very important part of building a healthy attachment between the baby and mom.



I have read numerous comments in COM threads over the last 6 months where moms against co-sleeping think that its just that we're too lazy or lacking of any boundaries or parenting skills to put our kids in a crib in a nursery. The moms who make statements like that do not understand the reasons for co-sleeping in the context of attachment parenting. Now I have no doubt that attachment parenting and raising your children "by the book" are very different approaches. But I think its important to select a parenting style that comes naturally to you. If "by the book" methods fit with your personality, philosophy, and family dynamics, then by all means that is the right approach for you. If, on the other hand, attachment parenting does, which is a very child-centric approach, then you should follow that. Many moms have actually done attachment parenting with their infants even before they knew that there was a name for what they are doing, and so therefore that emphasizes to me that that was the natural choice for them.



In other words, our co-sleeping practices are in fact part of an overall parenting approach that we believe strongly raises independent, secure, attached (in the healthy sense of the word) children, adolescents, and eventually adults.

Traci - posted on 02/20/2010

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Christina....



let it go.



It's over. It's done. I get it. You think I was out of line. Would it make you feel better if I apologized to you?

C. - posted on 02/20/2010

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@Traci.. Nah, really? I thought Sharon was just some little kid getting on message boards.. What the heck? I know she's a big girl and can fight her own battles. Just b/c I choose to defend someone doesn't mean they can't defend themselves, it just means I think you are out of line. And I wasn't "harping the point". I posted ONE, count them, ONE comment about it and that can in no way, shape or form be called harping. Harping is when someone CONTINUOUSLY brings something up, not when the subject is being brought up ONE TIME.



"I call my mother every day, but certainly not to discuss silly drama on an internet message board that has little impact on my real life."



I honestly don't see how that can be funny. It's a bit ridiculous. So what if you call your mom and don't discuss message boards. If someone is saying something untrue about one's culture, then that person or persons should be informed properly, and if that means someone makes a phone call to their mom, so what?



All I'm going to say is, you can't expect someone to post something as you did and not get something coming back at you from anyone. It's a public message board and everyone has the right to comment on whatever is posted, whether it is directed to a specific person or not. It's there for all the world to see.

Dana - posted on 02/20/2010

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Good Lord, everyone did seem to go crazy there for a second or two. Sharon even stated serveral times she's NOT against co-sleeping. What in the world went on here. Ugh.

Carolyn - posted on 02/20/2010

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When we went to bed as kids, my mom & dad would give us a kiss & hug and send us off. We got in our beds by ourselves for as long as I can remember. I am the last of 6 and we are all about 1yr a part. So who has time for all that non-sense. I did the same thing with my own and they both turned out fine. My son just had his first son and his wife insisted that the baby sleep in his own room from day one. He is now 3wks old and doing just fine. He like I read some where gets plenty of love and hugs and reassurance during the wake hours. That's when you are suppose to spend most of your time with your kids. If you are spending your own sleep hours with your kids neither one of you are getting enough required sleep to function properly during your day time. That is just the way I feel. My opinion and it has worked for me.

[deleted account]

Thank you Charlene for your opinion in defining a difference between cosleeping and bedsharing. Our sleeping situation is similar (almost identical except our son is currently teething so the stretch of sleep is shorter at the moment) to what you have described. However, I think both cosleeping and bedsharing are wonderful if done safely and if it is what works for your family. Peoples opinions on this topic (like with many debatable parenting choices) are so often generated by fear or ignorance -there is a risk of harm to baby if cosleeping or bedsharing is not done safely, just as there is a risk of harm to baby if crib sleeping is not done safely.

Whatever choice you make in this, you as a parent need to look into the pros and cons, risks and benefits; weigh them up regarding your personal situation and then make a decision based on intelligent thought. If you come to your parenting from this kind of approach then you can never be called irresponsible or be accused of thoughtlessly endangering your child. Life is risky but that doesn't mean you stop living just because you are scared of what may happen, you do what you can to minimise risk and get on with it.

As for it being a habit (horrendous or not) that may be difficult to break later on, I don't feel that is a strong enough argument against cosleeping/bedsharing. Would the majority of people not breastfeed their child just because it may be difficult to wean them at a later date; not use a pacifier just because it may be difficult to take it away at a later date, not give breastmilk/formula in a bottle because it may be difficult to swap to using a sippy cup at a later date; not use diapers because it may be difficult to potty train at a later date... etc etc?

As a mother who cosleeps, I do so safely and confidently because to me it is as natural as breastfeeding and caring for my child in other ways. I don't anticipate that it will be difficult to transition my son into his own bed when he is developmentally ready, just as I don't question that he will walk or use the potty or self wean when he is developmentally ready. Not saying that other people may not have had difficulty, but other peoples experiences are not solely enough to make me change my own personal views.

Charlene - posted on 02/20/2010

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I'm a fulltime cosleeper and a part time bedsharer. My six month old daughter goes to sleep in her bassinet first, which is in our room, and then after her longest stretch of sleep, usually 7-9 hours, she comes into bed with me for the last few hours before getting up for the day. She's still breastfed and needs that early morning feed, but once she doesn't need that anymore and sleeps fully through the night, then she will be staying in her own bed.



So I guess I kind of get the best of both worlds. :P

Lady - posted on 02/20/2010

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Not getting upset Nicole just trying to do my mod job and keep things on topic :-)

Nicole - posted on 02/20/2010

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I should probably add that my brother and I shared a bed with my parents. I remember it. We were out in our own beds by the time school started. I am not scarred or traumatized by the memory and my parents obviously worked out the sex thing because my brother came along 3 years after me. =)

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