Co-Sleeping - good or bad idea?

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

937

13

54

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.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

248 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

How can you say w/out a doubt that the emotional issues are ONLY because of the bedsharing though? Can you guarantee that there wouldn't be other emotional issues if these same children were in their own beds from birth?



Just asking here since I don't know. My son's emotional issues actually started when he went in his own crib. Whether or not they are related I have absolutely no idea since he did FINE at night for about 7-8 months in the crib.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

Yup, you can call me out as often as you want, and I will still think it is emotionally unhealthy. Why, because I have seen the negative outcomes of it on more than one occasion...the school age child who takes 2 hrs to be put to bed, the school age child who can't handle the very popular social situation of a sleepover b/c they cant' sleep without mommy, the parents who are sleep deprived b/c babies naturally move, roll, kick all over and as a result their parents don't get restful sleep, which gets emulated onto their children during the day, the marraiges destroyed b/c intimacy in bed is gone.

I don't need to find an overwhelmingly large number of anything, one emotionally unstable child (nevermind the fact that I certainly know more than one) is enough for me to not take that chance with my daughter.

Nothing about my daughter sleeping in her crib was forced....NOTHING! When she was a newborn and needed me, I was there, I got up and comforted her. When she was hungry, I got up and fed her. And when we are all well rested in the morning, I am still there to greet her smiling face and give her all the closeness she wants and needs all day long. Everyone needs their own space (including babies believe it or not) to recharge their batteries.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

Umm..are you talking to me, Jackie? Because I mentioned saftey as only a small part of my response. The overwhelming majority has been focused on cosleeping as you refer to it as a 'horrendous habit' and that it is bad, and that regardless of what humans have done throughout the millennia and still do today, you think that it is bad.



Human infants are born with an ingrained biological need to be close to their mothers. We are mammals, we breastfeed. Prolactin levels are maintained at their highest levels when mother sleeps with the baby. This is a scientific fact. In light of this fact, we choose to sleep with our children from the moment they are born. And choose not to force them from our bed before they are ready. Again, could you please find an overwhelmingly large number of adults who still sleep with their parents?



Why is it not healthy, Jackie, for children to sleep with their parents? Why is it bad for families to sleep together?

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

Children aren't born with fears (in response to being afraid to sleep alone)...fears are taught. Your child will not have negative feelings toward their bed if its all they have ever known. adn as a child may become afraid of the dark, you are doing much more for them by helping them work through it than by just saving the day by whisking them into your room to not ever face something difficult.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

and I just used 4 as a random age when I talk about it not being healthy...insert any age ....point is still the same, just increasingly moreso in toddler years and beyond.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

And words are being put in my mouth yet again, yes one of my posts mentions the safety issue of it, but if you read all of what i have said, my main points on not co-sleeping are not surrounding the safety issues. While I don't personally view it as safe, I do know many people do it safely - so I have not been on that bandwagon. I just touch on it b/c in general its part of the topic.

Yes in 99% of cases your child will be physically safe even if they co-sleep, I have never argued that. I have very clearly stated that I think it is a horrible habit b/c for many people it becomes significantly difficult to end. I don't find it healthy that a 4 year old has such separation issues that they can't sleep in their own bed for the nite. And learning to self sooth and simply fall asleep unaided is a life skill everyone needs.

And really, no need for sarcasm, we're not 5. As someone else stated as well, children who sleep very peacefully and soundly in cribs aren't being neglected, my daughter gets tons of snuggle time all day long.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

Oh, yes, I perfectly understand that, Teresa. I was just commenting regarding the fact that people who generally have a difficult time 'getting their kids out of their bed' typically are forcing their children- before they are ready.

It may be that some of these parents are having difficulties sleeping with older children who cling to that bed with all their might and have severe fears of sleeping alone actually pushed and attempted to force their children out when they were young.

I bring up the Japanese because they do not have these problems that people are talking about, regarding difficult older children, and such, because they just take it in stride. It doesn't matter if they're a different culture. Obviously they have a more postitive view of this.

[deleted account]

This isn't about co-sleeping or bed sharing, but I force my kids to do lots of things that they don't want to do cuz I'm the mom and it's my job to raise them the best way that I can.... whether others agree w/ me or not. :)

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

But see, Jackie, you're assuming that just because it's our culture to not sleep with our infants to do so is harmful. Despite the fact that humans have bedshared for as long as they have existed. You _HAVE_ to consider this, because you are basically saying it is harmful to sleep with one's children, if I recall a 'horrendous' habit. But what are you using as a gauge to determine this is a 'horrendous' habit? Those darn children...wanting to snuggle close to those they love most, shameful!

I'm not sure why it is a 'good' habit to sleep alone and a 'bad' habit to sleep with someone else. Humans are social creatures. Sleeping together can be embraced as a good thing.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

I understand there are other cultures in the world that do this as the norm, and that is fine. I have nothing against other cultures, I don't do reasearch on other cultures, b/c I don't live in those countries. And I don't buy that co-sleeping is the only factor behind lower SIDS rates either. They have also shown in this country that there is a higher SIDS rate among babies exposed to more second hand smoke....and in many (not all!) of these other countries smoking is not nearly as popular as here...and thats just one "coincidence" I can think of off the top of my head.

But regardless, again I don't live in those cultures and while I have no problem with the differences between them and us, I am commenting on life in the culture that surrounds my life. But as a general statement, ya I really don't find it that normal for a teenager to still be sleeping with mom and dad. People - of ALL ages - need their own space. And as with everything else in raising a child, the earlier you start good habits, the easier your child will take to them as a part of life.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

Christina, did I say that we should force babies to sleep in bed if they sleep better elsewhere? I'm not sure where you're gleaning that bit...



We choose in our family to bedshare from the get-go. We are comfortable, and our babies are comfortable. We believe that human infants biologically need to be close to their mother, and that children will leave the bed when they're ready. I certainly don't force my daughter to sleep in our bed. That's where she's happy. I could no less 'force' her to breastfeed- she does so because that is what she is biologically designed to need.



In every aspect in life there are individuals that do not fit the norm. I know of babies who prefer to sleep alone- that is what is good for them, and their mothers are sensitive to their needs by not forcing them to bedshare.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

I agree that there are individual cases in which everyone gets better sleep when the child is not in bed with the parents. However, I was responding to the poster calling bedsharing itself a 'horrendous habit.' I just can't see it as that since billions of other people bedshare as a normal part of their lives.

Krista - posted on 02/17/2010

12,562

16

842

And I think this is key. Why does the child have to be forced out of the bed? Why can it not be a gradual transition that the child grows out of (and yes, children do make this choice themselves- again, do you know of billions of adults who need to sleep with mother?).


Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture, though. My younger nephew bedshared with my sister for years, and even at age nine, was showing absolutely no signs of growing out of it. Even when she started getting him to sleep in his own bed, he'd crawl into her bed in the middle of the night. In the meantime, however, my sister was having to sleep every night with a kicking, sleep-talking, bed-hogging pre-teen. She was getting almost no sleep whatsoever, which made her very impatient and short-tempered during the day. Her being in that state was CERTAINLY not doing her children any good.

Finally it got to the point where she just had to cut him off cold turkey and lock her door. And he was MAD -- he'd wake up in the middle of the night, go to his mom's room, realize the door was locked, and would pound on the door and yell. It would have been MUCH easier and better for both of them if she had simply done a gradual transition when he was younger. Getting a child out of the habit of bedsharing doesn't have to be a traumatic "forcing" --- it can be done gradually and gently. But sometimes it DOES have to be done, for the good of everybody involved.

[deleted account]

I just think its a bad idea not just because of the safety issues but the transitioning back into their own bed will be harder...my friend has a 4 year old who still sleeps with her, her husband, and their new baby in a queen size bed...he has his own room and his own bed but he will not sleep in it...they have tried and tried and he always ends up back in mommy and daddy's bed sometime during the night...he is starting preschool in the fall and I just think this was an unnecessary battle if he would have just slept in his own bed to begin with....our daughter has only slept 1 night in our bed the two and a half years she has been alive, when we moved to our new house and hadn't got her bed put together completely...she loves to sleep in her own room and in her own bed...

C. - posted on 02/17/2010

4,125

35

238

"Why does it always have to be about parents forcing children?"



B/c, Lisa, if a child is perfectly content with where they are sleeping, whether it's a bassinet or a crib, and the parents go ahead and take the baby out of that place of contentment, then it is forcing the baby to co-sleep. If the child is happy, then why disturb that happiness? And if the baby needs something, they'll cry, so why not just get up and tend to them the way any parent should, rock them back to sleep and place them back into the place where they feel comfortable? I'm not saying that babies that co-sleep are UNcomfortable, but if they are just fine where they are, then there's no need to force them to sleep in your bed.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

"there are many people who have a very hard time getting their kid into their own bed (at whatever age they chose to end co-sleeping)"

And I think this is key. Why does the child have to be forced out of the bed? Why can it not be a gradual transition that the child grows out of (and yes, children do make this choice themselves- again, do you know of billions of adults who need to sleep with mother?).

Why does it always have to be about parents forcing children?

[deleted account]

The reason I am generally against co-sleeping is based on my personal experience. My girls were GREAT sleepers and it had absolutely nothing to do w/ letting them cry (it did happen on RARE occasion, but didn't start til 6 months after they were great sleepers w/ no crying whatsoever).



My son has always been a horrible sleeper. If I could've had him in his own bed in his own room and he had still been a horrible sleeper then I would know it had absolutely nothing to do w/ our co-sleeping and it was/is just him. Unfortunately I don't have that bit of personal research..... :)

C. - posted on 02/17/2010

4,125

35

238

@Rebecca.. How can you even begin to say something like that? You call Jackie's statements (and everyone that doesn't believe in co-sleeping) "wildly ignorant" but yet you are making assumptions about parents that DON'T co-sleep?

You asked if Jackie was a child development expert, but are you?? Yes, babies need to be loved and nurtured.. But that does NOT mean that parents that choose NOT to co-sleep are neglecting their baby!!!! Such an ignorant statement would have caused me to go slap-happy if you were right in front of me. How dare you even suggest that b/c some parents don't co-sleep that we are, in essence, abandoning our babies!! For your information, parents that DON'T co-sleep are not the lazy ones (this is in reference to your "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?" comment). Parents who choose NOT to co-sleep have to actually get their butts out of bed when their baby cries! So who's the lazy one now? (DISCLAIMER: This comment was directed to Rebecca Mills and ONLY to Rebecca Mills due to her significantly ignorant statements).

In my experience with my son, I was getting up every 3 hours to feed him, change him whenever he needed it, cuddled him whenever he just needed to be loved.. You don't HAVE to co-sleep to show your child the love and affection they deserve! What kind of planet are you living on where that is the ONLY way to care for a baby properly?

And no, co-sleeping babies do NOT necessarily cry less than babies who do not co-sleep. That was a pretty ignorant statement.. Of course, you would know that f you didn't co-sleep.

"And because babies are predisposed to not wanting to sleep alone, pushing a baby in that direction almost inevitably means CIO"

No, it doesn't. Of course, AGAIN, you would know that if you didn't co-sleep. I don't let my son cry for more than a few minutes and if he's screaming, my butt is right in that room with him as soon as you can say "cat"! Parents that choose not to co-sleep are not necessarily neglecting their babies or young children.


As for your post to me.. No, we were not under the influence of ANYTHING and we were not "unreasonably exhausted". I'm glad that you can rely on your husband's help.. That's great. My husband is deployed, and when he wasn't deployed he was working almost 12-hours a day, 5 days a week and would give me breaks on the weekends. So asking my husband to get up at the butt-crack of dawn just to soothe my son back to sleep when he had to get up in an hour was out of the question.
There were times when he woke up first and that's when he would bring our son to bed with us, but after expressing my concerns about this, he started waking me up if I wasn't already awake.


"Your example about stomach sleeping vs. co-sleeping is also incorrect."

No, I don't think it is. Maybe you need to go on some unbiased websites (you know, ones that are not for or against the topic at hand) and see that it's just as bad. With a baby in a crib by themselves, there is no chance of the parents accidentally smothering the baby in their sleep (like if a pillow gets moved out of a designated area and the baby ends up moving closer to the pillow or if the baby wakes up, but does not disturb the parents and crawls under the blankets).

But forget about SIDS for a minute, since all you can seem to do is throw the rules around at us (and that's understandable, you have to be safe about things). What about the emotional aspect of co-sleeping and then trying to ween your child from sleeping with you when they are a little older? Gee, wouldn't that have some significant affects on a child emotionally? I mean, they've been able to sleep with mommy and daddy for years, and now all of a sudden they don't want the kid to sleep with them.. What did the child do? (Of course, that's what they'd be asking themselves).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching your child to sleep on their own as long as you aren't ignoring them completely. If they want mommy and daddy, they will let you know. Haha.. Now I am starting to wonder if co-sleeping is for the child's benefit, or the parent's benefit instead.. Maybe mommy and daddy are having attachment issues? If a baby needs anything, they'll let you know, so why, if they are content with where they are (like a bassinet or a crib), must you disturb them just so they won't have to cry? Crying helps them learn to communicate, it's the beginning stages of talking, so if you go out of your way all the time to keep them from crying, you are actually hindering their development.

So I guess that's a couple things to think about, Rebecca. Maybe you are having a hard time letting go and you may be hurting your child later in life by not allowing them to communicate with you by the only way babies know how (CRYING).

[deleted account]

We don't co-sleep/bedshare. My husband has epilepsy so we never considered it. I completely understand why parents would want to though. When my daughter still took a morning nap I would bring her to our bed and nap with her after my husband went to work. My daughter sleeps in her crib in her own room. I do not let her CIO. I've lost a lot of weight going up and down the stairs haha. She usually gets up once or twice a night to nurse so I go up and nurse her or bring her down to our room and nurse her.

I think as long as you research how to co-sleep safely and that's what works for your family then go for it. If not, then don't.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

I am saying that it is a bad habit because there are many people who have a very hard time getting their kid into their own bed (at whatever age they chose to end co-sleeping), b/c they have taught them that moms bed is where they sleep....so yes i think thats a bad habit.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

I'm not sure why a blanket statement that bedsharing is horrendous has anything to do with one child who has difficulties sleeping. So you're saying that the billions of parents who bedshare across the globe routinely have difficulties with getting their children off to sleep at night..

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

Lisa, yes I do consider it a horrendous habit when it leads to it taking 2 hours to get a 9 year old to bed....that's plain ridiculous.

Jane - posted on 02/17/2010

353

7

35

OMG Rebbeca! That is just awful that you would even say stuff like that about people that put their babies in their own cribs!

My 1st son slept in a bassinet in our room until 3 months then moved him to his own room in his own crib, it hasn't caused any harm to him & he certainly didn't cry endlessly when we did. My 2nd son slept in a bassinet in our room until 3 weeks old then I put him in his room in his own crib. He actually started sleeping thru the night @ around this time & doesn't even cry when we put him down @ night. He didn't even cry when we put him down @ night when he was very young. He now sleeps 12 hours @ night & has for a very long time.

I don't have a problem w/ mothers that like or want to co-sleep w/ their kids it's just something that I choose not to do & I believe that my boys slept/sleep better in their own rooms in their own beds.

Rebecca if you put your baby down in his/her own bed & they cry & cry & cry maybe there's something wrong with him/her or he/she has attachment issues which can also cause anxiety issues later in life that will effect critical relationships.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2010

7,076

9

786

Do those against bedsharing think the Japanese wrong for practicing it? Japanese parents regularly sleep in the same beds as their children, through the teenage years, believing that children are spirits that need to be welcomed into the family fold. Mother and father sleep with the children in between them emulating a river with its banks. These cultures that routinely bedshare with their children from birth have nearly non-existant rates of SIDS.



People actually make it their life's work to study cosleeping and its safety and how it applies to proper infant development. Dr. James McKenna is one of them. His research shows that when an infant is within an arm's reach the risk of SIDS drops enormously.



It is important to note that bedsharing must be practiced safely. It does no good to site fear-mongering statistics which typically involve infants injured as a result of unsafe situations. As for it being a risk to sleep in bed with one's infant- has anyone forgotten that cribs are recalled left and right? They don't do that for giggles. They do that because infants are injured and die.



Regarding the OP's concerns about bedsharing- I do not believe it is a 'horrendous' habit. That's pretty inflamatory and is a culturally-based ideal. Bedsharing is the norm across many cultures, save the west. I personally do not see a problem with a school-age child sharing a bed with his parents, and obviously billions of other people don't either.



Concerning your worry about it hurting the relationship between parents- well, only in the west are parents (seen as a conjugal bond) and children seen as separate entities. I personally believe that if husband and wife can only see having sex in bed, then, well, they're not all too creative.



It's also pretty bold to state that 'it's not a habit they will grow out of.' I'll agree with you when I see billions of adults who still need to sleep in bed with their parents. I guess your definition of 'grow out of' actually means 'within two years, or when parent decides child should grow out of.'

Krista - posted on 02/17/2010

12,562

16

842

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.


Lady, you are WAY out of line.

We never bedshared. My baby slept in a bassinet in our room for the first 8 weeks. We then transitioned him to his own crib in his own room, and he slept BETTER, right from that very first night. He is NOT ignored, day after day. He is NEVER forced to lie alone in his bed, crying/screaming for an indefinite amount of time. He sleeps 12 hours straight a night, and is a ridiculously happy and healthy child, and I am not going to sit here and let you smugly imply that my child is ignored and neglected, just because he sleeps in a crib.

You owe people here an apology.

Yvonne - posted on 02/17/2010

86

16

6

Hey Jackie, If I was in your situation and had seen what you have seen I would probably feel the same way. Like you stated right at the beginning there will be answers for both sides and right now I'm not sure you're ready to accept that it's actually ok for some, but not all. The example you have seen is definitely a bad one. You seem to be very bitter as a result. That makes me sad.
I have four kids, and have used both methods and don’t have any regrets for the use of both. The first I would probably do a bit differently now, but back then I was very much on my “L’s” But she’s ok probably had more trouble adjusting to the attention division required by extra siblings,
There are so many different individuals in the world and each baby is another new individual. As tempted as I am sometimes to be critical of another mothers methods, I have/am learnt/ing to bite my tongue as it is different for each individual. What I’ve found is I really need to encourage other mum’s in their 'individualality' and that may include their ‘method’ of putting the baby to sleep.
Each household has many different little rules about how and what should be done when and I think it starts from the moment that little one comes into the household.
To sum up I'm not going to argue for or against co-sleeping. Both can be abused and therefore become wrong. Both can bring about the best. Ultimately you, the mother, who is left there with the crying baby has to make a decision that will bring peace, sanity and love to your household without being made to feel guilty.
Hope you've enjoyed the responses.

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2010

937

13

54

Rebecca....no you are actually way wrong on my husbands son "just dealing with divorce stress". She let him in the bed LONG before the divorce rolled around, she let him in bed when he was a baby....and never got him out....it was just that they (she) never taught him to sleep on his own adn my husband put his foot down adn would have no part in it after many discussions with her.

And your post about my daughter screaming for hours in her crib and passing out from stress is also a completely wild and uncalled for accusation. She has never been left to cry for more than 15 minutes, and she has never been left "screaming" for more than a few minutes. As is the accusation that my daughter sleeps in her own bed for "mommy and daddys benefit". Who the hell do you think you are? My daughter sleeps in her own bed because I feel that is best for HER, as is everything else I do in my raising of her, I do what is best for her in the long run. If she woke up every two hours, then every two hours I would be back up in her room calming her down, but she does not. Just as when she was still waking up to eat, I got up out of bed and went to her room to nurse her...its not supposed to be whats easy for mommy, its about whats best for her. We have started a good routine so yes I am lucky enough to now get full nites sleep....but don't you dare tell me that I close the door and ignore her screaming for 12 hours "so i can sleep" b/.c that couldn't possibly be further from the truth. When my daughter gets laid down in bed, she plays a song or two on her glow worm, and will talk to herself for a couple of minutes and then drifts off to sleep within ten minutes. So your accusations of making me out to be a horrible neglectful mom are what couldn't be more factless.

My posts also made it very clear that what I was commenting on was related to specific examples that I have seen happen for a fact, and my comment even said that I didn't want anyone jumping down my throat about generalizing....I very clearly stated thats not what I was doing, that I was stating fact on the examples I had first hand knowledge of.

Heather - posted on 02/17/2010

525

20

18

I just wanted to add that as far as quality sleep goes, my son will take a 45 min nap in his pack n play, but he will usually take a 1-3 hour nap when in bed with me during the day...so to me it is obvious where he gets his "quality" sleep.

Heather - posted on 02/17/2010

525

20

18

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.

Sarah - posted on 02/17/2010

5,465

31

331

Co-sleeping isn't something i could ever have done. The only time i've done it is when they've been ill, but even then most times they were more comfortable in their own beds/cot.
Both my girls stayed in our room when they were little, my eldest until she was 4 months, my youngest until she was 6 months (i was nervous of them sharing a room!)

While i'm not really against co-sleeping, personally for me i never even considered it, back when my eldest was a baby it WAS considered dangerous, and although i know they view it differently now, it stuck in my head that it was dangerous. Also, i just wouldn't be able to sleep!

I'm sure it's great for some, but i think it's important for kids to have their own space, to be comfortable going to sleep in their own beds. :)

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

204

17

8

I feel that Meghan probably posted that CPSC info b/c she is the forum admin and had to post the "official safety info". While this piece is fairly well-balanced (more than some other articles I've seen), I'd like to highlight the part where the article states that some studies have shown a reduction in SIDS with co-sleeping, and if you read it carefully (and do some further research and parse the numbers yourself), you will realize that virtually all of those 515 deaths were attributable to parents NOT following the rules of safe co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing, some of which are listed right in that article. Also, many of the deaths resulted from infants left unattended on adult beds -- note it says "death in adult beds" not "deaths while sleeping with an adult". Still, 515 deaths, while all tragic, are still a tiny minority of those who bed-share. Many people co-sleep or bed share without admitting it to anyone, including survey-takers.

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

204

17

8

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.

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

204

17

8

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?

Leah - posted on 02/16/2010

43

28

0

I am very much aganist co-sleeping.It is a bad habbit to start!There are much better ways to bond with you baby than co-sleeping!Doctors do recommed co-sleeping at al!

[deleted account]

There's evidence for and against co-sleeping. I'm more on the side of putting a baby/young child in their own bed, but I sometimes did the co sleeping thing. I don't think there's anything wrong or right with it. It's more of a personal choice than anything else.

Jane - posted on 02/16/2010

1,041

5

69

For me personally, I did not have either of my children in our bed. It was a choice I made for me because I need my space. However, I've known others who have done the co-sleeping thing with their children and it worked out well and they don't have children that don't sleep through the night, that won't sleep in their own bed now that they are older and they don't have issues with their relationship. I don't believe that it causes intimacy issues between husband and wife because, quite frankly, if that's the only time your intimate with your mate, things are not that good to start....but that's my opinion as well.

i think to each his own in this situation.

Cassie - posted on 02/16/2010

1,667

22

182

Co-sleeping really works for my daughter and I. I know I am very much in the minority here but it is what we've done. Until she was around 6 months old, she never co-slept. She was either in her bassinet or her crib up until the age of 6 months. At that time, my husband began working nights and Kiera came to bed with me.

If you want to get technical with co-sleeping, for any parents who allowed your child to have a bassinet in your bedroom, you co-slept. I think the difference between that and the topic being discussed here is the difference between co-sleeping and bedsharing. From birth until the present, my daughter has co-slept in our room but we began bedsharing around age 6 months.

My daughter is able to sleep both in my bed or in her bed. She does both. Right now, I am transitioning her to solely sleeping in her bed before our second is born this summer. We have had no issues co-sleeping because I follow all safety guidelines in doing so. Of course, it would be unsafe for some parents to co-sleep but I have made sure that my bed is a safe one for us to share.

[deleted account]

Despite the possible pros of Co-Sleeping, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation. And the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees.

Cosleeping is a widespread practice in many non-Western cultures. However, differences in mattresses, bedding, and other cultural practices may account for the lower risk in these countries as compared with the United States.

According to the CPSC, at least 515 deaths were linked to infants and toddlers under 2 years of age sleeping in adult beds from January 1990 to December 1997:

•121 of the deaths were attributed to a parent, caregiver, or sibling rolling on top of or against a baby while sleeping
•more than 75% of the deaths involved infants younger than 3 months old
ContinueCosleeping advocates say it isn't inherently dangerous and that the CPSC went too far in recommending that parents never sleep with children under 2 years of age. According to supporters of cosleeping, parents won't roll over onto a baby because they're conscious of the baby's presence — even during sleep.
Those who should not cosleep with an infant, however, include:
other children — particularly toddlers — because they might not be aware of the baby's presenceparents who are under the influence of alcohol or any drug because that could diminish their awareness of the babyparents who smoke because the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is greaterBut can cosleeping cause SIDS? The connection between cosleeping and SIDS is unclear and research is ongoing. Some cosleeping researchers have suggested that it can reduce the risk of SIDS because cosleeping parents and babies tend to wake up more often throughout the night. However, the AAP reports that some studies suggest that, under certain conditions, cosleeping may increase the risk of SIDS, especially cosleeping environments involving mothers who smoke.
CPSC also reported more than 100 infant deaths between January 1999 and December 2001 attributable to hidden hazards for babies on adult beds, including:
suffocation when an infant gets trapped or wedged between a mattress and headboard, wall, or other objectsuffocation resulting from a baby being face-down on a waterbed, a regular mattress, or on soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, or quiltsstrangulation in a bed frame that allows part of an infant's body to pass through an area while trapping the baby's headIn addition to the potential safety risks, sharing a bed with a baby can sometimes prevent parents from getting a good night's sleep. And infants who cosleep can learn to associate sleep with being close to a parent in the parent's bed, which may become a problem at naptime or when the infant needs to go to sleep before the parent is ready.
BackContinue
Making Cosleeping as Safe as PossibleIf you do choose to share your bed with your baby, make sure to follow these precautions:
Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Always leave your child's head uncovered while sleeping.

Make sure your bed's headboard and footboard don't have openings or cutouts that could trap your baby's head.

Make sure your mattress fits snugly in the bed frame so that your baby won't become trapped in between the frame and the mattress.

Don't place a baby to sleep in an adult bed alone.

Don't use pillows, comforters, quilts, and other soft or plush items on the bed.

Don't drink alcohol or use medications or drugs that may keep you from waking and may cause you to roll over onto, and therefore suffocate, your baby.

Don't place your bed near draperies or blinds where your child could be strangled by cords.Transitioning Out of the Parent's BedMost medical experts say the safest place to put an infant to sleep is in a crib that meets current standards and has no soft bedding. But if you've been cosleeping with your little one and would like to stop, talk to your doctor about making a plan for when your baby will sleep in a crib.
Transitioning to the crib by 6 months is usually easier — for both parents and baby — before the cosleeping habit is ingrained and other developmental issues (such as separation anxiety) come into play. Eventually, though, the cosleeping routine will likely be broken at some point, either naturally because the child wants to or by the parents' choice.
But there are ways that you can still keep your little one close by, just not in your bed. You could:
Put a bassinet, play yard, or crib next to your bed. This can help you maintain that desired closeness, which can be especially important if you're breastfeeding. The AAP says that having an infant sleep in a separate crib, bassinet, or play yard in the same room as the mother reduces the risk of SIDS.Buy a device that looks like a bassinet or play yard minus one side, which attaches to your bed to allow you to be next to each other while eliminating the possibility of rolling over onto your infant.Of course, where your child sleeps — whether it's in your bed or a crib — is a personal decision. As you're weighing the pros and cons, talk to your child's doctor about the risks, possible personal benefits, and your family's own sleeping arrangements.

Denise - posted on 02/16/2010

67

4

1

I personally loved it and did it with all four of my children for varying periods of time and reasons. Right from birth up to age 3 or 4 and even then, we had a bed on the floor in our room beside our bed where kids could come if and when they felt the need. All are fine have outgrew it in time and now my two grandchildren both co-sleep with their parents. My beliefs came out of a wonderful book called the Family Bed, that I read when I was first pregnant many years ago and my positive feeling have never wavered. Most of the world had a family bed it is only the North American and some European countries that do not support this philosophy.

Jenny - posted on 02/16/2010

4,426

16

126

I'm not a big fan of it either many because of the wedge it can create between you and your partner. My babies were glued to me (and my breast lol) for the first 6 weeks as they got used to life outside the womb. Then they were in a cradle in my room untill 3 months. From 3 months until 12-18 months they wer ein the crib and then a toddler bed. I never had any issues with the transition with either child. I qould have got way less sleep than I managed to if they were in the bed with me, I'm a light sleeper as it is.

Amy - posted on 02/16/2010

1,761

18

248

I don't like it and never will do it with any child. Well actually I kind of did, when I was nursing I was so tired I fell asleep feeding our child on a rocker, but as soon as DS moved the slightest I was awake.

I think that if it's done right and follow guidelines that it could be safe. There are things that can attach to the bed for the baby and they are considered safe as long as you don't use a lot of blankets on the bed, et. I know a few mom's who've done it and swear by it, however I would never.

Sara - posted on 02/16/2010

9,313

50

584

I don't think it's good or bad. I think you can set the scene for safety and have a child sleep in a family bed, but you need to take precautions. I was too afraid of rolling over on the baby, so I personally couldn't do it. Plus, my daughter likes her crib and I believe we all sleep better in our own beds. But, like most things with parenting, it's a personal choice. As long as you're not doing something incredibly negligent, I don't see why what other people think should matter.

Rosie - posted on 02/16/2010

8,657

30

315

for the first 3 weeks i'd say, i co slept with my 1rst and 3rd child. my middle one wouldn't sleep worth a darn in anything but his swing, so that's what we did- and at about 4-5 months he went to bed finally. my other 2 we would put to sleep in their cribs, but when they woke up the first time, they would not stop crying until, i had them in bed with me. at around 3 weeks, they finally got ahold of sleeping in their cribs.
i am against it after a certain age, maybe around a month. i have a friend who's 7 year old, 4 year old and 3 year old all would sleep with her. for all of the reason's you've stated i found it outrageous. even when my little babies were sleeping with us, i was petrified the whole time so i could barely sleep at all, but i didn't have another alternative at the time, we would try to put him back in the crib, but he would just not stop crying until i was holding him. at that age, i don't feel it can become a habit- he just wanted his mommy.

[deleted account]

In general, I'm against it. My twins spent several nights in our bed (w/ my husband on the couch) when they were newborns since we only had a one bedroom place and they were NOISY sleepers if they were in their crib. We moved to a 2 bedroom place when they were 3 months old and everyone slept much better.

I became a single mom right as my son was born, so he's spent his whole life in my room and most of it in my bed (except 6-14ish months). I tried to initially have him in his bassinet, but due to his reflux... he couldn't sleep lying down. I wasn't sleeping much anyway, so I 'slept' propped up in bed and he spent the first 5 months of his life lying upright on me. He went to his crib (when I got it) just fine at 6 months, but developed severe seperation issues around 14 months... so went back in my bed. It wasn't just a matter of crying/screaming. He was literally acting like someone was trying to kill him. I keep telling him he will sleep in his crib when he's 2, so we'll see.....

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2010

937

13

54

LOL, Krista I've always wondered the same thing about the bedtime....b/c our bed is high up off the floor. My daughter also goes to bed at 8pm. But I have also noticed (and no future posts are needed to attack me for this....b/c I am speaking about direct experience) in the people that I know for a fact co-sleep, their kids aren't on schedules either. One of them lets her 1 yr old stay up until 10-11pm - or later if she's "not tired" until when they go to bed.

I never had my daughter in our room, I just got up and sat in the rocker in her room to nurse her at nite, but if someone wants a bassinet in their room for a few weeks ya fine, but thats how one of my friends started and now has a 14 mo. old who moved from her basinett to her real bed...and never got to the bedroom b/c mom and dad got caught up in "well do you think she's ready yet" and kept convincing themselves that "she" wasn't ready....i.e. they weren't ready. So it can still be a slippery slope if you aren't careful.

Krista - posted on 02/16/2010

12,562

16

842

I just don't understand the whole co-sleeping thing. My son goes to bed at 7pm -- am I supposed to go to bed at the same time as him to make sure he doesn't roll off the bed and onto the floor?

I can definitely support having your baby sleep in the same room, and even think that those cosleeper jobbies that attach to the bed are a nice idea when the baby is first born, especially if the mom is nursing. But to have the baby right there in the bed with you where you can roll over on him? Nuh-uh. Not for me, thanks.

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2010

937

13

54

Christina I agree with you. I did not put my daughter on her tummy....but I totally see your point. Being surrounded by your parents significantly larger than you can have the same effect. And I think putting those co sleeping barriers in the middle of the bed is the same as putting a stake in the middle of your marraige too. I can't imagine having my husband do it against my wishes...we were both very eye to eye on this topic luckily. But he told me how aggravating it was to disagree with his ex wife on this topic.

C. - posted on 02/16/2010

4,125

35

238

I can't stand the idea of co-sleeping. It's dangerous, from my experience (my husband would go and get our son and put him in bed with us while I was sleeping) and I would wake up to practically rolling on top of my son or my son crawling underneath the covers to the opposite end of the bed.. It scared the crap out of me! You know what I don't get is when people disagree with putting an infant on their stomach while they sleep, but those same people co-sleep?? It's JUST AS DANGEROUS.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms