Question about Co-Sleeping

Jamie - posted on 03/28/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

290

26

16

I see a lot of posts about co-sleeping, and A few thoughts have crossed my mind. I personally, did not co-sleep with my daughter (not that I think there is anything wrong with it though). I have seen some mothers say that co-sleeping promotes independance in the child, and I don't understand how. How does it teach your baby how to be independant if they rely on his/her mother to cuddle them to sleep, and they are never alone while sleeping? My daughter, (just shy of 8 months old) gets plenty of attention during the day, and a ton of one-on-one time with me, but when it comes to nap or bed time, she is put in her crib when she gets tired and is able to sooth herself to sleep (which in my opinion is independent).



Once again, everyone has different ways of parenting, and I do not think anyone is wrong for co-sleeping, I am just wondering why/how this promotes independence?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Johnny - posted on 03/30/2010

8,686

26

322

I think that there are a few issues that have not been considered here. There are really 2 types of co-sleeping parents, those that actively choose to co-sleep with their children as a parenting style and those that have co-sleeping thrust upon them because they can not get their children to sleep alone. I suspect that for many of the latter, it is simply an issue of the child's personality being more generally "clingy" to mom and that is reflected in all areas of the child's life. This kind of kid has a hard time being left at daycare or even letting mommy have a shower without them. Some kids are just like that. Whether parents co-sleep or leave the kid to cry it out in their crib, the child will be "clingy" until they grow out of it. But I notice a lot of people who talk about co-sleeping seem to fall into this category. They didn't really want their kid in the bed or in their room, but they put up with it in order to get some sleep. That is really a coping mechanism as opposed to an active parenting decision. For kids like this, they may tend towards more dependence on mom, no matter what sleeping arrangements they have.

Then there are parents whose children would sleep fine in a crib, but choose to co-sleep because they believe in the concept of the family bed and wish to have their young children close to them for the first few years. Many are active practitioners of attachment parenting and they believe that keeping children close and attached promotes independence. Children who would otherwise be happy sleeping in their own bed are fairly easy to transition to their own rooms as they grow older, and may indeed demonstrate more independence as a resulted of the added security (and annoyance?) of mommy always physically being their for them all the time.

We had our daughter in a bassinet in our room until she was 4 months. We then moved her into her crib in our room. She was a good sleeper and went down easily, but starting at about 8 months,she thrashed around in her crib while sleeping, banging her head on the bars and bruising her arms and legs. We decided that it would be best to move her into our bed, and we all slept there peacefully for a couple of months. And trust me, my husband and I were/are creative enough in our sex life that it had no impact (yes, you can do it in other rooms, lol). We decided that since she had calmed down while sleeping, we'd set up her mattress on the floor of our room (we got tired of having the whole crib there) and she slept on the floor from 10 months until last week. She has generally slept through the night all this time, except when teething or sick. After returning from vacation where she slept in a bed in another room, we decided to transition her into her own bedroom. She's now in a toddler bed sleeping soundly. Despite having never slept alone before, she seems to be enjoying having her own space. She is an incredibly independent little girl, has never cried when I go to work (just likes to wave bye-bye) and has never been particularly clingy. I credit this both to her inherent personality from birth, and the fact that we always responded to her needs right away, even at night, allowing her to maintain that confidence that she was born with.

I personally believe that co-sleeping is very healthy and can be an excellent parenting choice for the right family. It is really only in North America and western Europe that children commonly sleep away from their parents when they are young. You don't see the whole rest of the world still living at home with mommy. My husband and I were both raised co-sleeping with our parents (my folks were "hippies" and it is part of his culture) and we have both always been very independent. We both were out of our parents rooms around age 2 and slept alone ever since. And we both moved out and went away to college at 17/18 and never moved back home. Our parents would probably agree, that we just weren't "clingy" kids, and no amount of co-sleeping was going to make us that way.

Jamie - posted on 03/30/2010

290

26

16

Marie - good point! How do parents get any alone time if they can't be alone ever, even at night? I understand a great number of people start co-sleeping because they are breastfeeding, why though? Yes it is easier because then you don't really have to get up, you just move baby to breast. But, if you bottle feed you have to get up to make the bottle, sit up to feed, then out baby back in crib, why not do the same with breast feeding?

Deborah - posted on 03/29/2010

1

0

0

Independence comes from security. And security comes from consistency. I believe in co-sleeping up to a certain age usually about the time the child starts potty- training and he or she is a " big" boy or girl. It always helps to know that your mom is always there and the child knows "where" mom is at night. Sure it may take a little while to start liking the "big" kid bed but, eventually they want their bed and not moms

Katherine - posted on 03/28/2010

65,420

232

5193

Hi Jamie,

The concept behind co-sleeping isn't what everyone thinks. Studies have shown that children who cosleep are more confident and secure with themselves. They aren't afraid of being 'left', they have never experienced that, or the anxiety that goes with it. If you want more info books by Dr. Sears are great for reference.

33 Comments

View replies by

Stifler's - posted on 02/08/2011

15,141

154

604

They know you are there for them, so they're not as attention seeking as kids that people let cry for hours to try and get them to be independent. That's my logic from what I've seen of people's kids.

Geralyn - posted on 02/08/2011

1,616

35

249

I co-sleep as part of our overall parenting style. I agree with Johnny below. I do not co-sleep because my kids can't fall asleep without me. Its not because they are dependent on me. Its a life style choice (just like some parents choose the Brady Bunch model...). It works for our family, and my almost 3 year old is as independent as can be.

Gina - posted on 03/31/2010

5

0

0

I chose to co-sleep with my oldest, though not entirely for the usual reasons. I was in a situation that made it necessary, but I probably would have anyway. She was always pretty clingy, and I don't think co-sleeping or not would have changed that. She's confident, indepedent, and mature, now.
I can say that she eventually started sleeping in her own bed- as I'm sure most children do at some point- and now that she's 16, I would love to have that time back. They're only small once, and it truly goes by so fast. They outgrow the need to be with you soon enough, and once it's gone there's no going back.
But it's all a personal choice. If my husband & I are ok with it why would anyone else be concerned about our alone time? Not every married couple has to do everything alike. Just like everything else in our relationship we discuss it, and work out the details according to what works best for our family.
I think that's what everyone needs to do. Whether they choose to co-sleep or not, it should be a decision based on what your comfortable with, not what other people do or say.

Alison - posted on 03/31/2010

2,753

20

471

Personally I chose to co-sleep for the first few months because it allowed me to sleep. I also think it is natural for a newborn to always be with mommy. Did you know that when you breastfeed your body secretes a hormone (or something like that) that makes mommy sleepy!



My doctor didn't like the idea, but my doctor has never had a newborn! People see it as dangerous, which it is to a certain degree. But if you are careful about keeping the baby on mommy's side and not letting the baby sleep with parents who are tired, intoxicated or who smoke, the risk is very low. Ultimately it is your decision and I never regretted mine.

Sharna - posted on 03/31/2010

9

24

0

As you said before I found it easier to breastfeed and co sleep! with my first child breastfeeding was bery difficuilt so we chose to bottle feed and I rarely got sleep anyway I was still recovering from his birth a year after!! So to answer your question why I didn't just do what I did with my bottle fed baby is simple really I was alot more relaxed with number two (4 years later) and as above alot easier.

Lindsay - posted on 03/30/2010

1

16

0

I don't know if it promotes independence. What I do know is my son is 3 years old and still sleeps with me. But he has no problem sleeping by himself if he spends the night at someone elses house. I have been trying to get him to sleep in is own bed, but I keep giving in. I would only like to advise that you do not start co-sleeping (at least in the same bed).

Danielle - posted on 03/30/2010

915

38

42

I don't think co-sleeping promotes independence, but we did co-sleep with our son for a few weeks when he refused to go sleep in his crib. I was exhausted and just kept falling asleep with him in my arms. Eventually, I forced myself to stay awake until he stayed in his crib and I think it was the best thing for all of us.

Brenda - posted on 03/30/2010

8

1

0

I personally do not feel co-sleeping is a good idea. It is not a good habit to start. Co-sleeping has potential for affecting the parents relationship. And what if you accidentally rolled on top of the baby? Don't think the baby can tap on you and say "hey I'm down here!"

[deleted account]

My co-sleeping son never had any unusual issues at daycare with falling asleep, goes to his friends' or grandparents' homes to sleep over and generally likes to sleep near someone, but falls asleep in a bed by himself. I don't think he likes to sleep near someone just because he co-sleeps--I grew up sleeping in my own bed and I remember being scared of monsters in the closet, under the bed, etc., and wanting my parents for company--I think being scared of the dark and learning how to handle it is a normal part of growing up, whether you sleep with someone or not. I remember still get freaked out in the dark sleeping over at my grandmother's house when I was in my teens!

I know someone who had 2 co-sleeping sons; one slept with the father, and one slept with the mother. Both boys eventually wanted to sleep in their own rooms (between 7 and 9 years of age) and parents are back to sleeping in their own room together. I have another friend who has a daughter who usually still sleeps with her at 9, but they have weathered problems with the father, who doesn't live with them anymore. I know another family where the father would go into the child's room, sometimes read a story, fall asleep with the son, and then come to the parents' bed at 2-4AM--this went on until he was at least 10. Some people are okay with these sleeping arrangements, some are not. You have to do what works and feels okay for you.

The need for everyone to get a good night's sleep was the reason we ended up doing things the way we do it, and it has worked out just fine. When my son is sick, needs a drink of water, or needs to blow his nose, I know right away (he does the last two things himself without my help now).

As far as the parents' sleeping arrangements, our son goes to bed earlier than we do, so we do have time apart from him. The current sleeping arrangement isn't forever, and I don't think our son will have any confidence or sleeping issues because of it. If we felt his sleeping or confidence was affected by this, we wouldn't do it. Being taught how to fall asleep by yourself is important, but can be done in different ways that work well. Sleeping in your own beds works well, but so can co-sleeping--there are pros and cons to both.

Sharna - posted on 03/30/2010

9

24

0

I never co slept with my first child he was bottle fed and he is now five and has never slept in our bed!! However. . . . my second child she was breastfed from birth and it was convenient to just have her in the bed and I am now paying for it big time!! She is now 2 and will not go to sleep without me or her dad, I have tried to put her in her bed when she is tired but she screams and I don't like her screaming, so now we have compromised with reading a book and singing a song and she goes to sleep, only I find her huddled next to me at 3am everymorning!! I am still interested to see how she gets on the older she gets, as for my third I just feed her and put her straight back into her cot. I find that easier and as for the independence I think its just up to the child as my 2 year old is VERY independent!!

Marie - posted on 03/30/2010

1

6

0

This is all very interesting but what happens to the parents and their own sleeping arrangements? I always believed that unless a child (no matter what age) is sick or has a need, there must be a parents' room and a child's room. I have three children and they have always slept in their crib, then bed on their own apart from the first months when their crib was in our room. I breastfed the children and we cuddled and we shared tenderness and closeness but our adult bed was never shared nor the room.

Andrea - posted on 03/29/2010

566

29

56

All the articles I'm reading on the internet say co-sleeping is bed sharing.

Katherine - posted on 03/29/2010

65,420

232

5193

Right, co-sleeping is room sharing, and then there is bed sharing which is totally different.

Jamie - posted on 03/29/2010

290

26

16

Jennifer- I worked in a daycare before I had my daughter for about 3 years, and saw a lot of this as well, which is a reason I never let my daughter sleep in bed with me. It makes me more comfortable that she is in the room with me (we don't have another room for her anyways) but at least I know she is fine and I am right here if she needs something. I also know a woman who has an 18 month old who co-sleeps, and the baby will not even take a nap duing the day without being rocked and held the entire nap. So she litterally has no time to get anything done, or even sit alone for a little while while the baby is napping, which is a huge reason why I chose not to co-sleep wit my daughter.

Candice - posted on 03/29/2010

13

3

1

Jamie, co-sleeping doesn't always refer to the baby being in your bed sometimes it just means baby is in your room. So I think you are giving your daughter the security that she needs which is contributing to how independant she is.

[deleted account]

I agree with Nikki in that this is best decided on a child by child/parent by parent basis--what is comfortable for you? My 6-year old son has been co-sleeping with us all along and he is a very happy and confident child, well-liked by teachers and friends. The transition from sleeping with us to sleeping on his own feels like a very natural progression, and as he is getting older, he is noticing that other children sleep on their own, that parents sleep together with their children sleeping in their own rooms, and I feel like he will eventually want to and be okay sleeping in his own room. He will always like snuggling with his parents, but he will want and, we will encourage, his independence. We can see it coming. I never thought this would be a path we would take--I always thought a child needed to sleep on their own to learn that independence. But, working full-time and having to really work my brain for a living, I needed my sleep. This was the way that worked for us. I was very concerned about this for a long time, until I found out that a friend who is 61 who has 2 grown sons co-slept with them. She said not to worry about it--they turned out fine. She also gave me this interesting perspective--she commented that she's known lots of people who worried that their children wouldn't learn how to sleep on their own if the co-slept; however, she said she also thought it wasn't easy to learn how to sleep WITH someone. Children who co-sleep may not have that issue? I thought it was an interesting perspective. To me, you have to do what works for you, and both scenarios seem to work for many.

To go back to your original question, it's all how you look at it. There is independence that comes with happiness and being loved and shown how to do something. To me, this can happen by co-sleeping and/or helping your child sleep on their own--however and whenever you make that happen!

Jenifer - posted on 03/29/2010

3

13

0

I was a childcare provider for a baby who co-slept with his mom and saw first-hand how detrimental it can be to healthy child development. Not only did he develop severe separation anxiety, he had behavioral problems because he was terribly sleep deprived. Unless he was held, he would not sleep. If I left the room or was separated from him by a baby gate, he'd scream until I returned. He would not play with other babies his age, or sit in a high chair and feed himself. After he started hitting me at age 15 months, I had to stop watching him. I understand that each child is different, and in this case, co-sleeping was not the right choice.

Tracy - posted on 03/29/2010

737

13

78

I co slept with both of my kids, initially due to breastfeeding. They are 3 yrs and 8 yrs now, and at my house love the fact they have their own rooms and beds to sleep in. I wish my older one was more independant, but that has more to do with the deterioriating relationship I was in with their father than co sleeping. I'm just praying he doesn't end up as codependant as his father, who still makes them co sleep when they're at his house. Regardless of the fact they each have their own rooms and beds.....

Kristin - posted on 03/29/2010

1,645

40

305

We co-slept the our oldest because that was the ONLY way any of us were going to get any sleep, painfully high maintenance comes to mind. He moved out of our bed, with a little encouragement at about 3 and hasn't looked back except when ill. Our current youngest, slept okay on his own in our room pretty much from day one. Again, the exception is when ill. They do like to crawl in and snuggle if unable to fall asleep and then again first thing in the morning. But, they do respect their father and my wishes if we don't want them in there.



They are both fantastically and obnoxiously independent. They are both very secure as well. Personally, I think co-sleeping should be decided on a child by child basis and what will work for your family. There are ways to co-sleep without risking anybody rolling onto baby too. Just do some research, before baby comes, and go from there.



As for the pediatrician, I never bothered to tell them. Ours were more concerned about sleep patterns and that they were on their backs, not sleep arrangements. I think with the first one they cam in and saw him asleep on my chest and tried to lecture me on it. I think I just looked at them and nodded okay and did what we needed to do anyway. One way to look at it is as an extension of kangaroo care. These babies are learning through physical contact to control body temperature and breathing can be corrected by what they feel and hear.





Again, every situation is different. Every culture is different. You just do what works for you when you've explored the options and potential downsides.

Jamie - posted on 03/29/2010

290

26

16

Thanks for your responses Katherine and Nikki. I understand a little better why a lot of others choose to co-sleep. It might be something to think about for my next child (a few years down the road, at least). I like how I have things currently with my daughter though, it works out great for us, and she knows right where I am. Her crib is in my bedroom, and she wakes up and turns her body to look at me and just laughs until I get up to get her. I am just worried because my husband is a VERY heavy sleeper lol But how I have things going with my 8 months old is working out great. She has never just cried herself to sleep, I always go and comfort her if she starts getting fussy, but she has a little bear she cuddles with (she's attached to it) and she always rubs the bears wings until she falls asleep, it is so cute lol



If you don't mind me asking, what do your pediatricians say about it? I fell asleep with her in bed with me once at the hospital, and I got a big lecture on why the baby should be in the bassinett lol And her pediatrician always says, oh you always put her in her crib to slee, right?

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2010

5,263

41

574

I agree with Cyndi and Katherine, I only stopped full time co sleeping because I had to stop breast feeding, my daughter had no problems sleeping by herself, mind you she is only 41/2 months old, I don't know that the same principles would apply if she was a toddler! But I do agree with attachment parenting. I still rock her to sleep if she needs it, most of the time she doesn't but I just go with her needs, she sleeps fantastically, she has never had to cry herself to sleep, she seems content to be in her cot, so I am happy with how is has worked out for us. I will do it with my next hopefully longer if I can continue breast feeding longer. I could understand how the concept may be difficult for those who have not experienced it to grasp. I worked in child care for 10 years, I particularly specialised in nursery care and I was interested to talk to a lot of parents and find out what they had done with their children, after observing the sleeping routines and talking to parents I decided that co sleeping was for us. My daughter never relied on me to cuddle her to sleep either, she would go to sleep by herself in our bed, its just that when she woke of a night time I was there, I actually found that she slept really well for a newborn, and I got great sleep every night because I didn't have to get up and feed. Jamie, I encourage you to have a lot at some research, I also found Dr Sears to be great. I also understand that not everyone is comfortable with it, so I think it's just up to the individual parent to do what is best for their family.

Jamie - posted on 03/28/2010

290

26

16

Thanks Cyndi, I still honestly don't really get it, but it is nice to know the reasoning behind it!

Sheree - posted on 03/28/2010

909

14

142

I co slept with my mum, and to say it promotes independence makes no sense to me either, i was still sleeping in my mum's bed when i was 12. Im sorry but that isnt independence. I was scared stiff to sleep in my own room, it was only when my mum met my step dad, that i slept in my own room, but my sister and step sister were also in there. Also as an adult, i often get scared being home alone when my huband is off on business trips.
Im certainly with you on this one Jamie, i dont know how it would promote independence .

Cyndi - posted on 03/28/2010

10

11

0

We co-sleep with our 5 month old and did with our 3 year old too. The idea that it promotes independence is, that their needs are fully met when they are young, and they develop confidence because of that, knowing that mom and/or dad will always be there when they are needed...and are then able to be more independent because of that. Not sure if that makes sense. I think we, as a society, push our kids towards independence too quickly and they don't develop that strong attachment relationship to their parents. Each child is different though. My first was very high needs and she was not happy at all until we started practicing attachment parenting.
There are times where I wish that my littles didn't need me so much. It's so exhausting! But I know it is for just this short amount of time. Soon they will be off to school, then getting their drivers license.....

Jamie - posted on 03/28/2010

290

26

16

oh no I don't think it is wrong, I just want to know why some thing it promotes independance. I have several friends in your shoes, and they say the same thing as you, about wishing they could go back and keep the baby in there crib, which is one of the reasons I never let my daughter in bed with me (unless she is sick that is.)

Kathy - posted on 03/28/2010

462

15

68

I do not think co-sleeping promotes independence. My daughter slept in her crib and is very independent-always has been. Thanks to an awful experiance, my son ended up being a co-sleeper and he is not nearly as independent as he should be at his age. He still has sleep issues at the age of 7. I wish we could go back and change the situation that traumatized him as an infant. I will admit that I didn't mind co-sleeping when he was little but as he got bigger and those elbows and knees found more and more sensitive spots, it got frustrating and difficult. I do beleive that parents need to whatever necessary to give their child the security and love that each child needs. No way is right or wrong when it comes to parenting.

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