Co-Sleeping: Unnecessary & Dangerous

This article originally appeared over at Dad-Blogs. Click over there when you’re done for some other great reads.

There are certain topics amongst new and expectant parents that are guaranteed to incite controversy and heated debate from both sides. Breastfeeding vs. formula, cloth diapering vs. disposables, the proper age to start a baby on solids and — of course — co-sleeping.

In case you don’t know, co-sleeping is the term generally used to describe a parent’s decision to bring their child into an adult bed to sleep through the night together. Proponents argue the benefits of co-sleeping are plentiful. Newborns crave close, skin-on-skin contact and what better way to soothe a child than to keep that contact all through the night? They contend children who co-sleep feel more confident and secure because of it.

However, there is another side of the coin. Critics say co-sleeping creates a needy and overly dependent child at best, and a dead baby in the worst case scenario. An article, which can be read by clicking here, highlights the danger of co-sleeping. If you don’t feel like reading it, all you really need to know is that at least 11 Massachusetts infants were killed this year when their parents accidentally suffocated them while sharing a bed.

In the article, one woman refers to co-sleeping as child abuse. I don’t think I’m willing to go that far because all of these tragic deaths were accidental, and I can’t even imagine the crushing guilt and sense of loss these parents must be enduring. And in that respect my heart truly goes out to them.

However, I can’t deny that a part of me feels that guilt is deserved. After all, these 11 deaths were totally and completely preventable. That is a fact. In these 11 cases, the deaths were the result of co-sleeping. Therefore, if the children weren’t in bed with their parents, they would not have died. That’s the reality, no matter how harsh.

And the ironic part is I’m guessing many of these parents are probably good, well-intentioned souls. They probably have covers on all of their electrical outlets. Their floors may be mopped, swept and cleared of any and all choking hazards. Their cars may be equipped with state-of-the-art carseats with 5-star safety ratings in case of an accident.

Some parents take all of these precautions, yet they don’t see the mathematical folly of a 150-lb parent — who is often sleep deprived and totally exhausted — sharing a bed with a 9-lb baby. It just makes no sense that a completely preventable tragedy is defended by so many with such vigor.

After all, why not use a bassinet? We set up the bassinet right next to our bed. All my wife had to do in the middle of the night was reach over and grab the baby. She barely had to sit up in bed. So for the first three months, Will slept in very close proximity to us but never in our bed.

And yes, I understand the arguments for it. It’s easier to breastfeed the baby. The baby sleeps better at first. Perhaps there’s no other place for the baby to sleep. And I’m not saying parents who choose to co-sleep are wrong, but I do personally believe it’s a misguided, new age concept and even the most ardent co-sleeping advocate hasn’t provided me with a surefire explanation for why it’s beneficial.

Even exempting the safety risk, I still see no benefits to co-sleeping.

In my opinion, you run the risk of co-sleeping for too long and creating an overly dependent child who is afraid or unwilling to sleep in his/her own room. I’m on a lot of Internet parenting boards and I see parents who are desperately trying to make the transition from shared bed to the crib. I am always amazed at their bewilderment because it seems to me, the reason they won’t take to it is because they’ve been so coddled for so long.

And besides, that bed is for me and my wife. Sure there will be times in the future when Will has a bad dream and crawls into bed with us. And that’s fine, but it’s not fine if it’s on a regular basis. We bought him his own bed, he should sleep in it. At four months Will went to the crib in his nursery and that was that. Sure we had to let him cry it out a few times, but he’s been sleeping very well through the night since before he was even 6 months old. That would never have happened if he became accustomed to our feathertop mattress.

I understand the desire to snuggle up with a baby. I love my son and it was tempting to drift off, the two of us snuggled up tight. But then I think about how I’d feel if I woke up on top of my dead child who I inadvertently rolled on top of and suffocated in my sleep.

For me, that right there is enough to eliminate co-sleeping as an option forever.

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26 thoughts on “Co-Sleeping: Unnecessary & Dangerous

  1. This comment might find me in some hot water but I lean towards thinking people who co sleep do it for themselves instead of the babies. On paper (again to me) it seems clear that for safety issues the child should have his or her own space and a bassinet is the most obvious middle ground!

  2. I’m with you. I don’t think co-sleeping is a good idea at all. I cringed when I found out that my sister had my new niece co-sleeping with her, but she has since stopped. Regardless of the “benefits”, it just isn’t safe.

    Wouldn’t you rather have an upset child (temporary) versus losing your child to suffocation (permanent)?

  3. Bed-sharing doesn’t have to qualify itself as “beneficial” this is America, and it’s about free choice. A choice that most bed-sharing parent make, not after listening to someone else (ie. people who know how to raise your child better than you). It doesn’t have to be argued about, except when a non-cosleeping parent feels like using one of these tragic examples to get on their soapbox to justify their own “isolated” sleeping success. The examples that you find in the news are not the representative sample and you know that. So you used a crib and your child made it. You could talk to millions of parent who have successfully bed-shared if you wanted to. I can tell you the crib companies are happy with your need for their product (you do know that they are quantifiably responsible for many child deaths). Why isn’t anyone talking about the continued “mystery” death that happens in cribs? Its called SIDS, it happens when you isolate a child and, it happens while following all the rules. Isn’t that significant, or is their no one handy to blame?

  4. infoforU: Awfully defensive aren’t we? I never said I knew how to raise my child better than anyone else. I’m stating my opinion and since you pointed out that we are in fact in America, I’m perfectly entitled to do so.

    Obviously there are many co-sleepers out there and obviously the vast majority are still living. I’m not saying co-sleeping = certain death. But are you really trying to say that I — and millions of other parents — were hosed by the crib companies because we bought one? You think there’s a crib conspiracy out there? Get a grip.

    And lastly, your assertion that sleeping in a crib causes SIDS shows how grossly misinformed you really are. It is called “crib death” only because it normally happens during the night. But researchers have NO DEFINITIVE ANSWERS as to the cause of SIDS. To say that it’s because parents “isolate” their kids and let them sleep in a crib is stupid and irresponsible on your part.

    You want to co-sleep with your kids? Fine. To each his own. But I’m stating a fact and that is 11 children died as a direct result of co-sleeping in Massachusetts. And those 11 deaths were completely preventable. Those are the facts and as such they cannot be argued. You, however, have no facts. Unless you can show me that SIDS is directly related to cribs and isolation, it’s my opinion that you’re completely full of it.

    And Erica: I have an upcoming post on 30 by 30. It didn’t go so well so I had to take dramatic steps. I’ll post soon!

  5. If they die while co-sleeping, it’s attributed to co-sleeping. If they die for no identifiable reason, alone, it’s called SIDS. Not sure if it can be made more simple than that but here goes…
    The prevention in the co-sleeping situation is found in adhering to a set of safety guidelines, one that when you scrutinize the publicized examples, you will find has been deviated from in some way.

    The prevention of a properly diagnosed SIDS death is a bit more difficult. Children are found dead and all the “crib safety” guidelines were followed.
    So, while alone, while under 12 months, while working on their role as a nightime independent human, children die of a cause that no one can pinpoint. Unless you look to an adult bed. That is where you will find no children dieing for unknown reasons. The problem is created when a parent deviates from the guidelines.
    And as for me being defensive…I’m the one who came across your post slamming bed-sharing. Isn’t this a normal internet transaction? All I need now is a couple supportive comments applauding my common sense breakdown of the co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping dilemma.

  6. Thank you DaddyFiles for giving me that extra push I needed to get our child out of our bed, as you said it was a lot easier getting him down at night this way, no screaming, no crying and I have to admit that he has been more a a crutch for me as well. See he’s my later in life child and perhaps I feel the need to hang onto him and his youth as much as I can. Our oldest boys didn’t sleep with us half as much as he does and they were fine with it. But you are right, not only for the security but for the best interest of the child. See there is so much potential for danger in adults rooms. For one, the bed is a lot higher than theirs, two, they can get down or fall in the middle of the night, three, most of our rooms are not fully 100% child proof and even though we are mostly light sleepers there could be one night, one night where we don’t here them and then they are getting into stuff on the dressers like change out of the change bowl or jewelry or caps from perfume/cologne or worse yet, fumbling around in the dark and perhaps opening our bedroom door and getting into something far more dangerous. My husband and I always have the what if’s in the back of our mind but end up letting him climb in bed with us nonetheless, overlooking the true potentials for danger so again I thank you for the reality check and push we need to get him back into his safe and secure room.
    Oh and on the choking hazards, not only can you squash them, just your arm or hand can cause a fatal effect if it happens to lie to close to their airways, your comfortor, your side, anything can obstruct their breathing capabilities so while they say with SIDS to make sure you keep things out of their cribs that could obstruct their airways causing them to suffocate, the same holds true for adult beds that are full of pillows, blankets, comforters and two other people!

  7. You barely even touched on what happens when co-sleepers get older! I know many (older, lonely, single) mothers who never kick the kid out of bed…sharing a bed with their children until the kids are older than 10.
    I don’t think co-sleeping has a place in our modern world. It’s been human habit for ages, but that’s because people usually only had one bed. Additionally, infant mortality back in the day when it was the norm was considerably increased.
    InfoforU: Wikipedia says that some of the precautions that supposedly reduce co-sleeping deaths are that children shouldn’t sleep next to parents who smoke, use alcohol, or are obese. Since more than half Americans are obese, I think that means the number of parents who shouldn’t co-sleep > 75%.

  8. I never thought I would co-sleep with my child. However, at 11 weeks we have transitioned him to a basinette and this weekend his basinette will go into his room and finally he will transition again into his crib (hopefully by 12-13 weeks – well before anything becomes habit forming). I have found, that as a breastfeeding mom, it was incredibly helpful to have him in the same bed – but now that he is no longer eating at two hour intervals- I have realized that co-sleeping (for us) is no longer ‘necessary’. As a parent, I have realized the importance of transitining him to his own bed (i.e. crib) for safety and habit forming reasons. This is a tough subject – and I think there are valid points on both sides……..

  9. Co sleeping is definitely dangerous. Any hospital can tell you that a number of babies die every year just like you described. Beyond that I didn’t want Braden in bed with us for selfish reasons. I know too many people that have 2 and 3 year old kids sleeping with them. My bed is for me and my wife. I dont want to spend years sharing it with our child. It is a hard habit to break once you get started.

  10. It’s funny to me how many people, on both sides of this issue, quote and refer to medical information. It’s WAY more fun to reference the psychological data on this topic. Infoforu should take a look at that info, what it says about them and what it portends for their children, lol. Given the psych evaluations for parents that co-sleep, it’s not surprising that they would so vehemently argue their justification.

  11. Anonymous: the dog sleeps on the floor and sometimes at the foot of our bed and I end up kicking her all night. Was there more to your question or were you trying to suggest we toss Will at the foot of the bed too? Because trying to draw a coherent and logical parallel to my son and my dog probably won’t end well.

  12. It’s late so I’m not going to respond right now the way I normally would..but here’s a few things

    I know cosleeping is the general term to describe mothers who sleep with their baby, but technically it’s called cobedding.

    There’s nothing wrong with cosleeping, it’s not only safe, but the norm. Our society maybe in general doesn’t see the point of continuing with the built in instinct to slumber close to our offspring, but biologically, that’s how we’re wired.

    If you’re a non-smoker, by all means cosleep. By that I mean, have baby in a safe crib or bassinet near your bed or in close proximity.

    If you’re overweight (to the point where the mattress dips to where an infant would be rolling into your body), smoke, use drugs, alcohol, perfumes, are exhausted, or take medications that would cause you to sleep too deep, then NEVER, EVER, cobed.

    There have been several “cosleeping” (actually cobedding) deaths here in the Milwaukee area in the last 6 months.

    Tragically though, two of the cases involved drunken caregivers passing out on a couch while bottle feeding an infant. Another, a drunk mother smothered a baby on her bed. Another, a very exhausted mother smothered her baby, after it had been laid BELLY DOWN, on a PILLOW, in a bed with a SIBLING.

    Instead of being charged with negligence, the deaths were deemed, another sad situation of how unsafe cosleeping is..let’s pass out cribs to poor ignorant people and campaign to end all cosleeping once and for all.

    But no, instead our society likes to charge nursing women who have had a few drinks with criminal child neglect, even when the woman in question, didn’t have her blood alcohol measured & had called the police earlier, trying to report an assault made on her by the infants father. We then take her baby away (a nursing baby, remember?) and consider putting her in jail for FIVE years.

    But if you knock a 12 pack of beer back, then pass out while feeding a newborn on the couch, smothering it to death in the cushions..well’ve learned the hard way how dangerous cosleeping is…No justice. No arrests. Because it was just another tragic “accident” involving “cosleeping”.

    (On a side note, if the reason you ARE cobedding is because you’re too poor to afford a bed for your infant, then you SHOULDN’T be cobedding. Those of us who are cobedding conscientiously, do so under the strictest safety adherences)

    I should mention, all of those situations violate safe cobedding/cosleeping rules.

    I would include several links, many scientific, about why cosleeping/cobedding is not only safe, but the biological norm. If an infant was to survive, it slept next to its mother. But people who are anti-cosleeping, don’t usually want to know all the facts or point of views.

    Maybe cosleeping/cobedding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fair enough. And not every should cosleep/cobed with their infant. It takes common sense. Something many people do not have.

    I wouldn’t even roll over on my dog, let alone my baby. I have five children. At some point all of them have slept in my room while in their own bed and three of them slept in my bed regularly.

    I know if I am exhausted to put them in a bassinet etc. However, I’m not usually tired to the point of exhaustion because my baby is happiest sleeping next to me.

    Oh, and no, my children have no problems being independent or sleeping on their own. My oldest is 19, I can guarantee you, he’s not sleeping with us anymore. My youngest will be 6 months soon. Her pediatrician is “mainstream” and knows we cobed..she also knows I practice SAFE sleeping, no matter where my children slumber.

    More children are injured or die in cribs than in cobedding situations. And that’s even including ALL the cobedding situations that involved drugs/alcohol/medications or unsafe situations. Another words, anytime a child dies in their sleep, outside of a crib, with an adult nearby or not, it’s considered a cosleeping death. So, when drunks smother babies on couches, it’s listed as a cosleeping death.

    However not all deaths where babies die sleeping next to adults involve intoxication of some kind. There are other factors, many of them related to not adhering to safety guidelines. That’s a whole other story.

    I want to add, I don’t cosleep for “selfish” reasons as in..I’m too lazy to get up & nurse the baby when she wakes or because I want a human teddy bear. I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous presumptions on why moms cosleep/cobed.

    I do so, because I don’t believe in fighting innate, ancient, biological instincts, whether they are my baby’s, or my own. Society may have changed, the context may have changed, but human nature hasn’t, if you will.

    My children are safer, happier, healthier, and thrive when they they’re allowed to breastfeed (especially to full-term, as in to at least 2yrs old) cobed, and be “worn”.(Babywearing)Among other aspects of natural parenting.

    I will leave you with a link, then post an article in a separate comment (it doesn’t have a direct link) But like I said, it probably won’t matter because everyone, myself included, make up our minds as to what is right for them or their children..or how they think so and so shouldn’t do such and such..My grandma likes to say, to each their own.

  13. The Normal Newborn and Why Breastmilk is Not Food Bookmark and Share

    Ah yes…I have often told people that my twisted view of parenting is all over this website…well, here it is, in all its glory.

    What is a normal, term human infant supposed to do?

    First of all, a human baby is supposed to be born vaginally. Yes, I know that doesn’t always happen, but we’re just going to talk ideal, normal for now. We are supposed to be born vaginally because we need good bacteria. Human babies are sterile, without bacteria, at birth. It’s no accident that we are born near the anus, an area that has lots of bacteria, most of which are good and necessary for normal gut health and development of the immune system. And the bacteria that are there are mom’s bacteria, bacteria that she can provide antibodies against if the bacteria there aren’t nice.

    Then the baby is born and is supposed to go to mom. Right to her chest. The chest, right in between the breasts is the natural habitat of the newborn baby. (Fun factoid: our cardiac output, how much blood we circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are important. Lots goes to the kidney every minute, like 10% or so, and 20% goes to your brain. In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest- more than her brain. The body thinks that place is important!)

    That chest area gives heat. The baby has been using mom’s body for temperature regulation for ages. Why would they stop? With all that blood flow, it’s going to be warm. The baby can use mom to get warm. When I was in my residency, we would put a cold baby “under the warmer” which meant a heater thingy next to mom. Now, as I have matured, if a baby is “under the warmer,” the kid is under mom. I wouldn’t like that. I like the kids on top of mom, snuggled.

    Now we have a brand new baby on the warmer. That child is not hungry. Bringing a hungry baby into the world is a bad plan. And really, if they were hungry, can you please explain to me why my kids sucked the life force out of me in those last few weeks of pregnancy? They better have been getting food, or well, that would have been annoying and painful for nothing.

    Every species has instinctual behaviors that allow the little ones to grow up to be big ones and keep the species going. Our kids are born into the world needing protection. Protection from disease and from predators. Yes, predators. Our kids don’t know they’ve been born into a loving family in the 21st century- for all they know it’s the 2nd century and they are in a cave surrounded by tigers. Our instinctive behaviors as baby humans need to help us stay protected. Babies get both disease protection and tiger protection from being on mom’s chest. Presumably, we gave the baby some good bacteria when they arrived through the birth canal. That’s the first step in disease protection. The next step is getting colostrum.

    A newborn baby on mom’s chest will pick their head up, lick their hands, maybe nuzzle mom, lick their hands and start to slide towards the breast. The kids have a preference for contrasts between light and dark, and for circles over other shapes. Think about that…there’s a dark circle not too far away.

    Mom’s sweat smells like amniotic fluid, and that smell is on the child’s hands (because there’s been no bath yet!) and the baby uses that taste on their hand to follow mom’s smell. The secretions coming from the glands on the areola (that dark circle) smell familiar too and help the baby get to the breast to get the colostrum which is going to feed the good bacteria and keep them protected from infection. The kids can attach by themselves. Watch for yourself! And if you just need colostrum to feed bacteria and not yourself, well, there doesn’t have to be much. And there isn’t because the kids aren’t hungry and because Breastmilk is not food!

    We’re talking normal babies. Breastfeeding is normal. It’s what babies are hardwired to do. 2009 or 209, the kids would all do the same thing: try to find the breast. Breastfeeding isn’t special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion. It’s not “best. ” It’s normal. Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant. And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.

    Colostrum also activates things in the baby’s gut that then goes on to make the thymus grow. The thymus is part of the immune system. Growing your thymus is important. Breastmilk= big thymus, good immune system. Colostrum also has a bunch of something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA). SIgA is made in the first few days of life and is infection protection specifically from mom. Cells in mom’s gut watch what’s coming through and if there’s an infectious cell, a special cell in mom’s gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the breast make SIgA in the milk to protect the baby. If mom and baby are together, like on mom’s chest, then the baby is protected from what the two of them may be exposed to. Babies should be with mom.

    And the tigers. What about them? Define “tiger” however you want. But if you are baby with no skills in self-protection, staying with mom, having a grasp reflex, and a startle reflex that helps you grab onto your mom, especially if she’s hairy, makes sense. Babies know the difference between a bassinette and a human chest. When infants are separated from their mothers, they have a “despair- withdrawal” response. The despair part comes when they alone, separated. The kids are vocally expressing their desire not to be tiger food. When they are picked up, they stop crying. They are protected, warm and safe. If that despair cry is not answered, they withdraw. They get cold, have massive amounts of stress hormones released, drop their heart rate and get quiet. That’s not a good baby. That’s one who, well, is beyond despair. Normal babies want to be held, all the time.

    And when do tigers hunt? At night. It makes no sense at all for our kids to sleep at night. They may be eaten. There’s nothing really all that great about kids sleeping through the night. They should wake up and find their body guard. Daytime, well, not so many threats. They sleep better during the day. (Think about our response to our tigers– sleep problems are a huge part of stress, depression, anxiety).

    I go on and on about sleep on this site, so maybe I’ll gloss over it here. But everybody sleeps with their kids- whether they choose to or not and whether they admit to it or not. It’s silly of us as healthcare providers to say “don’t sleep with your baby” because we all do it. Sometimes accidentally. Sometimes intentionally. The kids are snuggly, it feels right and you are tired. So, normal babies breastfeed, stay at the breast, want to be held and sleep better when they are with their parents. Seems normal to me. But there is a difference between a normal baby and one that isn’t. Safe sleep means that we are sober, in bed and not a couch or a recliner, breastfeeding, not smoking…being normal. If the circumstances are not normal, then sleeping with the baby is not safe.

    That chest -to -chest contact is also brain development. Our kids had as many brain cells as they were ever going to have at 28 weeks of gestation. It’s a jungle of waiting -to-be- connected cells. What we do as humans is create too much and then get rid of what we aren’t using. We have like 8 nipples, a tail and webbed hands in the womb. If all goes well, we don’t have those at birth. Create too much- get rid of what you aren’t using. So, as you are snuggling, your child is hooking up happy brain cells and hopefully getting rid of the “eeeek” brain cells. Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, is brain wiring. Not food.

    Why go on and on about this? Because more and more mothers are choosing to breastfeed. But most women don’t believe that the body that created that beautiful baby is capable of feeding that same child and we are supplementing more and more with infant formulas designed to be food. Why don’t we trust our bodies post-partum? I don’t know. But I hear over and over that the formula is because “I am just not satisfying him.” Of course you are. Babies don’t need to “eat” all the time- they need to be with you all the time- that’s the ultimate satisfaction.

    A baby at the breast is getting their immune system developed, activating their thymus, staying warm, feeling safe from predators, having normal sleep patterns and wiring their brain, and (oh by the way) getting some food in the process. They are not “hungry” –they are obeying instinct. The instinct that allows us to survive and make more of us.

    ranted on January 22, 2009

  14. Coming from a Father that does love his kids as much as he can… Melissa…nice. You hit most of the main points related to raising a child without “stuff”, or plastic manufactured stuff that parents these days believe are required…approved… 3rd party safety tested…etc. Although, most “Daddy’s” aren’t going to get it. The world needs more Moms that can advocate for kid’s needs (not Dad’s needs). Sometimes, Dads need to step back and see the big picture (you do have a place and you will be rewarded). Give your kids as much as you can, and trim the overages when they can talk to you. If you give your kids what you think they need, you will come up short, period. And, shortages are much harder to explain when it comes time.

    So, as for calling co-sleeping, co-bedding, or bed-sharing unnecessary and dangerous…wrong. Melissa made all the points. It’s not unnecessary, and it becomes dangerous when an adult makes it so.

  15. Well, I’d like to say I made it through the magna carta of comments but I’d be lying, lol.

  16. Sorry, still not buying it.

    For every scientific study that supports co-sleeping, there is one against it. So Googling this and trading shots with stats that only support one side is pretty useless. But to say that co-sleeping deaths ONLY occur when a parents is drunk, smoking, obese, etc is faulty. You can’t possibly tell me that a sober, non-smoking mother or father co-sleeping on a firm mattress under “safe” conditions has never accidentally suffocated a child. It may be in the minority, but it happens. To say it doesn’t is to ignore the facts.

    But what are you talking about with the “daddy’s aren’t going to get it” comment? You don’t think fathers can make an informed decision about what is best for their child? That’s just ignorant. And for your information, my wife is a great mother and totally agreed that a crib at 4 months was the best thing to do. And guess what? My son sleeps better than most kids his age. Either totally through the night or waking up once (usually when he’s teething). And when he is upset we hold him and cuddle him until he calms back down and then put him back in his crib. What’s wrong with that?

    All you can do is give your kids what you think they need. We give our son everything we can to benefit him and for you to insinuate that we’re short-changing him in any way because we choose not to partake in a potentially dangerous, life-threatening and unnecessary activity is way off base.

    This is what makes the ardent co-sleepers so annoying. Their holier than thou attitude and the belief that their way is the only right way.

    I’m not saying “don’t co-sleep.” I’m saying I choose not to and then I give my reasons. You guys, on the other hand, are implying that my failure to choose your methods is somehow damaging my child. And to that, I say you are 100 percent wrong and you need to be wary of hurting yourselves when you fall off your soap boxes and off of your pedestals.

  17. Oh, dear lord, that was a tough read through the comment section. Don’t these ladies realize that you get your jollies from working them into such a manic state that they write book chapters for comments? That’s why I love you, man!

    We didn’t need to have our son in our bed. He slept perfectly fine right next to the bed in his bassinet with a drop-down side with me holding his little hand every single night until he was six months and moved into his crib in his own room. He’s slept through the night every single night of his life. It’s all about the parent(s)’ need, unless you live in a hut with one bed. Do I think that’s a terrible thing? Not if everyone wakes up in the morning. It’s a choice.

  18. Trying to remain unbias here…I cosleep…arrest me!
    No seriously, I do and i never intended to either. Do I sometimes wish it the other way? Not once. As soon as it got to the point where sleep wasn’t happening I transitioned my son to his own bed. He sleeps there now. He started at the age of 2. He still wakes in the night and sometimes slips into our room (but only when Daddy goes to work because there’s more room then.)

    My son is brilliant-and I don’t need to look back at any blogs to know that I’m not just saying that because I want to look good. If i wanted to look good I’d lie and say all my kids sleep through the night and not one has slept in my bed. Parents lie about it all the time.

    EVERYTHING we do, has a pro and a con. Every CHOICE we make with these innocent and small beings can kill them! If we don’t buckle them right, if we cross the street at the wrong time, if they decide to climb out of their crib and hit their heads on the floor or electric base boards.

    I do think that cosleeping or not cosleeping you have to do it safely. No covers, no pillows, not too many clothes not too little. Be awake when you are feeding. Don’t be exhausted… many guidelines with the cribs and the crib mattresse not to mention the times I put my daughter in the crib who innocently tries to stand up and trips and wacks her head before I can get down the hall the minute she made a peep! Dangerous!

    So many good and bad things about cosleeping but it is still a free country. I could go on and say manipulate how the other side of things is just as bad and detrimental on the psychiatric point of view.

    I had this very discussion with a pediatrician friend of mine who coslept with one child and not with the other.

    The older child is the one who cobedded, she is far more independent straight A student at a gifted middle school, 2nd degree black belt, most popular in school, well adjusted, well discplined, great sleeper…who loves her family. The younger one, sleeps fine and is just as incredible as the other, but slightly needy-I dont’ know if it has anything to do with their sleeping habits as in infant or not…who the heck knows…children don’t remember…my son HAS NO IDEA he slept in my bed as a baby-he doesn’t remember breastfeeding and he was breastfed for 2 years! When I started breastfeeding my daughter, I tried to tell him he used to…HE LAUGHED….
    I guess my point is, I dont’ feel guilty each time I sleep with my child at night, but like every choice I make, as a good parent, I wonder if there is something better, should I be doing something more? Should I do things that don’t feel right because someone said it wasn’t right?

    How often have I been wrong about my instinct? Not once…so really, I am glad Aaron that your point of you is what is working for you guys. It’s working for us too…I do think that if you are parent (or your spouse) drinks occasionally or boozes for bed, that’s just dumb…if your baby is tiny and you have giant pillows or blankets, that’s just dumb…if you have a sleep disorder where you sleep heavily…silly also, you shouldn’t cosleep or cobed or whatever you call it.

    I do’nt know where I am going with this…but I guess it’s just as easy to say that you should than you shouldn’t.

    Maybe easier to blame a parent in a cosleeping tragedy than blaming SIDS on crib deaths.

  19. I wrote a whole long comment from my phone but it never posted correctly.

    Anyways, my two cents is that I also co-bed (just call me a hippie!)and have with each of my three children. I do it because I want to, my husband wants to and it the baby seemed to want to. It is always done as safely as possible and there was a basinette next to the bed that the baby also sometimes slept in. I used the crib as often as possible for day time naps and by 6 months old each of my children were put to bed, awake, in their cribs and slept through the night since (7p – 7A).

    I believe that co-bedding is a parental choice that is each family’s decision. Chosing not to do so, does not make you a bad parent, just as chosing to do it does not make you a bad parent.

    There are risks involved, but if we never did anything that had some risks involved then we would never put our child in a car, even with a car seat, because you know, x% of properly car-seated babies still die in car accidents…

    By the way, my children are now almost 7 yrs old, 4 yrs old and 1 yrs old. And they each have their own bedroom and go to sleep in them about 95% of the time! No dependency issues here!
    Great topic Aaron!

  20. I would really like to access some data/opinions/rationales Re co-bedding. My ex-husband is outraged that I object to him putting my 4 year old girls in bed with him and his new partner. At present he doesn’t do it, but I am sure once we have the contact order defined, he will start allowing it again. Any comments welcomed and any directions to info/data on this also welcome…

  21. The inclination to snuggle and fall asleep with your baby is a tempting one, as you share. Your rationale for eliminating co-sleeping as an option is an understandable one.

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