A.K. asks from Alexandria, KY on March 03, 2008
Why Do Some Families Co-sleep?
My question is honestly a request for information, not a judgement. I do not understand co-sleeping. Can anyone share your thoughts. Do you sleep w/ your children? Why? What does your pediatrician say? My pediatrician tells me that co-sleeping is one of the biggest risk factors for SIDS. As in sudden infant DEATH syndrome. So, why would anyone intentionally do this knowing this information. My Dr (who I trust more than anything) says that co-sleeping does absolutely nothing but INCREASE your baby's chance of death during the early months. So why do so many moms I hear from on Mamasource do it? Am I missing something? I have a relative that is very pro-co-sleeping and she tells me that she thinks it increases the parenting bond and that it makes the child feel safe. But that's just her thought. There is absolutely nothing that she can show me to back that up. I have 2 kids who have slept in their own beds in their own rooms since within one week of birth - and our parental bond is excellent and my kids feel safe. I have also seen and read that co-sleeping affects the marriage. How do you have sex? How do you have any quality time w/ your spouse? Isn't a strong marriage just as important to parenting? Again, I am not judging. I honestly want information about this. With so many good moms out there practicing co-sleeping, I really feel like I'm missing something. Please shed some light on this. I need a new perspective and am sincerely open to any and all thoughts. Thank you.
So What Happened?™
Thank you SO much to all of you who responded to my co-sleeping question. I am very grateful for your time in really explaining your experiences. To clarify, I consider co-sleeping as in the bed w/ you. I do NOT define co-sleeping as in a bassinet in the room. A few of you had that question. Most of the responses were for co-sleeping, but you all explained why & I appreciate and respect that. Some others were against. The theme throughout most of the responses was that it is a choice that each family needs to make w/ each child. I think that is the best advice. Again, thank you. - A.
J.B. answers from Cleveland on March 04, 2008
I, like you, have made a conscious decision to make sure my daughter sleeps in her own bed from a very early age. As a result, she won't sleep unless she's by herself! Recently, she was sick and we brought her into bed with us so we could keep a closer eye on her and she slept with us for the first time. It was so sweet waking up to see her and my husband sharing the same pillow! I understood then why so many parents decide to co-sleep. It's such an amazing bonding time. The next night, however, we put her right back in her crib. Call me selfish...but I want to cuddle with my husband! Our bed's just not big enough for all of us and I see only benefits in fostering independance and self-soothing at this stage.
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C.P. answers from Cincinnati on March 04, 2008
We co sleep. Always have - save a short time with our first when we listened to others against what we beleived. I am a HUGE advocate for breasfeeding and that is a big part for me. When your baby is next to you he/she can nurse as needed throughout the night.I personally disagree with crying it out, it is proven to be damaging to the child.
Also - about SIDS. Co sleeping is not a risk factor for that - in fact it PREVENTS SIDS. Babies who are at risk in co sleeping situation are preventable, like any other place in parenting you have to do it properly. Don't take any drugs - or drink alcohol and co sleep...never sleeping pills, always be aware of your baby don't sleep on acouch - keep covers and pillows to a minimum - there is a list of things one needs to follow in order to co- sleep safely. Babies that are uhrt by co-sleeping are from parents that don't follow the rules. As far as SIDS goes, your babies chances actually decreas when you co sleep. Of course you don't know who is funding the information that a crib is "safest". Just know that it is not SIDS that hurts babies who co sleep - it is misinformed parents. I encourage you to look into the statistics and to also see what corporation may have funded the project. Also look into stories about babies who have been harmed by co-sleeping and what the reason actualy was, most likely overlaying - NOT SIDS.
I beleive that co sleeping fosters a more independent person. These are my perconnal convictions which I feel strongly about. Every mother does what she feels best for her family.
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M. answers from Columbus on March 03, 2008
Hi, I wanted to respond to your question. I am a social worker and I have heard and heard this from the pediatricians that you should not co sleep. However, I can tell you that your family member is stating nothing but the truth. I cannot explain to you the bond. It is an attachment that you can only understand when you have done it. When you are sleeping and they reach out to touch you to make sure you are there, when they fall asleep holding one of your fingers because you are their hero. I am just not sure how to explain to you the feeling. The security that my child feels when he is next to us. I slept with my parents and I turned out to be fine and alive and my son is four and alive. I guess it all depends. Yes, there is a risk of SIDS but there is also the same risk if you read the statistics of them dying of SIDS in their cribs. Society is so engage into making us so independent from birth that we are told to do this and that and don't do this or that. I followed my heart and I felt that having him close was the best for our relationship. It is diff. for everyone but that is what works for us. I hope this gives you some insight into why some parents do it. Really, it's a matter of what feels right for your family. But once again the bond and the relationship is unexplainable.
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S.W. answers from Cincinnati on March 04, 2008
I am surprised that you have not been able to find research in support of co-sleeping. Just check out some of the stuff from James Mckenna:
La Leche League is also very supportive of co-sleeping.
Here's another great article explaining the risks of crib sleeping vs cosleeping:
So, there are indeed many supportive organizations and research studies. Many women who cosleep are educated on the subject, as well as on a variety of other parenting topics. It often goes hand in hand with successful breastfeeding, especially making it through the first few months.
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C.P. answers from Kokomo on March 04, 2008
A., I will respond directly to some of your concerns-as an pediatric RN, Lactation consultant and Mom. yep, sleep with my kids, my oldest didn't sleep with us much till about 15 months, then she did a combo of our bed/our room/her bed till about 5. She is now 9, goes to bed without any difficulty on her own, in her own bed. Our youngest who is now 5, has slept with a combo of me/my husband/both since about 5 weeks. She has nights on her own in her bed, about 2-4x week. My pediatrician and I have come to an agreement that I am a proper-cosleeping momma.in other workds cosleeping in correct terms in SAFER than not...but there are guidelines, which I will refer to. RESEARCH has proven it to be safer. Again, SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome....babies who die cobedding are almost always a suffucation death-not sids, and indeed done with poor cosleeping practices. If it is simply an issue of SIDS, then formula feeding and smoking is what drastically increases their risk..not co-sleeping. When you look at the research many "cosleeping" deaths are actually, cosleeping on the couch (duh), moms who are on meds/narcotics/sleeping pills/ drunk dad/ improper sleeping conditions: too many pillows, too hot, waterbed, improper fitting mattress, squished against the wall etc. That's dumb parenting, not co-sleeping perse that killed those babies.
http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/faq.html This is the web site that details the research and guidelines for cosleeping. Dr McKenna is foremost on cosleeping. Now, on to sex. yeah we have sex, plenty now. Many times it was in the living room, sometimes we took our dtr to her bed after she was asleep..she would stay in her room once asleep. I don't think it ever interefered with our sex life. BUT my husband and I 100% agree on having the girls in/out of our beds...that is the foundation of our marriage, we agree on this so we find ways to make it work. I have found working with moms on a daily basis that this is a great way of parenting for many moms...and also understand some moms are not up to it. I certainly don't fault them for not wanting to sleep with their babies, just understand we all parent in different ways, and most kids who have loving parents turn out just fine! This was all said with kind heart and an earnest desire to answer the questions you have. Hope it helps!
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D.W. answers from Jacksonville on March 05, 2008
I am against co-sleeping because of the intimacy with my spouse. I believe whole-heartedly that the love between your spouse should be stronger than the love between your children. They are obviously different kinds of love but without your spouse you wouldn't have the kids. I wouldn't want to jeopridize my marriage because, lets face it, it happens, so I could have this special bond that co-sleepers say exists. I am VERY close to my children and I work 20-30 hours a week and my kids sleep in their own rooms. I see people who smoke around their kids which also increases the risk of SIDS, but just like I can't make them quit I can't convince a co-sleeper to stop. Just like a co-sleeper couldn't convince me to start. Each family does different things and I respect that.
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C.J. answers from Youngstown on March 03, 2008
I am not against it, nor am I completely for it. My children as infants ( as well as my 4 month old now), have slept in my room in thier own bed which was right next to my bed ( touching my bed), because when my infants are new or young, I want them right there, so I can hear them for feedings, as well as I have always been afraid of sids and I felt if they were close to me then I could watch them through the night, and not have to keep getting up.. it made me feel at ease, also, with this new one, I have a 6yr old daughter that has mama hen syndrome, so by keeping the baby next to me, I can make sure that my daughter isnt "helping" in the middle of the night, once again for my own sanity and for the protection of "big" sister, But.. I have allowed my children to sleep in my bed, for me it started when me and my ex husband split up, my daughter was about almost 2 and I would wake to find her lying on the floor by my bed sleeping with her blanket, I think she had a fear that i was going to leave too.. So I told her if you wake up you can get in bed with mommy ( I didnt want my daughter sleeping on the floor), so from time to time she would get in bed with me, if she woke in the middle of the night, then it became the same with my son, if my children are sick I have let them sleep with me, so that I could watch them, if they have nightmares and wake up I do not tell them they cant, they are 6 and 4 now and from time to time they do, it doesnt bother me, I am a mom 24 hours a day sometimes they just need me. When they are infants I normally do not put them in bed with me, only for my fear of hurting them, suffocation ect.. But.. my infant now had rsv, she was really sick a few weeks ago, and I was battling a temp with her all night, I did put her inbetween me and my husband.. and she finally fell asleep, she hadnt slept hardly at all in 2 days and I was considering taking her to the hospital.. her temp had gone down and she was sleeping.. I left her there, and the three of us were able to sleep for 3 hours. So I guess I am a middle of the road person, I sometimes do co-sleep and sometimes I dont, but my children all have thier own beds and thier own rooms. Ive given you a few of my reasons hope this helps.
J.M. answers from Evansville on March 09, 2008
Well, wasn't sure if you needed to hear anymore about co-sleeping, but i'll tell you, i have 6 children, ages twins who just turned 1, up to age 16. My first 4 slept with me because it made nursing easier and i loved having them in the bed with me. I never had a fear of rolling over on them or suffocating them. But it was hard getting them to sleep in their own beds, but they finally did. with my twins, i would prefer them not sleeping with me and my husband, it's too crowded, but that's the only way i can get any sleep, even if its not good sleep. Not sure how i'm going to get them out of our bed! But i do think co-sleeping is a personal decision and not for everyone. In the beginning with my twins, they both slept on me! I didn't get any sleep that way, their every wiggle and squirm disturbed me! But for awhile that's the only way they would sleep and even tho i was extremely sleep deprived, i never feared suffocating them either and they never fell off of me.