So since my blog home page has a picture showing me sleeping in a bed next to my two boys (which is termed ‘co-sleeping’), I thought I should make sure to have a post that deals with this topic. If you surf the internet you will see that this is a hot topic with people on both sides of the issue. If you happen to let your child’s doctor know that you co-sleep, you will certainly get an earful about how dangerous it is and the doctor will most likely tell you that you’ll kill your child if you do it. I know that doctors are supposed to be the experts that you should listen to, but when it comes to your kids, I believe that you are the expert.
Now, since this is my post, I will tell you of my experience with co-sleeping. For both of my sons, my wife and I co-slept with them from the moment they were born to when they were finished breastfeeding (which was either a year or 20 months) and they are both still alive. Now that they are 3 and 6 years old there are still circumstances where we will share a bed with them. We have never had an issue where their safety was at risk. In fact, if we were to ever get any sleep when our boys were infants, and now when they get sick or have nightmares, we have to co-sleep in order to get rest for both them and us. While we have found it to be good, we’ve had to endure complaints from doctors and other parents.
First off, from what I can find, co-sleeping deaths are rare. Also, most of the studies that tally the amount of deaths, usually don’t make a specific distinction as to whether the death occurred in a bed or a couch or other piece of furniture. If you were to just focus on instances where the child and parent were sleeping in a bed the chance of death to the child is greatly reduced (so don’t nap on the couch with your baby). More to the point, many of the deaths that occur are deemed as having been due to SIDS and not by the parent crushing the child. But if you did any research into SIDS you would find that doctors have no clear idea what causes SIDS so to link it to co-sleeping just isn’t factual. Yes, there are studies that show co-sleeping increases the occurrence of SIDS, but without knowing what causes SIDS I wouldn’t suggest jumping to conclusions, as other factors are involved.
Besides being considered dangerous, a lot of people also consider co-sleeping weird. These are the people who would put their newborn infant in a crib, alone in their own room, and consider this a normal way of doing things. I don’t know about you, but it seems a little cold and unfeeling to me. Not sure how I grew up with another way of looking at it, but this seems like a robotic way to treat a tender young baby. There are many people who even talk about, ignoring a crying child in their crib, so that the infant will realize that you won’t come to soothe them every time they cry. That seems a little barbaric to me, and there are studies that I’ve read about that, instead of making children more independent, this kind of treatment actually causes the reverse while also lowering their overall IQ.
There are many reasons why I like co-sleeping. Like I already said, it actually kept my sons asleep. If they ever got sick, feverish, or had any trouble breathing during the night, I knew about it immediately and could respond to it in real time instead of potentially letting my child suffer or develop more severe symptoms during the night. I mean, ask yourself, would a baby monitor always allow you to know if your child threw up? How would you feel to find your child in a pool of cold vomit in the morning because you decided they would be fine all night long on their own and you didn’t hear them crying? Would you think about what might have happened if they choked on the vomit? And what about fevers? Will a baby monitor let you know if your child has a high temperature? Of course not. Diarrhea, shortness of breath, and many other maladies can be missed if your child is in another room and your baby monitor is not sensitive enough to hear such things. And what if your baby monitor gets unplugged, loses charge, or you just forget to turn it on? Co-sleeping allows you to know the moment something happens to your child’s health, whether it causes them to make a sound or not.
Other people make a case against co-sleeping as it kills the chance for parents to have sex, thus causing the relationship between the parents to suffer. Really? I mean come on, in the first few months after giving birth, my wife could hardly poop, let alone have sex! If you’ve just had a baby, and haven’t reevaluated what sex means to you and your life, than you’re simply not paying attention. There were many times while taking care of my sons while they were an infant, and thinking to myself that I would never think of sex the same way again. I mean, my orgasm produced this amazing yet extremely needy and loud creature that completely changed my way of life. I guess what I’m saying is that whether you co-sleep or not, you’re not going to get laid very much in the first year after having a baby, so just deal with it.
Now, even though I’ve made such a clear case for co-sleeping, I will lay out some things that you should consider first. If you have a small bed that barely allows enough room for whoever is sleeping in it as well as the child, then perhaps you shouldn’t co-sleep. If you are a smoker, don’t co-sleep (and more importantly, don’t smoke at all if you have a child, especially an infant – their lungs simply can’t take the off gassing of the smoke that accumulates in your clothing, hair, and skin). If you are a deep sleeper and know that you move around a lot while sleeping, you should probably not co-sleep. If none of that applies to you, than go for it. If you know that you can be aware of your child next to you while you sleep, it is not going to be a problem. There are so many benefits to it, and the fear and pressure that other people try to throw at you is simply not justified.
While listening to experts seems like a no-brainer. I contend that when it comes to your child, your home, and your parenting choices, you are the expert and you should listen to yourself more. Whether it’s your first child or some other multiple, people are going to tell you what to do concerning your child, whether you ask their advice or not. It’s really hard not to want to give up control, and let others make decisions for you, but when you’re a parent your child deserves for you to make choices for them based on who they are. Not all children are the same, in fact, every child is different from every other child. You simply cannot make all your decisions based on statistics that so called ‘experts’ try drown you in. As a parent you are the expert on your child as you are the one who is constantly there and observing how they are unique. If your child falls asleep in their crib with no problems, than great! I guess you can worry about some other issue. However, if your child simply will not stop crying when you put them by themselves in their crib and seem to want to be with you throughout the night, than make a decision on what to do based on your own opinion.