Co-sleeping is often a topic for debate. There are the camps absolutely pro co-sleeping and then the polarised opposite who say absolutely no way. Parents are told to wade through mountains of conflicting information and make their own decision. It’s not easy to decide what is right for you and your baby.
Sleep deprived parents are faced with nay-sayers spelling doom and gloom. ‘You will smother your baby!’ they warn. Trusted health professionals are often less than supportive of co-sleeping. Why? Because this is what they are taught and their job is to teach the philosophy of their employer. Many mums may feel the want or need to sleep with their child but feel overwhelmed or scared because of the barrage of negative information they can be receiving.
The anti-co-sleeping message begins almost at birth.
Mothers aren’t allowed to co-sleep at hospital and most hospital have a policy of no co-sleeping. There are reasons behind these policies of course but the reasons are often not shared. This in itself plants a negative attitude towards co-sleeping before you even have a chance to think and establish your own sleep philosophies. This leads many parents to think that co-sleeping is seen as a fringe thing, done by rabid attachment parents, or only by different ethnic groups.
The reality of course is that lots of parents dabble in co-sleeping, some delight in it but some can feel guilty about. Most of these are not hard-core attachment parents, just normal mums like you! Fear of co-sleeping is often further emphasised when you are brave enough to stand up and say, ‘We will be co-sleeping’. The usual response to this statement is to be met with a list of reasons and circumstances when co-sleeping is not safe.
So when parents actually want an early morning snuggle or a night with bub why are they made to feel guilty, worried and scared of being judged for enjoying a cuddle in bed with their little one? I tell parents to cuddle their babies but put their own parameters on it. I believe that casual co-sleeping is great – if it makes you and your baby happy this is what is important! Even if you do not like or do not choose to co-sleep with your baby, sometimes a casual cuddle in bed can be the very thing that both of you need.
There are a number of reasons when a ‘one night stand’ with bub is a great idea, especially when your child appears to need additional comfort of monitoring during the night:
1. Growth spurts
4. Separation anxiety
5. You just want to!
Co-sleeping is a parent’s choice. It is not a right or wrong choice. Simply the best choice for you and your family. I wish you and your child good sleep, no matter what you choose!
About the Author: Leisa Breed of Insyncwithinfants.com created a company dedicated to working with new parents to help their baby sleep easily and peacefully. Using individualised, proven, gentle, flexible and practical ideas and habits, move from dreading your baby’s sleep time to feeling confident and happy when it comes to your baby and sleep. If you can enjoy a more content baby who’s sleep time is easy, stress free and calm you’ll be a more happy and confident parent. Leisa aims to find the best ‘way’ for your individual situation – accepting and understanding that each family has different needs and challenges.
Disclaimer: All information provided should be used in conjunction with safety guidelines such as those from SIDS and Kidsafe. Go to Sids and Kids for more information on safe sleeping
Midwife tips on safe co-sleeping can be read here
Definitions of co-sleeping and the evidence on the benefits here