Family Magazine

A Rant

By Melody S
I recently came across a guest post on a parenting website, entitled "5 reasons not to let your child sleep with you". Intrigued, I clicked on it, to see what insights the author had that I was unaware of. Holy garbage! The entire post was full of inaccuracies, untruths, and outright lies. Clearly, the author is against co-sleeping, which is fine, to each their own. However, one should be able to make their point without resorting to deception and scare tactics. 
Here is a summary of the author's arguments (her exact words are in orange). 
Reason #1: Co-sleeping is bad for yours (and baby's) sleep
"Having your baby sleep with you could severely interrupt your sleep pattern and needs. Most parents find themselves constantly waking up to check on the child lying next to them. Not only could it affect your sleep but your child’s sleep. Babies complete a sleep cycle every 50-60 minutes and slight movement or noise coming from you could disturb that. It is best for both you and your child’s sleep habits that you sleep separately."

Seriously? Don't babies spend 9 months surrounded by movement and sound? Do they not routinely fall asleep in cars and swings, precisely because of the movement? Surely both mom's and baby's sleep is less disrupted when neither one has to wake fully for feedings. And if baby does wake more often because of "slight movement or noise", then she gets to top up on milk before drifting back to sleep. Mommy is less engorged, and baby has a full belly. Win-win.
Reason #2: Co-sleeping hurts your relationship with your partner
"Most new parents don’t realize how much change between you and your partner once you have your first child. Everything changes. A way to keep constant with your partner is to keep the bedroom your private sanctuary. Inviting your child in to your bed will slowly push you and your partner further from each other. Pillow talk and intimacy disappear when you have a child sleeping between you." 

The bedroom is not supposed to be a "private sanctuary" The baby is supposed to sleep in the parents' bedroom for at least the first 6 months. Whether she's in the bed or in a bassinet, baby's going to witness whatever goes down between her parents. Furthermore, the baby should not be between you, as the authors suggests. Safe co-sleeping involves the baby sleeping beside mom, leaving plenty of room for snuggles and pillow talk between the adults. Problem solved. 
Reason #3: Co-sleeping leads to wimpy, dependent kids
"Parents want their children to grow up to be independent and self-sufficient; allowing your child sleep with you, makes that difficult for the child to attain. A child gets accustomed to the fact they only way to fall asleep is to be next to Mom and Dad. Your child should be able to fall asleep without any aid. These issues will carry into other parts of your child’s life, school, team sports and friends." 

Again, utter nonsense. This same argument could be used against children sleeping with a mobile, with a favorite blanket, or with music. I love how she refers to a sleep routine as an "issue", as though it were something that needed to be remedied, and that might carry into "other parts of your child's life". I really don't see how having a routine of any kind can be  automatically considered to be dysfunctional. I have yet to meet an adult who still sleeps with mommy and daddy. In fact, I have yet to meet an 8-year-old who still sleeps with their parents. Or maybe everyone I know was just fortunate enough to overcome their "issues"...  
Reason #4: There might come a time when baby isn't able to co-sleep, and they will become anxious
"Just like any daily routine your child becomes accustomed to a certain way and when that routine is interrupted they don’t respond well. Sleeping in Mom and Dad’s bed every night will make vacations, visiting grandmother’s and sleepovers miserable for your child and you. Not to mention school naps." 

This point doesn't even warrant a discussion, but here goes...What if baby stays at Grammie and Grampie's house and they don't have Count Chocula like at home? Or they use blue towels instead of yellow? Apparently any small deviation in the child's daily routine will be devastating to them. Maybe we should give our kids a little more credit. 
Reason #5: Co-sleeping is unsafe. Why would you want to hurt your child?

"the chances of something happening to your child increase when they are in bed with you. There have been reports of deaths caused by suffocation and strangulation. Scary but it is a fact. Parents can accidently roll over their child during their sleep, or the child can fall and get stuck between the headboard and mattress. Just be careful and aware of the possible harm that can happen."

Yep, bad things can and do happen. Unfortunately they also happen when baby sleeps in a crib. When the proper precautions are taken, co-sleeping is very safe.

Aargh! What a frustrating article! Is it so hard to do a little research before writing on a topic that you're obviously grossly unfamiliar with!?
You can read the full post here.

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