Co-Sleeping--Approve or disapprove? Why?
About 50% of parents, especially single parents, co-sleep with younger children. Is this safe? Is it acceptable? How can it be helpful for the child and how can it be a hinderance for the child? Does it make the child feel safer or does it prohibit individual thinking?
I think it enables a child to grow up feeling more confident. Little ones have emotional needs that they cannot voice and co-sleeping is one way to fulfill them. I think as they get older, it is important to start transitioning them into their own bed or room, but when to do this varies with each child. You need to follow your instinct, and when you get that feeling that it is time to make your child learn to sleep alone but a part of you is resisting because it is easier not to, you need to go with that feeling!
I think it is the way human kind survived in the past. Little ones were sleeping with or next to their parents to be safe and protected. Throughtout the history parents slept with their children, only the richest people didn't but often they hired women called wet nurses who not only breastfed but usually were required to co-sleep with a baby.
Honestly, if we didn't co-sleep I wouldn't be able to lift my toddler's head when she was asleep and choking on her vomit. To me, co-sleeping, done in a safe way, was a valuable bonding tool. It also gave me, a mother, more sleep and certainty that my babies are safe, sound so I could easily relax and fall back to sleep instead of listening to the sounds coming from their bedroom. To my children it was being where they felt loved and secure, next to their mama. Co-sleeping seems to be a natural instinct of any mother, as long as she is not convinced by the society about the dangers of it.
The only real dangers are if parents are drunk or drugged or smoking or seriously ill. Or if you put your baby in a bed without a bedrail. We put our mattress on the floor.
I think there is a reason so many people struggle with getting their babies to sleep independently-- we just weren't made to sleep apart.
My 21 month old has the flu right now. Around midnight when he started vomiting, I was right there to help him. At 4:30 am when his fever spiked I knew it because I felt how hot he was. As sleep deprived as I am, it still woke me up. If he had been in his crib, there is no telling how high his fever would have gotten.
Will I want him sleeping with me when he is older? No. But right now, I feel like he belongs there, at least part of the time.
Sorry for any typos--the baby has just fallen back to sleep, so I am headed back to bed!
I think it depends on the child and the marriage (or lack of one). I feel that it would be much harder for married couples to co-sleep, as it could negatively impact a couple's love life or general sleeping habits. Some couples probably don't have any issues, but for ones that have serious issues, having the kids sleep in their own rooms would probably be better--after all, happy, well-rested parents with a thriving marriage will ultimately be better for the kids! That said, I think it's important for parents who don't co-sleep to provide plenty of hugging and carrying when they do spend time with the child, as physical bonding is so important for development.
Regardless, I think the trick is to show consistency--letting a child co-sleep for a few nights in a row, then leaving them in their own room for a few nights, then bringing them back...That would confuse them and create stress, whereas habit and gradual transitioning will ease them into any sleeping arrangement.
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