Tag Archives: why co-sleep

I’m Calling Shenanigans on the Anti-co-Sleeping Stance

24 Feb

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The other night, after a long day of breastfeeding and grocery shopping, paying bills, cooking chili and who knows what else because I can’t keep up anymore, I laid in bed, finally relaxed, photowith one arm slipped around my sweet baby boy. His chubby little hand gripped my finger and my other arm rested on my husband’s shoulder. At that moment my heart fluttered as I thought, this is the best night of my life. Does it get any better than this? Did you just throw up in your mouth?

I didn’t actually think that last part, but I wanted to check in on you for a sec.

So I had my disgustingly gushy moment and then I told Matt, “I know we should’t let him fall asleep in our bed like this but we don’t normally do this.” When those guilt-stricken words were spoken aloud I realized that I could not have sounded more absurd. Because, really, let’s teach this three-month-old a lesson by making him cry in his bed. Let’s not snuggle up together, because that will really show him the right way to act.

Meanwhile, our sweet baby started snoring like an old fat man and then I really did want to lay him in his bassinet, but that’s veering from my point. Back to the co-sleeping issue and namely the guilt trip we get as parents who choose to bed-share. Because isn’t there this underlying tinge of hesitation you hear in a mom or dad’s voice when they quietly admit they’ve been co-sleeping for the past two years? Safety issues aside, and you can discuss safe bed-sharing techniques with your pediatrician, I’m more concerned with this unspoken idea that we are weak parents for allowing our kid to sleep with us.

I started doing the math. And let’s say, for all extreme purposes, we assume this lil’ guy will sleep with us until he’s five years old. Folks, that’s 1,825 days of co-sleeping. If you live to be 78 years old – today’s life expectancy – that’s approximately 6.4% of your life. I don’t know many people who co-sleep until their child is five years old, but I’ve done the math for you just in case.

In my humble opinion, it just isn’t very long.

It’s rare that a family chooses to only co-sleep. I normally hear about some combination that involves a nursery or baby sleeping in a bassinet. But regardless of your dedication to the practice, I’m calling shenanigans on the whole anti-co-sleeping regime.

No matter how you slice this pie, 6.4% of your life spent co-sleeping – the extreme measure here – is not something you’re probably going to regret. If parents have personal reasons for choosing to place that dear baby in a crib – as in it just ain’t jiving and we don’t want to hear the lil’ fat man snore – then by all means, do what you need to do. I’ll be there cheering you on (metaphorically speaking; I won’t creepily visit your house wearing a cheerleading uniform with my stretch-mark fat rolls peeking out and….ok, I took this one too far).

BUT for those who want to snuggle up with that little person and may be having reservations, I for one am not going to perpetuate the guilt trip. I say, have the “best night of your life” for the 6.4% of the total time you’re allotted here on earth.

Because, “dear God, I can’t get this teenager to stop sleeping in my bed,” said no one….ever.

And there will come a time, dear friend, when our homes will be filled with the wrath of an angry, confused, moody, but hopefully still lovable, teenager. And we’ll miss the 6.4% of our life filled with toothless grins, belly laughs, milky mouths and falling asleep with one arm wrapped around that perfect little angel.

So do it up, dear parents. Co-sleep till your heart’s content.

Share your sleeping setup. What works for you and your family? 

P.S. If you want to discuss research and safety issues related to bed-sharing, you can do that here.

P.S.S. G is not snoring anymore, thank goodness. And I joke about it here, but snoring could actually a pretty serious concern. You can read about that here.

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