Friday, May 19, 2006

"Children Should Sleep With Their Parents Until They're Five"

Hmm. Wonder if US news will pick up this story.

I have always been pro-co-sleeping. However, I was more nervous about it early on and didn't do it as much with the girls asI did with the boys. I also didn't nurse the girls as long as I did the boys (hope they don't have a complex about this later!) and wasn't quite as confident in my ways then.

Now it has become obvious to me that there is a direct correlation between length of time co-sleeping and ease of transition into the big bed (which is against 'conventional' wisdom. "If you let that baby sleep in your bed, you'll never get him out." Kinda reminds me of, "If you carry that baby in that sling everywhere you go, he'll never learn to walk." Um, yeah.)

Anyway, none of my children have trouble going to bed even though they all slept with us to some degree. Also, the boys who slept with us longest, were EASY EASY EASY making the transition to big bed. So easy. We have no problems getting Hudson to bed and to sleep, even though he was in our bed 100% of the time until earlier this year (he was born 3/03). In fact, just this week, he said, "I wanna go to bed. I'm tired." We said, "OK, give us a kiss and go get in the bed. We'll come check on you in a minute."

And that's exactly what he did. AND he went to sleep! We laughed...

Now, I will say that there are several mornings (they come in spurts) that Hudson gets in the bed with us before sunrise. It's no big deal, though. He (and all the children) are welcome in our bed if they ever need to come in. In fact, I think they are so confident in that safety-net that they never actually need it. I expect it will be too soon before I am missing those early morning cuddles.'s to all of you out there who feel that instinctual desire to have your baby in the bed with you...Do it safely, but do it. It's good for them.

Children are like fruit...they only spoil if you leave them alone for too long.

Read the article and let me know what you think.


A Friend said...

I'm a part time co-sleeper on a full time basis. ;) Luke goes to sleep in his own bed. In the middle of the night he wants to join us. Chris can't sleep with him in the bed cuz he's a bit of a wriggler and a sideways sleeper, so I take him in the other room and we continue that way. I love cuddling with the boy. He's like a little heater. So far, this has worked out fine for us.

Ryan said...

I see no problem with this. The only reason I do't like our oldest sone in bed is because he flops and flips all over the place! He has been in and out of our bed since birth.

He usually comes in about 4 or 5 each morning.

Our other son sleeps better when he is by himself...All kids are different I suppose.

Stacy said...

Jen & Ryan - both of you make excellent points that I didn't bring out in the original post. I don't think sleeping with baby is a REQUIREMENT (and certainly not until age 5) but I believe that if Mom wants it, baby wants it, and Dad can be cool about sharing Mom (and even enjoy it when possible!) that it is GOOD, not bad. If a child doesn't WANT to sleep with Mom & Dad...HOORAY :) But if they do, it will NOT harm them and is actually good for them.

I'm just glad the documentation is getting out there about the benefits of co-sleeping. All of the peds at our group really poo-poo the idea and encourage Ezzo-ish ideas (although not too strongly). I just want CO-SLEEPING to be accepted by the general population as a very acceptable investment in the future and not a risk.

A Friend said...

When Chris took Luke to the doctor recently, he told on me to the doc..:) That he was still sleeping with Mom a lot. The doc told him to tell me to come to the next appt. As if I was in trouble!!! Please.

Stacy said...

And THAT is what I hope will change. Peds have got to realize they are potentially neglecting a huge benefit for children (ESPECIALLY BABIES) by making Moms not sleep with their younguns. Evidence is building...and I hope that eventually advice will change (at least for my grandchildren).

Unfortunately, evidence-based reasoning is not the basis for much medical advice. :(

Lisa said...

My son slept in our bed pretty much 100% of the time until he was about 6 months worked great for us and I loved it. We all got great sleep and it certainly made nursing a lot easier. I was never nervous about it, but I understand why some people aren't comfortable with it. When we made the crib transition we did it because none of us were sleeping as well anymore, and he's been a great sleeper ever since. (And I'm so thankful for that!!!!!) I'm sure once he's in the "big boy bed" he'll be climbing into ours when he wakes in the middle of the night/early morning and that's fine with me. I remember doing that when I was little too - there's nothing warmer than a mama or daddy in the middle of a cold night. :)

karen said...

Ryan Slept with us 90-95 percent of the time Especially when Andy Went to work at 5am then he was with me full time . Just because he was sick and I Needed the Security :-). Ryan also slept next to me in bed in his bassinett until he was 6-7 months old.

J.D. said...

I am much more in agreement with Gina Ford, who pretty much goes against this whole philosophy. Parents need time to themselves for a little mommy-daddy time, otherwise there is going to be a huge strain on the marriage. I also believe that children need to learn that there are boundaries, and that mommy and daddy need time for each other.

I would be interested to see a survey of MALE reactions to this. My guess is that there would be an overwhelming sound of men slapping their foreheads and secretly deleting that page from their wives' bookmarks. (Ryan notwithstanding.) No matter how cool your hubby might ACT, I'm pretty sure I know what he thinks about the whole deal, since inevitably he is the one that gets kicked out of his own bed, cheated out of intimate time with his wife, and so on and so forth.

Is it harmful? No, I guess not. To be honest, I know of no measurable difference between those who grew up sleeping alone like myself and those grew up co-sleeping. But I wonder if the logic is borne less of empirical data and more of mommy's deep-seated emotional attachment to baby.

Stacy said...

Thanks for commenting Karen! Good to hear from you :)

JD, why don't you tell us how you really feel? LOL

I can assure you that co-sleeping isn't automatically a negative thing against Mommy-Daddy time. I'm sure some people who have issues might MAKE this a problem but a healthy couple can most certainly make sure that there is plenty of intimacy. Trust me, I speak from experience :)

Plus, we're all a much happier family when everyone is well-rested and secure in the safety of the family unit. I can't imagine how stressful and painful it would be if we had to fight with children every night to MAKE them sleep in their own beds. Especially in that first year. That would have been MAJOR distraction and MAJOR stress and REALLY bad for the Mommy-Daddy unit ("There's YOUR son crying again. I got up last time." -- "Oh no you didn't. You just laid there and snored." -- "You can forget it. If this is what it's like to have kids, we're never having any more." And I won't even begin to talk about how quickly that kills a breastfeeding relationship...a relationship that deserves to last at least a year)


Kids are not a nuisance. They are a blessing. Their childhood is short. Parents make a huge mistake in thinking that children are a hassle that interrupts the blissful life of living for themselves. The Christian life is not about "me me me". It's about living for God, raising Godly children, and ministering to those around you -- in and outside the family. Christians should be living a life of sacrifice for the well-being of others. Obviously God wants us to rest and take care of our marriage but that can be done without being detrimental to the children. God invented this family thing and His example has never been to lock his Children away so that He could take care of Himself.

If co-sleeping were strictly selfish, that would be one thing. But co-sleeping is beneficial for the child and therefore, for the family as a whole. What's a few years investment for a lifetime of benefit?

People don't need to have children if they can't sacrifice their own wants and sometimes needs for the benefit of their babies. Of course we often don't realize how much we CAN and are WILLING to sacrifice until we actually give birth or adopt a child of our own. Once that happens, you realize that selfish desires are just not that important any more.

Stacy said...

p.s. A good king-sized bed is VERY helpful in co-sleeping. We didn't have a king until our 4th was born but BOY OH BOY it is a luxury I wish we had splurged on WAY back in the beginning. Preggo moms should definitely put a king on their baby registries! :)

Co-sleeping doesn't kick Donnie out of the bed by the way.

Lisa said...

JD - Do you have any kids? There are a lot of things, in my experience, that you think you'll never do - until you do. Just food for thought...and said with a smile and open heart and not to tick anyone off. :) For us, we did it while it still worked for all of us - and no one was happier to be sleeping well than my husband during that time!!!