As you all may know I recently wrote a post on sleep training and how I was struggling with my son’s 4-month sleep regression. I promise I have part 2 coming up, but it appears as soon as I thought we were past the regression, its still rearing its ugly head. However, I wanted to take a moment to discuss roomsharing and co-sleeping/bed-sharing, because those are two of the things we’ve been doing to cope with the sleep regression. Although many do both of these, or even one or the other by choice, we are not. Well at least the bed-sharing part. Nonetheless, its what works for us for the time being, and it allows us to get some sleep.
When I was pregnant, I never really felt too overly strong about whether or not to roomshare with my child. I did, however, feel strongly about not bedsharing/co-sleeping. I thought it was weird and a bit too crunchy for the likes of me. Little did I know I would be doing it. You see, bedsharing/co-sleeing was a complete and total foreign concept to me, because my parents rarely, and I mean RARELY, let me sleep in their bed when I a kid. If I fell asleep, they always returned me to my own bed and made sure I fell asleep on my own. Even though I was the youngest and only girl, I got no special bed-sharing privileges. As a child, and even now I have a hard time falling asleep. To be completely honest, I’m just not a big sleeper, never have been. Plus, I’m a bonafide night-owl. I’m pretty sure my mom is to blame for this. I don’t think she’s slept a rested night since 1978 (when my oldest brother was born).
I had always planned to roomshare until my son was at least 6 months old. My husband has always been totally fine with this as well. We knew we wanted little bub close by while he was little. I honestly didn’t mind doing it for up to a year if I felt necessary. The first 1 year of a child’s life is crucial, especially the first 6 months. So much development takes place during that time, and babies can have many ups and downs.
In research on this topic, I have come across many viewpoints from several sources. So, objectively speaking here’s the short rundown:
– According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) the practice of room-sharing is a way to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
– Cosleeping is a widespread practice in many non-Western cultures. However, differences in mattresses, bedding, and other cultural practices may account for the lower risk in these countries as compared with the United States.
– Parents have less anxiety about SIDS, since baby is right there with them
– More convenient
– Makes it easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync with her baby’s
– Helps babies fall asleep more easily, especially during their first few months and when they wake up in the middle of the night
– Helps babies get more nighttime sleep (because they awaken more frequently with shorter duration of feeds, which can add up to a greater amount of sleep throughout the night)
-Helps parents who are separated from their babies during the day regain the closeness with their infant that they feel they missed
– U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation.
– Co-sleeping may increase the risk of SIDS, especially cosleeping environments involving mothers who smoke.
– Hidden hazards for babies on adult beds, including:
• suffocation when an infant gets trapped or wedged between a mattress and headboard, wall, or other object
• suffocation resulting from a baby being face-down on a waterbed, a regular mattress, or on soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, or quilts
• strangulation in a bed frame that allows part of an infant’s body to pass through an area while trapping the baby’s head
• Sharing a bed with a baby can sometimes prevent parents from getting a good night’s sleep.
• Separation anxiety for baby.
*This post is not a discussion on SIDS, so I have refrained from including an extra information about it, other than the pros/cons listed above. If you would like to know more about SIDS and the many risk factors for it, please Google it. As I will not be discussing it in detail in this post.
For a new parent like myself, much of this information is and can be extremely overwhelming. This is especially true if you never really put too much thought into from the jump. For every piece of information that supports it, there’s ten more that don’t. At this point, I’m doing what works for my family. I try my best to remain objective when it comes to parenting, and at the end of the day I want my son to be safe and feel secure. I want to instill confidence and independence in him, and no I do not think that co-sleepng or room-sharing negativity affects either one. Confidence and independence are instilled in so many others, but one of the ways that I know it is instilled is by diligent parenting and building strong relationships. I do believe that having our child close by does this, along with many other things. I know that every family is different and what works for them, may not work for mines, and vice versa.
If you are considering co-sleeping or bed sharing, please do your research about it. I am neither advocating, suggesting, or intend to influence anyone to do it. It works for my family right now, but we do plan on transitioning my son to his own room and bed when we are in a position to do so. I am more than confident that he will adjust just fine and sleep through the night by that time.
I seriously do have part 2 of Sleepless in Atlanta coming up soon, so stay tuned for the follow up!
I realize this issue can be quite controversial, as with nearly every issue when it comes to parenting. However, I would love to hear you thoughts! – What worked for you? What didn’t?