Coming Out of the Cosleeping Closet
That’s right: I cosleep with my baby. It is not something I do because I’m too lazy or inept to make him sleep on his own, or because I have some unhealthy need to make him overly dependent on me, or because I am simply too stupid to know better. It was not a “bad habit” that we formed. It is a conscious decision that I made based on research and what felt right for us.
This is a topic that has come up a lot for me recently. There’s been discussions with fellow co-sleepers about lying about our sleeping practices, comments from family and friends about how I need to just put him in his own bed, and a couple of blog posts condemning cosleeping as unsafe, unhealthy, and even abusive. Frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m tired of constantly explaining my parenting choices. I’m tired of feeling like I need to hide something that is very rewarding and healthy for my child and I.
There were two blog posts in particular that inspired my response. One, which I cannot seem to find again, angrily condemned all cosleeping parents and claimed that the practice is a form of child abuse. (What, you provide loving care to your infant all night long from the warmth and comfort of your own bed! What horrible parenting!) The other is somewhat less offensive, simply stating that the practice is too risky to be beneficial. It mentions that cosleeping encourages more breastfeeding, helps both mothers and babies get more sleep during the night because wakings are more frequent but shorter, and helps build a strong attachment between mother and baby–all of which he claims are unimportant. Oh, yes, sleep, nourishment, and attachment are all unimportant to a growing baby.
Interestingly, both of these posts were written by men. I have no idea if either one of them have children or not. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and I respect that. However, I would like to take this opportunity to present the other side of the story.