The Real Dangers of Co-Sleeping
Thank you for bearing with me for the past two weeks while we reset our life by three zip codes. I’m feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and we are now completely unpacked in the downstairs bathroom. And here I thought we’d be unpacking for months -- we’ll be living out of boxes for the next two years!
The first few days in the new house, Danny had a difficult time sleeping. So instead of listening to his soul piercing cries from two rooms over, I brought my mama’s boy into bed for nighttime cuddles. His Cheshire grin was enough to erase all the dangers of co-sleeping from my mind that I’ve learned in the past 16 months… until I was beaten in the face by that charming Cheshire grin with my cell phone at 6 a.m.
Opponents of co-sleeping have gone to great depths to caution parents about bringing their children into the lion’s den at night. I have to disagree with the experts on this one. I’m convinced it’s the parents who are putting their own well-being in jeopardy. And worse yet, there is not one word of caution to us about it -- no parenting articles, no books, no videos, nothing -- at least until now. My fear is, if I don’t get the word out about the dangers of co-sleeping to parents, parents will be an endangered species before the turn of the decade.
Based on my own experiences, I’ve created a short list of the top threats that older babies and toddlers pose to their parents in a co-sleeping environment. I’m sure there are millions more, so feel free to add your own dangers in the comment section below. Together, we must create awareness!
1. The midnight caller. Parents should be warned against bringing any kind of cellular device into bed with them or within a toddler’s reach. Unless, of course, you don’t mind being bludgeoned in the head with your cell phone before dawn.
2. Eye love you, daddy! So much so, that little Johnny is going to take that cute little finger of his and jab it right through your sleepy eyelid! I would imagine this is why God gave us two.
3. The toddler chokehold. They may be little, but they are mighty. Be aware of your little one’s sleeping position at all times. One minute they’re lovingly sleeping in the crook of your arm, and the next, they’re lying sideways across your throat cutting off life sustaining oxygen to your brain.
4. The fish hook. I’m sure that to a toddler, the two black holes in mommy’s nose may seem like a magnificent curiosity, but to a mom, there is nothing curious about being jarred awake by your child trying to dig your brains out through your nostril.
5. The bitch slap. A more common threat to parents worldwide, this danger is more likely to occur during the morning hours. The bitch slap may be a rude awakening to the parent of an impatiently hungry toddler who wants their damn cheerios right now.
6. A leaky pipe. While many parents have narrowly escaped the warm piss puddle left in the middle of the bed from our cuddle bugs, unfortunately a vast majority have not. If after reading these hazards you still choose to co-sleep with your little one, be sure to wear your rain coat.
7. Open wide! A more hazardous threat to parents who snore or sleep with their mouths open. Some enterprising toddlers will shove any random object that they can find on the night table into their parent’s open mouth. We’ve just moved out to the woods. My fear is that I’ll wake up one day chewing on a daddy longlegs, but I’m sure there are parents who have awoken to much worse.
8. Niagara Falls. If you survived #6 and #7, you might be able to hold your breath long enough to endure a face full of the water you left on the night stand last night. If you must sip on something in the middle of the night, I would recommend to use a spill proof sippy cup.
9. Karate Kid. Every toddler has a firm grasp on the roundhouse kick. And every toddler is scheming to use it on an unconscious victim. Don’t be a victim -- swaddle them til they’re 18!
10. The titty twister. Whether male or female, there is something traumatizing about being woken up with your toddler trying to stretch your nipple across the foot board. Moms, wear your bra to bed. Dads, if you’re too masculine to protect your mammories with a lacy number from Victoria's Secret, duct tape works just as well.
Photo Credit: janetmck.