If you are a frequenter of “mommy blogs,” then you know that there really is no more polarizing topic for today’s parents than co-sleeping. Ok, maybe breastfeeding older children and breastfeeding in public are close seconds, but co-sleeping still reigns supreme as “most controversial.”
Now, you may not be entirely aware of the buzzword, but we’re sure that you understand the practice; co-sleeping simply refers to a family sharing a single room, or even bed. This can mean different things to different families–some may only practice co-sleeping while their children are in infancy with the baby sleeping in a bed in the same room, while others may share a family-bed, a practice that might continue well into the child’s adolescence.
Proponents of co-sleeping, which include the American Academy of Pediatrics, state that infants, particularly those 6 months old and younger actually should sleep in the same room as their parents– but just on a separate surface, like in a bassinet or crib. The organization says that this form of co-sleeping can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleeping-related deaths in infants.
Parents who practice co-sleeping also seem to like it; they say that it can improve sleep for both the parents the child because it makes night-time breastfeeding much less laborious. Oh, and some say that it’s also just really nice to wake up to a nice, snuggly baby!
But, “warm and fuzzies” aside, there are many misleading “tips” currently floating around the internet that take the topic of co-sleeping into odd and sometimes dangerous territories. Here are 5 co-sleeping tips that were made to be ignored…
Avoid co-sleeping at all costs
If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll remember that the AAP actually recommends co-sleeping over the alternative because it is, in fact, safer. Of course, it’s the choice of the family if they want to continue co-sleeping after 6 months, the mark when SIDS cases go down drastically–but for the first half-year of life, it’s a great recommendation to follow!
Co-sleeping is always a safer alternative
Again, if you’ve been paying close attention, then you’ll know that parents need to follow very strict guidelines to ensure that their little one is safe when they co-sleep. Luckily, the rules are quite easy: the baby must sleep on a separate surface (crib, bassinet, or infant-safe bed attachment) and, if possible, the baby should always be placed on the side of the breastfeeding mother. If the guidelines are deviated from in any way, you might be heightening your chances of a sleeping-related infant death.
Kids who co-sleep have a hard time transitioning into their own beds
Of course, this transition is highly-dependent on the personalities of the family, as well as the child, but there are no studies proving this idea to be true. Most childcare experts who are proponents of co-sleeping recommend the “fading method” to help ease the transition. This simply entails the parents staying close to the child until the child goes to sleep. Once the child is safely in dreamland the parent can quietly “fade” away. C’mon parents, we’ve all done that trick before, right?
Co-sleeping kills the sex lives of the parents
Sure, co-sleeping may put a damper on some parents’ “nightly routine,” but that doesn’t mean that they need to be abstinent until the child transitions to their own bed. Call a sitter or schedule true alone time alone together; don’t worry, those 6 months will go by faster than you think!
Co-sleeping is devoid of benefits
We hate to ask you this again, but…HAVEN’T YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION?! Co-sleeping absolutely comes with benefits, particularly for the family’s sanity as well as the child’s safety. Even if you can’t wait to kick that kid out of the room right at the 6-month mark, you can rest easy knowing that you did your job in keeping them safe at night. Good on you, you wonderful parent, you!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on co-sleeping! Do you practice this parenting technique? If so, how do you find that it helps your family? Do you have any tips for transitioning babies to their own beds?