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Is co-sleeping something to be ashamed of?

(78 Posts)
emkana Thu 17-Mar-05 12:19:00

I'm reading "the fat ladies club - facing the first five years" at the moment. It's about four women and their experiences with their children.
What struck me in the book was that in the chapter on sleep the women were very apologetic about letting their children sleep in their beds, saying that they knew that it was bad parenting etc. They also seemed ashamed for being "soft" at bedtime, cuddling or feeding to sleep, feeling that it was the right thing to do to be tough and let them fall asleep by themselves. I've come across this kind of attitude many times, in RL too, and I just don't get it.

Co-sleeping is not for everyone, fair enough, and some people feel that their children should fall asleep by themselves. But why should the "soft" approach be bad parenting????? I've always co-slept with my dd1 who's nearly 4 now, and I've always fed her to sleep for as long as she wanted, and she's a great sleeper and a lovely child, so it hasn't done any harm! Shouldn't it just be personal choice, without parents being made to feel guilty if they choose to be "soft"???

suzywong Thu 17-Mar-05 12:21:16

Yes - it should be a personal choice, and it's wrong to make parents feel guilty.

emkana Thu 17-Mar-05 12:30:44

But why are parents made to feel guilty? What are people who warn against it worried about? What do they think is the worst case scenario?

psychomum5 Thu 17-Mar-05 12:33:04

I don't think you should be ashamed about any choice you make for your child...after all, your child, your choice on how to bring them up!

No...not everyone agrees with you on how you do things, but then, I am sure you don't agree with how they do some things, and therefore everyone really should start to respect other's choices and get on with theirs.

As for the co-sleeping question.....all mine have at some point co-slept with the shock of one of my very good friends. She is a huge stickler for routine, and her kiddies are all fed, bathed and bedded by 6.30pm every night. I, on the other hand, feed mine at 7pm, then they have baths and bed by 8/8.30pm. The youngest is sometimes up until 10pm (he is 2yrs). Sometimes he stays up till we go to bed, then sleeps with us. Any of the other do sometimes too...mainly only if they are ill now tho. I have also been known to lay with any of them till they drop off, or sing, or rock/cuddle them. Whatever they need to settle really. I have secure children, who settle well for babysitters, and I am happy with the routine that we have, so no, I don't feel guilty for it, or ashamed.
I think, if you do, then you obviously feel it is the wrong thing to be doing, so should make steps to change. BUT if the kiddies are happy, and well behaved, then you must be doing something right and should so carry on with what makes you and you family happy. No apologies needed!!!

MissCheef Thu 17-Mar-05 12:33:25

read this

psychomum5 Thu 17-Mar-05 12:36:07

I love the point they make on co-sleeping should be avoided if you are very tired....what parent ISN'T always very tired????????

Chandra Thu 17-Mar-05 12:39:28

This may end up being an incendiary topic as people feel very strongly pro or against it. I did not like the idea of co-sleeping for the simple reason that DS moves so much that when he was less than a week old we found him well under the duvet and once under one of my legs (blush). So I thought in our personal case he was at a higher risk sleeping with us than in his cot. But have seen people who has found it great and still sleep with their children after 4-5 yrs.

Curiously enough, my ex-best friend before children, who is co-sleeping was so annoyed about my idea of having a baby room and a cot (and using them for an under 6m old baby) that she started bad mnouthing me as the worst mother on earth with other friends, even telling them we were mistreating out newborn. After several of her comments our relationship went straight down the drain.

I so much wish we could respect more each other decisions

emkana Thu 17-Mar-05 12:42:08

I know about the SIDS advice, and I can see the thinking behind it. But in the book they're talking about toddlers of 18 months or so, when the SIDS risk doesn't exist anymore. Why not let them sleep with you then???
By the way, with dd1 I was terrified of SIDS and didn't sleep with her in the early days. With dd2 I just made sure she had plenty of room in our bed, was in a sleeping bag, well away from my duvet, and I wasn't worried at all.

I think it would be more helpful if this advice was more widely available, instead of making parents feel guilty.

boohi Thu 17-Mar-05 12:43:50

I know exactly what you mean emkana! my DD is 10 weeks and right from her first night in the hospital she wouldn't settle until i put her next to me. I love sleeping next to her and love seeing her face when we wake up in the morning but like you i've been made to feel like i'm doing something very wrong and have been very stressed out about getting her to sleep in her cot. But my DH and I have talked it over and he made relise that it's not the end of the world if she sleeps with us and we'll just try and get her used to the cot gradually...i don't know ...maybe we are being too 'soft' but i feel alot better and alot less stressed now!

vict17 Thu 17-Mar-05 12:45:30

I think it is down to personal choice too and no one should feel ashamed. I personally chose not to because I was worried about me or dh rolling onto ds, or him falling out of bed. But then if I'd seen a site like your link Emkana then I would have been more educated and perhaps I might have tried it to get more rest

Listmaker Thu 17-Mar-05 12:52:10

There is absolutely nothing 'wrong' with co-sleeping. As long as both you, your dh and your child are happy with the arrangement. I did some things that made my life a bit harder with dd1 like feeding her to sleep all the time. This meant she couldn't be left with a baby-sitter or anything but then I didn't want to leave her AT ALL! Unfortunately though I don't think it was great for my relationship with my exp - hence the ex!

My dd2 was a better sleeper from the word go and never wanted to co-sleep after the first few weeks and still doesn't sleep well in with me.

Then again I have a friend with 4 kids and they ALL co-sleep (two double beds pushed together!) and the oldest is 13! They also have no bed time routines and the kids fall asleep downstairs quite often and have to be carried to bed. This wouldn't suit me at all because I need 'me' time in the evenings to keep me sane!

Each to their own though and I'm sure her kids are certainly not damaged by any of it!

psychomum5 Thu 17-Mar-05 12:54:51

I knew all about the sids advice, and still went with how comfortable I felt about co-sleeping.
With our first, she slept in her moses basket as close to the bad as poss, so that when she woke during the night, I just had to sit up and lift her in with getting out of bed for me. She went into her own room tho at five months, and I hated it, so swore to not do it again with any subsequent babies. We then had DD2, and she HATED the moses basket with a passion (as much as a newborn can be seen to be hating anyway), and so slept with us pretty much from day one (probably day five actually, after I had had no sleep and gave in!!), and did so till she hit 6mths and got too wiggley. She then restarted after she went into her bed (again, hated it with passion!), stopping when I had DD3.....who then had the same problem. Give DD3 her due tho.......she was very poorly from birth, and was in and out of hospital monthly till she turned 5 pretty much, so for my own reassurance, she stayed with us.

With both the boys, they have come in with us when they wanted, or their own beds when they wanted. DS2 does drive me nuts at times tho at the moment, but more because he seems to think co-sleeping should involve him sleeping on top of my face and so trying to smother me!

Toothache Thu 17-Mar-05 12:59:18

It seems to be a very British opinion that babies shouldn't sleep in beside their parents! I think its ludicrous. Each to their own, but I LOVE having ds or dd in beside me. And sometimes when DH is working late I cuddle in beside ds (3.8yrs) when he's asleep.

I think it's quite unnatural to put a very young baby to sleep in a separate BED never mind a separate room!
I co-slept with ds from a very young age when it was clear it was the only way we were going to get some sleep!

When dd was born there was no question, I was breasfeeding too, so she slept in beside me. At 5 months I put her in her cot and she's fine. I'd have carried on co-sleeping with her, but she slept better on her own and doesn't enjoy being cuddled in like ds did.
But... to be politically correct.... it's everyone's own choice.

psychomum5 Thu 17-Mar-05 13:03:52

Boohi....don't ever feel soft about a personal life choice you make for your children. It sounds as tho you love co-sleeping, so continue if you want to. At the end of the day...kiddies grow all too quickly.
There will come a time when they want nothing to do with you, but until then, grasp anything you can of them.

MissCheef Thu 17-Mar-05 13:04:36

would put them in when they woke up in the morning for cuddles - but not through the night.

franke Thu 17-Mar-05 13:08:45

I also don't think there is anything wrong with co-sleeping. You have to make the decision which suits you and your child best at the time. DD slept with us until she was about 18 months and then quite happily went into her own bed in her own room. She still crawls into bed with us sometimes and we don't have a problem with it. DS (now 10 months) never slept with us - it really was his choice. Even when I was still bf at night, I would have to bring him into the bed from his cot and put him back when he'd finished. He's really cuddly in all other respects, but just doesn't seem to need that physical closeness that comes from co-sleeping.

piffle Thu 17-Mar-05 13:10:22

No to being ashamed
I did it with ds and not at all with dd (his and her choices mind you)

milward Thu 17-Mar-05 13:16:37

There's everything right with co-sleeping - I've co-slept with my dds and I'm proud to have given them the closeness and security they needed when small. I could bf on demand and when they were babys they were all so calm and happy - they still are now No one should be made to feel bad about their parenting choices.

NomDePlume Thu 17-Mar-05 13:18:19

My DD co-slept with us from birth to 10 weeks, because she would refuse point blank to close her eyes in the moses basket and the cot was too big to fit in our main bedroom. I was more than happy to move her into her own room at 10 weeks, as I was ready to get myu own space back. I spent/spend every waking minute with her and it was nice to have a bit of 'me' space back.

Of course co-sleeping is a personal decision, you and our child decide whether it's an option and how long for. No one should make you feel guilty or bad about it.

Although one warning story of a couple of friends of DH (I know them and know this story to be true) who had their DD co-sleeping with them. Their DD got to around 2 years old and they decided that now they'd like to get their marital bed back, however DD didn't see it that way, and continued to sleep with her parents until she was 6 years old. The marriage was slightly dented by this lack of privacy/personal space. I know that my marriage would suffer if that were the case in my house.

Amanda3266 Thu 17-Mar-05 13:18:49

Hi emkana,

Quite agree with you - I co-slept with my DS for the first 20 weeks or so of his life - after that we both seemed to disturb each other too much so I gradually moved him to a cot and it was fine - he still fed at night and for a while he would come back in with us at around 4am but he stopped this at about 10 months. Nothing wrong with co-sleeping at all IMO.

RudyDudy Thu 17-Mar-05 13:19:09

No, not at all. All parental choices are personal and should be what is right for that child and those parents. We have co-slept with DS once and it was a nightmare - no-one slept very well and I literally woke up black and blue. Frankly DS would do best in a double bed on his own . But that is our choice and as much as I would hate anyone to make me feel bad for that I wouldn't want to make someone feel bad for choosing to co-sleep. Horses for courses.

Amanda3266 Thu 17-Mar-05 13:21:18

Should add that the DOH now advise against co-sleeping in the first 8 weeks of life (in their "Reducing the Risk of Cot Death" leaflet). I suppose that makes sense as they've always advised parents who are overtired to avoid co-sleeping - and we're all pretty tired in the first 8 weeks. However, I cannot, hand on heart, say that I wouldn't do so if I was desperate for sleep and this was the only way I could settle my baby.

Papillon Thu 17-Mar-05 13:25:36

It is more global than just British that babies should sleep by themselves. All western countries have been part of the same trend that you don´t sleep with your baby. My mother was quite worried about us co-sleeping. Why? Because she grew up with the societal concept that you put your child in a cot in another room.

Even the way our homes are designed. No room for a cot anyhow. I hear that alot on MN. We would love to have our baby in the room, but there is no space.

I am not ashamed, I am proud to sleep with our dd. I also would hate to have to get out of bed shudder at the thought actually! Our dd has her own futon which is right up against our bed, which gives us more sleeping area.

The soft approach - why is LOVE seen as SOFT is my response. Emotionals are essential for our Being and a stiff upper lip and a text book discipline is for me personally never going to solve our problems indiviually or on a global scale. If that seems abit weird, well let me say I feel that in our age of information... all the advice we receive in books is knowledge alone and we are losing our wisdom skills when we rely on facts alone.

Let the child discover for itself. Know this: Knowledge is lost. Wisdom is never forgotten.
Neale Donald Walsch: Conversations with God, book 2

ThomCat Thu 17-Mar-05 13:29:54

Ashamed, God no. Personally I would never co-sleep, no way. Tried it a couple of times when D was out for the night and I 'thought' it would be nice but it so wasn't, it was horrid, for both of us, and I ended up carrying her into her own bed. It's a personal thing, not for me at all, but I don't see anything wrong with it.

Toothache Thu 17-Mar-05 13:30:05

Whne I was in hospital after having dd I was given a leaflet outlining the safe way to co-sleep and also recommending it in the first few weeks if breastfeeding! That was only 7 months ago.

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