Co-sleeping Is a Terrible Idea for Everyone in the House

Being a Mom 24

Co-sleeping isn't necessarily best for anyone.When I was pregnant with my first daughter, now 9, I bought a co-sleeper. I knew enough that my newborn probably wouldn't sleep well in her crib in the other room, and I was too nervous to have her in my own bed.

But when I discovered she didn't really enjoy sleeping, I found myself pulling her into my own bed, popping her on my boob, and trying to catch some much-needed zzzzzs.

At first it worked. Or at least so I thought. It wasn't until my fourth baby who I decided needed to sleep in her own bed so we could all be happier that I wondered why I hadn't kicked them all out of my bed sooner.

I'm all for snuggling and cuddling with my children. And there have been many times that my kids have ended up in my bed (and still do, actually) whether it's due to illness or a bad dream or just needing the safety and security of a parent next to them.

But there's a big difference between a one-off cuddle fest and a nightly reservation in the middle of my bed. With their feet on my head or my stomach.

And that's on a good night.

I realize there are tons of arguments for and against co-sleeping, but I have yet to see one that just puts it plainly:

When you co-sleep, there is no actual sleeping. For anyone. Even the baby. And that sucks. For everyone.

Sure, the safety issue is important, but there are plenty of products to ensure your baby is safe in your bed. And there's the argument that it interferes with the relationship with your husband or partner, which has some validity depending on the regularity of the little one in your bed.

But all this crap about how it's awesome for the kid's psyche and he/she will feel more connected and secure. Well, that's great, but I'm pretty sure any issue a child has with separation anxiety or the other myriad symptoms kids can display at a later age will have little or nothing to do with whether they co-slept with their parents.

Can you pick the kids out on the playground that were co-sleepers? Probably not.

However, it DOES affect your ability to parent your kids when you're not getting enough sleep or you're not getting enough sex. Okay, maybe not so much the last part but we adult humans need our space too. It actually makes me much more pleasant and agreeable when I'm able to have a little time to myself in a horizontal position.

I only discovered this when my fourth baby refused to nurse in bed with me and fall asleep. She actually insisted on being fed and moved back to her bed.

And suddenly, I saw the light. Or really, the inside of my eyelids. It was magical. Brilliant, actually.

If you think you're giving your child a head start or an advantage by co-sleeping, you might want to rethink your decision. There are so many other ways that you can give them a great beginning than losing your own sleep so they can sort of get some of their own.

What do you think about co-sleeping?


Image via Sundaykofax/Flickr

baby first year, bonding, breastfeeding

24 Comments

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wolfy... wolfybaby

i co-sleep so we *get sleep*.. my daughter does not sleep well alone. she wakes often and will become upset if she is alone. nightmares. she has been this way since she was an infant. by co-sleeping, it turns a 10-?? minute session of trying to calm her down into a 5-second "oh mama is right here to protect me, im safe and will go back to sleep now."  


also, of course you cannot pick out the kids who co-sleep and those who dont. you cannot gauge psyche on watching kids at a playground. that is ignorant to say regarding psychology! the psychological effect goes deeper than how a child interacts with another child for a minute. the effect lies mostly in the relationship between child and parent anyways. much more important than whether or not its possible to "tell them apart" at a first glance. because really, you cant tell much by that. 

nonmember avatar Marissa

maybe cosleeping isn't whats best for you but that doesn't mean its bad for everyone! we cosleep and wouldn't have it any other way. I hate these close-minded "opinion" pieces

Valerie Metzger

Co-sleeping Is a Terrible Idea for Eveyone in MY House.* There, I fixed it for you. =)

We don't do it anymore either. I love the idea of it, but my son is a serious wiggler at night, and he won't sleep with us at all the older he gets. I think he needs the whole crib to move around and get comfortable.

nonmember avatar Richee

This is, in fact, the dumbest article I have ever read on co sleeping. Congrats on the accomplishment! I would say you worked hard for it, but judging by the article, I doubt it.

danie... danielleapril

Marrisa, these are bloggers...there all opinion peices. Just because the author has a different opinion and experience doesnt mean she should be attacked. This site has the nastiest readers and commenters, its even worse that most are mothers.

katyq katyq

What planet do you live on??? Co sleeping was one of the best parenting experiences ive had....actually my 3 year old still sleeps with me several nights a week because i love it so much. And i sleep just fine.

eemat514 eemat514

Hmmm, that stinks that you had such a bad experience. I co-slept with my daughter the first year of her life and we both had plenty of rest. She was a good baby and an excellent sleeper. I liked being close to her, hearing her breathe, and being able to feed her right away without much movement. She transistioned perfectly to her crib for her second year. She was still in our room and was very comfortable knowing that I would be there if she needed me. Once she turned two years old she got a toddler bed and her own room. She transistioned right into her room without ever coming into our room at night to wake us. The first two years in our room gave her the security she needed and she never had to cry it out or self soothe because I was always there for her. I'm pregnant again and having a boy in 8 weeks. He will co-sleep with us the first year and stay in our room in his crib until he is 2. I may or may not get the same results as my daughter. He may not be as mellow or transistion the same. Every child is different but I'm happy to see how it goes and roll with the punches.The bonding is amazing and something I cherish. As far as sex goes, having a baby didn't stop us we just did it in a different room. I say whatever works for your family is perfect :)

mamat... mamatreat

Thank you danielleapril!! I seriously don't understand why these other mothers get so bent out of shape for people voicing their opinion.  On an opinion blog.

nonmember avatar Mommyofaandz

So I get that co-sleeping did not work all that well for you. It happened to be great for our family. The way this is written is very one sided and judgemental. It does not invite conversation, it attacks others by insinuating that other mothers co-sleep for certain reasons or benefits than it self righteously mocks them without any real evidence to to back up the negativity. Who are you to judge why someone co-sleeps if they like it. If you REALLY want to invite some thoughtful discussion you could talk about why it did not work for you by using the pronoun "I" in many of your statements. I do not personally feel that co-sleeping hurt my ability to parent. I don't particularly feel that your reality fits with mine and the way you discuss your experiences is rather one sided and bitchy. I have a lot of sympathy for anyone that has a tough time with their decisions in regard to parenthood. We all make mistakes and have epiphanies about them but being snotty and judgy just alienates us from the ones we could use the most support from, other moms/parents.

PAmom... PAmommy32

I never co-slept with either of my babies.  There was a night or two that they just wouldn't sleep so they slept on my chest as I lay in bed.  I didn't get a wink of sleep.  I am a person who needs space when I sleep and would not get any sleep at all with a baby in my bed.  That said, everyone has their own preferences.   I have a friend wo co-sleeps and loves it and I think that is great.  To each their own. 

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