Moms Advised to Quit Co-Sleeping After Divorce

sleeping with babyLike many parenting issues, cosleeping is one of those parenting choices that's as divisive as religion or politics. Some feel it helps them bond with baby while others feel it creates a bad habit for both parents and children. We'll likely never all agree on this. But something most parents would agree on is putting kids first when it comes to divorce. A child's world is turned upside down when Mom and Dad split up. Shouldn't both parents do anything and everything to make the process as comfortable as possible for the kids? Even if that means cosleeping?

A newly single mother asked a therapist in an advice column if she thought it was okay that she coslept with her baby after splitting up with her partner. To which she was told no.

I know.

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In this woman's particular situation, she found out she was pregnant a few months after she and her partner broke up. She's been cosleeping with her baby and breastfeeding, and everything seems to be going great (and her pediatrician thinks so), but the relationship expert seems to think it's a bad idea for when she wants to start dating. Okay, fine. Don't agree with that sentiment, but I can understand a therapist's position of putting a "patient" first in such a situation, as her child is still a newborn and it sounds like she's been alone for some time and might want to date at some point (though probably not now while her child is still so young). However, I'm totally thrown for a loop when the therapist suggests that "cosleeping with older children can be especially problematic," as they'll have a difficult time going to sleep on their own when mom or dad wants to turn a date into a slumber party.

Of course the needs of a parent post-breakup are important and shouldn't be overlooked. But I just can't see how turning a child who's going through so many confusing and unfamiliar emotions away from one's bed would be good for their emotional state at that point. When we choose to have children, it's only right to put them first. The therapist's advice seemed downright selfish to me. And to make sure I'm not insane, I asked a friend of mine who's currently going through a divorce (and who coslept with her child) her thoughts on the issue, and she eloquently echoed my sentiments, saying:

I think cosleeping moms need to do what works for the family they have right now and worry about sleeping with people later when it actually comes up. If cosleeping is what parents need to build a secure relationship with their children, they should keep going. Building that secure attachment will help relationships more in the long run because (hopefully) children will be less clingy when they do start dating. Even when moms do start dating & become sexually active, it’s not like IN BED AT NIGHT is the only way you can have sex. Have a little creativity, Dr. No Cosleeping.

Touche. Everybody handles divorce and breakups differently, but when there are kids involved, it naturally seems like a "what's right, right now" mentality is best. Our children need to know we're there for them -- always. And if they're feeling lost and lonely in the wake of their parents splitting up, who better to comfort them -- however that may be -- than Mom or Dad?

Did you cosleep after your divorce?

 

Image via Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Corbis

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