Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hot Button Topic #1 - Co-Sleeping

As soon as you make news of your pregnancy public everyone will offer advice. Some wanted, some unwanted. I like to talk about myself, so I try to offer tips as to what works with my kids. I dont expect everyone to agree with the way I do things, but hey - if we all agreed on everything the world would be pretty boring! Am I right?!?

Im a fan of controversy. I like to get people thinking. So, Im going to post "Hot Button Topis" (Or HBT). Ill bring up an issue, give a few theories and facts, and let you loose. I think this will be a good thing and maybe people can learn a thing or two. Just please remember that while is is perfectly alright to debate and comment- it is NOT ok to be disrespectful or mean.

Todays Hot Button Issue is Co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is a practice in which babies and young children sleep in close proximity to one or both parents, as opposed to a separate room. In some cultures its a natural thing all families do and theres no question in the matter. In the US theres a big debate on the subject.

If you ask professionals youre likely to get strong advice one way or the other. When I was pregnant I was absolutely, 100% never going to sleep in the same bed as my child. you couldnt convince me otherwise for any amount of money. I was too scared of rolling over on her or smothering her in blankets. Im ashamed to say it, but I judged people who did. In my mind they were putting their children at risk.

Once Delaney was born I was considering the pros and cons. I let her sleep in the hospital with me and fell in love with it. Some benefits of co-sleeping were the fact that breastfeeding was made easier and better sleep for everyone. Some cons were the risk of smothering a child and having a hard time weaning the child to their own bed when you decide its time.

My pediatrician strongly advised me not to do it. His only concern was ending up with a 10 year old who refused to sleep in her own bed. Every visit was the same.... while adjusting his eyes to read Delaneys chart he would say in a parently stern manner "Now, is Delaney sleeping in her own bed yet? Hmm?" I would be honest and tell him she wasnt and he would spend the majority of her visit telling me I had to put her in a room by herself, shut the door and let her cry until she fell asleep.

I tried this. It was one of the hardest things Ive ever done. I tried it at naptime because I didnt want to be the neighbor in the apartment complex with the kid that screams for hours. She never once put herself to sleep and I let her cry for almost 2 hours once. This definitely can work for some families (This will be another post Im sure) but it just didnt work for mine. So, co-sleep we did.

At (almost) 18 months old now we still sleep in the same bed for part of every night. Its important for us to have a bedtime routine so she knows its time to relax. Then as she drifts to sleep I put her in her crib. She may sleep in there 4 hours or 20 minutes, but every night she ends up in bed with me. I dont mind, we both sleep well. She takes naps by herself and its almost always in the big bed.

The decision to co-sleep is entirely up to the parents and the parents alone. What works for me and my family may not work for you and yours. In my case I found Dr Sears to be extremely helpful and his website alone answered most of the questions I had. If you are considering co-sleeping or have questions I would highly recommend his site. 

As for Miss Delaney.... (who does not have her own room right now) we're going to take it one day at a time. When we move and she gets her own room Im hoping itll be easier to wean her. ("Hoping" being the key word!)

I know you all have opinions on this. Whether you agree, disagree or have a "to each their own" attitude, I want to hear from all of you reading this. What do you think about co-sleeping? Have you done it? Would you if you dont have children now?

Ready, Set..... GO!


teemarie said...

I did with both of my children. With Kyle (now 18} it was hard to make the move from my bed to his own but at about 3 1/2 it was done. Lots of tears, crying, and kicking but it finally happened. With Breann (almost 9 now) it was fairly easy. All in all I wouldn't change any of it. Co-sleeping or as it was called back in the day "the family bed" I believe benefits both parent(s) and child.

CheriBerriBlu said...

My son was 13 weeks premature, so when he finally came home he was two months old and very used to sleeping alone - plus he had to be attached to a heart monitor, so cosleeping was a no-no. I don't think I will cosleep with my next child, but I could always change my mind. I'm neutral on this topic. :)

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