General Question

janbb's avatar

What is your opinion of co-sleeping?

Asked by janbb (53805points) 2 months ago

That is, children sleeping with their parents. Is it fine up to a certain age? Should children never sleep with their parents? Does it make children more secure or make it harder for them to self-soothe (or both?)

If you’ve practiced co-sleeping, I’m especially interested to hear from you.

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32 Answers

notnotnotnot's avatar

We co-slept with all 3 of our children.

janbb's avatar

Can I ask up til what age?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I can only speak to one side of it. We never co-slept with our 3 kids. We did have a bassinet in our room until about 3 months old for feedings and then we put them in their own nursery after that. They self soothed to sleep after that and it worked wonders. They slept through the night from that point on.

I have several friends that still co-sleep with their toddlers and complain about how often their sleep is disprupted during the night by their kids. I also have friends that are trying to get their kids into their own room and are having a difficult time because of how attached the child is to sleeping together at this point.

canidmajor's avatar

I tried for a short time, but I sleep so poorly anyway that it didn’t work at all for me. The child’s sleep pattern didn’t change (from in-room bassinet to own room with monitor) so it was really a non-issue.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I always slept alone from a young age and everyone envies my peaceful sleep still to this day. All my friends gripe constantly about co-sleeping, how disruptive it is.

raum's avatar

Co-sleeping lowers the risk of SIDS. To me that is worth any number of sleepless nights.

When I was little, the little boy that we used to babysit for died from SIDS. That loss has always stayed with me.

When I became a parent, I knew that co-sleeping would be the choice for our own family.

We co-slept with all three until they transitioned to their own rooms at age two.

raum's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 and @canidmajor Having their bassinet in your room actually technically counts as co-sleeping.

@janbb Are you curious about cosleeping or bed-sharing? Pediatricians recommend cosleeping, but not bed-sharing. But I think that’s largely a cultural thing.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@raum In birth classes here, they referred to co-sleeping as the baby being in the same bed with the parents.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@raum Co-sleeping is when the infant sleeps in the same bed as the parent. It can dramatically increase the risk of SIDS when the child is under 8 months. It is strongly advised against.

seawulf575's avatar

I think that the things you do when the baby is born, if continued for a long time, becomes the norm. At some point it will be desirable for the parents and the child for them to sleep in another room. If you have been promoting co-sleeping for a long time, the child might have problems at that time. Not to mention they will likely be still impressionable and may feel a sense of rejection or abandonment.

canidmajor's avatar

@raum, I agree that anything that lowers the risk of SIDS is a good thing, but I had to weigh that against the dangers to the child from being so sleep deprived that judgement is so badly impaired. Not just “I have a baby” sleep deprived but “I am stumbling, slurring and almost hallucinating” sleep deprived.

Demosthenes's avatar

It sounds like something I probably won’t do if I have kids, but I have nothing against it.

I’m a twin, so I often slept in the same bed as my brother when I was a baby. That probably took the place of co-sleeping because at least there was someone else there with me. They call that “co-bedding” apparently. It stopped later on when my brother would often wake me up and I’d cry. I was always the bigger crier :P

zenvelo's avatar

I was against either of my children sleeping with us, it was too disruptive. But when each of my kids started coming in to us in the middle of the night, I put them in a sleeping bag on the floor next to me. They felt close enough and safe enough.

I have friends who co-slept with their daughter until she was 9 or ten. She is now 16, and will occasionally come in and sleep with them, especially on weekends. It’s like the other extreme of never co sleeping.

snowberry's avatar

I have 5 children. I have done both. It all depended on their needs and my needs at the time.

raum's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 and @Lightlyseared
Cosleeping is an umbrella term that includes both bed-sharing and sleeping in the same room.

@canidmajor Cosleeping also includes having them in the same room as you, but not in the same bed. Still lowers the chances of SIDS without the risk of smothering an infant if a parent is a deep sleeper.

That being said, co-sleeping may not be the best fit for your family. Every family is different. And like @snowberry said, even within the same family, needs will vary with each child and different times in your life.

canidmajor's avatar

@raum, oh, I know, but I even had to give up same-room-sleeping after a short time. I have never mastered the sleeping thing. It’s really annoying.

raum's avatar

@canidmajor I get it. It’s tricky to find that balance as a parent. Hard to find any parent that has quite mastered it.

canidmajor's avatar

Said child, however, is well adjusted and happy. Yahoo!

janbb's avatar

I think most of them manage to be whether co-slept with or not. It’s not something I have strong opinions on although like you @canidmajor I am a terrible sleeper.

ucme's avatar

Both our kids slept in our bed from time to time if they were unwell or ill at ease, nothing wrong with comfort & support. This stopped, more or less at their behest, around the age of maybe 9/10.

flutherother's avatar

We didn’t make a habit of this and preferred that the kids slept in their own rooms. Occasional exceptions would be made for bad dreams or sickness but that was all.

nikipedia's avatar

The evidence is pretty clear that bedsharing with very young babies (up to about 12 weeks) increases the risk of infant death. After that, it’s only safe if you take certain precautions, like not drinking or smoking.

I kept both of my babies in a side-carred crib (right next to the bed) when they were that little. After the risk had passed, I let them sleep in bed with us. They were both awful sleepers, so we all got more sleep that way. My kids sleep in their own beds now, but I lie down with them while they fall asleep and my 2yo still wakes almost every night between 2 and 4am and yells until I go sleep in his bed with him.

I don’t have any strong opinions about whether it’s a good or bad idea; some babies seem to sleep better with a snuggle buddy and others need their space. I don’t think it ever becomes inappropriate, but I would expect most kids around puberty to prefer to have their own space, and most parents probably want their space long before then.

janbb's avatar

@nikipedia All good points.

anniereborn's avatar

As a baby I slept in a crib in my parents’ room. At some point I ended up sleeping with them in their bed. My parents divorced when I was 6. I mostly still slept in the bed with my mom till about age 10. I’d say for the next couple years I’d still manage to go to her bed when I felt scared. I grew up in an abusive household, so I don’t know what can be gleamed from any of that. But, ever since I married the first time, I actually preferred to sleep in my own bed.

cookieman's avatar

Great googley moogley!! @nikipedia! So nice to see you. It’s been an age.

Prior to adopting our daughter (at age one), she slept in a tiny metal crib, on a piece of plywood covered with a sheet, with two other babies — for the first year of her life.

So when we brought her home and placed her in a big, comfy, crib on her own, she slept like a rock (through the night) for years. It was heaven.

Then, when she was about four, we went to New York and let her sleep with us in the hotel bed. That was a horrible idea because, when we returned home, she started popping into our bed in the middle of the night and sleeping with us.

I really disliked it, but nothing worked in getting her back in her own bed. This went on until she was six when, one night, for no apparent reason, she went back to her bed all on her own, and never returned. Thankfully.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not very opinionated on the topic. I feel like it’s fine for some kids, it depends on the situation and the specific child. My leaning is that I think it’s better not to co-sleep. Better for both the child and parents, but especially the parents. If you’re married I think it can interfere in the relationship.

I always thought that if I had a baby I would keep the baby in my room the first few months. I’d have a bassinette or crib in my room. However, my husband is a very light sleeper, and probably it would become a problem fairly quickly.

I think I’m lazy enough that I might let my young child sleep in my bed if he or she wanted to cuddle up, but I think it’s probably better to cuddle in their bed and then leave their room once they fall asleep. Best is children being able to be by themselves and go to sleep, but infants are in a special class, they aren’t just very young children in my opinion. The ability to understand that people who go away will come back is developed later. That’s why kids get such a kick out of peekaboo. So, having them in the same room seems practical to me, I wouldn’t put an infant in bed to sleep with me if I thought I was going to fall asleep also. Seems risky.

Things like children jumping into bed with their parents to watch TV, or early in the morning on weekends, and random things like that, I think that’s all fine and nice. I definitely don’t feel the parents’ bed is somehow a forbidden place for children.

augustlan's avatar

We didn’t do it routinely, but if someone was sick or scared, they could choose to sleep with us in our bed or on a small couch in our bedroom.

I was deathly afraid to share a bed with them when they were infants, because of SIDS combined with the fact that A: I’m a heavy sleeper and B: I toss and turn all night.

Side note: When I was about 13/14 years old, I stumbled upon a guy trying to break into our house in the middle of the night through a glass patio door. Since my bedroom window was right beside that door, I was afraid to sleep in my own room and shared my mom’s bed for months. I felt so lame, but was glad it was an option!

Dutchess_III's avatar

My kids were welcome in my bed any time.
After the divorce, when the two youngest were about 5 and 7, I started a day care. They made me completely clear out the main floor of my house so I would have enough room. This meant putting both bedrooms in the basement. This was before walk out windows were mandatory. I didn’t care for that. Neither did the kids. Somehow, for about the next two years, we all ended up sleeping in the living room. Me on the couch, usually by myself, and the kids on the floor. There were a few times we crammed all 3 of us on the couch.
I was so exhausted all the time it never even fazed me.

Kardamom's avatar

According to most things I have read, including this information from The March of Dimes, co-sleeping is potentially dangerous for babies:

janbb's avatar

Was thinking of toddlers and older, not babies.

Kardamom's avatar

I would think children would have a much harder time learning to sleep alone, and the parent’s love life, and regular sleep patterns would be disrupted. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s OK if the child is sick, or has had an occasional nightmare, or maybe if the child has been traumatized, but I would also want to get therapy for a child who has been traumatized or who has chronic nightmares.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a friend on FB who fell asleep on the couch with her two year old in the crook of her arm. Something suddenly woke her up. She is not sure what. She woke up with a start, and when she slid her arm out from under the child she realized the child wasn’t responsive. The baby had somehow shifted during that nap and was trapped between Mom’s arm and her side.
Fortunately Mom knew CPR and it had only been for a minutes, so the baby is fine now, but there is that….

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