Co-sleeping can be a pretty awesome way to spend your nights the first few months (or years) of your baby’s life. First, there’s the super cozy snuggles. You will never snuggle anyone that smells better, whose skin is softer, and whose morning breath you don't actually mind smelling (hell, maybe you even welcome that sweet baby’s breath). When you co-sleep, you’ll likely get more rest because you won’t have to get up ten times a night to tend to your child’s every need. So why do so many non-parents hate on co-sleeping mamas?
I suppose part of the reason why is just a straight lack of knowledge or understanding. Non-parents have no real reason or need to research the pros and cons of various parenting methods. Chances are, the majority of what they know about parenting has to do with what they’ve heard of from friends, relatives, and the news. And unfortunately, if they do any research on co-sleeping and bed-sharing, they’ll run into the occasional headline condemning co-sleeping and bed-sharing, or some horrible story that gives them a false impression of a widely practice parent/child sleep situation. Or, you know, maybe they just want to judge other people. Who knows.
Regardless of the reasons why, both parents and non-parents have no business talking down to you (or anyone else) about the parenting methods that work best for you and your family. So, with that min mind, here are just some of the comments I’ve heard, that I’m certainly sick of hearing, when it comes to co-sleeping.
"What If You Squash Your Kid?"
So long as you follow the guidelines to safe co-sleeping and bed-sharing (for example, never doing it while under the influence of alcohol), there should be no reason to fear baby-squishing. For as long as I’ve shared my bed with my son, I’ve never come close to rolling over him; just like I don’t roll over anything or anyone else in the bed.
For those who simply choose to sleep in the same room in separate beds, this argument is moot.
"You’re Coddling Your Baby"
Well, good! A baby should be coddled, and spoiled, and loved on, and cared for, and made to feel secure. What’s so wrong with that? Just because I give my baby attention now doesn’t mean he’s going to grow up into a “spoiled brat.”
"But, What About Sex?"
What about it? All parents come up with creative ways to have sex, and sharing a family bed or having your baby sleep in the same room isn’t going to suddenly block said creativity.
"Well, What Does Your Partner Think?"
While I do recognize that a partner should have some say in what goes on in their bedroom when it comes to co-sleeping, I tend to be of the mindset that if you want to co-sleep, you should make it happen.
That is to say, I understand the parent that kicks their partner out of bed for the sake of their baby, or makes inconveniences their partner for the sake of their baby. Babies are only babies for a few years. If it’s a lasting partnership, it’ll last long after that.
"Aren’t You Scared Of SIDS?"
As a loss parent, I was and will always be absolutely terrified of SIDS. Sadly, bed sharing can result in SIDS due to suffocation. As a result, I didn’t bed share in the first few months of my son's life, but I did have a bassinet right next to my bed and I could easily sleep with my baby holding my hand if he wanted it.
As he got older, and was better able to sleep in various positions without it being dangerous, I brought him into my bed. All that said, babies that sleep in cribs also die from SIDS, so it's up to the parent to decide what's right for their family.
"I Would Never Do That"
Telling us how much you wouldn’t do something we are doing as parents is one of the most obnoxious things non-parents say to us already struggling mamas. It’s really not necessary to tell us that in your hypothetical world, you’d do things differently. Please refrain and let’s talk Gilmore Girls revival, instead.
"Don’t You Think You’re Going To Mess Them Up?"
"I’m So Glad I Don’t Have To Share A Bed"
Awesome. Bravo. Seriously, that’s so good for you.
Just another thing that non-parents should feel inclined to keep to themselves, especially when we’re dealing with a sleep deprivation they've never experienced themselves.
"Do You Ever Wake Up In A Puddle Of Pee?"
Usually, no. While I’ve always kept a mattress protector on my bed (just in case), I think I can count on one hand the amount of times my son leaked out of his diaper. Of course, this might end up being one of the gross things that happen when we start potty-training full-time, but for now I’m enjoying the dryness.
"I Knew Someone That Did That And [Insert Some Terrible Thing Here]"
While cautionary tales certainly serve a purpose, when it comes to parenting, most of us would rather not hear it. Maybe it’s because the cautionary tale is often a fluke incident. Maybe we’re all just stubborn and set in our ways. And while it’s important to be aware of the risks of bed-sharing, it’s also important to be aware of the risks of not bed-sharing, and of every other decision we make as parents.