10 Ways You Don't Realize You're Angering Moms Who Co-Sleep
There were so many things about motherhood that I didn't know prior to becoming a parent, but the fact that every decision I make is judged or scrutinized is easily the most surprising part of being a mom. I had no idea that so many people, from well-meaning friends to absolute strangers, would care about the things I do or how I raise my son. Sometimes the judgment is pretty intentional, but other times people aren't necessarily aware of the ramifications of their actions or comments. There are ways people don't realize they're angering moms who co-sleep, for example; ways that I have become acutely aware of and familiar with, as a mother who co-slept with her kid and was on the receiving end of more than a few raised eyebrows and statements of concern.
Sadly, there's so much misinformation about co-sleeping, that it's pretty normal for people to assume it's dangerous. However, for most mothers and children around the world, co-sleeping is the norm, and a practice that isn't questioned in the slightest. Co-sleeping is more common in the United States than most people believe it to be, but parents who co-sleep aren't all that quick to talk about their choice because, well, being judged isn't very much fun. While I was very confident in my decision to co-sleep with my son (it literally helped his newborn body regulate its temperature) I didn't want to hear about the "dangers" of co-sleeping or some horrible story about a baby that died while co-sleeping. Not helpful, people.
Motherhood is difficult enough without having to defend every single decision you make as a parent. If we, as a society, truly value mothers the way we claim we do, we should be doing whatever we can to support them, instead of judging them and shaming them and calling into question every choice they make. So, it's probably worth it to take a second and examine the ways you could possibly be angering a co-sleeping mom, because you can't change something when you don't realize you're actually doing it.
Feigning Concern About Their Child's Safety
I'm not saying that people are incapable of caring about other people's children. I know that we all have the capacity to be empathetic and care for people who aren't directly related to us or have a relationship with us in any way. However, it seems that people are generally concerned about other people's children without actually being concerned. It's easy to assume a kid isn't safe when you're behind a computer screen, unaware of that family's unique circumstances and (more importantly) unwilling to do anything substantial to help, if you really and truly did think the baby was in some kind of mortal danger.
Claiming That You Could Never Co-Sleep...
It's very easy to sit back and say that you would never, ever do a thing, having never been in a particular situation that would make the doing of the thing actually beneficial.
I didn't plan on co-sleeping with my son, but it turned out that co-sleeping was beneficial for both of us and in ways I didn't even consider. My son had trouble regulating his body temperature after he was born, so our skin-to-skin contact allowed my body to help his. Once he was able to regulate his body temperature on his own, co-sleeping gave me peace of mind, made breastfeeding at night substantially easier and allowed us all to sleep better and more frequently. This is one of those, "don't knock it until you try it," scenarios, my friend.
....Because You Like Sex Too Much...
Please don't assume that people who co-sleep somehow don't like, want or need sex just as much as the next human being. I mean, enough. Does your sex life change after you have a baby? Sure. Sometimes. Honestly, it depends. Plenty of people who don't have children experiences changes in their sex lives, too.
Turns out, you can have sex and co-sleep, as the bed isn't the only place two (or more) people can have sex. Furthermore, how and when and why someone is having sex isn't really anyone else's business.
...Or Value Your Personal Space
I value my personal space to the point that I'm protective of it. I make sure that I get time to myself, away from my partner and my baby, so that I can continue to cultivate my individuality and feel like an actual human being. Co-sleeping doesn't mean that I no longer get any time alone, it just means that, for now, I'm sleeping with an extra human being next to me.
Citing Outdate And/Or Incorrect Research As A Reason Why Co-Sleeping Is "Dangerous"
Yes, there are some studies that suggest co-sleeping increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), however, many of those studies have been debunked by other studies, as the scientific world continues to search for the cause of SIDS. Co-sleeping is completely safe if your baby is healthy and not suffering from any medical complications, your bed is co-sleeping safe, and you are not intoxicated or under the influence of any narcotics.
Claiming The Kid Will Become "Too Attached"
To be clear, babies are attached to their parents regardless of whether or not their parents decide to co-sleep. I mean, babies literally need and depend on their parents for everything, so it doesn't get anymore attached than that. All parents, whether they co-sleep or sleep train, will eventually have to teach their children to be independent and co-sleeping parents aren't at a disadvantage. Trust me; my son was sleeping in his own toddler bed before he was two years old.
Assuming The Choice To Co-Sleep Was Made Out Of Laziness
Honestly, being called a "lazy mom" doesn't bother me in the slightest. If I can find a more efficient way of doing something that saves me time and energy, I'm all for it. However, there are numerous reasons why parents choose to co-sleep, and simply assuming it's because a mother doesn't feel like putting in the work it takes to sleep train is as ridiculous as it's probably inaccurate.
Calling The Choice To Co-Sleep "Weird"
It's easy to call something "weird" when you don't completely understand it, but it doesn't mean that thing is actually "weird" or "strange." To some co-sleeping parents, sleep-training seems weird. Does it mean it's actually weird? Nope.
There's no reason why we should be labeling the different choices parents make as "weird," as it does nothing but create fictitious differences between parents who are just trying to do the best they can and make the choices that work best for their families.
Regurgitating A Story You Heard About A Friend's Sister's Cousin's Baby Dying From Co-Sleeping
Honestly, this just isn't helpful. I'm sure something horrible did happen to your best friend's sister's whoever, and I am so very sad for that person because I can't imagine losing my son in any circumstance. However, I don't need to hear about it and just because someone lost their child doesn't mean my son's life is in danger because we are co-sleeping.
Making Sweeping Assumptions About Her Parenting Abilities Or Choices In General
Parents who co-sleep are often labeled as "hippies," and certain people are quick to make sweeping generalizations about those parents. Let's suspend reality for a second and pretend that there is something "wrong" with being a "hippy," (there isn't); not every co-sleeping mother also breastfeeds her kid until they're three (again, nothing wrong with extended breastfeeding) and makes organic baby food from her garden (again, nothing wrong with making your own food). I co-slept with my son, but I also gave him formula after seven months of breastfeeding and I have fed him meals that came in a box from the freezer section.
It's best not to assume anything about anyone, really, but please don't make the mistake of assuming you know what a mother is going to decide to do when it comes to parenting, just because she decided to co-sleep.