If there's one thing that the parenting world just can't seem to agree on, it's sleeping arrangements. For years, bed-sharing was frowned upon as lazy parenting and deemed unsafe. But due to new evidence that bed-sharing can, in fact, be practiced safely and that it actually has a lot of benefits for both parents and children, there are a few pieces of outdated bed-sharing advice that parents can happily toss aside.
Of course, not all bed-sharing is safe bed-sharing. Although there are ways to bed-share that are completely safe and healthy, some arrangements should be avoided. But parents who do their research on safe bed-sharing guidelines and sift through the bulk of misinformation out there will be just fine (and sleep much more soundly) at night.
Once you learn what outdated advice you can toss aside, you'll be able to focus on the many benefits of bed-sharing. According to one piece from Cornell University, safe bed-sharing promotes bonding with mother and baby, improves the quality of sleep for everyone involved, and promotes a healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Whether you've been a bed-sharing advocate from the start or a just starting to weed through the conflicting information, knowing the outdated from the updated can help make your decision much easier.
1Bed-Sharing Is Always Unsafe
In generations past (and even according to some sources today,) bed-sharing can never be done safely. Babies, proponents claim, should always sleep on a separate surface from their parents to reduce the risk of SIDS. However, according to Dr. James McKenna, founder the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory and the leading expert on safe co-sleeping, bed-sharing can (and should) be done safely.
If parents take the proper precautions, like purchasing a safe mattress, ensuring baby is on their back, using one pillow and no extra blankets, and keeping all drug and alcohol use out of the home, bed-sharing poses no added risk to babies.
2Bed-Sharing Causes Your Kid To Sleep In Your Bed Forever
Bed-sharing isn't a life sentence. Children change, schedules change, and a family's needs will change over the years. Just because someone chooses to bed-share at point does not mean that their child will never be able to transition into their own bed when the time comes. In fact, the Baby Sleep Site noted that the transition from bed to crib can be made smoothly and gently.
3Bed-Sharing Means A Poor Sex Life
If sex can only happen in the exact same place (your bed) and the exact same time (after your child is already asleep in said bed,) then yes, bed-sharing may have some negative effects on your sex life. However, according to Parenting bed-sharing doesn't mean the end of a healthy sex life. In fact, the opposite may be true, since you and your partner might have to get a little bit more creative when it comes to where and how you make love. Which, in most cases, is never a bad thing.
4Bed-Sharing Stifles Independence
Although bed-sharing and co-sleeping are often discredited on the assumption that it stifles independence, according to Baby Gaga, the opposite is actually true. When children feel they have a safe, familiar place to return to and a sense of security and closeness with their parents, they're more apt to explore the world around them.
5Bed-Sharing Means No Sleep For Anyone
Wrong again. Gentle Parenting suggested that families who bed-share will likely get more sleep since baby will sleep for longer stretches, and mom won't have to move more than a few inches to nurse during the night.