Who could've imagined the number of arguments and debates that would revolve around where our babies sleep, right? Some parents co-sleep, some bed-share, and some sleep train, but all parents usually have some feelings about each particular sleeping arrangement. Every parent is scrutinized for their choices, don't get me wrong, but I think us co-sleeping parents have it particularly tough. From faux concerns about my child's safety to the belief that I'm raising a co-dependent kid, I've heard it all. But no, my co-sleeping isn't "spoiling" my baby. I promise.
Co-sleeping was always the plan for me and my family, though bed-sharing wound up being an unexpected surprise just shortly before our son turned 1-year-old. I recall folks telling me never to let my son in the bed my partner and I share, because it would “spoil” him. As you might imagine, I shrugged it off. After all, spoiling a baby? I'm pretty positive that's impossible.
That's not to say, of course, that my son didn't prefer bed-sharing to co-sleeping, because he absolutely did. He loved our bed because it was much more spacious and comfortable than his sleep space, and he liked being near his parents. He also loved napping in our bed without mom and dad around, too, so the jury's as to whether or not my partner and I were really an important part of the bed-sharing equation. Giving up our bed to our son might sound like I'm "spoiling" him, but I was just doing what's necessary to allow him to get the sleep he needed. I mean, I’ve laid on his crib mattress before and I get it. Of course my bed feels better. That bed didn’t spoil him, though, and for the following reasons:
Because Co-Sleeping Is Recommended
Being near your baby is not spoiling them. If anything, you're simply following expert recommendations. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the safest place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as their parents. That, my friends, is co-sleeping (but not to be confused with bed-sharing, which means you and your baby share the same sleep surface). Co-sleeping isn't spoiling your kid, it's keeping them safe.
Now, giving your 10-year-old a brand new toy every single day, even when they're acting like a you-know-what? Yes, that's probably spoiling them.
Because You Should Respond To Your Baby's Cries
Babies cry because they need something. They don’t just cry because it’s “fun.” They need attention by way of a diaper change, food, or love (because leaving the womb is kinda spooky). That doesn’t spoil them. In fact, Baby Center reminds parents that sleep experts don't believe anyone should attempt to sleep train a chid that isn't at least 4- to 6-months old. If you start the process any earlier, you could unintentionally be neglecting your newborn's needs.
Because Snuggles Are Beneficial
Babies need love and they thrive on affection. In fact, the benefits to your babies health and development thanks to affection are substantial and should not be ignored.
Because Babies Need To Be Fed On Demand
When you’re hungry, do you usually go for a snack or a meal or do you just ignore your hunger pains because it’s not 5:00 p.m. yet? Many of us do the former because, well, we’re human and we should probably eat if we’re hungry. So why are so many folks fixated on getting their baby's on set feeding schedule?
According to a study reported on and published in The Guardian, "babies who are fed when they are hungry — with breast milk or formula — achieve higher scores in SATs tests at ages 5, 7, 11 and 14, and that by the age of 8 they have an IQ four to five points higher."
Because It Diminishes Maternal Anxiety
Babies should not be ignored. Checking on them while you’re co-sleeping doesn’t mean you’re a helicopter parent or that you’re damaging your child. It does, however and according to the AAP, help keep your baby safe from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It also helps keep a mom and/or dad's anxiety down. Kelly Mom noted that there are fewer bedtime hassles when you co-sleep, which can make bedtime a whole lot easier on new parents who fear for their newborn. And according to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information, skin-to-skin contact can actually reduce your anxiety.
Because Co-Sleeping Won't Last Forever
Babies grow up. Your teenager isn’t going to want to sleep snuggled between mommy and daddy. Your toddler might, but who cares? Eventually the co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing phase will end. Plus, aren't people always telling us parents to "enjoy it while it lasts"?