Tyra Banks is used to judging people on her reality show, America's Next Top Model, where week after week she tells people whether or not they have the potential to become the next supermodel. But when Banks admitted to bed-sharing with her 2-year-old son in an interview with US Weekly, she also explained that she is used to being on the receiving end of criticism for that choice. But before the internet hive leaps into a chorus of "unsafe sleep habits!" they should consider her reasoning for bed-sharing (sometimes referred to as co-sleeping), and the facts about her arrangement.
Banks is mother to a 2-year-old named York Asla, whom she shares with her ex-boyfriend, Erik Asla, according to People.
Banks explained to US Weekly that bed-sharing felt natural to her.
I started thinking about the wild. Does a black bird say, "Go over there, three trees over and go to sleep." Or does the mama pig say, "Go there to that mess and go to sleep." No. They sleep with their mama. So we sleep together.
For Banks, this night time routine is a way for her and her son to be closer together and bond. "He gets his sippy cup and his security blanket and it's just our time," Banks said.
But Banks is clearly aware of why there is criticism of her choice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against bed-sharing with infants, noting the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, associated with that behavior. In fact, bed-sharing is the single-biggest risk factor in SIDS. (You can read about a study in which researchers counted the number of times a sleeping parent accidentally covered their child's face during a shift in position here.) In spite of that risk, the share of caregivers who bed-share continues to rise, per the Journal of Global Pediatric Health. And, in concert, accidental strangulation and suffocation deaths have quadrupled since the mid-1990s, per the CDC — a change Dr. Harvey Karp pegs to bed-sharing behaviors.
However, research cited by CNN suggests that bed-sharing after the age of 12 months is up to the family — and Banks' son is firmly in that camp, so she should have nothing to worry about other than other people judging her. For some kids, sleeping with their parents is comforting.
Banks' bond with York is something special, according to People. In an interview with People, Banks' mom, Carolyn London, revealed that although York is still so young, he and Banks have fantastic communication skills with each other. "The way she communicates with York blows me away," London told People. "She's amazing."
York sounds like such a special child. In March, Banks told People that York knows his colors, knows how to count, and speaks three languages (Spanish, Norwegian, and English, according to People). "He's a smart one — but he's still crazy and damn near rolling on the floor and not listening to me most of the time!," Banks said, echoing basically every parent in conveying a feeling of awe around the brilliance and simultaneous exhaustion our kids inflict upon us on the daily.
It's important to keep in mind that York is still a toddler, even if he is super accomplished for his age. So he will grow out of a lot of things, like refusing to listen to his mom and sharing her bed.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.