Making A Case For Co-Sleeping

Many parents practice co-sleeping with their children for a variety of reasons. This puts your baby right next to you at night providing comfort for yourself and your child. It also makes midnight feedings much easier to accommodate since the baby is right next to you. However, there are a variety of arguments that put a target on parents who co-sleep with their children and some parents have been brought up on charges of neglect in the event of SIDS.

Co-sleeping family

Contributed by Sara Dawkins

Why is co-sleeping with your child viewed as taboo for many individuals? Regardless of the argument, there is always a counterpoint that makes equal sense. Do people simply want to have nothing more than a reason to complain? What makes one parent's way of raising a child the only way of raising a child? A number of instances can cause SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome]. To put blame on a loving family because the child was in the same bed would be akin to punishing the parents for allowing a child to perish in a fire because they were in the same house. Sometimes, circumstances are just out of our control.

SIDS in bed

There is an argument that persists that co-sleeping is dangerous and some courts will charge parents with homicide in the event of SIDS. However, far more cases of sudden infant death syndrome can be attributed to sleeping in a crib. As long as safety precautions are taken for the child, the risk can be quite nominal. However, those against co-sleeping would rather you believe that any child sleeping in the parent's bed is at greater risk than those within cribs.

Regardless of where the baby is sleeping, special requirements need to be looked at. Fluffy comforters or other objects such as pillows can cause a baby to suffocate. As infants don't have a developed ability to turn themselves over, this could pose a serious threat. These are the same precautions you take for letting baby sleep in a crib.

Spoiling the baby

A large portion of those against co-sleeping argue that the situation is "spoiling the baby." The basis of this opposition is how some parents are unable to separate their toddlers from their beds as the child will simply not sleep alone. However, putting a more forceful foot down and demonstrating the importance of a "big girl" or "big boy" bed could alleviate a great deal of the complications parents face in this situation.

If creating a stronger bond with your child is considered "spoiling" them, then maybe there needs to be more. Too often, children become isolated from their parents through various actions. It is the parent's job to stay involved with his or her child and any method that will create a stronger bond should never be scoffed at. What spoiling parents need to come to terms with is that you are the parent, not a friend. While it may be difficult at first, there comes a time where rules need to be enforced. It may be a scary first couple of days for your child, but eventually they will learn to sleep in their own beds.

Organizations around the country put emphasis on protecting children. Although this is a noble aspect, how much involvement is considered extensive or ridiculous? Some can point out that the involvement social services puts into a household in today's society also coincides with a rise in violent children. How can someone who doesn't have children of their own have the experience to tell you, "you're doing it wrong?" If the child grows up happy, healthy and loves you, then you are a success regardless of what a textbook tries to tell you.

About the author

Sara Dawkins is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of Nanny Pro. Learn more about her

More on co-sleeping

Should you co-sleep with your baby?
Co-sleeping means no recalled baby cribs
Co-sleeping does not make you a bad parent


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K June 21, 2013
The author is sharing opinions clothed as fact. I would like to see her credentials to support her statements, and would urge parents to do research prior to deciding what the safest practice is. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends room sharing, not bed sharing, as the preferred sleeping arrangement for newborns and infants to 6 months old. The argument against bed sharing is not a matter of opinion or belief any more than using car seats to reduce risk for infant in car accidents is a matter of opinion. The risk of bed sharing has been scientifically quanitified over and over.

Quotes taken from reputable news stories published and easily accessible on the internet:

"Researchers looked at 1,472 SIDS cases and 4,679 infant controls from five published data sets from the U.K., Europe, Australia and Asia. They determined that 88 percent of SIDS deaths while bed sharing would not had happened if the parents didn't sleep in the same bed as the infant. Even for low-risk breast-fed babies who had no other risk factors that died from SIDS, 81 percent of the deaths of infants below three months of age could have been prevented if they were placed in their own bed."

"Even if the parents are non-smokers and the mother did not abuse illegal drugs or drink alcohol before bedtime -- other risk factors for SIDS -- bed sharing still increased the risk of a child dying from SIDS more than five times."

A Washington Post article states: "Infant deaths blamed on accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed have increased sharply in the United States, federal health officials are reporting today, reigniting a heated debate over the rising number of parents who sleep with their babies.

An analysis of death certificates nationwide found that the rate of fatalities attributed to unintentional suffocation and strangulation in the first year of life quadrupled between 1984 and 2004.

While such tragedies remain relatively rare, and the study did not examine what is causing the increase, the trend roughly coincided with a sharp rise in bed-sharing, which has become more popular to help mothers bond and breast-feed. Such deaths can occur when a sleeping parent rolls on top of a baby, a pillow falls on an infant's face, a blanket gets wrapped around the child's neck or when the baby gets wedged between a mattress and a wall."