Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Co-sleeping is bad and will kill your marriage!!!

Chris, over at The Man-Nurse Diaries, Jill of Keyboard Revolutionary, and Woman: Uncensored (who's name I don't know as I only just started reading her) have all written excellent pieces about co-sleeping and how it affects their marriage.

I think they all made excellent points and of course, I wanted to add my two cents!

I'm gonna be honest, here: I co-slept because I'm lazy. It's that simple. I did my research, I learned that the idea that co-sleeping is dangerous is outdated nonsense that doesn't make any sense, nor does the previously touted "data" match up with any of the data from around the world where co-sleeping is the norm. Am I saying accidents don't happen anywhere in the world but the US? No. That said, most of the tragedies that occur from co-sleeping here in the states occur in circumstances that most co-sleepers either wouldn't consider co-sleeping (passing out drunk on the couch with a newborn babe in arms? Not co-sleeping) OR involve someone who is drunk or abusing drugs. Parents have naturally built in "alarms" that alert them to just about everything their baby does while they're sleeping, UNLESS they are knocked out artificially. So rolling over on your baby while you are sleeping in a natural state is HIGHLY unlikely.

In fact, it was something I worried about when my first was born and I remember clearly the night I quit worrying about it. My baby was maybe a week old, tops. She was sleeping securely, next to me, for the first time between my husband and I (we had a king-sized bed at the time). Her little face was maybe four inches away from my own as I liked to mover her up near my head so I could hear her breathing and so that there was NO possible way our covers could get anywhere near her face (in fact, she was so tiny and so high on the bed, they never touched her at all). I was sleeping the sleep that only an exhausted new mother can sleep- dead to the world, when suddenly, I snapped awake and caught my husband's descending shoulder before he rolled on her. Just the fact he touched flesh caused him to stop mid-roll and go the other way. He never woke up, I didn't hit him hard or shove him, I just put my hand out and he touched me and rolled the other way. I have no idea what woke me to the fact he was rolling over. I just knew. I can't explain why, after 5 years of marriage and him nudging me in my sleep THIS time he just went the other way other than to say that well, there was a baby in the bed and even in his sleep, he knew it. Five years and two more kids later, there has NEVER been an incident where someone rolled over on a kid or a kid fell off the bed OR into a crack or any of that nonsense. There are some basic, common-sense precautions that should be taken (and we took them) but for the most part, we are designed to sleep-share. I'm not going to post all the different links to reputable sources that back up my opinions as, if you're reading my blog, you probably know them all anyway and if you are not a regular reader and don't know what I'm talking about, it's easily Googled.

There are lots of benefits to co-sleeping but I think my personal favorite is the SLEEPING part. Currently I have a bottle-fed infant that I rarely bring to my bed (situational reasons) and let me tell you, it's SO MUCH HARDER to get good rest this way. UGH. I remember people used to tease me about the whole "new parent zombie" thing and while sometimes it was true, most of the time, I got a decent amount of sleep. Until now, that is. NOW I have an infant that sleeps in a crib three inches from my face but there is no more "stick a boobie in his mouth and go back to sleep" for me. I hate it, lol. I can easily say, from experience, that breast-feeding, co-sleeping Moms get more sleep. My husband will tell you that father's with breast-feeding co-sleeping infants get more sleep, too!

Oh but what about bonding time for Mom and Dad? What about the completely ridiculous concern of Mom being selfish and unfair to dad by bringing a baby into the sex-place (bed). *snort* PLEASE. I like sex, you think I'm going to let a little thing like a baby in the bed keep that from happening!??! Take a good look at the world's population sats and compare them to the data on co-sleeping around the world and TELL ME that parent's who co-sleep can't get sex time in. HAHAHAHA. Right.

Chris quoted someone in his post that covered the issue of bonding between parents who co-sleep and I loved what she had to say. The reality is that bonding between two grown-ups happens around the BIG things in life ANYWAY. I fall in love all over again every time I see my husband playing dolls with my daughters or whenever I peek in and I see him with a kid in his lap, trying to do his school-work. Some of my favorite memories with him involve sleepy, midnight conversation over the soft head of a nursing baby. Sure, we go on dates. Those are stress relief, usually, not bonding time. Bonding happened when I birthed two children into his hands. Bonding time happened when we rushed our first baby to the ER when she had a high fever. In fact over the last five years, some of our most intense moments together have involved the tiny voices of our children ringing in our ears.

I'm not saying sex isn't one of the things that keeps a marriage "well-bonded". What I'm saying is that if that's the only thing that's keeping your marriage strong and healthy, there is a serious problem. Kids are cock-blockers, it's a fact. That has nothing to do with where they sleep (or don't, as the case may be. I can't be the only parent on the planet with kids that think 2am is party-time.).

Oh and one more thing. I think the most commonly touted nonsense I hear from people is the idea that if you co-sleep, it takes forever to get the kid out of your bed. I would just like to point out that I've never met a college age person whose parents allowed them to sleep share that was still in their parent's bed. At some point in every human being's life, the need to be independent surfaces. It's different for every child. My first, for example (she's five), would still sleep in our bed, every night, if there was room. There isn't so she sleeps with her sister, who is two and moved out of our bed at a year because for some reason, she didn't like co-sleeping at all (though she LOVES sleeping with her sister and refuses to sleep anywhere else).

Some parents will never be comfortable with co-sleeping and that's ok. But I don't think we need to continue to perpetuate the myth that all co-sleeping is dangerous, selfish or crazy. It's not going to ruin our marriages OR spoil our children. There is even some evidence (that bears more research) that indicates it might even save the lives of some babies. Go-figure, an ancient practice from the dawn of time is a good thing? Hmmmm.


Martin and Luschka said...

Oooh. I was really surprised at this post title from you and all geared up to be annoyed. Lol. Great post. It always grates on me when people say about their sex life. Like, fine, okay re the bed, but have you not heard of the sofa? The guest room? The kitchen counter even! And I am one mama that would have been a zombie, but wasn't, thank you co-sleeping!

Michelle said...

GOOD POINT about your husband. SAME thing happened to us just after our new baby came...she was in the middle. I was OUT and so was he. Boom....my hand went up.

a few nights later, he used his hand to check for her to see if she was there...i was OUT again, and i shushed his hand away..in my sleep. I just felt the presence of something...and reached out.