|Photo courtesy of safebedsharing.org|
Before J was born, T and I decided very quickly that we would be a bed-sharing family. My parents co-slept back in the early 80s and for me it was just "what you did." As I was discussing this with my mother fairly recently, she said that there wasn't a stigma against bed-sharing but there also wasn't a name for it. She brought us to bed with her to help establish breastfeeding and, when she saw how well the entire family rested by doing this, they simply continued with their three children. No one really talked about it, but no one also told her she was making a terrible mistake as a mother (You're going to squish your child! She will never be independent! She will sleep in your bed until she's 18! You and your husband will never be intimate again!).
There are a lot of people out there incredibly passionate about bed-sharing and many more who are passionate advising against it. But most parents probably fall somewhere in between. I do not feel like this is a black and white issue. When pediatricians recommend against it, but a mother does it because it is the only way her child will sleep/nurse/be comforted, she feels ashamed as she keeps this secret to herself.
T and I are very vocal about bed-sharing to help combat this negativity. We have many conversations with people in all areas of our lives about it. As a pediatric nurse, T has run into some tongue-lashing (from a woman, mind you, who was single with no children...i.e. no actual experience to back up her opinion) and some support. I have spoken with all of my friends (who have children or are childless) and many don't even bat an eye. In fact, a few of my mommy friends have confessed to me that they, too, bed-share when there were zero plans to do so originally.
J does not have a crib and the only time he has slept in one was when he was in the NICU for 3 nights. While we do have a bed for J where he starts his nights, he joins us shortly thereafter, and always wakes up for the day in between his Mama and Papa. (Read here a fantastic opinion on how co-sleeping doesn't ruin marriage.)
|Here we are napping together|
as a family after a long day.
I encourage everyone to be advocates of bed-sharing if it is what worked for your family. Let this be a dirty little secret no more.
Did/do you have a bed-sharing and co-sleeping relationship with your child(ren)?
Was it in your plan to do this or did it simply happen?