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Our Dirty Nightime Secret: Parents Come Out Of The Co-Sleeping Closet On GMA

By Stephanie Precourt |

Many parents enjoy co-sleeping just as much as their children do.

Well, it’s really no secret that we are a co-sleeping family. But it’s definitely a touchy subject. It does seem “the norm” is to not talk about it because most people in America think if you’re co-sleeping you’re doing it wrong, but I have also confessed a secret from the other side- that even co-sleepers complain sometimes about sharing a bed, it’s not nearly perfect. I definitely have found that we get much more quality sleep when co-sleeping vs. putting our baby in a crib, from past experiences. But I’ve also come to the conclusion that no matter where your baby or toddler sleeps – whether it is in your bed or in their crib- none of us are getting much sleep.

 

Good Morning America featured the segment Parents Open Up About Their Co-Sleeping Children and I happened to enjoy and relate to the video immensely.

Cameron Mathison, special contributor to GMA, shared he has mixed feelings about finally moving his 5 year old into her own bed: he likes the snuggle time and enjoys it. It’s not just about the kid ruling the roost by wanting to sleep with mom and dad or getting their way; sometimes the parents want their kids in the bed with them, too. And why should we let others make us feel bad about it?

Technically, my almost-three-year old daughter is in her own bed in another room now, but many nights she wakes up next to me in mine, and sometimes will even start the night out with my husband and me. And that is totally okay for now. It works for us. Our five year old son slept with us until he was almost four and has made a fabulous and successful transition to his own bed for well over a year now. “Night-time parenting”, like day-time parenting (or parenting in general, duh), involves lots of decisions to be made that work best for the parents and the kid… despite whatever other people think “the norm” should be. Sweet dreams!

What happens when parents disagree about co-sleeping?

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About Stephanie Precourt

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Stephanie Precourt

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22 thoughts on “Our Dirty Nightime Secret: Parents Come Out Of The Co-Sleeping Closet On GMA

  1. Brandi says:

    I sleep in the same room with 3 of my children and share a bed with 2 of them. Last year we let our oldest move to her own room. I had a hard time with it. It felt (and still does) like we were missing out on some very special time. Some nights she camps out on the floor with us for story time or a movie. I’ll usually just let her stay there. It feels complete when she’s there.

  2. Caitlyn says:

    Yes it is BAD parenting. It spoils them.

  3. Ordinary Sarah says:

    Every family works differently. We done seperate beds and co-sleeping throughout our 9 years of parenting. Whatever works best for you is what you should do.

    And sorry, Caitlyn, but I completely disagree with you. Just because you let your kids sleep with you doesn’t mean you give in to every little want, wish and desire the have. It’s just ONE of the MANY parenting decision we make each day. There is such thing as balance.

  4. Kate says:

    Hoping Caitlyn is joking…? We co-sleep with our son because it’s the only way anyone gets sufficient sleep! Plus, I love it. How long is he really going to want to cuddle with his mom, anyways? Sure I have some complaints, but who doesn’t? It works for us, and shame on anyone who judges a family for doing what works for them.

  5. Sybil says:

    It is so interesting to me that other people care about where your own kids sleep. If my daughter sleeps in her bed at night or with me, what difference does that make to anyone but her and I? My seven and five year olds take turn sleeping with me and I don’t mind one but. We all sleep just fine! The older my girls get, the less time I get to spend with them during the day, so I definitely enjoy getting in extra snuggle time wherever I can– even while sleeping.

  6. Kel says:

    Spoiling kids = giving things too much of things that are bad for them. Too many toys, too much candy, too much permissiveness, too much power, too much McDonalds, etc.

    Nurturing kids = giving them exactly as much as they need to be emotionally healthy, even if their nighttime comfort needs are more snuggly than what the books quote. Meeting their needs as quickly as possible so that they grow up to be secure, confident adults.

    Co-sleeping falls into the second category. I co-slept until *I* was ready to sleep in my own room, at 3.5 years old. And I was as far from spoiled as a child could be.

  7. Rhonda says:

    Back in the days when I had babies, 30 some years ago, I was taught that it was dangerous to sleep with an infant because you risk smothering them or rolling over on them. I know for me, I slept better when they were in their crib. I don’t want to judge and think it’s up to each person how they want to raise their children, wether it be co-sleeping or not.

  8. Monica says:

    Spoils them? Lol…. how?

  9. kat says:

    Yay co-sleeping! It just feels natural.

  10. Mrs_JennyK says:

    Our twins are 4 months old now and (sort of) sleep in a crib near our bed. I’d be perfectly happy having them IN bed with us all the time but it’s not practical with a plus-sized husband, me, and two babies on a queen bed. Right now, they go to sleep in their shared crib and each has turns with me in bed as needed. Hubby is anxious to get the nursery done so we can set up 2 cribs there and move the boys upstairs (we have a 1st floor master). Ugh. I’m not cool with separating them until they wake each other up, and I’ve already told him to expect that I will end up mostly sleeping upstairs. I hate that this is going to be an ongoing point of contention. It seems so much more natural and easy to bed share. I did it with my first two boys 20 years ago and they DO sleep in their own beds now. :-p

  11. kimberly says:

    I wish parents would stop judging each other! unless there’s child abuse involved, there’s no need to be judging. Anyway, we co-slept in the beginning but found our daughter sleeping longer and less disrupted in her own room (same went for us) so we stuck with that. It’s what worked for us. I think we all do what works for our individual & unique families.

  12. Amy says:

    I breastfed both of my children and co-sleeping just made this all the more easier for me and my children in the evenings! It provided them with comfort and the security they needed! They slept soundly all night as well as I! I think it is absurd that people find it “spoiling”!! How? I agree with Kel that spoiling a child is when you surround them with a substantial amount of “things” that they just do not need!! That is spoiling them!! Loving them and providing them with comfort and security is just doing the best you can for your child!
    My daughter is now 4 years old and sleeps comfortably all night in her bed and has done so since about 1 1/2…and it was on her own that she slept in her own bed! My son is 2 and still sleeps in bed with us on occasion, but it is not a every night occurance!

  13. I am a proud co-sleeper! I don’t exactly share this with the kids’ doctor, but with everyone else I do. We started co-sleeping with my stepdaughter since she was an infant and then full time when we got full custody when she was a year old. She stayed in our bed til a month after her 3rd birthday when she finally for her own room (we were in a 1BR prior). I gave her my full size bed which proved a good transition from our Queen and I am proud (and blessed) to say that she still has not come into our bed nearly a year and a half later! My husband and I got to spend 3 months of very pregnant sleep together before my son arrived. After raising my stepdaughter I thought I had it all figured out and VOWED that TJ would be in his crib from day 1…and then I brought him home… Why do newborns always sound like they are struggling to breath?? After nearly 2 months of sleepless nights with him catnapping in the Rock n Play & breastfeeding sitting up ALL NIGHT LONG with a sleepy newborn on my chest, TJ came into bed with us.

    With his 1st birthday less than a month away crib-transitioning is in the back of my (and front of my husband’s) mind.. But TJ STILL night feeds A LOT so I’m stalling as long as I can… though I wouldn’t mind some co-sleeping with just my husband before there’s a new squishy baby in my belly, and subsequently my bed.

    Great post, Steph! Thank you!

  14. Andrea says:

    The idea of keeping children in solitary confinement would have been thought dangerously absurd at almost any other time in human history. For most of the world, it is still considered a very weird and cruel thing to do to such a small person.

  15. jboogie says:

    Does it have to be either/or? When my son was an infant and still breastfeeding at night, he often slept with us. There were many nights when he would lay down to eat, then I would put him back in his crib because he was wiggling too much (and often daddy’s snoring was waking him up!). Also, we have two dogs and two cats that tend to sneak onto the bed (and the pillows) once we go to sleep and it always made me nervous that one of them would cuddle with him a little too close. Now, he is almost two, and he refuses to lay down and go to sleep with us, but he will often wake up early in the morning and come sleep with us for a few more hours. I think whatever works for your family, and however everyone can get the most sleep, do it. Doesn’t matter what everyone else says.

  16. jboogie says:

    Also, there are horror stories to every aspect of parenting. We have all heard about the kid going into high school that still sucks his thumb and sleeps with mommy. We have all heard the stories of parents “sleep training” and letting their kid scream night after night in a crib. Those are extremes, they are often exaggerated, and they are most definitely rare occurrences.

  17. MsFortune says:

    Many parents bedshare at some point – I don’t see why people need to “come out” as cosleepers. Seems like their self-image is very caught up in how people view their sleeping arrangements.

    I bedshare, but I don’t really think it’s controversial. How silly.

  18. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    I know tons of people who co-sleep and none of us ever found it shameful in any way. What an odd take on the topic.

  19. Olivia says:

    sometimes the parents want their kids in the bed with them, too

    This is one of the more surprising things about co-sleeping for me. I started out bed-sharing when my daughter was first born to hopefully be able to sleep a little more and facilitate breastfeeding, but I though I’d be happy to move her out of our bed by the time she was a year old. Well, she’s almost 2 and half now and my husband and I still love having her in bed with us. I think about moving her to her own room from time to time, but it always makes me feel kinda sad. We are apart all day long, and that extra snuggling at night still feels so important. So, I figure as long as we are all sleeping well there’s no rush.

  20. Inkling says:

    I would love for Caitlyn to come visit our house for a few days.

    Bed sharing wasn’t something we ever planned to do, even though we were more of the Dr. Sears kind of philosophy on a lot of things. But our little guy couldn’t sleep without being held upright, and it took two months for a doctor to believe me that my son had GERD and needed treatment. By then, the habit was entrenched, and I discovered that crying-it-out was not a viable option for our family for numerous reasons. Thus began our bed sharing.

    Now our little guy is just past 2.5 years old now and has moved to the other side of the drywall to a twin bed with bedding he picked out himself. One of us still has to fall asleep with him, and a recent hotel stay has caused him to not be as enthusiastic about his own bed. But we’re taking baby steps.

    My philosophy is that he will be sleeping on his own, potty trained, able to tie his own shoes, and will be eating well by the time he goes to college. Life is too short to try to make him fit into a time schedule made by somebody else. And so far he’s proven that as long as we are patient, he does eventually meet his milestones. In the meantime, our little family is one bonded and content family. Not perfect. But willing to just roll with it.

  21. Olivia says:

    We started out bedsharing to make breastfeeding easier and help me get enough rest. What I found surprising was how much my husband and I love it. At this point my daughter is 3, we have another baby on the way and no plans to move my daughter to her own bed.

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