There is a real stigma in western society about bedsharing/co-sleeping even though there is no scientific evidence to support advising against it. There are no recorded cases of parenting squashing their babies in bed and more cases of cot death which only occurs when the baby is left alone in the cot overnight. They don't know the exact cause of this but they think it's to do with the baby forgetting to breath or overheating. Back when parenting became suddenly medicalised with C sections and hospitals taking over from natural births and home births, bedsharing suddenly became frowned upon. In fact parents were told to put baby in a cot in another room. What happened because of this? Cot death rates shot up because actually babies need to hear their parents breathing at night in order to remember to breathe themselves. That's why we are now told to have the baby in the room with us at night.
But still there is this strange unfounded fear of baby getting hurt in the bed. Of course if you are drunk or on drugs then you are harmful to a baby in any circumstance. But when I started taking baby to bed I found that I quickly became alert to her needs; I could easily gauge her temperature beside me throughout the night, adjust just covers as necessary, and feed her when she was hungry without getting out of bed. In the beginning though I believed all the irrational fear of having baby in bed and I put baby to sleep in the cot. She cried herself to sleep every night for a few nights and became upset in the daytimes too. Another problem that was I got so tired from getting out of bed every few hours for nights on end to soothe baby back to sleep that I would sometimes end up taking her into the bed with me, but this was not a good decision as a very tired and stressed mum with a babe in arms can fall asleep with baby in a bad sleeping position. There are cases of this happening but this is not bedsharing in action.
So I set out to do some research and I found that what I was doing, which was leaving baby in the cot while I fell asleep trying to block out her crying, is actually extremely damaging for baby's brains. There is lots of scientific evidence to back this up; take a look online if you need to. The 'cry it out' method is now argued against by scientists and baby and sleep experts, but sadly a lot of parents end up doing it because their babies naturally do not want to be parted when they are at their most vulnerable, ie at night. This can also create sleep issues later in life for a baby who is abandoned at his or her hour of need. In my experience, my 16 month old daughter now always sleeps through the night, in our double bed beside me. When she was very little I woke up a few times to check on her - call it instinct if you like - and I found that she had forgotten to breathe. After a little touch from me she carried on as usual.
People complain about having to share their beds with babies but I think it is part of being a parent instead of something you can't make time for. Having a baby is hard work and being selfish and doing what you want to do is usually not at the top of any mum's agenda. But with bedsharing these feelings can creep in, as they did with me, because so many other parents told me that bedsharing is unsafe and would make baby clingy. In fact at 16 months she is very confident and happy and I put a lot of this down to her sleeping so well at night. She gets lots of cuddles and put weight on really well after being born underweight. In retrospect I wish I hadn't listened to parents telling me why bedsharing is so bad when in fact they had no right to say such things since they had never tried it before or with their own children!
The blunt fact of it is that most cultures around the world still sleep with their babies and children, and it's nothing to do with lack of space. They do it to keep their little ones close by and safe. No amount of new technology, baby monitors etc can change the baby's evolutionary need to be by its primary caregiver in the night when it is still very vulnerable and cannot fend for itself. We have bought into cots and nurseries and alsorts of other unnecessary baby aids but all baby really needs is a loving mother. When studies wee undertaken in China they found that there is no word for 'cot death' in their language because the idea of a baby dying in the night for no good reason is unheard of. This is in a country where bedsharing is completely normal.
I am completely confident that in her own time my daughter will move into her own room. At the moment we are dong it up and getting it nice and cosy so that it is ready for her to try whenever she is ready for it. My friend did this with her daughter and at age 3 she suddenly started sleeping alone in her own room every night. I hear stories of other parents fighting to get their kids out of their beds after they let them in when they have colds etc and these kids are much older than 3 - often they want what they missed out on in the early days and then it's hard to get them out of feeling like that, even if they can't express it. Personally I love bedsharing with my daughter knowing she is safe and never in danger of anything while I am close by. We both sleep really well and I have been able to continue breastfeeding too as she mostly wants it at night now she is on solids in the daytimes. I just wish I had done the research first and not given into other people's scaremongering and potentially harmed my baby's brain by letting her cry it out. If anyone wants to know more about the science behind bedsharing I recommend the book The Science of Parenting. It has no agenda whatsoever, it just gives you the facts on different issues that tend to get confused by people's politics.
So to parents who are considering bedsharing with their babies- don't listen to silly tales, it's a great decision to make for you and your baby, so just follow your instincts and keep baby close. Goodness knows she won't want to be in your bed forever and one day she might not want your cuddles either - so enjoy the peaceful nights while you can!! :)
I don't agree with sharing a bed with your child; I think children should sleep in their own beds end of.
So why does my 5 year old daughter end up in bed with me and my husband nearly every night?
I rarely allowed my elder daughter to sleep in our bed, she was a pretty good sleeper she would sometimes fall asleep in our bed then I would take her to bed and she would stay there until morning unless she was ill. Or when she was 3 she went through a bad spell after watching something on television that she thought was scarey (we thought it was funny but hey)
My youngest daughter doesn't like being on her own, we sussed this out years ago.
When she was a baby she slept in the same room as us until she was 6 months old but when she woke in the night we immediately got up as we didn't want our elder daughter waking as she had school. I often think this is why she doesn't stay in her own bed. She started to sleep through the night at about 3 months but when we went away for the night or on holiday it would stop.
When she was still quite young we tried just lieing her back down in her cot when she woke up but she would stand up and scream so again we would lie her down (this was done in the 6 weeks school holidays) 3 hours later she was still screaming everytime I lay her down and left her room which stressed my elder daughter out very much (and her parents) so I tried staying in her room until she fell asleep.
We made the cot bed into a bed when she was about 15 months old thinking at least I could lie with her until she was back asleep (we bought a bed guard).
Time goes on and you think you have it sorted but to be honest in the last couple of years I don't think she has gone longer than a week without getting up.
When my daughter wakes she immediately comes into our room I sometimes take her strainght back and she does go back to sleep, other times she goes to run away and begins to say very loudly NO DON'T.
Other times I am so tired I just make room for her (and this is what I don't like or agree with). Other times I do lie with her in her bed until she is asleep and then go back to mine but on those nights she is more likely to end up in my bed 2 hours later or I just stay in her bed.
So basically I share a bed with my 5 year old, either hers or she shares with me and her daddy most nights at the moment. I feel I should have been stronger when she was younger.
I haven't been well since the weekend so every night she has got up and just got into bed with us. I don't believe this is good because I can't sleep properly and if she sleeps in the middle she just keeps hitting her daddy as she likes to roll around in her sleep so nobody gets any sleep.
I have spoken to her and explained that she is going to have to go back to bed and not get in with us from Friday (I thought she could syke herself up for it) but once she wakes that is it she doesn't want to be alone.
So although I don't agree with sharing a bed with your child I am doing it pretty much every night and feeling very tired from it; I am convinced it is because we never left her for 5 or 10 minutes at night incase she woke our eldest daughter when she was younger; so I wish I had found a way but with the the paper thin walls in this house I think my eldest would have been woken anyway. Maybe if I had left a little light on - but I did try a night light. I couldn't leave the landing light on as that kept the rest of us awake.
So I am going to be harder from weekend and just sit in her room till she goes back to sleep (I have actually done this before but there becomes a time when doing it most nights you are just too tired)
in our culture bed sharing with your child is frowned upon, in other cultures it is actively encouraged to encourage the bond with your child.
I personally think that it is a dangerous thing to begin doing unless you have a double bed and are in there on your own. It is soo easy to roll over when you are asleep and in the early days of having a baby sleep is soo precious that you want to be able to sleep properly with out worrying about this. If you roll on a hild the results can be devistating - they are just too small to take this risk. This is one of the things that the health workers were consistent with when i was pregnant and since i have had my little girl.
Having said that it is sooooo easy to do when feeding in the night to drift off - to stop this try and sit up to feed or put your feet on the floor. It just is not worth taking the risk. My cousin shares a bed with his son everynight - he has never slept in the mosses basket and won't settle in there. I think that this is a rod for your own back as my cousin now has to have his son in his bed and his sleep is disrupted and he is yet to have an unbroken night of sleep.
It is really hard to get into a bedrime routine and the lack of sleep in the early days is soo hard but i think that no amount of sleep is worth this risk!.
This is one thing I never thought I'd do but ...
My little boy was born by emergency caesarean and so, for the first night in hospital I still had a catheter in etc and couldn't get out of bed. I was on a ward with other mums and whenever my baby cried I had to buzz for a midwife to come and lift him out of his cot for me. I fed him and cuddled him and when he was asleep I had to buzz again for someone to put him back. Then, a few minutes later he was crying again and I had to buzz for someone to get him out for me etc, etc. After a few goes one of the midwives suggested that I sleep with him in my bed - she said they would watch us to make sure he was OK and they would move him once he was settled (and she didn't say but I'm sure she was thinking that then everyone might get some sleep). I was really surprised and uncertain about this but I thought it must be safe or they wouldn't have suggested it.
So, this is how we started off and this was the only way I could get him to settle - he just wanted to be cuddled all the time and at least this way I got some sleep too. When we went home my husband was nervous about us all being in the bed together but I couldn't see the benefit in sitting up for hours with him when I could be asleep with him. And breastfeeding him in bed was easy - I barely had to wake up.
Gradually he spent more time in his cot. By 3 months he had a bedtime routine and he would stay in his cot until his first feed. Then he would go back in his cot but he would move into our bed after a second feed. He has never been a good sleeper and having him in bed just seemed easier for everyone.
All this time, I had niggling doubts in the back of my mind that I was doing the wrong thing, or that I would never be able to break the cycle and I felt like I couldn't tell anyone about it. On the otherhand, I had read some really lovely things on the internet that I could really relate to.
There were a couple of occasions when I tried to put him in his cot - but I would end up getting cross with him and I felt that was ruining my relationship and not helping either of us. In the end I settled on a 'rule' that I would give him 2 chances. If he settled then great, but if he couldn't then that was fine too.
We were having building work done at this time so our baby didn't have his own room until 8 months. When his room was ready we moved him in there and he stayed in there all night. There was no fuss at all - he just seemed ready. In fact, I think he was ready a bit earlier (he was much less settled in our bed from about 6 months) but when he woke up in our room and saw us he couldn't settle on his own. When he woke up in his own room he just settled himself back down and quickly started sleeping through the night.
He is 20 months now and he still has the occasional night in our bed - when he is poorly or unsettled. But he doesn't expect it every night.
I would do this again with another baby. I know parents who have been up all night with babies that won't settle in their cots and I just can't see the sense in losing all that sleep!
As a parent myself this is a difficult situation for all parents.
Do you let them into bed with you?
We have all been through this,child wakes in the night and comes into parents room and wants to get into bed with you.
What we did from an early age,and still do now if my 6 year old daughter wakes,take her to the toilet then back to bed holding her hand,put her back into her bed,give her a kiss and say goodnight.
She knows that she will be going back into her own bed regardless and its all about routine,so the experts say!
We have done the backwards and forwards for most of the night bit and this works.
It is horrible to go through as sometimes our daughter got a bit upset but you have to be strong and keep doing it as it will be beneficial for all in the long run.
We do let her into bed with us but thats in the morning after 7am,as thats what weve taught her is morning time.If she does wake before 7 am then its back to bed,which she fully understands.
This has worked well for us.
Everyone has their own beliefs and reasons for doing whats best for them on this subject,but im one for saying do whats right for you.
We did what we believed was right.
I guess that whilst pregnant I was adamant that baby would sleep in her cot. My sister had little ones and hadnt had a good nights sleep for six years!
When little one arrived my sister passed down my nephews moses basket and from the first day she came home this moses basket moved from room to room with us! Baby loved it and I had no problem with her sleeping eight hours through the night.
At night I would put the moses basket as if it were an extension of my bed and if my daughter awoke in the night I simply reached out and felt her tiny hand curl around my fingers and she was soon asleep again, if it was a feed that she was after I simply lifted her onto my lap, it was all too simple!!
As her father drinks and smokes it never occured to me to put her in the bed as Id heard and read lots of negativity and indeed around the time she was born there was a story of a father falling asleep on the sofa with his baby and smothered the poor mite.
The relationship was rocky to say the least and as it broke down my daughter witnessed things that a baby should never have to see or hear, she became a little more restless and clingy and at this time myself and my daughter moved house.
It was at this time that with all the turmoil and upheaval that I made the decision to put my little one in with me. Call it selfish but I found it as much a comfort as Im sure she did.
We both got a good nights sleep, if she awoke in the night is wasnt disruptive to either of us. We became closer if that was at all possible at this time and I enjoyed bedtimes,reading her stories and cuddling up.
She has a bedroom, with all her furniture and toys and she does often play in it but come bed time then we share 'our' bed.
Im in no doubt whatsoever that there will come a time when she tells me that shes too old to share mummys bed so these years to me are precious as Ill never get them back.
There is no better feeling in the world to me than to watch my little princess asleep, content and in my bed !
My summary is that everybodys situation is different but if it suits your lifestyle then this is a magical time.
The subject of bed sharing is one which I have no personal experience with, but I do know a friend that has had a great deal of problems with it. I have a 14 month old little boy, who currently still sleeps in a cot, so I don't have the problems that my friend has. Her little boy is aged 2 and will keep climbing out of his bed and come into his mum and dads room to get in with them. He does it every night, and refuses to sleep unless he is in bed with them. If she tries to be strong and say no and keep taking him back to his bed, he throws a major paddy and will wake the whole street with the noise. She has real trouble with him. I recomended her the super nanny book that is available from Amazon.co.uk, and since she has read that it has improved alot. But there is no way around it, you have to be strong willed and keep taking them back to their bed, until their little wills snap and they give in. It nearly drove my friend to dispair, but at least now the problem is much better and he will sleep in his own bed.
I have just read a few reviews on this subject and I have to admit I'm one of the naughty parents who encouraged bedsharing.
When my husband and I bought our daughter home for the first time we were adament we would get her into a routine as soon as possible.
She slept in a moses basket in our bedroom and we started getting her used to going down about 7pm and it was working really well, she would wake for her feeds but go straight back to sleep afterwards.
When my daughter was 8 weeks old I had growing suspicions regarding my husband, and after some investigating on his phone I found out he was having an affair.
I was devastated as I realised it was going on for several months.
I tried so hard not to shout and cause arguments when my husband visited but my daughter sensed the stress in me and in turn became very unsettled herself especially at night, she would scream for what seemed like days and I was finding it hard to cope on my own.
One night when I was feeding her in my bed, she slowly settled and fell asleep, I was so pleased of having a peacefull night rather than screams that I left her in my bed, I took my duvet away from her and placed her cot blanket on her instead.
I carried on the same each night as it was easier and less tiring and part of me loved being beside her as it comforted me too.
My daughter is now four years old and every one had told me I was making a rod for my own back, so I decided to try and get her sleeping in her own bed, especially as she was going to be starting school shortly.
I decorated her bedroom and bought her a new stephanie (from lazytown) duvet and matching curtains, It was a lovely girlie room when I had finished.
Then that night I told her it was bed time and she needed to go into her own bed like a big girl, Once under the covers I read her a book and stayed with her until she drifted off to sleep, she did wake up about 3 am so I again went in to her room and sat with her until she settled back to sleep again.
I'm not saying it was easy, as it really wasn't, there were lots of times she would cry and ask to come into my bed but I had to persist with it.
It has paid off in the long run and still working now but in hind sight I wish I had just kept her in the routine I had in place.
I know I have been very lucky with my daughter enjoying being a big girl and sleeping in her own bed and I would not make the same mistake if I'm lucky enough to have more children in the future.
My advice to anyone thinking of doing the same would be to try and keep a routine going as you pay for it in the long run.
Bed sharing is it normal? In western society? NO
However it is normal in many countries.
I was a single mum and bed shared with my baby boy as soon as we came out of hospital and even shared the bed in hospital much to the disgust of the nurses.
My son I'm proud to say was a contented baby slept all night every night and because he slept so well I was one happy mummy.
When I got back with his dad when our son was 2 we had a few issues regarding the bed sharing and it was a hard for my partner to accept it. When josh hit 3 he would go to sleep in our bed then one of us would move him into his bed. Now aged 6 he still sometimes creep into our bed at night but it doesn't bother us.
When we had our daughter, we said no bed sharing but I find nothing more normal than taking your baby into your bed and sleeping next to them, feeling their breath on your face and seeing their chest fall and rise to me it's reassuring.
Now my daughter is nearly 2 she sleeps in her own bed in the room she shares with her brother.
I always check on them before I go bed and quite often find them snuggled in bed together, it makes them happy and that's fine by me.
I remember getting into my parents bed when I was woken by bad dreams and nightmares and I felt safe there.
I support bed sharing only if the adults haven't drunk alcohol,smoke or taken drugs. I also believe in has to be what both parents want as well.
I know my kids like the comfort of someone next to them during the night and if they want to come into my bed for a cuddle then I'm happy to let them.
My eldest daughter who is almost 2 years now, always hated her cot. For the first 3 months or so she slept well in her own space, but after that she always wanted to come to my bed. I would let her sleep on the bed and when she had fallen asleep I would put her back in her cot. We did this for about a year.
Then at one year we decided to move her into her own room and her own bed. And she was quite happy there and would occasionaly come to our bed.
After the birth of my second baby my eldest daughter wanted to sleep with me. My eldest and I shared the bed for a few days while my new baby was on the cot, but this didn't work out as the newborn always disturbed my 2 year old. During this time the new born slept in the same room as me, sometimes on my bed or on her cot. While my 2 year old was with my husband.
Now that my second is older and doesn't wake up much my eldest daughter and I share the bed.
I NEVER keep my 3 month old on the bed even for a minute when my 2 year old is also on the bed.
I think co sleeping is fine as long as you are sure you won't roll over your baby, or if your baby is big enough.
When my girls were born I didn't want to have them in bed with me incase in the night I rolled on them and hurt them or worse, as I'm quite a deep sleeper. I have to admit when they were tiny a couple times I fell asleep with them in my arms but this was by accident as I was so tired. A lot of the time I would just hold them till they fell asleep then put them back in there cots.
I still don't like having my girls in my bed with me now, they are three but whenever there in our bed I can't sleep properly. A while ago they were both poorly nothing serious just chesty coughs, so we wanted to keep an eye on them and let them sleep in our bed. Once they were better it was a nightmare trying to get them back into sleeping in there beds. They would scream so we just gave up and let them sleep in our beds but that meant us having to go to bed when they did, so they would go to sleep. In the end we said it was enough and just put them in there beds and they cried for a bit but then they fell asleep, so we carried on doing this every night then they were fine. In the morning when they wake up they often come into our bed for a cuddle which is lovely and of course we don't mind that. I think them being twins helps as they share a room so they have each others company, so don't feel so scared and lonely. Sometimes we go in there room and they have fallen asleep together but we just move them back to there own beds.
I think once your child starts sleeping in your bed then it is hard to get them out of it. You just need to get them in a routine and be firm with them and explain why they can't stay in your bed. Also I think that going to bed should be a time for you and your partner or even just you, to relax and chill out after being around the kids all day or at work. It wont take them long to get used to being in there own beds. My girls actually don't mind going to bed as we always put pretty duvet covers on there bed like fairies or princess ones so when we say its bedtime they know there going to there princess beds, so don't mind going .
I wouldnt say my daughter shares our bed with us, but she has been known to wake up in it a few times!
She has her own bed which she goes to sleep in on a night with no problems. She normally wakes up at about 5am. Rather than have to get up with her at such a stupid time, she comes in our bed, and we get a few hours extra sleep, I dont see a problem with this at all, it gives me extra sleep!!
I dont really agree with putting a new born in bed, I feel its very dangerous and starting them off like this. Everybody needs there own bed / space. My baby was poorly and I slept on the couch with him, as I didnt want him to get into the habit of sleeping with us, also I love thick heavy duvets right up to me, so doing this with a young baby is a no no.
Im so not a fan of kids sleeping in their parents bed i personally think its making a rod for our own back ! Iv never once had any of my two children sleep with me, They have had a set bedtime routine since they were newborns which consists of bath bottle story bed. Both my children go to sleep at 6.30 in their own beds. Also even if i wanted to do this i dont think id settle its far to dangerous in my opinion ! new mums are exhausted and whos to say they arnt going to wake up laying on top of their baby ? or sleeping through a child falling out of bed ?i just couldnt take that risk. One of my friends had her baby sleeping with her from day 1 as she was breastfeeding so was easier and now her child is 2 years old and STILL sleeping in the bed which causes tension for her and her partner. If you are pregnant or have a newborn and are tempted to do this then my advise is dont ! you will only regret this in the long run and there is so many other oppertunities to get that special cuddle/bonding time with the baby other than bed/sleep time isnt there ?
I personally dont like to do this. With both my children they have had a set bedtime from about 3/4 months old. My eldest goes to bed at half 6 so that he can watch a dvd in bed for an hour then we turn it off and he goes to sleep. My youngest is only 6months and he has his bottle at half 7 then straight to bed. This is usually time enough for my eldest to be fast asleep in bed by the time youngest goes up. Over the years we have allowed our eldest to come in our bed every now and then - when scared in the night, nt well or if he has had an accident. My youngest will sometimes come into our bed in the morning for half an hour to have a cuddle but thats usually down to us being a bit lazy and not wanting to get out of bed if im honest! I do think it can be quite dangerous - could either fall out of the bed or if they are in the middle they could be rolled onto or covers could go over their face etc. I dont think young babies should be in the bed. What is the need for it? My children were both in moses basckets next to my side of bed so it was almost like they were in bed anyway they were that close. So really I suppose im a bit mixed on the idea. When we bring our youngest into bed we are still awake but at the end of the day he is still in our bed so maybe im a bit hypocritical
I have 2 young children and have never understood why parent allow their children to share their bed. I think it's really important to get babies into a routine when they're young and learn that when it's bedtime, they have their own space and mum and dad have theirs.
Having said that it is each to theri own but you hear of stories of yound toddlers still up at midnight and will only go to sleep if they're in with their parents and this fills me with horror!!!, I'm so glad I persevered with mine.
Don't get me wrong there are times my kinds come into me when they're unwell or had a scary dream and we reassure them and sometimes if they're ill especially they stay in all night but its a rare occasion. I am not the perfect parent though by any means but I do think its important to have some adult time if you know what I mean or your relationship suffers, remember yes you're parents but you're also 2 adults in a relationship aswell