I’ve been doing some research this morning on co-sleeping, trying to find the pros and cons of it. Mike and I have talked about it a little bit, and we both agree that we don’t think co-sleeping is a very good idea for us. I am too heavy of a sleeper, and I would be fearful of rolling over onto the baby. And even if I somehow became a light sleeper, who’s to say Mike wouldn’t roll over onto the baby? In my research, I have found many people say it is a personal choice, and really depends on the baby. I read a few stories where the baby would cry nonstop if put in a crib, and co-sleeping helped immensely. I’ve also read that some babies do not respond well to co-sleeping, and prefer to sleep in their own crib. Which is definitely why I understand it is a choice that each parent has to make for themselves. Who knows, I may change my mind when I have a baby, but I have heard too many horror stories about babies being suffocated by parents that roll onto them while sleeping.
However, there is one thing that I know I would not do – put the baby in another room. I’ve already told Mike that I will not do this. There are too many things that can happen to a baby in the early stages of its life, I would be terrified if I were not close by. If something did happen that I could have prevented had I been closer, I would feel guilty for the rest of my life. A baby cannot take care of themselves – I think that they need the comfort of their parents close by to console them when they are crying. Who knows why babies cry sometimes – tired, scared, irritable. But they need to know that their mother/father is there for them. They don’t know that the feeling will go away. They just know that’s how they feel at the moment, and they need to cry and be consoled. So those that say a child needs to learn to be independent are full of crap, in my opinion. A 3 month old doesn’t know how to be independent – and shouldn’t be. Which brings me to the topic of sleep-training.
I try not to judge, especially since I am not a parent, but it just seems wrong to let a child cry when they obviously need their parent. I did read a post on Ask Moxie that said some kids need to cry themselves to sleep, and I suppose that is different. But if a baby is crying because they need to be comforted, and parents deny them that comfort in order to “train” them, it’s awful. If your 5 year old skinned their knee and was crying, you wouldn’t tell them to suck it up (at least I would hope not). You would clean them up, put a band-aid on their knee, and comfort them in their pain. I think it is important for your child to understand that you will be there for them when they need you.
I think the problem is that since so many parents are unsure of themselves when they have a child, they don’t trust their instincts. They want to read a book, and if it’s published then it must be true, right? Bullshit. Just like they try to make people believe that formula is better for babies, these people write these books and say “if you don’t follow this method, your kid will be screwed up” or something along those lines. They scare people into believing them. Most parents just want to do what’s best for their child, and if the “book” says to let their kids cry themselves to sleep, then that must be the right thing to do. It makes me want to puke. While I do think there are many good books out there, I think it is important to get several opinions and then go with what you feel is right.
Again, there is voice in the back of my head saying “you are not a parent, so you are talking out of ignorance” – which may be true. I have never been through it, so who am I to talk? But there are some things that you just feel are right/wrong. Deep down, I feel that it is wrong to let your child cry if they need comfort. It’s like when I went to church, and deep down I knew that something was not right with what they were trying to “teach” (brainwash) me into believing. You have to follow your gut.
I found this article that explains my thoughts on sleep-training fairly well.
Edited to add: Okay, I just read a few articles discussing the pros of co-sleeping. I found this article had a lot of good information. It addressed my fear of smothering my baby by co-sleeping, and made a good point –
What, then, about safety? Haven’t strong admonitions against the family bed been rooted in fear of smothering in the literal as much as the figurative sense? The worry that a sleeping mother will “overlie” her baby and cause his death dates back to a Biblical reference found in the Book of Kings. Pediatricians and others often advise new mothers to avoid sleeping with their babies as a protective measure against infant suffocation. However, parents who enjoy a family bed and doctors who advocate its use point out that the same internal signals that prevent a sleeping adult from rolling out of bed and injuring herself will also prevent a parent from rolling on top of her infant. In the rare cases where overlying has occurred, it has generally been the result of inappropriately soft bedding or a parent whose sleeping awareness was impaired by alcohol or medication. “The average, typical parent sleeping on a good mattress will be very aware and will not roll over on (her infant),” asserts Dettwyler.
I still have to do more research on co-sleeping, but I suppose it is not out of the question