Parenthood is riddled with stigma and stereotype, and in those early days, it’s hard to differentiate between opinion and fact. One topic that remains a taboo subject for real discussion is co-sleeping. Parents are often told of the dangers and it leaves them feeling that sleeping with your child is an awful thing. From experience, it can create so much extra pressure…and completely unnecessarily too.
Until the damned four month sleep regression, we thought we were winning the sleep battle. The baby slept happily in his Sleepyhead in his crib and we got a bit of sleep ourselves. When four months hit, life changed. Eddison decided that he didn’t need nor want to sleep. In reality he did need to and we were caught in a downward spiral. The only thing that meant we got any kind of kip was having him in the bed with us. He just wanted to be close.
We felt like we were committing some kind of crime. In fact, we avoided any sleep related chat with people because of the negative stigma attached to co-sleeping. It’s sad in a way, we were so exhausted that we couldn’t even argue our logic. Now things are more normal (sleep-wise) I’m gutted with myself for not holding my ground.
Truth be told, I love it when our boy sleeps near me. As a Dad, I don’t get too much close time with him because the only time he cuddles is when he’s being fed. So why is something that comforts me as an adult and comforts my son seen as such a bad thing?
Are there dangers? Yes admittedly there are some, but as a nation, in the UK, we seem to be almost scared to talk about co-sleeping so in turn, education around the practice is minimal. Even in parenting publications, you read very little about it – something which reinforces the negative stigma even further. As a freelance writer, I’ve tried a number of times to pitch articles on the topic and it’s clear a lot of editors are tentative about the topic due to their publication’s editorial guidelines.
Around the world, people see us as strange for not co-sleeping. It’s incredible how as a nation we are so set against something that others see as the norm.
So if it feels right to you to sleep with your baby, remember, it’s your choice. Do your research, make sure you’re safe and don’t listen to the negativity!