Co-sleeping Part 1: How to Know When It’s Time to Stop

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Co-sleeping Part 1: How to Know When It’s Time to Stop

To be clear, the point of this article is not to debate whether co-sleeping is right or wrong.

Co-sleeping is a fairly common practice among families around the world, including those in the United States. Recent research has shown that sleeping with young children does not appear to have either a significant positive, or negative, effect on children or their development.

How and when to co-sleep is really an issue of personal preference. Take some time to talk about it with your partner and figure out what works for you.

There are a variety of reasons why parents co-sleep, or bed share, with their children:

  1. Convenience. This is the most common reason for co-sleeping. When children are very young, many parents find it more convenient to sleep with their kids. The practice is especially helpful if their kids aren’t sleeping through the night, their children tend to wake up very early, or they are actively breastfeeding. Co-sleeping is just easier.
  2. Bonding. For some parents, it is very important to have a close emotional and physical bond with their child or children. Co-sleeping provides a natural opportunity to bond, even during sleep.
  3. Living circumstances. Limited physical space sometimes makes co-sleeping necessary for some families.
  4. Cultural norms. In many cultures, co-sleeping is the family norm. You or your partner may consider it a normal part of parenting.

Still, there are situations when it’s not a good idea to sleep with your kids, or it can cause problems in your relationship:

Unsafe sleeping practices exist. If your child cannot sleep without risk of injury, it’s best to stop co-sleeping. Stop the practice if:

  • You or your partner drink alcohol or take medication that hinders your ability to wake, function, or respond to your child at night.
  • You are unable to provide a firm, smooth sleeping surface, free of loose bedding. It is also important to ensure your child does not fall off the bed, as well.
  • You recognize that sleeping in such close proximity poses a threat of rolling over on an infant or toddler. Kicking or hitting injury due to movement during the night may also occur.

Sleep deprivation is an issue. Bed-sharing can make it difficult for both children and parents to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is detrimental to physiological and psychological well-being. Keep in mind that sacrificing your own sleep, for the sake of your child’s sleep, won’t help anyone in the long run.

Your sex life is suffering. Co-sleeping can wreak havoc on your sex life when bedroom privacy goes out the window. While some couples creatively work around the challenges, others need and want the bedroom space for intimacy.

You and your partner disagree on co-sleeping. If partners are not on the same page about co-sleeping, it can have a negative impact on the relationship. Seriously consider the cost of continuing to co-sleep when your partner really doesn’t want to. To avoid conflict and a power struggle over the practice, you and your partner really should reach an agreement, one way or the other.

Co-sleeping is being used as a long-term strategy to deal with sleep problems. Some parents use co-sleeping to manage children who have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Often, it starts as a temporary solution that gets out of hand, as children get older. Children need help reestablishing good sleep patterns. Long-term co-sleeping can interfere with your child’s healthy sleeping habits.

If any of these situations apply to you, it’s probably time to move or return your child to his or her own bed.

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