I have known many parents (including my Mom) who is against co sleeping and it always baffles me why people cannot grasp how comforting this concept is. For me it has been the most rewarding interaction and our safe foundation for security that I have had with my children (along with nursing) that has created a lasting bond with us that cannot and will not be taken away by anyone. Our co sleeping arrangements have been such a blessing to use and not a curse like some parents feel it would be to them.
I have never asked myself questions such as …. will my kids grow up being babies, will they be too indecisive, have I coddled them too much, will they be too sensitive, will they require too much attention as adults, will have they problems with being needy or any of the above. Just the exact opposite to be honest – let me clarify. Co sleeping from day one has been the most gratifying reward in parenting. My kids and I sleep amazing, they are cuddled when they need me and gain space when they want it, I rub lotion on their scaly legs and feet, I crack their backs or throw them on the bed, I smell their newly shampooed hair, we talk after a long day and actually have a few minutes to vent, it comforts all of us knowing we are in the same room and safe together, my presence in their rooms makes them feel secure and if this is what some parents consider the worse thing I can do for my child — is helping them to feel happy and peaceful before and during sleep — then I feel good about my parenting decisions.
Our societal norms and negative classical conditioning encourages many to raise our kids quickly and we hear things such as you are holding them too much or stop smothering them. I am here to say as an expert — you cannot hold or love your children too much. It worries me when I hear these things from parents who want their kids to be so independent or to be on their own way too fast or to walk and crawl before they can even hold their heads up. Why even choose to birth and raise children if you want them grown so quickly.
I love the time I have with my kids and co sleeping has been such a comforting time for all of us. On the days that they stay at their Dad’s I miss them and do not sleep as well. Our days are full, most families are on the go, and I honestly look forward to cuddling my kids and snuggling with them for the few minutes that they will allow me too. They keep me at arm’s length some days and others they want me to hold them while they sleep.
I strongly recommend you pick your battles. Who or what is it harming to co sleep – no one. What damage could it do to a child for you falling asleep with them or sleeping in the same room until they ask you not to anymore – not one thing. When my children get old enough (and I hope time slows down … lol) they will kindly ask me (or not depending on the day) to sleep in my own room and I will do so but until then I am going to cherish every moment I have with my kids and their small hands in mine or their tiny fingers in my hair as they fall asleep or the sound of their chest and breathing as it gets slower while they are about to drift off or their morning breath or that I am right next to them if they ever should have a nightmare or wake up scared.
I can think of a million reasons why I love co sleeping and why its good for both children and parents. I understand it is not a choice every parent makes or likes but for those of us that do get to enjoy the enormous benefits emotionally and cognitively. I am positive co sleeping will make your kids happier, as if it has mine.
Article written by Kelly Benamati — Family and Child Care Expert and Holistic Wellness Expert
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