There aren’t many subjects in parenting that can get the debate going quite like co-sleeping.
While official advice on the matter is pretty clear cut in the UK. “The safest place for your baby to sleep in the first 6 months is in a separate cot or crib in the same room as you,” states The Lullaby Trust. But it’s one of those things where you wonder what people actually do in their everyday lives.
So we were really interested to read a column from Australian Sky presenter Jacinta Tynan, in news.com.au, who’s opened up about co-sleeping on and off with her boys (now aged 5 and 7) since they were born.
“As new mums, we get the memo that we must do what it takes to get that newborn into their own room pronto, even better the holy grail of ‘sleeping through the night’ while they’re at it, without ever questioning why,” Jacinta wrote.
“Divulging that [you’ve co-slept from birth] is risky because sharing a bed with your baby is contentious, a sure fire lightning rod for parental judgment and disapproval.
“It’s regarded as the genesis of dependent, needy children at best, with the potential to kill them at worst.”
Jacinta doesn’t just use her own voice in the feature – but also mentions Professor James McKenna, considered a world leader in mother-child sleeping issues, who, she says, “advises babies should be ‘within sensory contact’ (i.e. within the same four walls) as their mother for at least the first six months.”
Of course, a lot of parents (and experts) will disagree with Jacinta’s stand. But we do think she’s really hit the nail on the head when she says it’s simply not something parents want to own up to doing – because they’re afraid of the judgement they’ll get.
Interestingly, the comments Jacinta received when her story was shared in the Daily Mail were positive (is this a first for DM?):
“Totally agree! Makes them feel secure,” said one mum. “Nothing better than them turning over in the middle of the night whilst they are sleeping to find you and give you a hug and a kiss.
“Vice versa too. Co slept with both of mine. Both are happy and confident. We all have a very strong bond. At the end of the day do what is best for you and your children and do it the way you want!”
Another said: “My son is 18 years old. He’s smart, funny, caring, has heaps of friends and gets along with everyone he meets. He started sleeping full time in his own bed at 8 years of age.”
What do you think?
Did you co-sleep with your baby before they were 6 months? Did you keep it quiet in case of being judged? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook