Friday, January 30, 2009

Co-Sleeping and Night Time Parenting: Some Myths Addressed

He'll stay in your bed forever.

I disagree and so does Dr. Sears. He and his wife (a registered nurse) disagreed enough that in the chapter on Sleep Discipline in The Discipline Book, they address this issue and state "Toddlers can sense when they are being hurried developmentally in any area, and the more pressure they feel, the more they will resist.  ... Just like healthy weaning from the breast, weaning from the parents' bed will happen gradually, perhaps two steps forward and one step back." (134-35) I agree and this is the attitude I have adopted. I am not worried about when he will want to sleep alone. He will do it when he is ready, and it took Kevin's return last summer for me to discover this!

You are ruining your marriage bed.

Really? Because co-sleeping and night time parenting creates some extra spark in my opinion. I will not divulge all of the details, but creativity is key. Sex happens if you want it to happen, because you will find a way to make it work. And who says sex has to happen in the family bed? Or at bed time?

Your child will (is) manipulating you to avoid sleep.

This statement is so ludicrous to me that I almost left it out, but I have actually had to defend myself against this statement in the past.

Because I give my son adequate attention during our daytime hours together and he knows I will come to him if he needs me in the night, he does not need to manipulate me to avoid bed time or come to him unnecessarily in the night. I watch for his sleep cues and initiate our bed time routine when he begins to show signs of sleepiness. Sometimes I fail, but that is my fault, not his.

Your son will never learn to go to sleep on his own.

Again, I disagree. He first must be ready to learn. I cannot force him to use the toilet, and I can not force him to sleep. I can, however, gently and lovingly teach him to fall asleep on his own-- when he is ready for that developmental milestone. Trust me, I do not hold him back from learning it. I would enjoy tucking him in, kissing him goodnight and turning off the light at some point. However, that time has not yet come, and I am fine with that. I know he will do it and I see him making progress towards that point in time.

You'll be going to bed at seven and stuck there all night.

As you may have noticed in yesterday's post, I do not stay in bed with The Boy all night. I parent him to sleep and get up to do what I want or need. Or if I fall asleep (hey, mama gets tired!), I get up early in the morning. Some parents start their child in a crib or their own bed, but welcome them to the family bed in the night at some point. We've done a variety of things through the two years of The Boy's life depending on his mobility.


Carol said...

Now see, this is both total wisdom and total common sense! I totally agree with you on all counts!


Rebecca said...

Just found a co-sleeping parent at work. We got started on the conversation when I saw her steaming her breast pump supplies. When I learned her daughter was 10 months, I cheered for her pumping. She immediately "confessed" co-sleeping, and we started the talk...

It's been on my mind this week, so I've enjoyed your posts about co-sleeping and night-time parenting. It could be that - finally - Frank is sleeping through the night. I'm "free" until 5:30 am!

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