Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More on co-sleeping

When I reflected on the first six months of motherhood, I listed as number five on the list of things I never thought I would do:
5. Put The Boy in my bed. Sometimes the path of least resistance can save ones sanity.
My how things have changed. I was one of those mothers who SWORE my child would sleep in his own bed. That is where a baby belongs, I would tell people. Six months in to parenthood, we were a happy co-sleeping bunch. I realize co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it is for me and a lot of other families.
Recently, in parallel to writing about night time parenting and co-sleeping, I have been getting quite a few emails that have the following statements in them.
"I would never tell anyone else, but..."
"I feel like I can't share this with anyone else, but..."
The part after the "but" is always the same-- I/we co-sleep. Some do it on a full time basis. Others keep it to part-time. Some have a unique arrangement that works for their family.
I love hearing that others are co-sleeping, but I can not help but wonder why they decide not to tell people. It truly is no one's business, and some people are private. Others do not want to hear harsh critics or listen to others spread false information.
As I was sitting in the pediatricians waiting room Monday with my sick son, I overheard two families talking about their children sleeping with them.  One father said, "She's three, so I suppose she should sleep on her own, but she still comes to our bed at night and we allow her to join us." I smiled knowingly to myself... thinking... she's three, not thirty. There's no reason to feel guilty that you allow your three year old in your bed!
Then I looked around, and what did I see? Posters. Several of them. All advertising babies sleeping alone and my smile faded. It is no wonder that parents feel guilty for allowing their child to sleep with them. No one advertises how to do it safely or the benefits. At least not in the places it would impact the most people-- pediatricians offices and other public places. 
PhD in Parenting (hmm... one of these days, I'll write your name... LOL!) asked yesterday on twitter for examples of advertisements by public authorities that are anti-co-sleeping, and they were all over my pediatricians office. If I had had more time, I would have snapped pictures of them. Next time... but we'll keep on co-sleeping. In the year and a half, we've been going there, our pediatrician has known we co-sleep and never says anything about it. I suppose my "don't mess up our nice relationship by giving me parenting advice" attitude helps.
Have you seen anti-co-sleeping advertisements? If so, let PhD in Parenting know. Her email address is on her blog.


Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

Thanks Maria! I ended up posting a few of those over the top, scare-tactic anti-co-sleeping messages in my reply to a comment on my guest post over at the Mommy News Blog (scroll down to comment #22):

That said, I would still love if people could e-mail me any others they are aware of because I may post a compilation and dissect their ridiculousness at some point.

Maria said...

Hmm... I should have sent you an email asking, but I was rushing through this post with a sick kid and made an assumption. I've been linking you a lot lately... LOL!

hwall said...

My doctor's office boasts an advertisement that reads: "I Sleep Alone. No blankets, no stuffed animals, no parents. In my crib. On my back."

I'll try to get a photo of it next time we're there.

Our pediatrician knows we co-sleep and, when I told her, put her hand on her chest and gasped and told me how much that scared her. I told her she needn't be scared. We still co-sleep.

Rebecca said...

I have seen a few ads. I can't place them or cite them, but I've seen them. If I see any more, I'll let you and/or Annie know.

Great post, by the way. It captures my emotions. We felt like we had to say, "We didn't intend to co-sleep, BUT..." I still feel guilty.

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