More and more research is emerging to confirm what most mammals already know; that sleeping together with our young offspring is a beneficial practice. The latest headline that caught my eye:
“Dr Nanna Olsen from the Research Unit for Dietary Studies at the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Copenhagen University Hospitals in Denmark presented new research at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, which reveals that children who come into their parent’s bed during the night are less likely to be overweight than children who do not. “
I have always shared a bed with my babies, though I had not always planned to. I had never given it any thought until becoming pregnant and going over a list of “necessary” baby items like cribs and baby-monitors. Suddenly, the prospect of having to physically get out of bed in the night to nurse an infant fussing on the other side of the room (or worse, in ANOTHER room,) felt profoundly unnatural and inconvenient. I thought, “Can’t I just sleep beside my baby with my shirt off and not get up at all? Why does everyone seem to need a crib?” This question spurred me to do some research into sleeping arrangements while I was pregnant with my first child. After months of reading literature and countless anecdotes, co-sleeping (and bed-sharing) had the most compelling arguments and logic behind it; and, to my parenting “instinct,” it felt right. After all, my baby had just spent the last 9 months incubating inside me, feeling my heartbeat, my movements, and my voice. Why should the post-birth experience mean immediate isolation and sleep training? I could not find a persuasive argument to answer that.
We bought a big bed, and I became a happy co-sleeper.