To co-sleep or not to co-sleep, that is the question. One that has sparked a lot of controversy over the past couple of decades. Though some argue the evolutionary and scientific advantages of it, the counter-opinion usually is more vocal due to government support due to the potential risks surrounding it.
Regardless, there are many voices who wish they'd stayed away from crib-sleeping and had their baby close to them. Co-sleeping allows babies to get into a better daytime/nighttime routine, encourages breastfeeding, allows for better rest for the mother, as well as develops a better attachment with the baby. However, this doesn't stop the counter-opinions from worrying about the physical dangers of this choice, which is why it's vital to seek both sides of this debate, which is precisely the point of this article.
Every entry in this article is taken from reputable parenting forums. All of which can be found sourced at the bottom of this article. Each mother has a very distinctive opinion on the benefits and risks of co-sleeping. They should be taken for what they are worth and shouldn't detract parents from doing their own research on the matter. Being informed on this controversial and divisive issues should be a priority to every parent.
Without further ado, here are 10 moms who wish they hadn't opted for co-sleeping, and 10 moms who wish they hadn't opted for crib-sleeping...
One mother, named Brenna, wrote on What To Expect that she and her husband are against co-sleeping as they just can't see how it's possible for it to be safe. This is because they personally know a family who had the tragic incident where a father rolled over onto his baby while co-sleeping. The baby soon passed away afterward due to injuries from this event.
Co-sleeping is also not recommended by the American Pediatric Society. Though Brenna sees positive factors to co-sleeping, she doesn't think it's worth the risk. She makes a good point about how it's impossible to make sure your baby is physically safe if you are asleep.
Samantha, a mom in the States, talks about being informed of the risks and benefits of co-sleeping before making the decision. Knowledge is the best weapon against making a fatal mistake, which, she says, can be avoided.
In her experience, suffocation and overheating, two major risks when co-sleeping with a newborn, can be easily mitigated by taking the right precautions. These precautions include tying up long hair before bed, not taking sedative including alcohol before bed, not having loose bed-sheets or too soft of a surface, no heavy blankets, and not allowing excess pillows or stuffed animals on the bed with the baby.
Due to following the co-sleeping guidelines, all of which can be found with a simple Google or DuckDuckGo search, Samantha and her partner have found a way to sleep with the baby that works for them.
An anonymous mother wrote on What To Expect, that she tried co-sleeping with her 15-month-old as it was just her in the bed. She decided to sleep on the edge and put the baby's feet on her side, perpendicular to her, so they looked like the letter T. She also made sure to sleep on her side so she would decrease the chance of her rolling in her sleep.
This worked for a time, but when she decided to move the baby into a crib, it was almost impossible for her to get him to sleep. The baby became attached to sleeping with her. With her second child, she decided to switch to a crib in order to allow the baby to learn to naturally sleep on her own.
There's no word on how long it took her to finally curve her first-born's sleeping routine.
Lauren could never find the perfect position for her baby to sleep in while co-sleeping. He would often wake-up four to five times a night. The lack of nighttime sleep made her baby agitated. Not only that, but Lauren herself couldn't get the right amount of sleep which really hurt her already difficult struggle with anxiety and PND. Essentially, the decision to co-sleep was a bit of a mistake all around, at least in her experience.
But she often went on to say that her baby had a hard time falling asleep in his crib as well. But she wasn't sure if this was because of the time spent trying to get him to co-sleep with her and he just wasn't used to the new environment. In any case, it caused a struggle for her.
Some women are just too afraid to even attempt to co-sleep and instead opt for a crib. Kristi is one of those women. She shared her experience on a forum saying that she was frightened to try co-sleeping with her 3-month-old as her friend's baby passed away during a tragic co-sleeping accident. She saw how gut-wrenching this was for her friend and never wanted to experience that herself.
Kristi then went on to explain that she understands that while these things do and have happened, they are less common than those who do end up deciding to co-sleep and have success. But that doesn't mean that other women shouldn't be taking the proper precautions before deciding to do this.
Amanda decided that she would co-sleep with her baby due to all the benefits that she's read about, including it being an easier way to get sleep herself. Additionally, her newborn wouldn't sleep through the night in his crib. He would get up between two and four in the morning and just wouldn't go back to sleep. She then would move the baby into her bed with her. After a while, she decided to skip the crib altogether.
However, Amanda stressed that she was sure to follow all the guidelines. Taking the proper precautions was vital to the success of her co-sleeping experience. This includes not having pillows and blankets anywhere near him. She also has a king-sized bed and is a very light sleeper.
One mother from Australia wrote that she started to have her little 3-week-old baby sleep on her stomach due to the fact that she just wouldn't sleep in her bassinet or cot. Both of them found the experience very soothing. But this was only at first; she started to worry about her rolling over on her side during the night and crushing her poor little baby.
She then decided to move her baby into a crib where she has remained as she grew. At the time that this mother wrote this, her 6-month-old still wakes her up in the mornings and still goes into her bed. The snuggle in the morning is fine, but she was happy to have her away from her for most of the night.
One mother claimed that she was just about to start co-sleeping with her baby even though her personal doctor advised her against it. The reason why she absolutely had to go against her doctor's orders is because her baby just won't sleep unless he is in somebody's arms supported by a boppy pillow. The situation got so bad that she had no other choice. In short, a crib just wasn't an option.
She said that she's having to completely change her sleeping habits. Now she has to sleep in a reclining glider with the baby in her arms with a boppy pillow. Other times, she sleeps in her bed completely propped up by pillows where she hopes to eventually transition him into a co-sleeping position.
One mother (who preferred not to give her name) has such a difficult time sleeping that there was no way she could possibly involve a baby in on her own routine. When she was in the hospital after delivery, she found it unbearable to sleep with her baby. She has extensive problems with her back as well as her neck that it just wasn't a good idea. Especially since even napping with the baby was nearly impossible without her neck and back flaring up.
She introduced a cot and then a crib and both seem to have worked really well for her baby as well as her own difficult sleeping situation. She recognizes that the issue of cribs vs. co-sleeping may only be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Some mothers only decide to co-sleep on occasion, but this only works well if the baby is capable of sleeping well in both a crib and with a parent. But Rebecca claims that she found her balance. She co-sleeps with her baby girl only occasionally, but almost always when she needs to breastfeed, as co-sleeping has made that process far easier for her.
She says that she makes sure that her duvet is off and they are only using a light sheet. She says that every medical professional she knows advises against it but she still does it anyway due to the amount of research she has done on the subject.
Gillian wrote that co-sleeping was never something that even occurred to her when she was having her baby. It was something that she became more aware of when she needed to allow her baby to have a better sleep during the night.
So, she tried it and found that it was a big mistake. First of all, she is a light sleeper so every stir caused her to wake-up in a panic. This meant that there was less of a chance of her harming the baby in her sleep, as well as waking up in time if the baby started to suffocate by some other means. But it also meant that she got a terrible sleep.
Additionally, she found that her baby was also a light sleeper. Every time she stirred, the baby would wake up and cry. Eventually, she decided to move the baby back into a crib where he managed to learn to get to sleep on his own.
Kathie is a mother with three grown kids. She wrote that her 22-year-old, 16-year-old, and her 11-year-old were all brought up on co-sleeping and everything turned out more than fine. She stated that co-sleeping was quite unusual in the days when her kids were newborns. A lot of people thought she was crazy. Even her health visitor said that her daughter slept so well when co-sleeping with her because she was "close to death."
However, Kathie claims that she followed her instincts.
All three of her kids had exceptionally close bonds with both her and her husband and therefore co-sleeping just made sense for them. She felt right having them in bed with her and in a sling during the day.
Some mothers wish they could go back to having their baby sleep in a crib when they find out that co-sleeping isn't for them. But sometimes they just aren't that lucky. An anonymous mother wrote that her baby Ronin refused to sleep anywhere unless he was sleeping on her chest. Seriously, he wouldn't sleep anywhere else.
Therefore, she spent hours awake during the night making sure he was safe while he slept. She ended up putting her own health and mental health at risk due to her lack of sleep.
The problem is, Ronin wouldn't sleep in his crib after this. He still wouldn't sleep anywhere. He never learned how to sleep on his own because his early stubbornness was allowed to be. Here's hoping she manages to get him sleeping in his own crib before he turns two.
Breastfeeding became really easy when Elspeth decided to co-sleep with her little son. She never meant to sleep with her seven-and-a-half-month-old son but it just started happening once she was breastfeeding. It made the process so much easier than it was previously and she hasn't gone back.
She wrote that the cuddles that she has with her little infant son are the best part of her day and she cherishes the bond that they now have due to co-sleeping. The only downside of this is that on the off times she needs the bed to herself, her son refuses to sleep elsewhere. She doesn't know how she will deal with this problem moving forward, but she also claims that she doesn't regret the choice to co-sleep.
Layney, a brave mother in the States, shared her own traumatic experience co-sleeping with her little girl. She wrote about a time when she was sleeping with her little girl and she rolled off of their queen-sized bed. She hit the floor pretty hard but only her crying woke the mother. Luckily, there were no major injuries.
Layney didn't realize that her little newborn could scoot around so much at such a young age, even while she was sleeping herself. She learned this fact the hard way.
After that day she decided that she would never let her baby co-sleep with her again and forced her to get used to sleeping in a crib on her own.
She realizes that accidents can happen absolutely anywhere, including in a crib. For instance, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 40 to 50 crib deaths per year. Regardless, Layney just didn't want to put her daughter through that again if she could help it.
Cassandra wrote that she thinks that co-sleeping is a beneficial arrangement. Even when she was in the hospital, where she also followed the right safety procedures, it allows for a wonderful bonding experience. She also notes that the medical staff at the hospital that she gave birth in really didn't like her co-sleeping with her little baby and separated them during the night. She claims that this wouldn't have been the case if she gave birth at a birth center as her, her husband, and her baby would have been in the same bed from the start.
Once Cassandra got home, she claims that she started co-sleeping with her baby on the regular and just absolutely loves it.
The main reason that Mary claims she opted for having her baby sleep in a crib is the hollow advertisement that seems to convince many parents to want to co-sleep. Though she doesn't necessarily have a ton of issues with co-sleeping in general, she worries that most people truly have no idea if it's beneficial or not to co-sleep. They simply do what the uber positive and slanted advertisements and blogs tell them to do.
She is concerned that there isn't a "how to" guide that's marketed to these young parents who tend to jump into these things because it's marketed as the "right" or, worse, "trendy" thing to do. The lack of medical facts scared her, and it just turned her off to the idea from the start.
Maddie said that co-sleeping and bed-sharing was one of the best decisions she's made as a parent. The only one that could possibly be her best choice, she wrote, was breastfeeding.
Maddie claims she spent a great deal of time getting equipped with the right information before making this decision. She knew she wanted to do it when she was pregnant, but also wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting herself into. She didn't just want to do it because someone said she should or shouldn't. She made sure to be fully aware of every potential risk and how to mitigate them before they could possibly happen. She started slow, just with naps, and then eventually, when she felt comfortable, incorporated this into her routine for all three of her kids.
An anonymous mother-to-be, who spent a lot of time working in a pediatric hospital, wrote that she never even wanted to try co-sleeping after hearing how bad it could get from the doctors who worked with her. But seeing the negative results of co-sleeping at the hospital absolutely convinced her that she would never do it, or recommend doing it.
She understands that there are some benefits of co-sleeping, but due to what she's personally witnessed she claims it's a very dangerous habit. She wrote that infants suffocating while co-sleeping with their parents is something that happens far more than what the media reports or those who push co-sleeping want to admit.
Amy is a mother of a 16-month-old baby girl and wrote that she co-slept with her and her husband from the beginning. She had read enough about the benefits to know that she wanted to do it, and also read enough about the risk to know how to mitigate them. She loves the bond that it's created between her, her husband, and the little baby and doesn't regret it. But that doesn't mean that there aren't problems.
Amy goes on to say that though she loves the experience, it's nearly impossible to get her baby to want to sleep in her crib on the nights she and her husband want to be alone. She is really struggling with the transition but thinks that it's something that they will be able to overcome in time.
Sources: WhatToExpect, Huggies, Mothering.com, Mom Junction, CoSleeping.edu, Netmums, Forums.illli.org, Forums.Catholic.com, KidsHealth.org, Vinted.com