As hard as it may be to imagine, there exists a rather basic parenting issue that regularly generates even more controversy than circumcision or the disposable-versus-cloth diapers-debate: whether or not to have your child sleep in the same bed as you and your partner.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on where you stand on the issue), there’s absolutely no consensus on which view is the “right” one. And just to make sure that there’s no real way to decide this issue once and for all, there’s very little serious scientific data supporting either position.
Our older daughter slept in a bassinet in our room for a month or so until we moved her into her own room, and the middle one slept in bed with us for six months before being asked to leave. Personally, I kind of liked being able to snuggle up with a warm, smooth baby, but after being kicked in the head, stomach, back, face, and chest every night for six months I was glad to go back to an adults-only sleeping arrangement. My youngest also started off in our bed but moved to her own room after only 6 weeks or so.
Things to Consider About Not Sharing Your Bed with Your Child
Don’t feel guilty. You’re not a bad or selfish parent for not doing it.
There is absolutely no evidence that sleeping with your child will speed up the bonding/attachment process.
It’s okay to make an occasional exception, such as when a child is ill or has had a frightening experience. If you’re making your decision because of safety issues, you may be able to compromise by setting up the baby’s crib in your bedroom or by getting a “sidecar”—basically a three-sided crib that attaches to the side of your bed.
A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the author of The Expectant Father:
Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be; The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year,
A Dad’s Guide to the Toddler Years, Throwaway Dads,
and The Single Father: A Dad’s Guide to Parenting without a Partner. He has written on parenting
and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals.
He also hosts “Positive Parenting,” a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in
Oakland, California. Visit Armin at www.mrdad.com.
The views expressed here are the author’s own. All copywright issues for the above excerpt to be addressed