The first few months of a child's life can be stressful for parents! In the midst of adjusting to the baby's schedule, parents are often tempted to share a bed with the baby. This can develop into something more sinister!
For the sake of clarity, we are defining co-sleeping as parents sleeping with the child on the same bed.
Some of the devastating effects (or really frustrating effects) of Co-sleeping are:
#1 Risk of suffocation/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The tiredness that comes with raising a little one is real. It is difficult to know if we have pulled the duvet/blanket over the baby or pushed a pillow into the baby's face. You risk suffocating or physically hurting your child if you or your partner move a lot in your sleep. It is devastating to lose a child and many have lost their infants from co-sleeping, you can find a very comprehensive article about this risk HERE
#2 Unhealthy attachment or dependancy
If a child has grown used to falling asleep with the parents beside him/her, there is a real possibility that the child will refuse to move to their own bed/room. This can grow into an unhealthy dependancy and association of sleep with being in the parent's bed. The inability to self-soothe and fall asleep independently can also develop into further behavioural problems
#3 Disrupted sleep for the whole family
There is a high chance somebody is a light sleeper. This means that any snoring and shifting can affect the sleep quality of others sharing the same bed. Sleep deprivation has serious effects on growth and the health of everyone. Somebody is bound to have an alarm set for the next work day that is going to wake everyone up. Imagine not ever having a chance to sleep in on the weekends?!
#4 No intimacy on its effect on marriage
Having a permanent resident in your bed will affect your sex life. Most people are not comfortable being watched while they are sharing intimate moments with their spouse. Why then allow your child to make your bed theirs? Intimate moments isn't just about sex, it could be a quiet moment for parents to snuggle up and fill each other's love tanks. Working 9 hours a day, returning home to spend all the rest of the time including bed time with another person without having private moments with your spouse will severely affect your marriage.
As parents of two little ones, we fully understand how tiring it is to get up and go to the other room to feed the baby especially when you are breastfeeding. We worked as a team and took turns to go into the baby's room to feed or lull them to sleep. You can also fit a baby monitor or IP camera to watch your little one if you are worried. Ultimately, it only takes some effort to train your little one to sleep independently and learn to respect the bedroom as private and personal spaces.
Next post: How to train your child to sleep independently in their own beds and room.
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.