The big bedtime debate. Are you in or are you out?

With the winter cold all around us, it really can be a schlep to get out from under your warm and cozy covers – especially when the sun isn’t even up. It’s much easier to hit the snooze button and role over to resume spooning your partner. One of the things that can make getting out of bed even more difficult is if there’s an extra little warm body in there with you. A little warm body that retains so much heat and snuggles with you in very unique way.

 

This is not a reference to your cat or dog, but to your baby. Cuddling your baby is one of the most special bonding exercises you can do with your child, and the chilly weather beyond the covers really helps to enforce your ideas of full days in bed hugging and snoozing. But when it comes to sleeping in your bed for rest and rejuvenation, where does one draw the line? Is it in your bed to make a separate section for your child and making your area smaller, or is it at the bedroom door with an imaginary sign that says “Only for Parents”? The hot debate has been one that has gone on for years, and I think will continue to cause people to raise their eyebrows and shake their heads for years to come. I found the comments from friends very interesting, from both sides of the coin.

DANNY: With our first child, we did everything ‘right’ – our son was sleeping in his own cot in his own room from 8 weeks. I would get up whenever he was hungry (sometimes this would be 3-4 times in a night) and trudge through the house to warm his bottle and attend to his needs far from our room. We didn’t let him sleep on our bed, the couch, pillows or couch cushions. He only slept in his cot – that was the rule. By our fourth child, all caution had been thrown to the wind and we forgot all about the anxiety we went through with our first baby and where he should sleep. Our fourth child slept with us in our bed for the first year of her life, and when she needed to feed I would just role over for her to latch, and fall back to sleep. Besides the fact that our children are all very different people, we have found that having them sleep in our bed or their own really has made no difference in their boundaries or how they sleep as children.

 

AMY: My room is my room – it is a place for me and my husband to rest and to have our own space. It’s not a place for our kids to play or sleep – these boundaries are very important to us as parents. We believe that by the kids having their own space, and us having our own space, we all know where we stand with each other. I don’t think it’s right to have your kids sleep in your bed – when do you get time to be intimate as a couple? I can’t wait until Granny has them sleep over at her house; my husband and I also have needs that must be met as a married couple.

 

SIYA: One thing that we did with our second child was to try out what can be called ‘co-sleeping’. This is when you and your baby have your own sleeping spaces – you in your bed and she in her cradle – but you both sleep in the same room. I know that some people only do this for the first few weeks, but we thought we’d do it for a whole year. This was wonderful for when she needed us in the night, and I really feel like our sleeping patterns synced – when she was waking up, my sleep was lighter at that time, which made it easier to wake up and reach out for her. I’ve noticed over time that our second born is a lot less needy than our first born, and I really feel that it has a lot to do with our sleeping arrangements in that first year. My youngest and I also seems to be more in-tune with each other’s needs.

The final word from our paediatrician is that the current medical research shows that it is more safe for a baby to sleep in her own cot/bassinet, because parents can so easily suffocate their children while asleep. It also helps with your baby having her own space to sleep in; one she can feel safe to move around and grow in as she dreams peacefully.

 

At the end of the day, it’s about what is best for you and your baby, with the decision being yours alone. There will be judgement with regards to any and all of your parenting decisions; you just need to stick to your guns with what you decide.

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