Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

24 October, 2007

It's about time

Given how freaked out a lot of Americans are about the prospect of sharing a bed with their child, it's nice to see that the NYT published a balanced article on the practice of co-sleeping.

ms. wobs and I had initially planned on having wee wobs sleep next to our bed in a little free-standing basinette. However, given the boys voracious appetite, especially in the wee hours, it soon became apparent to us that it would make more sense if we just let him sleep with us. It wasn't always easy - l'il wobs is what I would call an "active sleeper" - but in my mind, the benefits, both for us and for him, far outweighed the drawbacks. We were also very fortunate to have a pediatrician and a community that was supportive of the practice (and who offered important safety tips). Snuggling up with my child as we drifted off to sleep was, I think, a really great form of emotional bonding, and there's something really charming about having his smiling face be the first thing you see upon waking up (even if he's waking you up at 6 AM).

We "bed weaned" the boy shortly after moving to DC (he's still an active sleeper, and that plus the fact that he's, well, big made the decision a no-brainer - our bed ain't big enough for the three of us!). He was good about starting off in his bed, but then would try to join us in the middle of the night. It took a few nights of putting him back in his own bed and helping him get back to sleep, but now he spends the entire evening on his own, only rarely joining us shortly before it's time to get up. We still nap together, but he's well on his way to independent sleeping.

My point isn't to press the superiority of one sleeping arrangement over another. Different families will figure out their arrangements based on their own particular (and legitimate) needs. What's depressing is that those families who choose to co-sleep with their child are often made to feel shame for choosing that particular arrangement. I hope the Times piece presages a more tolerant view of co-sleeping families.

As for me, if I had it all to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing, and if more children are in our future, I'll look forward to curling up with them for an evening's slumber.

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