Few parenting issues are as confrontational and overly debated than the family bed. In one camp are the parents and experts who believe co-sleeping – or sharing their bed with their children – is the best way to nurture and provide security for their kids. On the other side are those who contend that the safest and most developmentally appropriate place for children to sleep is in a crib apart from their parents.
A friend recently posted on Facebook, “As much as I want my 2.5 year old to go back to sleeping in his bed and not mine, it really is such a precious gift to have him fall asleep cuddled up in my arms.” I admire her candor.
Many mothers, especially those breastfeeding, report that they get more rest and their babies sleep better in the family bed. The practice, which certainly encourages bonding and security, has been a cultural norm all over the world for centuries, and it’s still practiced widely outside of North America.
While the divide between opponents and proponents may seem unbridgeable, many child-development and safety experts – as well as parents – say that if you look at the facts and follow some basic guidelines for safety and emotional attachment, there is no right or wrong – just a matter of personal family choice. This is a topic that many parents including my husband and I continue to wrestle with.
What are your feelings on the family bed/co-sleeping? Is three a crowd or the more the merrier?