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Avatar universal

20 month baby sleeps in bed w/ parents and parents love it

Our daughter is 20 months old and to us she is pretty perfect.  However, she started sleeping in our bed at 6 months, when her teeth started to come because she would wake every hour and no one was getting any sleep.  Due to this we put her in our bed, she would nurse/pacify on the breast at night and my husband (and sole bread-winner-early riser)never even know she was awake anymore!  So, she began sleeping through the night and  we tried to return her to her crib (because everyone told us she should, not becuse we wanted to)  but she would wake up when we would move her and getting her to sleep was even worse than before her teeth where coming in. By then (about one month) my husband and I had grown used to her being in bed w/ us and we loved it! We don't drink or use drugs and our matress is only 4 years old and very solid and there's no separation from the head-borad and the matress and she sleeps in between us both. She has an amazing vocabulary, has only had a fever once and a "cold" due to her teeth (according to her Dr.)and is a very friendly, outgoing child. I am still nursing her and will continue until she is two years old.

I am writing to ask three questions:  Is there a psychogical risk in a child sleeping with her parents i.e. low self esteem, lack of independece, or is it the opposite as a child psychologist once told me and it is a positive thing because she feels wanted and protected?  She seems to be such a secure child...and we love it so.... Second question: What's the drop-dead age at which we should steer her to sleep in her crib or todler bed if she never asks ?(we ask her all the time just to check but we're happy when she says she wants us.) Third question: Can you please recommend books or articles that have been published on the subject evn if some are pro and some are con so that we can decide how to proceed before her 2nd birthday.
Thank you for any help you can give!!!!
12 Responses
242606 tn?1243782648
To address the last question first, there is so much written on this topic that I won't begin to steer you in any particular direction. However, if you take a look at any material published by the Gessell Institute in New York, you can place your faith in the material.

While you will certainly encounter some difference in opinion re: children sleeping with their parents, the overwhelming majority of Child Development and Child Mental Health professionals advise parents that this is not a good idea. Will it definitely result in problems for your daughter? I can't say that it will, but you are running an unnecessary risk. One question to ask yourselves is whether you might be putting your own need ahead of that of your child. That is, you mention a couple of times how much you like the arrangement. Perhaps so, but consider that your need and your daughter's best interest might be different.

Since it is not generally thought to be a good idea to have the sleeping arrangement you have, there is really no answer to your second question, since it shopuldn't be happening to begin with. The longer you maintain the arrangement, generally speaking, the greater the problem you invite down the road.

One variable to consider is your and your husband's needs for intimacy, and how you are able to enjoy a satisfying and healthy sexual relationship with your daughter sleeping with you. This is not a small matter, and deserves some consideration.
Avatar universal
I think that there is nothing wrong in you sharing the bed with your baby, as long as you all enjoy it.
This thing that americans have against sharing the bed with children is only a cultural thing, there are many different cultures in the world that approve and practice bed sharing and their kids grow up perfectly normal. And regarding intimacy ... I think you have some other rooms in your house, beside your bedroom, don't you?
I think that you should read the books of William and Martha Sears, they wrote a lot about bed sharing, and so many other things. I found myself in their style of parenting, in a world where every one else I knew  was telling me that I should have let my babies cry-themselves-out to sleep and that it was not good sharing the bed with them.
Try the Sears!
Good luck for everything!
Avatar universal
I think nothing is wrong with it . I love my kids sleeping with me. If they want to slepp else where in the house they can but my son slept with my ex and i till he was 5 lol now he sleeps by hisself he got to a age where he thought he had to be a big boy lol . But my daughter is 7 and she sleeps with me , and its just me and her in the bed since i am seperated and my son on top bunk lol , i love having my kids with me and always have since birth , my ex and i had no problem with it and their doctor even said nothing was wrong with it , when they are ready they will get in their own bed. Now when my daughter gets bigger lol she will have to move in own bed anyway lol right now she is still tiny hehe
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comments and reinforcement.  Regarding the intimacy issue, it's a non-issue since my hubby and were never night-time ppl anyway, if you know what I mean.  If anything, it's enhanced our love-making since we get creative and the fact that there's a baby in our bed and we can't do it whenever she's in there, so we actually are more active since we no longer take for granted any window of opportunity, ie, the dishes can wait, but we can't (in the past, the dishes came first and then we'd just fall asleep when we went to bed.  We're like kids sneaking around and it's more exciting...As far as the outcome of the baby sleeping w/ us, I don't feel that the doctor answered my question directly.  What I really want to know is, what are the risks she is reffering to in her answer?  What pare some examples of sychological/behavioral harms that can come of our girl sleeping w/ us?
Avatar universal
Usually people againts bed sharing tells you that your child will never learn to sleep in her own bed, she will be too dependent on you, she will have sleep disorders etc ...
as a baby, our first child had troubles falling asleep and staying asleep, but she was fine if she could share our bed, so we let her sleep with us every time she wanted to; she is now almost 7, she is a great sleeper and she is been perfectly fine sleeping alone in her bed in her own room since a long time. We did the same with our second, he's now three and sleeping more and more in his own bed.
They both know that they can share our big bed any time they need to, they feel safe knowing this, and I am sure that this is the reason they also feel safe sleeping alone.
Trust your instinct: if your baby, you and your husband are all happy, you can't be wrong.
Avatar universal
Giovi, thank you so much for your encouragement.  You're absolutely right, I have always trusted my instincts and things have turned out pretty well, so far.  Again, thanks for responding and making me feel better about our decision. We'll all sleep better tonight!!
Avatar universal
I think the doctor was very clear.  Your child should NOT be sleeping regularly in your bed.  He referenced you to materials you could look at.  

You seem to not want to hear it because it's not the answer you want.  

I think you ARE putting your needs ahead of your child's, and just because your child says she's happy with the arrangement doesn't mean it's a good thing.  I'm sure if she had her way, she'd eat candy and soda for every meal, but that doesn't mean it's good for her.

Avatar universal
Both of my children slept with us in the bed. I liked having them close. Our first child slept with us till the age of 3 then the next one come along and kicked him out and he slept with us for about the same amount of time. I am now pregnant with #3 and if he wants to sleep with us then so be it. I have have well rounded children that have no "after" effects from sleeping with us. Use your own judgement as everyone will have their own opinion about it. Good Luck!
Avatar universal
Sorry, I'm on the 'it's okay' team. And I used to believe it was wrong.  

My son was never in my bed until he was 2.  When he got sick and I needed to monitor him overnight regularly, I took him to sleep with me.  As far as sleep-disorders goes, he has a major sleep disorder, present from before he ever slept in my bed. He continues to sleep with me periodically because he is better rested when he is not alone all night. If I have more kids, this time I won't feel guilty about a family bed because we - as a family - find it works for us.  

I think the only time a family bed is a problem is if a)it interferes or is a problem for the family relationship, or b)if they don't learn good sleep hygiene (a problem no matter where a child sleeps).   Otherwise, if your child is happy and healthy, more power to you.
Avatar universal
Everyone has an opinion, usually based on their personal experience.  While I agree with every response that steers you toward making the right choice for your individual family I disagree that there is only one answer right or wrong.  Every child is very different with different needs.  As a mother of three we have gone through various beds arrangement over the past six years.  My oldest will be 7 soon, he just started sleeping in in own bed in his own room this past christmas.  My middle child is four, he has never slept well or alone.  He has either shared a room wth his brother or awoke in the night to come to our bed. His sleep patterns are short and even in his sleep he is moving.  On the other hand my 2 year old wants to be left alone.  He insist on his own space and won't sleep with us when we have tried to let him.  The need for his own space and bed is so great that he typically stays behind when we travel in our motorhome because he wants his bed.  All that said we have had a community bed for a while and I didn't think my oldest would ever want his own space.  Now that he has other developmental milestones of independence are also appearing.  They don't stay little long so savor it any way you can and do what feels right for your family.
Avatar universal
There was a Dr. Phil episode about this very topic last week... and he had professionals who gave valid and logical support for BOTH sides.... basically it is up to you.  One doctor may say that it is terribly worng, and antoher that it is absolutely great.  Do what works best for you.  IF it becomes bothersome to have her in there, then you'll need to do something about it. But if you & hubby both enjoy her in your bed, and she sleeps well there-- Go For It!
My son is almost 2 1/2 and he sleeps with us almost all the time. My husband works shifts, so many nights it's just my son & I-- when Daddy's home we sometimes wish we have a King size bed... ha.Ha, but in his won bed he gets up a zillion times throught he night (ans therefore so do we) but in our bed-- he sleeps "like a baby"!
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.  

As far as for Erin F's comment that the Dr did answer my question but I just didn't want to hear it, well, that's not accurate.  The Dr. only answered two of my questions, but not my primary question.  I wanted to know what were the negative effects of co-sleeping with a baby, why is a a "bad" thing.  He or she spoke about the baby interfearing in my intimacy with my husband but never said specifically why it was harmfull to a child.

I have now further discussed this with her pediatician whom explained to me that as as precaution for babies not to be accidentally axfixiated, fall off the bed or be wedged into the headboard, they have to discourage and warn parents NOT to sleep with babies.  As far as any future psychological problems it may cause (my original, unanswered question to this site) he says that there aren't any, and that in fact, studies indicate that children that feel welcomed into their parents bed are more secure as adolescents and adults.  Good enough for us...

As far as the comment about allowing our daughter any indulgence she craves (ie "letting her eat candy for dinner")- There's a clear difference in making our daughter feel that her prescence is wanted vs. being an irresponsible parent raising a capricious child to whom the word "NO" is never said. We are responsible parents who cared enough to research the whole co-sleeping thing and it's not dangerous and does not have a disastroud end as bad eating habits do. She knows who the parents are in our family, us.  We have followed every guideline set by all medical foundations: she's being breast-fed until 2, she's never allowed any juice, she only slept on her back, no pillows, blankets, etc...This co-sleeping thing was the only "rule" we broke and we noticed that at least this way she slept.  Finally when she got a little older and sturdier, so did we.  After all, sleep is just as important as food since sleep also nourishes the body.
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