Do your children sometimes sleep in your bed with you? Did they when they were smaller? Would you admit it if they did? According to the New York Times, an increasing number of parents are letting their infants and small children sleep with them. But the really interesting fact is that most of these parents won’t admit it.
Why? Because in the West, co-sleeping is not widely accepted by family or friends, or even the medical community. Then why are parents letting their kids crawl into their beds?
Countless children start the night in their own beds, only to wake up a few hours later and pad into their parents’ bedrooms, crawling into the bed or curling up nearby on the floor.
That’s my kids. My son is so quiet about it that sometimes I don’t even realize he’s crawled into bed with us. My daughter is a bit louder, crying out for daddy or mommy.
Sure, I know that its better for the twins to sleep in their own beds, but I’d be up all night trying to coax them back to sleep in their own bed while trying not to wake their sibling.
We never intended for a co-sleeping arrangement. In fact as infants, the twins slept in their cribs just fine.
They shared a crib. But by the time they were 10 months old though, there just wasn’t enough room in one crib for both of them and they were waking each other up with they tossed and turned. So we put them in separate cribs, and eventually, separate beds.
Herein lies where our problems started. Apparently, waking up alone in the middle of the night is pretty traumatic for a toddler. My daughter particularly suffers from night-time separation anxiety.
We spent many sleepless nights trying to coax one child or the other back to sleep in his/her own bed only to end up with two crying children (when they share a room, one wakes up the other) that were too upset to go back to sleep at all.
Out of desperation, we finally just let the woken child come to our bed where they instantly fall back to sleep. And later that night, either my husband or I would take them back to their beds.
A year and half after we separated them at bedtime, I am happy to say that the nightly visits to mommy and daddy’s bed are becoming less and less frequent and are often limited to early morning hours.
But still I’m hesitate to admit that my children sleep with us, even if they do only occasionally. Why? Because most often if the fact is disclosed, I’m greeted with a “you really need a bedtime routine.”
We have a bedtime routine. And it works for us. My children go down at night with relatively little fuss. My problem has never been getting them to sleep. It’s getting them back to sleep when they wake in the middle of the night. And letting them cry it out is just not an option for us.
Sure I know it’s better for my children to sleep in their own beds. And that is the goal we are striving for. But when you are sleep deprived, you will do whatever needs to be done so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep.
And to me, that’s the most important thing — a good night’s sleep.