• Wed, Sep 3 - 5:30 pm ET

It Turns Out Bed Sharing Doesn’t Help Kids Sleep Better

Family bedI knew it, you guys. I knew it. A new study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics shows that bed-sharing is linked to nighttime disturbances and shorter sleep cycles in kids. Despite the fact that many parents who choose to bed-share do it, in part, because they believe it will help their kids sleep better, it looks like it might do just the opposite.

This sleep study, which was done from 1999 to 2008, used sleep reports from over 55,000 mothers on their children’s sleep habits at both six months and at 18 months. The results make me feel very, very tired. According to the Huffington Post:

Bed-sharing at 6 months tripled the risk that an infant would awake in the middle of the night frequently at 18 months, the researchers found. This risk gradually increased the older an infant bed-shared.

Yikes. Now, the study makes it clear that they are not saying that bed-sharing causes sleep disturbances, but that there is an association between the two that needs further examination. As someone who loves sleep like a fat kid loves cake, an association is all I need to say, “No, thank you. Get back in your own bed.”

But there’s more at stake here than just sleep. Co-sleeping is also a safety issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against bed-sharing (because smothering) and instead suggests room-sharing (less risk of smothering.) I am proud to say that my husband and I room-shared with our twins until they were about three-weeks-old, at which point we got them the hell out and into the room next door. Babies are noisy, y’all.

It’s not that bed-sharing is a bad or wrong choice, not at all. But it was definitely bad and wrong for me. There are a lot of folks out there who believe strongly in the family bed, and see nightly wakings as part of the deal. They think that benefits of sharing a bed with their kids outweigh the costs to their sleep. That’s cool. I am just not one of those people.

My kids are six now, and my daughter loves sleeping with me. Every Friday night is “Me and Mommy Night,” when she gets all of her stuffed animals and cozy blankets and sleeps in my bed. It’s a treat, and it’s special for both of us. But I do get the not-uncommon tiny foot between my butt cheeks. I don’t know how she manages to find just the right place to put her toes in order to jolt me from a deep sleep, but she does. That is why we only do this once a week. Also, if she had her way we’d sleep together every single night, and that isn’t even kind of happening.

So this study is something to keep in mind if you are thinking about bed-sharing. If you’re doing it because it’s the only way to get your kid to sleep, you might actually be doing more harm than good in the long run. If you want to increase the odds of everyone getting their Z’s, you might want to separate those beds. But if you’re devoted to bed-sharing and don’t mind less sleep, then I don’t even know who you are anymore.

(photo: maxriesgo / Shutterstock)

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  • sandra richter

    My hero.

  • Katherine Handcock

    The thing I see missing in this study is how long it takes to get back to sleep for both parent and child. We didn’t co-sleep at night (although my son and I would sleep together for naps) and every time he woke, it would take me 30-45 minutes to get back to sleep. So, at 6 months, when he was still waking twice a nice, that was 1.5 to 2 hours awake. Meanwhile, a friend of mine who co-slept once woke up to her husband’s hysterical laughter: her 10-month-old had woken up, yanked up Mom’s shirt, latched on herself, and nursed herself back to sleep without Mom even noticing.

    In the end, again, I think it’s all about parents making aware choices. Be aware it doesn’t necessary improve sleep; be aware that it doesn’t work for everyone; be aware of how to do it safely if you decide it’s right for you. Then make your decision.

    • M.

      That’s exactly why we co-slept and bed-shared. My son was a terrible sleeper and his room is all the way across the house and I’d be damned if I was going to shlep across the house in the middle of the damn night. He slept in a portable crib and when he woke up I’d take him out and put him in bed with us (usually around 3 or 4 in the morning), he’d latch on and we’d both be back asleep within 5 minutes. If I’d been walking across the house to his room every night I guarantee I would have either a) taken 20 or 30 minutes to fall back asleep, or b) just been up for the day at 4 in the morning. Incidentally, he’s now 3 and in his own room and it has been almost a year since he came into our room at night (ALL my mom friends complain about kids coming in during the night), so I do think that, at least in my case, that the co-sleeping did foster a sense of security and independence in him.

    • LotteryTicketRetirementPlan

      We’re still bed-sharing at 8 months; I’m breastfeeding and I swear the oxytocin puts me and baby back to sleep in minutes the 2-3 times she wakes up at night. I keep telling myself that like crawling, walking, and teething, babies sleep on their own at their own pace, and eventually you won’t be able to tell who slept alone and who slept w/ mom.

  • guest

    As someone who loves sleep like a fat kid loves cake

    Sigh. I wonder if I’ll actually live to see a point where people don’t casually make assumptions about fat people and their likes/dislikes, even for jokes. Somehow I doubt it.

    • Kate

      Seriously? Please. Sense of humor? Ever heard of it???

    • Rachel Sea

      Not every joke is actually funny. As the delightful Molly Ivins said, “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.”

    • Kate

      It was just a joke. Seriously. We don’t have to be politically correct every single minute of every single day. If we can’t laugh at ourselves occasionally, then I think there is a problem. Everything doesn’t always have to be so serious. It’s Ok to laugh sometimes.

    • Korine

      Edit: It’s ok to laugh AT PEOPLE sometimes.
      That’s what you meant, right?

    • Rachel Sea

      You call it political correctness, I call it basic manners.

    • atmtx

      I’m liking that for the Molly Ivins quote. Miss that woman.

    • K2

      No, but a joke will nearly always offend someone somewhere.. whilst others will be fine with it.

    • Rachel Sea

      I don’t particularly see why that matters. Lots of my relatives enjoy n*gger jokes, that doesn’t mean that they should be told.

    • Pappy

      I know, that rankled me too. Isn’t it fun how you can’t point out fat-shaming or slut-shaming or ableism or casual racism without somebody going “Cha, can’t you take a joke?”
      I’m skinny and I love cake. WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      <<<< Will fight you for the cake.

      If it's chocolate.

      Or cheese.

      Or cake…

    • http://www.pileofbabies.com/ Meredith Bland

      Ps you guys, I am totally fat. It’s just an expression.

    • guest

      Exactly. It’s just an expression. Like a n*gg*r who loves watermelon. PS you guys, I’m totally black.

  • Jem

    It was definitely the case for my son. When I had him in my bed or even next to my bed in a bassinet, he woke up so much from hearing my husband and I, who are not noisy sleepers. The first time he slept through the night was when I put him to sleep in his own crib in his own room.

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    Of course, the first question that pops to mind is: Is bed-sharing the reason the kids are having disrupted sleep or are parents of kids who have disrupted sleep cycles more likely to bed-share? Just based solely on the anecdotal evidence we see so often on these articles, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the data would align fairly closely with the latter.

    • Drstephaniedvm

      Same here! I promise you bed sharing with twins was not the plan. Due to my husband not sleeping well with babies in the bed I ended up in the guest room with one almost every night for >18 months. At 3 she is finally pretty good.

    • Picklejar

      In my limited bed-sharing experiences (We room-share out of necessity, bed-share occasionally) – I would say the only reason I ever bed-share are on the nights Babelini is waking up more frequently anyway, and I know, if I bring her in bed with us, I’ll get a longer stretch of sleep. That is usually around 4 am, and I’m just hoping to make it to 7am without getting up for the day. So that would support your supposition – I only bed-share when my kid is already disrupted. On the other hand – my friend bed-shares all the time, and with her boobs so tantalizingly close at hand, her son still feeds several times a night (with neither of them fully waking up, necessarily) – so that is creating habits of wakefulness, disrupting the sleep cycle by proximity. Would he wake up as often if they weren’t bed sharing? Who knows?

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      My first analysis of the data, were I researcher (I am not) would be to divide participants into two categories: those that planned to bed-share and do so purposefully and those that bed-share out of necessity. I think that would be the easiest way to begin to establish if it’s bed-sharing that causes the issue. If there’s no differentiation, and all children are still more prone to waking up at night, then it would point to bed-sharing as a possible cause. If there is differentiation, and one group wakes up more than the other, then it would point to a different cause.

    • noelle 02

      I don’t care if sharing a bed helped my kids sleep better. I can deal with waking to nurse five times a night if kid doesn’t scream and I can drift back to sleep. My kids learned to sleep on their own at four when they were weaned and old enough not to scream and keep me awake. I did it to be a well rested, sane mom. Totally selfish and admit it readily.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      Stories like these are the kind that truly make me question the assertion in this column. Even the authors of the study are saying, we don’t know what the association between these sets of data is yet, and there are just so many stories about kids that already don’t necessarily sleep well, or parents that need the extra sleep. I don’t know that it is bedsharing that causes the issue to begin with.

    • noelle 02

      I hear about my sleep trained niece who sleeps 12 hours straight in her crib every night and think of my kids who still woke to nurse 3 times a night at 2 and think I may have been an idiot, but then I remember her two week stretch of four hours nightly crying it out and know why I did it my way. I would have lost my mind those two weeks and my husband would have spent them at motel because he requires sleep too. We all do what works best for us and our kids.

    • Rumaikiyya

      I know for me and my daughter, bedsharing caused the issue rather than the other way around. We both move a lot in our sleep and would wake each other up with our moving. But I was afraid to move her into her own crib (back when I should have) because the whole reason we were bedsharing in the first place was because she was nursing so much at night.

      With the help of a sleep coach, my husband and I gained the confidence to try it and immediately she slept for 5-hour stretches (where before it had been an initial 2 to 3 hour stretch followed by 1 to 1.5 hour stretches). We combined that with nightweaning and by the end of a month had a champion sleeper on our hands. It was awesome and possibly saved my sanity (which was feeling quite frayed at that point!)

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      I’m sure there’s a mix of both. There typically is. But it doesn’t mean we should generalize that bed-sharing causes sleep issues when there’s a good chance that it could be unrelated, a symptom rather than a cause, for some or many cases. It’s simply not conclusive enough–and I’d argue not good form–to generalize causation from data like this. It’s a move even the study authors try to preempt when they point out that this does not indicate causation.

      Me, I didn’t and couldn’t bed-share and my kids slept fine. But the question is, did they sleep fine because I didn’t bed-share or did I not bed-share because they were already sleeping fine? That’s the crux of the argument, in a bit of a different form, and it’s not what this study investigated–this study simply looked to see if there was a difference in sleep patterns between the two groups. Not what caused the difference.

    • Rumaikiyya

      The study found a large effect over a large sample size. It seems reasonable to me to conclude that for at least some kids, bedsharing is causing sleep problems rather than resulting from them. It also seems reasonable to me to conclude that parents who have never tried separate beds because they are afraid of creating sleep problems would benefit from at least trying it. (to emphasize again, that is very different from people who did try to move their child to a separate bed and have it not work)

      Of course, there are always exceptions. But it seems like an awful lot of people who bedshare to improve their sleep are women who are like I was–so sincere in their belief that sleeping alone is not a viable option that they don’t even try it to see how well it works.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      Again, though–even the study authors are cautioning against making broad generalizations based on the data. We simply can’t know without further analysis of the data, so making generalizations should be avoided. You’re honestly not going to change my mind on that…and I have flat out refused to share a bed with my kiddos except on a handful of occasions, so it’s not a bias in favor of bed-sharing. I don’t believe in looking at data and manipulating it to say what we want. The data needs to speak for itself, and the conclusions should be those of the study’s authors and others that have access to the data and are able to appropriately interpret it and rule out causes–not journalists at the Huffington Post or bloggers.

      As for it being a large sample size, 55,000 seems large, but considering the fact that we have almost 4 million births in the US most years, it’s still just a tiny fraction of the population. Without reviewing the actual study’s methodology, I don’t feel comfortable making a judgement one way or the other about their sampling procedures.

      Essentially what I am saying is: You can’t use this information to prove causation without further analysis of the data and it certainly shouldn’t be used to make value determinations. Which is a common mistake that we make when looking at

      This isn’t saying that bed-sharing isn’t the reason that children had more sleep disturbances. It’s just saying, we don’t have enough information to make that determination YET, so let’s do further investigating before we do.

    • Ennis Demeter

      My daughter had her own room the day she came home from the hospital and slept 7 hours a night at 6 weeks. I really don’t think most newborns care where they sleep, and you are training them regardless of what you do.

    • noelle 02

      I am glad that worked for you.

    • B

      Good for you. You won the baby lottery. Do you want a cookie?

      I had a baby who wouldn’t sleep no matter where he was, what he was wearing, what and often he was fed, what overpriced contraption we bought, how we swayed, shushed, swaddled him.

    • Ennis Demeter

      Yeah, sure, I’ll take a cookie. Why are you angry? Also, if he wouldn’t sleep no matter where he was, that doesn’t exactly disprove my theory that newborns don’t care where they sleep.

      Of course I had an easy baby when it came to sleeping. But co-sleeping isn’t just touted as a way to deal with difficult babies. It’s described as the natural, easy way of getting a baby to sleep. Dr. Sears runs around in interviews saying it promotes self confidence and makes a child feel loved. He doesn’t say do whatever works, he says co-sleeping works the best. I am here to say that all things being equal, I don’t think it does. Parents are deliberately deciding to co-sleep before their babies are even born, because they read somewhere that it is superior. I’m here to say that baby in her own room from day 1 (day 2, in my case) can work out beautifully. That is something not a lot of parents of newborns hear these days. I didn’t need to “train” her.

    • B

      I said nothing about cosleeping, so I’m not sure why you went off on that. You basically just bragged that you had a perfect angel sleeper and insinuated that babies who aren’t perfect angel sleepers have parents who are doing something wrong because “babies will sleep basically anywhere” which is far from true. That never goes over well in a post full of parents who had terrible sleepers, despite trying and buying everything out there to help their children. So basically, you came off as a complete douchenozzle.

      Also, I think you need to learn the differences between cosleeping and bed sharing. Because cosleeping has been shown to reduce SIDS.

  • Joye77

    As an accidental cosleeper, I continue because I like it. He actually sleeps okay in his toddler bed. When I work a night shift and have to sleep day time, I miss him so much. I don’t sleep as well without my toddler next to me. I am a horrible parent.

    • jane

      I frequently go in and snuggle up to my now seven year old. He’s already asleep, and he stays asleep after I leave, but I’ve been known to conk out and wake up a few hours later. He’s just so warm and snuggly! (In my own bed I sleep next to the dog, so I’m definitely a cuddle sleeper. My husband his a massive snorer, though, so it doesn’t happen with him). You are not alone.

    • etbmm

      now there’s an honest answer for co-sleeping. that’s exactly why we do it too.

  • Rachel Sea

    I would give you all money to use the terms bed-sharing and co-sleeping correctly. I know the general public uses them interchangeably, but the general public also says things like supposably, flustrated and irregardless.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      If we could do away with irregardless, that would be fuckin’ awesome too.

      If it helps at all, I typed my response with “co-sleeping” originally and was like, “WAIT! That’s not right!” and changed it….so your message is getting through. And I’m a creature of habit, so there’s hope still for others.

    • Rachel Sea

      The most recent season of Hell’s Kitchen, I took a drink every time one of the contestants said flustrated.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      I am quite grateful to have missed that one so far. I had a heated debate about irregardless at my family reunion last month, though. That was fun. #Not

    • rockmonster
    • coffeeandshoes

      OMG – Kashia was the worst offender of this, and Mr. Coffee and I were constantly banging our heads against the wall because of it!

    • Rachel Sea

      Mommy drinks because you’re flustrated.

    • Lackadaisical

      I have never heard flustrated. Do they use it as both frustrated and flustered simultaneously? If they do then it is a superb portmanteau, but if they don’t know the word frustrated then that is utterly irritating.

    • Lackadaisical

      We could utterly confuse people by using irregardless but in the way it should logically be used, i.e. the opposite of regardless.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      Their heads would explode…could I have that on my conscious? Hmmmm…

      Probably. :-p

    • Guest

      I like to say this about unthawed just to annoy people who use that word. Unthawed makes it frozen not thawed.

    • Lackadaisical

      I haven’t had much exposure to unthawed. I had assumed it was if something is beginning to thaw but you slap it back in the freezer. I see now that people are daft. Thinking about it, while unfamiliar with unthaw I have heard people use dethaw as a badly applied portmanteau of thaw and defrost.

    • Sara610

      My biggest pet peeve is when people use “less” and “fewer” interchangeably. EVERY TIME I go to the grocery store and see a checkout aisle that says “Twelve Items or Less”, or a commercial that talks about “50% less fat and 30% less calories!” I want to jump off a building.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      I hear that too. I’m grammar-sensitive.

    • K2

      I’m pretty pedantic at times, and a grammar freak, but funnily enough I’ve never cared about these two..

    • Sara610

      I think a lot of it is just up to personal quirks. My husband hates it when people mix up “farther” and “further”, and that doesn’t bother me nearly as much. We all have our own weird things, I guess. :)

    • Lilly
    • Jem

      the one that drives me up a wall is “un-thaw”. As in when I worked at Pizza Hut in college, all of my coworkers would tell me they were going to “un-thaw” the dough.

    • Rachel Sea

      If the freezer was a walk-in I might have been tempted to show them what it meant to un-thaw something.

    • Lackadaisical

      I hate that one. Un-thaw makes it hard for me to restrain my pedantic rage. I suppose I shouldn’t grumble as it could be worse. They could have used defrost rather than thaw, making it un-defrost.

    • alexesq33

      “That’s a whole nother issue”
      AAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGG

    • Jem

      I will admit I have spoken that before, but when I go to type it I realize it makes no sense.

    • Lackadaisical

      I am sorry to do this to a fellow pedant but …

      A nother was even used by Chaucer and can be found as far back as the 12th century. I have heard a few experts on the origins of language theorise that *we* are the ones who are wrong on some of the words that begin an followed by a vowel because over time words that began with “n” were mistakenly split as “an” followed by a vowel.

      A whole ‘nother is still an abomination to my ears, regardless of the etymology.

    • alexesq33

      That’s interesting! (For real I love learning things like this!)
      Maybe I will start aggressively saying this in the presence of intellectuals and then whip out this Chaucer nugget when I am corrected!! Lol :)

    • Katherine Handcock

      I am guilty.

    • Princess Kenzie

      What’s the difference? I honestly assumed they were interchangeable, but I’m also new to all this stuff.

    • Sara610

      This. I had no idea that there was a difference. Do tell!

    • Lackadaisical

      Co-sleeping is sharing a room so that the crib or cot is by the side of your bed to enable you to reach out and care for your baby easily in the night but without necessarily actually being physically in the same bed. Bed sharing is putting the baby in your bed. Bed-sharing people are co-sleeping but co-sleeping people may not be bed sharing as bed-sharing is a subset of co-sleeping. Accuracy becomes important when discussing risks because the risks of bed-sharing are obviously not there in having a cot close to the bed.

    • Rachel Sea

      @disqus_z0depeU2ai:disqus covered the definition, but the reason it is so important to make a clear distinction is that bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS, and co-sleeping reduces it. If people talk about the danger of co-sleeping, when what they actually mean bed-sharing, then they may be discouraging people from best sleeping practices.

    • Princess Kenzie

      Okay, that makes sense now. We’ve started telling people I’m pregnant and keep getting asked if I plan to breastfeed and co-sleep and then usually, unpromted I get told how it’s either THE BEST or will kill my child.

      I can see the appeal of co-sleeping if one is breast feeding. Bed sharing would scare the hell out of me – I’d be so afraid of smothering the baby I don’t think I’d ever sleep!

    • ted3553

      and orientated. I work in an industrial setting and hear this once a day at minimum.

    • alexesq33

      The best way to remember is that co-sleeping allows you to SLEEP while bed sharing no one gets any sleep. :)
      Or at least I never did when I’d drag one of the chitlins in to bed to nurse or whatever – I was all slapping my husband’s hand away from her and trying to keep her quiet and not letting any pillows or blankets within 3 yards of her face.
      Not conducive to sleepytime.

  • Kheldarson

    I bed-shared until 6 months and then transitioned my son to his own crib. One, it just worked better sleep wise for both him and me, and two, that’s when we moved and he actually had a room we could put a crib in. He still wanted to feed once a night, but we got his schedule shifted so it’d be after I came home at night, so it worked for everybody.

  • Harriet Meadow

    Our son was always a pretty good sleeper, but we didn’t start getting full nights of sleep until we put him in his own room at 6 months. A friend of mine has a daughter who woke up every two to three hours on the dot through her first birthday…when her parents finally put her in her own room and she suddenly slept through the night. Anecdotal, I know, but our experiences confirm this!

    • Picklejar

      I’m crossing my fingers for this. We are finally getting a 2 bedroom apartment, now that our daughter is one. Room sharing was perfect for the early months, but it’s to the point where we’re just waking each other up. In fact, I just woke her up when I came out here to hose around on the computer. (It’s 12:45, and I can’t sleep) I might wake her up again when I go back to bed.

  • EX

    I bed-shared with both my kids for the first 6 months because it was the only way I was getting any sleep. But as soon as they were old enough to sleep train, that’s what I did. We definitely ALL sleep better in our own beds. Frankly, my husband is lucky I let him stay.

  • Elissa

    Eh, I mean, I guess. It’s not something I want to do either, but the handwringing about the dangers and the celebratory “I told you so” after every study that can be construed as negative toward bed sharing just rubs me the wrong way. I’m the same way that doing this about pro or anti-circumcision, or breastfeeding, or c-section,or natural birth or any of the other myriad parenting choices people make for their family, I sort of feel like this is just a way to validate your own choices. Out of one side of your mouth you say “whatever works best for your family,” but the other seems to delight in saying that anyone who does is WRONG WRONG WRONG I TOLD YOU SO HAVE FUN KILLING YOUR BABY. If the topic was different everyone would cry sanctimommy.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    My guess is if you’re a good sleeper, you’re excellent at sleeping alone, and in fact contact with another person could be disruptive. Bad sleepers may tend to need company to fall asleep, as in the other party in bed with you is a sleep crutch.

  • Grr! Arrgh!

    This is why we kicked our baby out of bed at 4 months. For the first 16 weeks of her life, she’d only sleep in my arms. So though I didn’t want to bed-share and it made me uncomfortable (emotionally and physically) it was better than walking the halls with a screaming baby all night long. When she was really itty, we generally only half woke up when it was time to nurse, otherwise we’d both sleep the whole night through. As she started getting bigger and more active though, we started waking each other up more.

    I’d wake her up rolling over (after waking in searing pain because she’d cut off critical blood flow to the arm she was sleeping on) then she’d shift around and wake me up by kicking or smacking me. She also started not going right back to sleep after nursing sometimes, or, even worse, would wack me in the face at 2 am because she wanted to play. I started spending 45 mins in the middle of the night multiple times a week trying to soothe a wide-awake baby back to sleep. It got to the point where we were waking up more often than we had been when she was a week old, an everyone was tired and grumpy, which is why as soon as the pedi gave the okay to sleep train, she got evicted from our bed.

    Now she’s been asleep for the past 3 hours and will wake up between 5:30 and 6:30 am bright-eyed and happy while I get to have a beer and wake up with feeling in all my fingers, so I feel good about our decision.

  • Véronique the Attachment Shark

    I’ve been wondering about something… Perhaps people have some valid opinions on this. I’ve noticed that the times that my son falls asleep on his tummy, he sleeps a LOT better than on his back. Bear in mind that this only happens when I’m next to him (I don’t want him falling asleep on his belly when I’m going to be walking away). But he just seems to fall asleep much faster and seems more comfortable. However, would I risk his life for that? That’s a big NOOOOO.

    But on their backs, babies have that damn reflex that makes them feel like they’re falling. Their limbs are flailing all over the place. There are lots of things that can visually distract them when they’re trying to fall asleep.

    Were parents having as many sleep issues as we are having now when babies still slept on their bellies? It seems to me, in my biased experience, that our parents and grandparents didn’t talk as much about sleep issues, co-sleeping, bed-sharing, etc… Is it just a trend attached to AP and breastfeeding, or does it reflect a serious issue with sleeping on their backs?

    In any case, bed-sharing is something that drives me bonkers. I have waking nightmares of my children being suffocated in my bed so, especially with my second, I insisted that we avoid it as much as possible. In the first 2 months, our son did end up sleeping in our bed on some nights when he was too fussy (but with my husband because I’m not having any of that!). Now that he’s three months old, he’s been sleeping really well in his own crib, and sleeps through the night. Since yesterday, I’ve been working on him napping in his own bed too so that he can sleep longer periods of time.

    I’ve had waaaay too many sleep issues with my daughter to even do anything different. We were co-sleeping and yes, it did wake her up a lot. Now that she’s in her own room and in a toddler bed, she is the sleep champ!!

    • BexleyS

      From when our daughter could roll over, she decided that sleeping on her belly was best for her (her Moro Reflex was crazy, she was always waking herself up startled!) No matter how many times I put her in her back she just rolled over so I figured she’s happier that way and gave up worrying about it. She still always sleeps on her belly at 18 months. Regarding sleep issues, certainly here in the UK, when my parents/grandparents were having their children they were routinely given an injection shortly after birth to stop milk production so waking to breastfeed wasn’t an issue. By all accounts my mum slept through the night from birth but formula then had the consistency of wallpaper paste : ) Once they had a bottle, they didn’t need another for ages. I think when I was born the advice was to put the baby on their front and my mum swears I didn’t sleep for 6 months… Maybe I would have preferred it my back : )

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    We had a co-sleeper but ended up bed-sharing. We were living in a one bedroom apartment so it was easiest for us. We stopped at 8 months (because we’d finally moved to a 2 bedroom apartment). I have no regrets…she started sleeping through the night after I nightweaned her and goes to sleep fine on her own and naps well and seems well-rested in general.

    I think it’s a pretty individual thing. I definitely wouldn’t want to still be bedsharing at this point (she’s 3), and I also wouldn’t have wanted to use a crib in the early months either.

    I am happy with our moderate approach, but hey, to each their own. Some people are lousy sleepers and some people aren’t…it seems like a really difficult thing to find the ’cause’ of, because there are so many factors that could play into it – what you eat, how you feel, genetics, etc.

  • Moliss

    We bed shared for…exactly two days after bringing my daughter home from the hospital! She then slept in a rock n play in our room until she was 8 weeks, but then she went into her own room because you’re right, babies are so loud! Thank GOODNESS she sleeps in her crib alone no problem now because we had to share a room with her at my folks’ house last weekend and she kept me up ALL night with her moving around and grunting (all while she was fast asleep). Thanking my lucky stars being alone in her crib in her room has not been an issue (yet!)

  • Dirty Old Lady Phillips

    I’ve been bedsharing with my son, who is now 4 1/2, since he was 6 or 7 months old. But it’s not due to any kind of parenting philosophy or anything; it’s a combination of laziness and necessity (I’m a single mom with a one bedroom apartment.) Since he was night-weaned around 10 months, he does not wake in the middle of the night, like, ever. But I think that’s just because he’s a heavy sleeper, not because he sleeps with Mommy. I got lucky, frankly. We’re moving into a bigger place soon, and he’ll have his own room and his own bed, and I think at this point, we’re both ready for that. But I love the idea of doing weekly “Me and Mommy” night. No reason to go into total snuggle deprivation ;)

  • etbmm

    duh.
    - a bed-sharing mom of 2-year old

  • Williwaw

    Bed-sharing is definitely linked to poor sleep quality for me, never mind my kid. I just can’t sleep with a blender.