Co-sleeping- Benefits and Concerns

Instinctively, mothers and fathers want to do what is best for their precious new baby. But so often their instincts are tainted by fear. While Mom may feel like taking baby into bed with her, she will have been warned about the serious concerns in her doing so. She will have heard or read that a modern crib that meets current safety standards is the only safe sleep place for her child.

It is important to be aware of the widespread effects of consumer marketing in western society today. Studies that "prove" risks of co-sleeping actually turn out to be funded by crib manufacturing companies.

Societal values influence the decision making process

The values of particular cultures also come into play in populating theories that become accepted norms in practice. America values independence and self-sufficiency over many other praiseworthy modes of behavior. In theory, a child who is taught to sleep alone will quickly learn to manage without too much reliance on his or her parents. Since many mothers work, the value of an uninterrupted night's sleep for Mom has become paramount to American society. Parents are viewed as deserving "me time" and privacy. More traditional cultures emphasize the values of the needs of babies to feel a basis of closeness, in order for the family and group units to function interdependently, relying on one another to meet the needs of the group.

Studies show that children who share sleep with their mothers and fathers eventually get better grades in school, are healthier, and have more self confidence. A co-sleeping child gains inner security through learning that his or her needs in the world will be met by those who truly love and care, whenever and wherever, without arbitrary limitations of day and night, your room or mine. Babies get more rejuvenating sleep when they are with their mothers, and parents sleep better knowing that their child is happy and can be monitored by them all night long.

To read about safe ways to co-sleep, see the article entitled Safe Co-Sleeping.

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