Co-Sleeping Versus Crib: The Battle Rages On
One of the biggest battles between attachment parents and non-attachment parents is co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping. While reading some blog comments and forum posts recently, I have come to realize just how ferocious this battle has become. Parents and non-parents alike can get downright nasty when stating their opinions on the matter, and more than a few resort to such things as name-calling and even religious smiting.
To find out exactly who’s right in this controversial issue, let’s take a look at both sides.
The Co-Sleeping Camp – The Attachment Parenting Stance
Of course, as many of you are well aware, attachment parenting advocates recommend co-sleeping, which keeps the mother and baby within very close proximity to one another, usually with the infant in bed with the mother. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of co-sleeping. Since I like to end things on a positive note, though, I’m going to start with the disadvantages of co-sleeping first.
Disadvantages of Co-Sleeping
- Less sleep for everyone is always a possibility for co-sleeping families. Children and infants are more likely to wake up their slumbering parents with every little movement and sound. Parents are also more likely to fuss and hover over their babies as they sleep and risk waking them up throughout the night. This could lead to fatigue and crankiness by the time morning arrives.
- “Intimacy? What’s that?” This could become a common question between parents that practice co-sleeping, since many parents find it difficult to get down and dirty with their little ones in the same bed or even in the same room.
- Co-sleeping children also find it much harder to adjust to their own beds or cribs when it’s time to make the transition, which makes moving to their own little territory in the home very difficult.
- The risk factor of co-sleeping is one of the biggest disadvantages that co-sleeping naysayers point out. Uninformed parents that practice unsafe co-sleeping do put their children at risk of injury or SIDS.
Advantages of Co-Sleeping
- Breastfeeding is much easier for co-sleeping parents and children, simply because they are close to each other the whole night through.
- Co-sleeping babies tend to fall asleep much faster and stay asleep longer than babies that sleep in cribs.
- After a time, co-sleeping parents and children will usually sync their sleep cycles with one another, resulting in more restful sleep for everyone.
- Some studies have shown that safe co-sleeping practices can actually reduce the risk of SIDS. This is because parents that are sleeping next to their children are more aware of their breathing problems and can rouse them if necessary.
Crib Sleeping Advocates
Now, it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of crib sleeping. Again, since I’m such an upbeat person, I’ll get the negative stuff out of the way first.
Disadvantages of Crib Sleeping
- Breastfeeding is much more difficult if a mother has to get up several times a night to nurse her baby in another room.
- Cries can also become very muffled through walls, making it much harder for a mother to hear her infant’s cries in the first place. This can result in a hungry and cranky baby.
- Cribs are an added expense during an already strained financial time. Many parents actually see this expense as unnecessary, since the cribs will only be useful during the first couple years in their child’s life.
- Cribs are also not very transportable. Any parent that’s tried to lug a portable crib on vacation can attest to this!
- Injuries are also not uncommon in crib-sleepers. A small infant can get stuck between the crib bars, for instance. Larger babies that can stand and walk could fall in their cribs and bump their heads. More adventurous babies and toddlers that sleep in cribs will also eventually learn how to climb up and out of their cribs, which could lead to a serious injury.
Advantages of Crib Sleeping
- Finding time for intimate moments is much easier for couples when their children are in the next room, as opposed to right next to them.
- Crib sleeping can help both a parent and baby get more rest at night, considering one isn’t always kicking and waking up the other.
- There is usually no difficulty moving a baby or toddler to his own bed when it’s time, since a child that has slept in a crib is used to sleeping alone.
Choosing Sides: Co-Sleeping vs. Crib Sleeping
So, exactly who’s right on this issue? Well, contrary to popular belief, studies are showing that co-sleeping parents may have the right idea. According to Attachment Parenting International:
Due to the negative stigma that co-sleeping has suffered in American society for decades, the battle between bed and crib will likely rage on for years to come. Both of these sleeping arrangements have their pros and cons, and it’s up to the parents to decide which arrangement works for themselves and their children. Attachment parenting advocates co-sleeping for all the reasons listed above, but the decision you make ultimately depends upon your beliefs and parenting preferences, as well as you and your baby’s individual wants and needs.