Over the years, I’ve really had to reflect on what works and what doesn’t for so many families, in order to give the best advice to our clients. After personally working with over 10,000 families (with my team, of course!), I have a lot of opinions. 🙂
Not too long ago, my eldest son (and inspiration for The Baby Sleep Site®) was going through a rough patch of waking a lot at night and coming into our room. Sometimes it was a nightmare and sometimes he just felt scared in the dark room, alone (and who could blame him?). Mind you, he was not a toddler anymore. He was a school-aged kid! So, I did something you might never expect and decided that if he was coming to me virtually every night, I would sleep in his bed for a solid week to restore his feeling of security. I had tried almost everything else, already. I stopped him from watching anything scary on TV or playing any game that seemed too influential. We had talked a lot about fears, being brave, reading books about it, and all sorts of stuff. It simply wasn’t enough. So, I shared his bed with him for a week to “show” him it was safe. And, it seems to have worked! At least, it has for awhile now. I did let him know that it was temporary, but doing this made him very happy. 🙂
When I think about him since he was a baby, he really has been the type of child who wanted/needed to be very close, physically and emotionally. For that reason, it might seem like he was the type of baby who needed to co-sleep/bed-share. Unfortunately, co-sleeping just didn’t always work for us. I tried. I really did. But when my son and I co-slept, he woke constantly and I barely slept at all. Even our most recent week of co-sleeping didn’t work that well. He would wake up when I moved positions too much, and his elbow would land in my face or a knee would be in my back. But, emotionally, he needed it, and it worked as a temporary sleep arrangement.
Is Co-Sleeping The “Right” Way?
For some families, I do believe co-sleeping can be an effective sleep solution (when done safely). For them. It works for baby and it works for parents. But, it isn’t the only way, and it isn’t the “right” way for everyone. My younger son has never seemed to need or want to sleep close. Although very affectionate by day, by night, he wants his hugs and cuddles and then doesn’t like to be very close. When he was first starting to talk, he’d say, “Too tight” even if you didn’t have your arm around him. He wanted us further away. He, too, is a wild sleeper and he grinds his teeth. I have worked with a lot of families who are in this same position: they wanted to co-sleep, but their baby wanted nothing to do with it (or would co-sleep in arms, but not in a bed, which is simply not sustainable for years!). And, I’ve had others try to co-sleep (either out of desire or necessity), but it just didn’t work for their family. In the end, we at The Baby Sleep Site® trust our families to know what is best for their own family. We work with co-sleeping families who want to improve sleep and continue to co-sleep and others who want to transition to crib, because it’s just not working. The bottom line is to choose what works with YOUR family, not because someone or some book said it’s the “right” way to sleep with your child.
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