You will probably never hear me talk about politics at SnugasaBugBaby.com.

It is not my goal to make enemies…and such topics inevitably do!

And yet today I am going to dabble into a topic that is about as controversial as politics and about as divisive as party lines.

I decided several months ago that it was something I wanted to share, and have determined that now is the time to do it. So before I spend a paragraph or two babbling around the issue, let me just drop it in your lap…

Josiah sleeps in our bed.

Ah! Gasp!

Go ahead…give a little disapproving head nod and then a forced smile.

And now that we have that over with, I hope you’ll stick around to hear a bit more about this important parenting decision and why we made it. It wasn’t a light-hearted decision: it was made after significant deliberation, much conversation, and our best attempts at research. Along the way, this has become something I have actually grown quite deeply passionate about.

It will take me several weeks to walk through why we have chosen this route: referred to variously as “the family bed,” “co-sleeping,” or “co-bedding.” My goal with this series is not to distance any parents who have not made the same decisions we have nor to build a case against other sleeping arrangements. I have found there are quite a few voices and extensive resources out there to speak for those who decide on “crib sleeping.” My hope is that I can represent a minority voice and speak for those of us who choose to follow a road that is remarkably less travelled (or at least less talked about) in our current American society.

You see, I have tried diligently to find resources for safe, healthy co-sleeping in order to find answers to questions we have had along the way: like how to wean a co-sleeping child (because it is different), or what to do when the second child comes along (there are new safety concerns). There really isn’t a lot out there. While I am convinced that more people do it than are willing to say, it is difficult to find guidance or even chatty discussion forums about what does and does not work for different families because no one is talking about it. I believe this is because such a decision has been shunned by our society, and we have learned to keep it to ourselves.

I am tired of keeping it to myself. I have overcome the feelings of guilt and shame that have been forced upon us (intentionally or unintentionally) by parenting books, online articles, friends, family, and our pediatrician. I believe from the bottom of my heart that bringing our son to bed with us was one of the best parenting decisions my husband and I have made. And over the next few weeks, I intend to share with you why.

I am not an expert in the sense that you might say a doctor is, and I cannot advocate that anyone else makes the same decision we have because of my scientific studies or medical research. Nope…I am a mom. A mom who–like you–is trying to do what is best for her children. In a sense that makes me an expert. Apart from God, no one knows my children better than I do. Still, I recognize that my expertise is highly subjective and a disclaimer is quite necessary. So here it is:

DISCLAIMER: We have decided that bringing our children to bed with us is a perfectly legitimate parenting method and healthy sleeping pattern. We have made this decision because we believe it is the best of options available to us. However, we know that every family’s situation is unique and cannot claim to know what is best for your family: you must make your own decisions. My only hope is that I can provide you with a better understanding of the decision we have made.

Please let me know if you have any questions: about our family, our decision, or specific matters related to co-sleeping. Feel free to challenge our assumptions or voice your contrary ideas: a one-sided argument will never be as strong as one that is approached from both sides. Please take full advantage of the comment forum below…but in your comments, please be civil and kind. And please check back for responses and/or clarifying questions that may follow. This (“co-sleeping,” “the family bed,” “co-bedding,” or whatever else you want to call it) may not work for you. And I won’t judge you for that. (Sometimes I may actually covet the fact that you are able to lay your kid down at night, close the door, and move on to your own things…) That said, please don’t judge me. Like you, I love my children more than words can express. And, like you, I am making the best decision I know how to make for the well-being of my entire family.

Next week I am going to share our story: not a whole lot of the “why”s or “how”s…just a summary of our journey thus far. In the weeks that follow, we will get into the “why”s and “how”s as I address the biggest questions and concerns that have come up (raised by others and/or as an important part of our decision making process). As it turns out, these concerns can be represented as the 5 “S”s: suffocation, SIDS, self-soothing, sleep-training, and sex (update: this series is now complete and these links to subsequent posts are active).

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  1. Grandma says:

    Brave entry. Looking forward to the future ones! Of course you know where we stand. Because our boys are older now (ages 9 and 7), we have evolved to Friday “sleepovers”, in which both boys join us in our bed. This is their favorite night of the week! Other nights the rule is – you can’t come in until the radio is on (6:45 a.m.) Of course – many mornings we wake up with one nestled inbetween us – and don’t even know when he got there! The security they feel when they are near us – we hope lasts a lifetime!!

  2. Alisha says:

    I smiled too! How ironic that that was in your instructions! It was my first time linking up…thanks for hosting AND for visiting!! (I’ll probably have to come back in the weeks ahead to post the rest of my “how I got my baby to sleep through the night” series :))

  3. BrittanyF. says:

    I think I remember you telling me that Josiah slept with you this summer when you visited. You said it so naturally that I didn’t realize it even bothered you. I feel special that you told me. You probably don’t even remember :). Anyhow…I would not like to have that sleeping arrangement in my house. But, I am a very, very light sleeper. It sounds like it is working well for you though. A rested mama is a happy mama! I hope you don’t have too many bumps when the little one arrives! Good Luck!

  4. Joy @ Graceful Words says:

    Our five children have all slept with us from birth until various ages. We currently have our 18-month-old sleeping with us. I LOVE to cuddle with him! πŸ™‚

    You’re right, people do seem to have very strong opinions when it comes to this subject. After almost 12 years of parenting, it doesn’t bother us anymore when people freak out over our decisions! πŸ™‚

  5. 'Becca says:

    Great article!! In case you have not found it yet, mothering.com has some excellent, well-researched articles on co-sleeping, a huge array of discussion boards where nobody will think you’re weird for co-sleeping, and even a board specifically for discussing co-sleeping.

    We co-slept in the baby’s room from birth, and it’s been wonderful! I went back to work when my son was 3 months old, and being able to get decent sleep was important for work, but also the all-night cuddling and nursing helped to maintain our bond. My son is 6 now and still prefers to have a parent lying next to him until he falls asleep, but then we can get up and he’ll sleep alone all night. He’s very secure and loving, and he has a great immune system from all that nursing!

  6. Shannon says:

    My “just turned” 3 year old still spends most of every night with us… we did not intend to be co-sleepers. Our older son made the move from bedside bassinet to crib just fine. The little guy would. not. sleep. He also would scream and wake up our big guy so… he got his way, and we got our sleepy time nursing and endless cuddles. πŸ™‚ Now he starts out in his own bed and ends up between us at some point. I usually just wake up at some point to use the bathroom and realize his little blond curls are there beside me. No judgement here!

  7. Bugs says:

    We’re cosleepers too, and I understand your reluctance. I spent lots of time online with other cosleepers before my baby was born which gave me confidence in our decision.

    I tell people now that ‘we cosleep’ or ‘we have Chubs in our bed’ and if they have an issue with it, that’s not my problem.

    We too go to great efforts to cosleep safely. I’m glad you’re doing what works best for you and your family πŸ™‚

    I’m loving your blog!

  8. Emel says:

    I am coming from different culture in my culture it is very acceptable to have family bed. I and my two other sisters grew up like that and Both I and my middle sister have Phds and my youngest sister graduated from university. I am saying that to prove that it will not effect your kids emotiona, social or educatinal life. I still d not understand why people in the US making it a big deal. it is only natural and very bonding experience. Thanks for sahering!

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