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Bed sharing with toddler – no harm, no benefit for kids over 1
July 18th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Bed sharing with toddler – no harm, no benefit for kids over 1

Is it harmful to your child's development to have your toddler sleep with you?  Experts can't seem to agree on whether it’s a good thing or bad but a new study finds that it may not be harmful to children  as long as the child is at least a year old.

It’s called bed-sharing, where parents and a child sleep in the same bed.  It's not as common in the United States as in other countries, but it's more prevalent among certain ethnic groups.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's not advised for parents to ever sleep with infants before the age of 6 months.  That's the time when babies are most at risk for sudden infant death syndrome.   But the study authors and the AAP agree that once a child is 12 months old , co-sleeping or bed-sharing with parents is really up to the preference of the family.  However, the goal for any sleep arrangement is to get safe, adequate sleep.  If bed-sharing is getting in the way of a good night's sleep or is dangerous in any way for your child, then it's not a good idea.

The study authors set out to find out whether toddlers  who slept with their parents would have social or developmental issues by the time they reached kindergarten.  The researchers interviewed 944 low-income families and looked at whether  children between the ages of 1 and 3 slept in the same bed as their parents.  The experts found no signs that children who shared a bed with their parents had developmental problems at age 5.  The study was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

"When you compare mothers of the same ethnicity and the same levels of education, whether they bed-share or not, does not predict a difference in cognitive or behavioral outcomes in their children," explains study author Lauren Hale, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

Hale and other researchers measured math, early literacy and social skills in the children. They even looked at levels of hyperactivity and found no cognitive or social differences between children who bed-shared and those who did not.

"There are a number of reasons why parents decide to share a bed with their children such as safety, security, to facilitate breast-feeding,  in response to sleeping problems, to provide emotional support, living conditions, etc.  Understanding those reasons can provide clues to the outcomes of bed-sharing on children's later behavior and cognition,” Dr. Lynne Haverkos with the National Institutes of Health, the organization that funded the study.

Experts agree that what's most important, is that everybody gets a good night's sleep.  For some families bed-sharing disrupts both the parents' and the child's sleep. For others it works well.

"If a family is going to bed-share, both parents must agree to it,"  explains Brett Kuhn, associate professor of pediatrics and psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  "Make sure it's planned and intentional and that you do it from the beginning of the night to the end of the night.  You're not going to play musical beds when the child fusses."

Bringing a child into your bed to stop repeated episodes of crying may not only interrupt parental sleep but  interfere in the child's ability to soothe himself to sleep.

Haverkos says more studies are needed to look more closely at the risks and benefits of bed-sharing, but that the best bet is to discuss the issue with your pediatrician or health care provider.  What qualifies as a safe and satisfying sleep arrangement for one family may not be the same for another.


soundoff (789 Responses)
  1. roadstar

    I noticed a few comments on here questioning why this study was done in the first place. I worked in acedemia for many years and there are research studies done for everything under the sun and I mean everything. You can google a study on anything and it will come up. This was just another research question to explore. It made headlines because it's obviously a very common practice and people feel passionately about it.

    July 18, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • myrna

      we loved bed-sharing with my grandson. My daughter bed-shared with him since from the beginning. Mommy put him to sleep and I moved him somewhere in the middle of the night before mommy go to work at 5:00am.We do this so that he won't jump off the bed when he wakes up and for safety reason. The most wonderful feelings cuddling my little grandson,he is like a puppy..and such a loving boy,smart and sweet boy. He is surrounded with love.

      July 18, 2011 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Myrna, great another single mommy. Another fatherless child. How wonderful and appropriate.

      July 20, 2011 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
  2. Betty

    I am the mother to 9 wonderful children. My husband and I have ALWAYS shared our bed with our children as infants. My infants would sleep cuddled in my arms with my lips resting on their foreheads. I could always tell when one of my children would start running a fever, get sick, etc... As they became toddlers, they would graduate to a toddler bed that was beside my bed and then on to their own bedroom and bed. I have children ranging in age from 1 year to 20 years. (Yes, same father AND same mother and all single births!) I have never had a problem with my children being scared of the dark, sleeping through the night, etc.... If the parents are true parents (not on drugs or alcohol) sleeping with the children is not a safety issue at all. It is only natural to sleep with an infant. I breastfed all of my children and it would have been many sleepless nights if I would have had to get up and place them in the crib after each and every feeding.

    July 18, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Timothy C

      Betty– I am truly glad that this worked out well for you, but keep in mind that your one experience may or may not be true when a much larger sample is used. That's why answering this with a larger study is important. In my time as a parent, I've made several mistakes based on friends saying "This worked well for me, so go do it". Now I politely tell them "thank you" and then look up what studies have to say on the issue(s).

      July 18, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • ShannonCT

      Tim, controlled studies have shown that for nonsmokers who don't sleep with their infants after using drugs or alcohol, cosleeping reduces SIDS. Also, noncontrolled comparisons of different countries show a negative correlation between cosleeping and SIDS.

      July 18, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      I agree with you. I am the Mother of a 9 month old and I started putting him in the bed with me because my lactation consultant told me that it was a great way to breast feed and get some much needed rest. Boy was she right! The bed is pushed into a corner and only two sides are open. I sleep on the outside and my son sleeps next to the wall. There was many times in the middle of the night when he woke me up to nurse. Because we share a bed, I don't think that my son will have the same fears that I did for the first 5 years of my life. I didn't sleep without a blanket covering my entire face. My son no longer nurses so now I am attempting to get him accustomed to his crib again and I am having some success. My sister also slept with her son until he was 2 years old due limited space in her home. Now he's 14, on the honor roll at school and involved in all kinds of sports. He's very well adjusted and probably has no memory of sharing a bed with his Mother. He just didn't start out life being afraid and I think that can make a huge difference in a person's life later on. Lots of people agree with the idea of the family bed. Also, when humans lived in caves and the only food babies could get was breast milk, where do you think the baby was? I'm certain that newborns and infants always slept right next to their Mother. Without rooms and a comfortable crib, I'm certain that a baby's survival depended on being very close to it's Mother. It's just natural.

      July 18, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Betty

      Timothy, I understand that it doesn't work for everyone. But, I cannot stand to hear someone tell me that I shouldn't sleep with my babies. When I was in the hospital after giving birth to them, I would have them in the bed with me. A nurse would try to tell me where I was wrong for having them in the bed. They finally realized that it works for me. My 8th child had a very rough delivery and had to be under bili lights for over a week. At only 3 hours old, he would NOT sleep anywhere except for on mine or my husband's chest. The hospital could not understand is need to be with us at only 3 hours old, but that is where he felt secure. Needless to say, my husband and I shared my twin hospital bed for a solid week with the baby on one or the other's chest with the bili lights on all of us. That was the only way that he could get treatment–the hospital staff was baffled, but realized that it was what the baby wanted; not just us.

      For some people it works; for others it does not work. I'm just thankful that it did work for us.

      My oldest daughter is now married with a child of her own; I told her not to blink because if she did then her own son would be getting married before she knew it.

      July 18, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
    • cWhatsNew

      Hold your babies to sleep is the most natural way and the sweetest thing I'd imagine. Which other animals would be so paranoid to put their babies in another room to manage through the night?

      July 18, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Jodi

      Betty – you are awsome! Thanks for sharing your story!

      July 18, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • Mom O' Three

      Kudos Betty! I am a light sleeper and slept with each of my children from birth until they were weaned. We used a side rail on our bed and the babies slept cradled in my arms. They nursed wonderfully and i was able to sleep with minimal interruptions. Moms, find out more on co-sleeping by reading the work of Dr. Sears. I would not recommend co-sleeping for moms who are heavy sleepers, obese or drug/alcohol users.

      July 18, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I don't necessarily agree with sleeping with your kids at any age unless you are traveling or camping, but you people who criticize Betty for having nine kids are idiots. I am sure you are pro choice people, but not when it comes to how many children someone can have. Nine well raised children are a much greater asset to society than one or two who are raised to do anything they want and become lousy people or criminals. Good job on raising your kids Betty!

      July 18, 2011 at 21:29 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Sam, no they aren't. 99.9% of all kids aren't special. They are working at Jiffy Lube. Fact.

      July 18, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Guess what? there are many many good people who work at Jiffy Lube or Walmart or wherever, and a whole lot of low lifes who are CEOs or in congress or wherever. Why don't you grow up.

      July 18, 2011 at 22:00 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, ohio

      betty: I, too, let both of my sons sleep with me for the first few years... we wouldnt have it any other way. I think it helps the babies feel safe and secure and WANTED. What are people thinking putting their baby in ANOTHER room in a crib? Done properly and respectfully, there is no harm and I would totally disagree with "experts and studies" saying there is no benefit.
      The kids will want their own bed by about 4-ish. Just tell them theyre a big boy or girl.

      Betty: I'm one of nine kids. while your family sounds really well-adjusted, ours was dysfunctional. But of all the gifts this world
      has given me, and my siblings, its EACH OTHER. The group of people your kids are together as one FORCE is like none other. To anyone dissing you about having that many kids: if you wanted them, if you TAKE CARE OF THEM, if you love them, you've done a fine job and the world a great service! TY! Bed sharing, done properly, is a GOOD THING : ) Bonding.
      By the way, TY for breastfeeding them.

      July 18, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      " ...Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." Not your belief? Then don't. But let Betty and her husband decide what is right for her. Don't judge.

      July 18, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
    • xXAnonXx

      Tom you sir are a moron. 99.9% of kids do not work at jiffy lube. Nor does 99.9% of teenagers nor adults. Go read a book and better yourself.

      July 19, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Kathy, I don't believe in ignorant myths. Allow me to clue you in:

      The earth is over 4.5 BILLION years old
      Dinosaurs existed, just not with man
      Evolution is both a scientific theory and a fact
      There is no proof "jesus" or "mohammed" ever existed, none whatsoever

      There are over 14 methods of birth control and having 9 kids is stupid, absurd and utterly irresponsible. It's obviously the only thing she does well, breed.

      July 19, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      xXAnonXx Practic and repeat "Paper or plastic" It's all you.

      July 19, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Let me guess Tom. 45 years old, no girl,no kids, living in your Moms basement, decent income, bitter about how the world has treated you, spend most of your time at work going online, then back online when you get home until you sleep, day after day the same. Doesn't it bother you that most people on here most likely feel sorry for you.

      July 19, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Sam, does "jesus" tell you say that? LOL

      July 19, 2011 at 10:08 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Kinda choking on your words there Tom. Why don't try to be less of a mean and nasty person. You might even start liking yourself.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      Tom, I have very little control of your beliefs. When I allow someone to “clue me in,” I will consider the credentials of that person. I have shared very little of my beliefs here, you are presumptuous to think you know. I will share that I agree with Survival of the Fittest, and a some other evolution facts, but you cause me to wonder. (which does not include blindly accepting every claim made about evolutionists) I didn’t claim “proof of deity,” which is why it is often referred to as “faith.” Are you arguing w/ me personally or stereotyping people into two simplistic groups? Because I am only speaking for myself. If the world is 4.5 BILLION years old, I doubt we will bring about it’s demise w/ children. I’m not into controlling animal populations either, but the logic is similar. Message the animals to stop reproducing if you feel so strongly.

      July 19, 2011 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      2 words: BIRTH CONTROL. USE IT.

      July 19, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
  3. BC

    Co-sleeping with your kid is usually an excellent form of birth control, except for Betty, obviously. Both parents really do have to agree to share with the kid night-in, night-out. When daddy doesn't get in his cuddle time, he gets it somewhere else. Remember that.

    July 18, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom Leykis

      More accurate words were never spoken. I like the cut of your jib.

      July 18, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, ohio

      Daddy could get his fill and more at home and for the most part, he is gonna go get some more. It is what it is.

      July 18, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • ThePreacher2

      Tom was short changed; his Mom dumped him in a crib from birth and his Dad still stepped out for "extracurriculars".

      July 19, 2011 at 08:45 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      ThePreacher2 How does it feel to be on the national offender registry? Does it affect your dating young men?

      July 19, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
  4. kim

    Study shows everything....That's the reason why these kids are like this. America always find ways of trying to corrupt these folks. I don't see anything wrong with a child sleeping with their parents. I have a 3, 2, yr old, and a 8 mths old. They all like sleeping with mom and dad. Neither of us have a problem with that. These idiots knows nothing about raising a child, or children. If a farher gives his daughter a hug, the first thing they start thinking.....dad molesting his daughter. They have nothing better to do than just sits around and talk about study shows! They need to get a life and leave ours. I'm from a third world country, and that's what we are accustomed to. Sometimes 4 or 5 to a dawgone bed. Nothing behind it, every one was safe the next morning. This world is so bloody corrupt.

    July 18, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Josie

    Except for when we were sick, me and my siblings slept in a different room from our parents (I shared a room with my sister). I do the same with my kids, once in a while if my youngest is unable to fall asleep I will lay next to him in bed till he does fall asleep then quietly leave the room...my son just turned 7 this year. I don't feel comfortable with having either of my kids in my room to sleep...and wasn't raised that way!

    July 18, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kirstyloo

      If that works for your family, that is just fine. What this research says is that whatever fits with your family is ok for the child. Some claim that the child needs to learn to soothe him/herself or he/she will have problems in kindergarten. This study dispels that myth.

      July 18, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  6. ShannonCT

    Jesus's mother almost certainly slept with her babies, as the idea of a separate bed/room for babies is a 17-18th century invention.

    July 18, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. MW

    Co-sleeping is great if you don't want your child to learn to settle themselves down. We have never allowed our children to sleep with us, and guess what, when we put them to bed in their own rooms, they go to sleep. We can get stuff done and we dont have to deal with someone peeing in our bed. Allowing your child to sleep with you is the easy way out. DONT DO IT. Every co-worker of mine that has done this has regretted it.

    July 18, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • opheliaout5

      Out of curiosity, why is the "easy way out" a bad thing? I get that sometimes the hardest-won achievements are the most satisfying, but in this case, perhaps doing what's easy is more worthwhile to certain families.

      My kids both co-slept when they were tiny (my now 5-year old slept with us until he was 2.5 and the 20-month old slept with us until she was 9 mos), and they both moved on to their own beds beautifully. They now sleep through the night all by themselves and settle themselves well, leaving me and my husband to have alone time with each other at night. Now that they're in their own rooms, they are expected to stay there barring illness or thunderstorms, but having them sleep with us for the time they did was the best thing for everyone at the time.

      July 18, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • Dijo

      @MW – yours is an 'easy way out' – just showe kids to another room and forget about them!

      July 18, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • kirstyloo

      Your arguement was double-sided. First you state that the child needs to learn to soothe him/herself...and this research disputes this. Second you state the reasons why it benefits the parent (clean bed, able to get things done). If there isn't a real benefit to the child one way or another then let the parents make a choice as to what is best for them!

      Co-sleeping appears to have risks for those under 1 and particularly for those under 6 mo. After that, let mom and dad agree and choose. I do think that you need to be consistent with which ever choice you make.

      July 18, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  8. Ruby

    Four kids, all of them slept with us for years, sometimes more than one. All are teenagers or older and none have suffered any harm. It made it better (not just easier) for nursing, for tending to sick children and to bonding with our kids. I think the earliest any left our bed was maybe age 6. So what? I don't regret it at all. What I do regret is the time I foolishly listened to those who claim forcing them to sleep alone was good. My infant son screamed and cried and in my gut I knew this was wrong, so I never did that again.

    Nope, my kids are just fine thank,s and people comment how caring and helpful they are. They're certainly not perfect but they get good grades, are going to college, they work, have great social lives, do well in sports and with music–somehow despite the fact that they didn't "learn to settle" on their own in the dark of night.

    July 18, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Hodor

    Hodor!!

    July 18, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. cWhatsNew

    Hold your babies to sleep is the most natural way and the sweetest thing I'd imagine. Which other animals would be so paranoid to put their babies in another room, or on another branch to manage through the night?

    July 18, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Stephanie

    Jesus is Lord, (yeah, maybe) you are the pervert if thats what you are thinking! You better talk to your preacher about how the ancient world ran their nurseries. All the babies slept with their moms. Boys slept with their moms til they reached about 5-6 then would go sleep with the menfolk or their brothers. Kids did not have their own bedrooms unless they were very wealthy. Jesus slept with his mom til he was beyond the toddler age and it was time to learn manly things.

    July 18, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hand of God

      Thank you Jesus expert. We will all consult you on biblical/historical issues from now on. Odds are the dude was probably kidding. Sheesh, learn to take a joke. Like all Christians 🙂

      July 18, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • Just Sayin'

      Stephanie, you make such a big deal out of this issue...so defensive too...make me think you are repressing taboo feelings regarding your compulsive urge to fondle...um...I mean "snuggle" your children's tiny bodies in your bed out of public view.

      Seek the help you and other perverted parents so desperately need and get right with Jesus.

      July 18, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Hand of God Why is it that so many rabid christians are gay?

      July 19, 2011 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
  12. Stephanie

    Wow, another perv minded person. How many news reports do you hear of mothers molesting their infants? (let me clarify: NORMAL mothers-not crack head mothers). There are exceptions in every species, don't label the majority by the actions of a very few.

    July 18, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Joe

    All you parents that let your kids sleep with you are lazy. You justify allowing your kids in your bed due to the fact that its easier for YOU. I have twins, neither one ever spent the night in my bed. A parents room should be their sanctuary, my kids are teenagers, and to this day will not step foot in my room without asking if they can come in.

    July 18, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dijo

      You are just lucky you live in society where everyone CAN have their own room. Remember that is a MINORITY of the world.

      July 18, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • opheliaout5

      Please provide evidence that parents who co-sleep are lazy. Do you happen to have a cite? Also, when you state that parents who co-sleep are lazy, does that include parents throughout the world or just those in countries that "know better?" In other words, if a crib is unavailable or simply not in general use due to cultural differences, does that imply that those parents are lazy?

      There is a large body of evidence that suggests that co-sleeping, when done correctly, is actually quite healthy. In my situation, it was practical. My son frequently needed breathing treatments in the middle of the night. It was helpful to have him near to know when he'd stopped breathing or was about to stop breathing so we could give him his inhaler. He's since grown out of whatever issues he had with his upper respiratory system. With my daughter, we all got to sleep and she got to eat when she needed to. Cuddling was great and a huge bonus, but making sure that one kid could continue breathing was pretty much what sealed the deal with my son. And making sure that my entire family could sleep instead of being constantly woken by a screaming infant was a huge plus with my daughter.

      Still, co-sleeping is not for everybody. Clearly it wasn't for you. Heck, I never planned to do it myself. But just because you didn't choose to do it doesn't mean it's wrong.

      July 18, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
    • toeachtheirown

      Joe-
      I do respect the fact that you decided NOT to let you kids sleep with you- and that you also decided they have to ask permission to go in mom and dad's room. It sounds a little cold to me, but as long as your children feel loved by you and their mom, good for you guys.

      I think respecting each other's privacy (not rooting around in dresser drawers, closets, etc...) is important. But I was never banned from my parents bedroom- however I did KNOCK if the bedroom door was closed. If it was open, I could walk right in. I'm 30, and it's the same way at both of my parent's houses now. Also, on the rare occasion we might stay there when they are out of town with their dog, we stay in my parent's bedroom- at their suggestion.

      Learning healthy boundries are good, but I don't think it means you have to close the children off completely. What IS so private in mom and dad's room? LOL.

      I am a mom my myself, and we co-sleep with our 3 year old. It works for us because it's what we are all comfortable with. And we all sleep through the night. If I don't, it's not due to our toddler- its because sometimes I just can't sleep.

      There will soon come a time when it won't be cool to sleep in mom and dad's bed anymore. I

      July 18, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      So you spend a lot of time in the bedroom? Don't want to be bothered by them kids do ya?

      July 19, 2011 at 00:54 | Report abuse |
  14. MommyLuvsU2

    The main truth to the article: you do whatever you have to do to get a good night's rest. I have slept with my children (ages 5, 3 and 4 months) on occasion, but I don't sleep well. I'm very aware that they are there, concerned about the blankets smothering them, my husband or I rolling on them, etc. We have a queen bed and that's not much room for the two of us without adding a child to it (and no, we are not overweight). However, my sister-in-law co-sleeps. I nurse and she bottle feeds. You do whatever works for you as a parent. No one else can judge.

    July 18, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dijo

    how many kids do you have?

    July 18, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Andacar

    I suspect the sin lies with you and not the people who have their kids sleep in their beds once in a while. If you can't think of any other reason for people to do that then you must be a real mess.

    July 18, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Andacar

    Hmmmmm. And you know this how exactly?

    July 18, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Just Sayin'

    The woman in that picture looks like she's enjoying herself just a little too much...what a sicko.

    July 18, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThePreacher2

      Stop projecting. You must be severely damaged to see anything erotic in that picture. What did your Mommy do to you?

      July 18, 2011 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • lol

      ni88a b troll'd

      July 18, 2011 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      ThePreacher2 How does it feel to be on the national offender registry?

      July 19, 2011 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
  19. Linda

    My son is now 16. He'd sleep (in his own bed) until noon if I let him. He says he can't remember ever sleeping in my bed. Oh the horror! Of course, as a single mom working full time and desperately needing a good few hours of sleep, I let him sleep in my bed with me until he was about 4. I would have him start out the night in his own crib/bed – I'd read or sing to him just until he was drowsy. Then I'd leave and I could get things done until it was my bed time. When/If he'd wake during the night, I'd bring him in with me. It worked great. We had some really good quality time cuddling together when we had to be apart most of the day. I wouldn't trade that time for ANYTHING. At around age 4 he started getting more fidgety and sleeping less restfully, so even though he still wanted to be with me at night, I told him he was a "big boy" and needed to stay in his own bed. He fussed about it a bit and I gave in sometimes (esp. when he was sick), but it all worked out fine. Twelve years on, we've both managed to be healthy, self-soothing people happy in our own comfy beds! You know, you get a lot of healthy perspective over the years. For those of you who are nervous about studies and anxious about what other people tell you, I've got bad news. If you can't trust yourself to figure out what you and your children need, parenting is going to get a lot tougher!

    July 18, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • skybroken

      My son is 2 1/2. We read him his bed time stories, sing to him, tuck him into his own bed. It is totally inevitable that he wakes up at about 3 in the morning and crawls in bed with my husband and I. We have a queen bed (and we are both fit)... It makes the remainder of the night a bit difficult for space, but sometimes, yea, it is easier. Call me lazy, but I get complimented all of the time on how well adjusted, well socialized, how smart, and well behaved my son is. Sometimes we get up after he falls asleep and put him back in his bed, sometimes not. I do agree that our bedroom is our sanctuary, but at 3 a.m., really ... who is going to argue? To each their own, whatever works for your family. Don't hate just because it's not your way of life.

      July 18, 2011 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
  20. Linda

    Just sayin'... you're just SICK. Or jealous. I'm thinkin' your momma didn't cuddle you enough. Why else would you see perversion in a mother's caress? You need some therapy, dude.

    July 18, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • you are clearly a pervert

      methinks you're simply circling the wagons to protect other perverts like yourself

      July 18, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  21. Linda

    In fact, when babies do NOT get enough physical affection when they are very young, they don't develop normal emotions or bonding with other people. I'm thinking of the observations of orphans in Romania, was it? Attachment Disorder is what is is called, I think.

    July 18, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • skybroken

      It's called Reactive Attachment Disorder. It can be caused by several things, including not enough physical attention in the first three years of life, as well as separation from birth mother, and witnessing abuse, as well as being subjected to it. There is treatment for it, however it is a very controversial diagnosis, and some psychiatrists reject that diagnosis as a junk science catch all for bad behavior in children. Those who believe in it believe that without proper treatment, it can be the precursor for sociopathic behavior in grown ups.

      July 18, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, ohio

      great point, linda

      July 18, 2011 at 22:39 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      You are talking about severe, extreme neglect. Choosing not to bed share is a completely acceptable choice. Why on earth do you think it is similar to children who develop developmental delays, failure to thrive, reactive attachment, and other such conditions due to severe neglect? That is like comparing skipping dinner with starvation.

      July 19, 2011 at 02:47 | Report abuse |
  22. Shelli

    My daughter was born early, jaundiced, and stopped breathing. She was hooked up to IV's and heart monitor and spent days under the bili lights. When she was finally home, she slept in my arms in my bed with me. As a single mother, I was not putting her in a crib and leaving her alone. My parents had a very nice and sturdy cradle made for her but she barely used it. She slept in my arms in my bed until she was about 7 months old. She did not have any problems moving into her crib and into her room. She would sleep with me on and off during Kindergarten through elementary school and I thought nothing of it. As it has been just the two of us, I relish every single moment of that time we spent cuddling, laughting, talking, reading stories and giggling together. She is a very well adjusted and independent young lady who attended and graduated in the top 15% of her class from a private school, participated in dance for over 15 years and will start her freshmen year at Texas A&M in the fall – living in the dorm.

    July 18, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Don't do it

    I am of the don't do it frame of mind. My babies were in the room, in their cradle,within arms reach but unless I fell asleep accidentally while nursing they were never in the bed with their father and I. Well, the eldest was... once.. I started out wanting to cosleep but the first night I had her between us he rolled over on her. I had to literally drag him off of her he was so sound asleep. Sorry to say I truly believe if it's just Mom, it's probably not a problem. But men are just not biologically set up to note a baby is in the bed. They do, however make cosleeping cots that go in the bed, and have sides to keep baby from being rolled onto. It was past my time with babies but it seems a safer option.
    I slept with my mother on weeknights while my father was on 3rd shift until I was nearly 7, and then would stay in the bed when my father came home. I still remember the moment I went to my first sleepover and was shocked to find out not all kids had to sleep with their parents. I went home and demanded to be able to sleep in my own bed. It took me about 5 yrs to be able to do so alone because I was so used to having someone else there. To this day I have trouble sleeping if my husband is not home.
    Don't do this to your kids, please, I beg you. If you must cosleep, be done early in their lives so they can learn to be self soothing. Better yet, keep the cradle nearby and soothe but let them be an individual.
    And yes, I got a lot of therapy when I realized as an adult I was staying married just because I was terrified to sleep alone. Every child deserves their own space, because while they need to know you love them and will be there for them, they also need to know they are ok alone.

    July 18, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fiona

      I disagree with your conclusion, "Don't Do It." I think your fear of sleeping alone is rooted in something else entirely. I went through a period of crawling into bed with my parents or a sibling when I was around 5, 6, or 7 years old. Sometimes I did it sleepwalking. My parents had always let their kids into their bed if the child was scared during a storm, or just needed company - they didn't have a formal "co-sleeping" philosophy. I grew out of whatever need or fear I had by the time I was 8, and I actually prefer to sleep alone now (although I sleep with my spouse because I feel it's part of being married). I have no fear of being alone in the house, traveling alone, or of solitude in any form. On the other hand, I have a sister who is middle-aged and still sleeps with the lights on. She has deep insecurities. I think you need to look for other sources of your fear.

      July 18, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
    • don't do it

      There is a big, big difference between wandering into your parents' bed at 5,6 or 7, when your psyche is well formed, and essentially having the choice made for you from infancy to age 7. 18 yrs of therapy says I'm correct.

      July 26, 2011 at 05:19 | Report abuse |
  24. Lisa

    Co-slept with our daughter from age 6 months to 3 years. She transitioned easily to her big-girl bed on her own and has always been a stellar sleeper. Wouldn't change a moment of those precious times. I can think of nothing as wonderful as cuddling your child in bed. I laughed when I once read a woman from a country where co-sleeping is the norm ask, "Do Americans really have their children sleep in a cage??"

    July 18, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. duvallone

    just another way to waste taxpayer money. No wonder academics love the democrats.

    July 18, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nicole

      Yes, because data that informs child welfare policy, child development recommendations, and public health campaigns is such a waste of time. Let's just stick with gut feelings and head back to the dark ages.

      July 19, 2011 at 02:51 | Report abuse |
  26. Fiona

    My observation is that the child usually tires or grows out of sleeping with the parent(s) before Mom and/or Dad (usually Mom) is ready to have the child leave. Parents often overanalyze child behavior these days. Is little Hunter behind his cousin Taylor in development? It doesn't matter who is "winning." Kids develop at their own pace. Unless there is a remarkable developmental delay (in which case, listen to your doctor), let the child become independent when he or she is ready. Encourage steps toward independence, but don't force them.

    July 18, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Fiona

    Troll.

    July 18, 2011 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. KH

    I think this study shows a lot... It shows that it really is an individual decision as to if co-sleeping is good or bad for any family or any child. I think those posting should not pass judgement in either direction... I was raised in a home where we didn't sleep with our parents.... ever... it wasn't frowned upon or talked about badly, it just wasn't something we did. I now have a 5 year old daughter and she sleeps in her own room. It is what works for our family. I see no issue with those who choose to sleep with their children as long as they are safe about it, it's just not a choice that works for my family.

    July 18, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. ThePreacher2

    Judging from your thought processes you must have died of SIDS.

    July 18, 2011 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom Leykis

      How's it working out as an extra in zombie movies?

      July 19, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
  30. S1N

    Jesus didn't need for his mother to co-sleep, because Jesus is a fictional character that never existed. Please cure your stupidity by putting your head in an extremely hot oven.

    July 18, 2011 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • debby

      you will see ...just how fictional jesus is when he returns ,,,but by then it wont matter,,,, is it so hard to believe that there is something out there far more superior than yourself

      July 19, 2011 at 02:10 | Report abuse |
    • Tom Leykis

      Please stick a sock in it and keep your myths to yourself.

      July 19, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      It has been proven time and time again that Jesus existed. You better do some research before popping off with stupid comments.

      July 23, 2011 at 21:29 | Report abuse |
    • Pooperscooper

      "Proven time and time again" I'm pretty sure one of the major news networks would have covered this. You can't prove something that is entirely based on faith. Believe or not, you can't prove it to someone that does not believe it.

      August 1, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
  31. SAHM1979

    @ ShannonCT – Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and LAYED HIM IN A MANGER. Not in the bed with her.

    July 19, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Cynthia Rutherford

    S1N..I Pitty you.You need to put your head in a BIBLE.

    July 19, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. SAHM1979

    I've got no beef with the parents who sleep with their kids when they are older (over a year). To each his/her own. It's the people who sleep with newborns/infants (under 6 months) that I think need a wake up call. It's been proven over and over again that co-sleeping with a baby under the age of 6 months can contribute to SIDS. Why on earth do you take that risk night after night? For those who have done so and nothing happened...I am thankful for your child's sake. You are the lucky ones. Ask the parents of the children who have suffocated or died of SIDS while co-sleeping. Those people thought it was a great idea too....now their children are dead. You are risking your child's life. Just because nothing happens, does that make it right? No! You might as well be playing russian roulette with your baby. Sure you'll get lucky a few times but...for some unlucky parents...eventually that loaded gun is going to go off and it's your baby that will suffer for it.

    For those of you screaming "Well my doctor/midwife suggested it because I'm having trouble breastfeeding/sleeping/etcetc", stop being selfish. Nobody said parenting would be easy. If you have to lose out on some sleep or start using formula, that's the game you signed up for when you had a baby. Keeping an infant in the bed with you just so that you can get better/more sleep is downright selfish. Again, you're risking your baby's life...for sleep.

    People are going to do what they want to do...no matter what anyone else says. It is true with this subject. No matter how many studies come out that say how dangerous sleeping with an infant (under 6 months) is, they will continue to do so. I'm not gonna try and change the world but...to those parents...keep this in mind. Each time you do this, you are risking your child's life. No matter what you say or how you try to justify it...it's a fact. Hope you can live with that.

    July 19, 2011 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. JEG1976

    My niece's son was born the same day as my son; only 12 hours between them. I will never forget the horror of my niece waking up to look at her son in the bed beside her, and finding him dead. Cause of death, SIDS. He was 8 months old. At each birthday and milestone of my son's, I always think with sadness that my nephew should still be with us. Putting a baby to sleep on his back in his own safe crib cuts SIDS by 50%, according to the most recent studies. The statistical risk of any particular baby dying of SIDS is still small (overall), but if your child ends up being one of the sad few, you spend the rest of your life wondering what might have made a difference.

    My prayers for all families who face this loss.

    July 19, 2011 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Linda

    Nicole, I was not suggesting that NOT sleeping with your kids would cause lack of attachment. I was responding to Just Sayin' and his crap about maternal affection being a perversion. Also – studies and research are great for "informing," as you state. However trusting a mother's wisdom about what is best for her child is not "a return to the dark ages."

    July 19, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Chris Hanson

    This board is loaded with groomers who pretend they are doing something positive for their kids keeping them in bed with them every night with lots of "cuddling." You incestuous perverts need some seriously psychological counselling or maybe even jail time. Sickos!

    July 19, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. bryan

    that is what your mom was talking about.. is completely different than what she told me.. I guess she does have hearing problem

    July 19, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. chance

    Tom, how is it that you espouse to be so supremely intelligent and say something as ignorant as there is no proof anywhere that Jesus existed? There is and has been a lot of empirical evidence of Jesus' existence. Don't take my word or anyone elses – take the time to research & find out for yourself. It is clear you have not invested any meaningful time in that endeavor by your misinformed, misgiuded, sarcastic comments. I'm sure you'll have what you think is a clever response to what I've just said – but when you are not too busy mocking others, take some time and REALLY look into it. Your inane response to this won't bother me, so use the time to go learn something instead. And just so you are aware – I was not always a believer. It took a lot of proof for me to even consider it. It really is out there Tom. Check out the studies of non – believing anthropologists & scientist who don't have a Jesus believing agenda first. They are the ones who set out to prove Jesus did not exist.See what they've found.

    July 19, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. beth

    I dont see anything wrong with it. my kids are teenagers and they are A ok.

    July 19, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Bucktooth

    Did I pay taxes for a study like this?? Better things to do!

    July 19, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Kathy

    Tom, I have little control over your beliefs. When I look to be "clued in," I will consider credentials of person "teaching." I mentioned very little about my beliefs, so I doubt you even know whether you are giving me new information. I will decide which information affects me, and how. Why are you threatened that my conclusions may not be the same as yours?? Are you the guy who has it all figured out?? I understand and agree with Survival of the Species, and some other facts of evolution, though you cause me to wonder. I never claimed any kind of "proof" of a deity. Which is why it is usually refered to as "faith." Are you agruing w/ me personally, or are you possibly guilty of stereotyping all people into two simplistic groups?

    July 19, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jenn23

    Sometimes I would fall asleep with my son in my arms after middle of the night feedings. He never slept better. When he outgrew his bassinet he had to sleep with me. His father desserted us and his mom was going to get us a crib. He forbid his family from contacting or seeing us. I email back and forth with his sister, but she is still hesitant to see her nephew. I finally got a crib and weened him into it. He stopped breathing one day at daycare at 12 months. I began having him sleep with me, so I could make sure he was ok. Then we went through 4 months of ear infections, flu (he was vaccinated) and other crap. Now I struggle to get him to try the crib. Oh, he has GERD and throws up if he cries too much, gets upset, gets hyper. So he sleeps with me. I'm too exhausted to try his crib. I work full tim and pay for everything. I moved a month before he was born a preemie and still have boxes I haven't unpacked in over a year. I love to snuggle my boy, but I like to get more than 4 hours of sleep. It's a gamble each night. Personally, I could careless about the "baiters" here. I do what I must. I don't think anyone really cares what the antagonizers here say,they just push people further into their own opinion lol (go Jesus!) Lol

    July 19, 2011 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jjunique84

    Tom if I am not mistaken the topic for the discussion was on infants or toddlers sharing the bed with there parents. NOT on birth control and your ignorant and stupid belief or opinions.
    Now back to the topic at hand. I am a first time mom my husband and I had planned on our daughter sleeping in her own crib. But that changed once the constant breastfeeding and pain of delivery kicked in. Once we figured out a safe way for her to share our bed with us, it worked out to be something very enjoyable. She is now 19 months and she has no problems with here development or interaction with other children. My advice to anyone parent of one to even 20 (I know you are peed off TOM) is do what is best for your child and yourself. You are there parents and no one should be allowed to push on what they believe to be politically, morally, ethically, and statically correct.

    July 20, 2011 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. chase

    I really dont see what the discustions r all about, everyone who has kids know that love and how dare anyone put someone down for that! Ur kids r only little once soon they arent even gonna want to be in the same house as u!! Anyone who would harm a cild is a whole other story!! Love ur babies and kids who need that there parents push them away! no one should judge anyone for the way they deside to parent...good or bad one they make there bed they have to lay in it!!!!!

    July 20, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. jessicaber

    Tom, she said that she is married. CNN: don't you monitor this stuff at all?

    July 20, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. human

    It dosent matter what race you are. We all need to make our kids feel safe to a certain point and let teach them to be independent but don't forget your personal life with your mate is important too. but I agree if u want to learn about kids go to a parenting class, kids web site,pediatricts web site but don't let the news tell u stupid things we already know. and cime on parents, we know what to do so just do it.

    July 20, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Elizabeth

    We co-slept with all of our kids. My second didn't spend a single night in the crib and we didn't even own one by the time the third came around. They all slept with us through the toddler years. We also had a toddler bed in our room that got some use over the years. Eventually, they each moved into their own beds. I can't even tell you when because I really didn't care when it happened.

    My kids put themselves to sleep every night and we have no sleep issues at all in the house. As a matter of fact, since 2 of mine are teens, they usually go to bed after I do. Everyone still likes a kiss before bed, though, and it makes me happy too.

    Why are we pushing such little ones to be independent? They all get there. There's no prize for getting there sooner.

    July 20, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Tommy Ray Sanchez

    Having a child in THEIR own bed allows for feelings of ownership and "grownup"behaviors to be adopted.

    July 20, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. jessicaber

    OK. Now that the conversation is going that way does any one have any ideas how I can get my 6 year old to sleep in his own bed in his own room?

    July 20, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Anasha Godley

    I slept w/ both of my kids. I have a nearly 7 yr. old and an eleven month old. I did and do so b/c I didn' depend on their dad to do late night diaper changes or feedings although he was capable of doing so. My oldest is just fine and my youngest is progressing just fine. It takes away from me sleeping in the same bed as my fiancé most nights, but we handle it just fine. By the way, I slept w/my oldest until he was nearly 5 and he has adjusted to going to bed by himself....alone!!!

    July 20, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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