Please watch my video on the problem of co-sleeping with your child.
To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. As I was going through all the questions people sent in to me today, I’m always surprised by how many questions are about children, mainly toddlers aged two and three who are still sleeping with their parents.
It’s interesting because I don’t hear a lot of people talk about it; I think it’s something that parents keep quiet and sort of some people’s little secret that they’re sleeping with their children. Then when they have an opportunity to write in to me with questions, I find least half of them are parents who are looking for ways to get their children, not babies, out of their beds!
So this week we’re going to talk about co-sleeping. I know it’s a touchy subject because there are lots of people who think that you should co-sleep… that it’s best for your children and that they are somehow more secure, well developed and better equipped to deal with life. That’s one opinion and there is nothing wrong with co-sleeping; I’m not even here to reform those people. If co-sleeping is working and everyone loves it and is getting a good night sleep, then who am I to say they should change it?
But, the comments I get from my readers are people who
that happy with co-sleeping anymore — or never were happy with co-sleeping and that is kind of “co-sleeping is out of necessity.” It’s not because it’s a choice, it’s a must because it’s the only way a child or a parent gets any kind of decent sleep. In the end it usually involves one parent leaving the bed and going to sleep somewhere else.
Co-sleeping is really not something that should be maintained for years and years. These questions are from people with two and three-year-olds which means that for two or three years now, the situation is that child has been sleeping in the adult bed and most likely one partner hasn’t.
I’m the first one to acknowledge how much work marriage takes. It takes commitment to staying connected to one another. It takes effort to spend quality time together, just the two of you, or else you start to feel this sort of quiet disconnection slipping in. It’s quiet because it’s not really noticed at first and sometimes it’s not noticed until it’s too late. And then you might realize that you don’t even feel like trying to get back into the relationship; it’s too far gone.
In my opinion, my marriage and the relationship I have with my husband is one of the greatest gifts I can give my children. I think that if they see two parents who are respectful to one another, who make time for one another, who put each other’s priorities and needs on the top of their own list, then they’re going to go out into the world and they are going to look for that in their relationships. They will hopefully have happy relationships that they’ll then pass on to their children. I strive hard and I encourage my readers and my clients to reevaluate the situation and start putting yourself and your partner back on the list of priorities. It’s really hard to maintain a level of intimacy, emotional and physical, if there’s a child in your bed.
I always tease my husband by telling him that if he is looking for intimacy, he should not even mention the kids’ names. I don’t even want to think about the kids in that respect. Being a mommy and being a woman are very far away on my spectrum. Mommy is way over here and sexy woman is way on the other end so I don’t want to think about the kids if I’m trying to get in the mood.
Occasionally there will be people who write in and say their sex life is fine and our child sleeps with them. That may be the case sometimes but I would think that the majority of parents have a hard time having a connection with their spouse, with a baby or child in bed. It’s tough, it’s really tough. The parent writing in about how to stop co-sleeping is often the one parent who’s not necessarily happy with the arrangements. It’s often dads who write and say, “I’d really like my bed back.” You shouldn’t feel bad about that; it shouldn’t be something you’re ashamed of or feel guilty about. It’s your bed and that’s where you should be.
I think if we lived in a situation where we lived more communally with each other or a village environment, and parents are exhausted because they were sleeping with a baby all night it might be different. There would be 10 other people who can help those parents out during the day but that is not the case, and that’s not the society that most of us live in. Most people are isolated, and some don’t even have family in the same town. So if a parent is up all night, then it’s a parent who has to deal all day with that same child and it’s often a mom who’s up and then has to deal and all of this. I just don’t think it’s realistic.
I agree that for some it takes a village to raise a child but we the majority of us don’t live in a village. We have to make changes based on a reality, which for most, is that they need a good night sleep because they the ones that deals with their child all day or go to work all day. Everyone needs their sleep.
If you are doing what I’ve called “co-sleeping out of necessity,” then I encourage you to make some steps in the right direction to change that situation. I think ultimately, it’s best for the whole family and whenever I’m working with someone, I always ask if everyone is happy. It’s not just about the baby and whether the baby is happy and getting enough sleep. It’s everyone. Is everyone happy and is everyone getting enough sleep? In my opinion that is the way a family works – when everyone’s needs are respected and being met.
That’s my rant for this week. Thanks for watching and sleep well!
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