Child in the mid­dle

Co- SLEEP­ING — when mom AND pop LET kids Sleep WITH Them — I S A NIGHT- Time ARRANGEMENT THAT HAS Sparked MUCH de­bate I N PARENTING CIR­CLES: I T HAS MANY fol­low­ers, Some DETRACTORS AND A few AN­A­LYSTS. WITH THEIR Help, we de­cided To PUT THE MAT­TER To REST

WKND - - Baby Talk Nightly Rituals - By KAREN ANN MONSY

bbey Michelle Ur­ban­ski calls her­self an “ac­ci­den­tal co- sleeper”. When the Bri­tish ex­pat first fell preg­nant with Zachy two- and- a- half years ago, she and her hus­band did ev­ery­thing they be­lieved they should to pre­pare for the ar­rival of their son — in­clud­ing buy­ing him a big, beau­ti­ful cot. In Abbey’s imag­ined world of hap­pi­ness, she envisioned cosy night- time snug­gles in Zachy’s nurs­ery, as she lov­ingly rocked him to sleep, be­fore set­ting him down in his cot, where he would sleep soundly be­tween nightly feeds. Well… let’s just say that’s not how things panned out.

Night- times were night­mares. “I used to dread them, be­cause it was so hard to set­tle him at night,” says the 28- yearold. “It would take hours to get him down into the cot — and then he’d be up again half an hour later.” The cou­ple thought it was “the done thing” to have their son in the cot and so they per­se­vered, de­spite how sleep- de­prived all of them were. But then Abbey started notic­ing how Zachy would “fall asleep like a dream” when­ever she laid him next to her. The ‘ sound sleeps’ she’d imag­ined prior to his ar­rival seemed to — fi­nally! — be be­com­ing a re­al­ity ev­ery time he shared a bed with her. And it was only af­ter she re­searched the sub­ject that she stopped feel­ing guilty for em­brac­ing that hotly de­bated, oft- frowned- upon parenting ap­proach: co- sleep­ing with your child.

Much has been made of the prac­tice of sleep­ing with a new­born, with re­ports con­stantly point­ing to health and safety haz­ards ( what if you ac­ci­den­tally rolled over the child and suf­fo­cated him/ her?), poor sleep habits in the kids ( a 2015 study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of De­vel­op­men­tal and Be­hav­ioral Pe­di­atrics blamed bed- shar­ing for kids’ fre­quent night awak­en­ings) and even the cause of in­fant deaths.

But co- sleep­ing ac­tu­ally dates back to prim­i­tive eras and cul­tures, when moth­ers strapped their young to them­selves

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