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
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