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Gwen Stefani probably knows all the supposed reasons why cosleeping with your kids might be bad, but this rock star/fashion icon/super-mom is simply too busy to care. Instead, the No Doubt frontwoman says life is too short to pass up an opportunity to snooze family-style with younger son Zuma, 2.
"I don't want to look back and say, 'Oh my God, I didn't sleep with Zuma that time because I was too tired,' so I’ll just snuggle up with him tonight," she recently told Stylist. "It's probably why I work as I hard as I do -- I don't want to look back and see the things I didn't do."
While sleeping in the same bed with an infant can increase the risk for sudden infant death syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the issue of bunking with older kids is a murkier area. Some experts say it's fine as long as everyone's getting enough sleep (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a super-sized family bed just for this purpose, according to Vanity Fair), while others say it can be a slippery slope to a place where kids don't learn to fall asleep on their own and everyone ends up exhausted.
Cora Breuner, M.D., a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says there’s nothing wrong with an occasional all-night snuggle in bed -- especially if your little one had a tough day -- but making it a nightly ritual isn’t doing anyone any favors, particularly if Mom is doing it out of guilt. “Learning to self-soothe and sleep properly in your own bed is a task as important as learning to walk or feed yourself,” says Breuner. “Cosleeping out of guilt creates an odd dynamic. Plus, it’s hard to do quality bonding at 3 a.m. when you just need to sleep.”
If you're feeling overwhelmed by mom guilt, Breuner suggests trying to carve out a little more time with your child during the day or on weekends. Even an ten extra minutes of one-on-one can lift both of your spirits. As a compromise, Breuner thinks it's fine for families to snuggle up either before bedtime for an hour or early in the morning, say after 6am. And then, she says, be consistent about the rules. It might be easier and sweeter in the short run to allow your adorable offspring to constantly sleep by your side, but if you're not getting enough rest, go ahead and reclaim your bed — no guilt, regrets or doubt required.