Sharing sleep: An in-depth look

Okay, so you're bringing your baby or toddler to bed with you despite what everyone has said. Both you and your spouse are getting more sleep, but are worried about who will find out. Well, guess what? You are not alone. There are many people out there doing the very same thing. As a professional Lactation Consultant and Psychotherapist, I constantly come across new moms who say, "I know that I shouldn't be doing this, but I bring my baby to bed with me."

Historically, people of many cultures have slept with their children. What causes popular American culture to think that the family bed concept is wrong? It dates back to our ancestry. Many Europeans came to the U.S. with concepts such as "children should be seen and not heard", "whip them all soundly and put them to bed", and "let them cry it out". It's interesting to note that our society is highly neurotic and drug addicted. Could this be the result of such stringent parenting practices?

Now couple these stringent practices with the lack of quality time. More families are single-parent and dual career than ever before. Many of our children are in daycare longer than the forty plus hours that their parents work. Parents are spending less time with their children. Although many quote "it's not the quantity, but quality time", how much quality time can you get when all you do is pick the child up at daycare, bring him home, feed him dinner, give him a bath, read him a story (if you're not too tired!), and put him to bed?

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