Sharing sleep: An in-depth look

What are the long-term effects of co-sleeping?

Dr. Sears believes that co-sleeping teaches a child to be comfortable being in touch with a person and does not substitute things for people (bottle, teddy bear, blankie, etc.). Tine Thevenin says it has been observed that children that have been breastfed and slept with their parents are more demonstrative in showing affection and seem better equipped to deal competently with social processes. "Parents have verified that such a child also seems to have a higher degree of empathy for other members in the family."

"I just don't want a child in my bed"

It is not selfish to consider your own feelings. If you feel you need this time to nurture your marriage and recharge your own batteries, then take it so you can be a more effective parent by day. You may also consider bringing your child into bed with you in the morning for some cuddling.

Pediatrician, Jeffrey W. Hull, MD, offers a video, Sleep Tight, with his "No Tears" approach to getting your infant or toddler to sleep through the night in his own bed. The method involves sitting with the child until she falls asleep and gradually moving your chair each night until you are out the door (this method can also be useful in weaning your child from your own bed).

Dr. Sears notes, "Wherever you all sleep best and whatever leaves all of you feeling right is the best sleeping arrangement for your family."

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