Sharing sleep: Is the family bed right for you?

It is quite common in many countries for children to share their parents' bed. In the U.S. this practice is often questioned. In a culture that emphasizes independence, co-sleeping is feared to "spoil" kids, making them too dependent, needy and clingy.

Surveys show that 25 to 30 percent of American parents sleep with their children for all or part of the night, despite our societal prejudices. Many parents report great reasons for sharing the family bed: easier breastfeeding, more quality sleep for you and child, a more secure kid as a result of closeness and touching and feeling safe. But, there can also be drawbacks, such as wet sheets from accidents, less quality sleep for you if you can't get used to a restless child and in rare cases, even the danger of suffocation for your baby.

So, to co-sleep, or not to co-sleep?

Easy Breastfeeding:

When your child awakens with a need to feed, you are right there. You won't need to crawl out from under the warm covers, prepare formula and walk down the hall. There is no need for your child to cry and cry until you can make it to their crib.

Extra bonding for working moms:

You may be at the office all day, but your child will be comforted sleeping next to your warm body at night -- a soothing stand-in for daytime attention.

Feel More Rested:

Easy, half-awake breastfeeding prevents daytime grogginess that comes from being snapped sharply out of deep sleep. Plus, your sleep cycle can become regulated to your child's, so your waking and sleeping patterns won't be at odds.

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