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Why Co-Sleeping Isn’t for Cold-Hearted Baby-Shunning Fools

Jul 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM Chime in now

Happy Cosleeping Family

Why judge another family's bed? (Masterfile)

By CATHERINE CONNORS

Before I became a mom, I had very clear ideas about what sleeping arrangements should look like when there's a baby in the house: parents sleep in one bed (me on the right, always, just because), in one room, and baby sleeps in a crib, in another room. I allowed for the possibility that I might, if I had a newborn, want to have that newborn sleep adjacent to me, in a bassinet or something, but in the same bed? HEAVEN FORFEND. I like sleeping with my husband. Why would I sleep with my baby instead, or even just in-between? NO WAY.

What I failed to recognize about myself: I'm a shameless bed-sharer. I've always shared my bed. Stuffed animals, Barbies, siblings, best friends, dogs, cats, more dogs, more cats, husbands (only the one)if any creature (live or manufactured) expresses an interest in spooning, I will welcome it. So this idea I had that a babya soft, cuddly, adorable, clutchable, oh-sweet-lord-I-must-never-let-this-creature-out-of-my-sight babywould somehow be exempt from this dynamic, I do not know. And of course, neither of my babies were exempt. They still aren't.

So I'm kind of the wrong person to be objective about Erica Jong's rant about the evils of co-sleeping, which was actually nested within a rant about motherhood and modern sexualityLO YE CO-SLEEPERS YE SHALL NEVER HAVE THE SEX AGAINand whatnot. I love co-sleeping. Mostly. I've been kicked in the head a few times, which is not conducive to rest, and I do love when I get a bed to myself while traveling, but still. I love snuggling my babies. I've only got a few years to do it in. I am sucking that business up. So, yeah: Ms. Jong declares co-sleeping a fool's endeavour and all I can say, along with others, is this: you, madam, are the cold-hearted baby-shunning fool.

Does she have a point about the sex, though? Maybe. But it's a misdirected point. If a couple's sex life lags after baby comes along, it's not because baby is physically in the way. Babies, in case you haven't noticed, are pretty small. They can be moved. If a couple has the energy and the will, that little swaddled lump isn't going to be a barrier. But therein resides the real issue: having the energy. I go through periods where I have so little energy that even Ewan McGregor lounging in a bed of red velvet cupcakes wouldn't provoke more than a yawn. The love-slumps in our household have nothing to do with there being small children in our bed. As I said, we could move them, or we could move us. We're just too freaking tired to do it, is all.

(If anything, co-sleeping in the early months allowed for preserving what little energy we could for mommy/daddy time you get a lot more sleep as an anxious nursing mother if baby is right there by your side (safely, of course). Whatever sex we did have was, I think, directly attributable to energy-stores provided by co-sleeping. So.)

In any case, the bigger point is this: What the (expletive) business is it of Erica Jong's how we a) raise our children, b) conduct our sex lives, and c) integrate the two? SERIOUSLY. Erica, please stay out of my bedroom. It's crowded enough as it is.

What's your experience? What sleeping arrangement works best for your family? Chime in below!

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