There’s been a lot of debate surrounding co-sleeping for, I don’t know, the last decade or so? If you want to see some of the highlights, try Dr. Sears for the pro-co-sleeping arguments. If you want anti-co-sleeping arguments, there are several books that discuss it, and plenty of arguments on forums, but since I pretty much don’t care one way or the other, I don’t know where to point you.
That’s right. I. Don’t. Care. Do whatever works for you. For me, Miss L slept in our bed for the first week. Then I moved her to a bassinet right next to me. She stayed there until she was seven months old, when she moved to her crib without any problems, because she no longer wanted to nurse during the night. Other people put the baby in the crib from the beginning, and others co-sleep until toddlerhood. It’s all good. I seriously doubt either method, or anything in between, will have a lasting affect on a child. (I don’t feel the same about crying it out, which often gets entangled with co-sleeping issues, so let’s keep it separate here.)
Here’s what I don’t get: Why do people continue one sleep method or another when it just isn’t working for the whole family? Why take it to such extremes? For example, if your baby wakes up every hour, and you aren’t getting any sleep, why are you schlepping down the hall when you could just roll over and pick up your baby? Or, what seems to be pretty common judging from some forums I’ve seen, why are you sharing your bed with your two-year-old every night while your husband sleeps in a separate room and is pretty unhappy about it? This mystifies me.
It boils down to the pressure parents put on themselves to be perfect. If you don’t put your child in his own bed immediately, he is doomed to sleep in your bed as a teenager, and will never learn independence or self-reliance. If your baby sleeps in his own crib, he will have abandonment issues that will prevent him from ever having a healthy relationship.
Stop demanding perfection from yourself, kick the drama to the curb, and do whatever keeps you sane, healthy, and as rested as possible. This doesn’t sacrifice your baby’s needs, and it doesn’t sacrifice your spouse, either. If your sleeping arrangement is causing serious tension and stress in the mother, father, or baby, then it’s just not working, and it’s not healthy for your family, no matter what any expert tells you about the “right” way to sleep. Rules are for people who lack enough imagination to come up with a solution on their own.