If you want to be a trendy parent who is seen to taken good care of your child these days, it seems you need to sign up to attachment parenting. By my understanding this covers a range of methods designed to treat your baby in a way as natural as possible so that they have some measure of control over their tiny lives.

Wonderful stuff, but there is one aspect I remain unconvinced by: co-sleeping. That is, sleeping with your baby in the same room as you. Options range from being tucked up in the same bed, to having a bed-extension or simply being in the same room. The benefits are said to be ‘improved communication’, reassurance for the baby and making it much easier to breast-feed in the night without anyone really waking up.

Why am I unconvinced by this? Our experience with our first little darling was that she moved a great deal in the night and within a few weeks was moved into her own room. She seems to have suffered little psychological trauma from this and my wife in particular slept a lot better, even while doing night feeds. I would say that the extra rest was beneficial to everyone. Ok, that’s one anecdotal experience, but we have a couple of books that coer the subject. One is not very clear and even admits that research that has been done into the benefits is contradictory from different studies, while the other sells it as a solution to an problem we don’t really have, namely over-fatigue and a baby who just won’t sleep.

What to conclude? It seems that for the foreseeable future our latest addition will be with us and close at hand. This is for feeding and, more importantly, wees during the night (we’re not using nappies, but that’s a whole other blog). I like to think that sleeping in her own room is a step that will happen in the not-too-distant future, won’t be traumatic and will help the whole family get better rest. When to make the switch, I’m not sure. Perhaps this issue isn’t so important in itself, but is a necessity if you are trying other aspects of attachment parenting. Maybe it has just been overplayed by its proponents so that it sounds like an essential element of nouveau parentalism.

I would be interested to hear of anyone else’s experiences. Does anyone feel guilted into keeping your baby in bed with you, or just finds it such an amazing experience they would never have it any other way? One thing is for sure, it’s not for everyone but probably is for someone.

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