Not in my bed!
Just as important as adherence to a regular bed time -– studies show that children who don’t get enough sleep can develop a host of problems –- is where she sleeps. No matter how tired my husband or I am, we do not abide co-sleeping. Not even for a nap.
Why? Because we’re scared. Scared that we might roll over on her. Scared that she might roll off our bed, which sits high off the floor. Scared that she might suffocate in our sheets and blankets. Scared that she will be in high school and still in our bed.
Seriously, there is good reason for our paranoia. Last year, in a six-county region that included Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, 15 children died while co-sleeping. Each story is more heartbreaking than the last.
I recognize that there exists a rigorous debate about co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against the practice. Co-sleeping advocates, especially those who live abroad, argue that if done properly it can promote breastfeeding and bonding between parents.
Of course, I also understand that getting little ones to sleep presents a gigantic challenge for some parents and co-sleeping is sometimes the only way parent or baby gets shut eye. And I sympathize. Really, I do.
Thankfully, this is one debate that my household will sit out. Our bedtime ritual goes something like this: bath time, a story and the good night tour, which consists of hugs and kisses with the parent who wasn't on bath duty. Then it’s off to the crib, which is swathed in the warm glow of the nursery’s night lamp.
Most nights, there is 15-20 seconds of crying as we lower our little girl into her crib. Then, as quickly as her whining begins, it’s over. She stretches out and closes her eyes.
She seems to value a good, comfortable night’s sleep in a safe place. We do too.
-- Sherri Day