Cosleeping Is Just Fine For Your Child’s Development

It can be a very emotional issue if you choose to debate it: Whether to go to sleep with your children in your bed or whether to make them sleep in their own rooms. You’ll find plenty of parents on both sides of the argument, and plenty of parents on both sides of the sleep situation — and the bed — whether they planned to be in that situation or not (case in point: I coslept with my daughter for over a year until she simply started sleeping through the night in her crib).  For those who are against cosleeping, it seemed for years that there was plenty of evidence on their side to back up their claims that it was harmful: Bad for sleep habits, bad for the child’s emotional development, just plain bad.

However, a study released this week states unequivocally: cosleeping does no harm to your child’s learning and behavior development.  Researchers looked at families who coslept between the ages of one and three, and assessed the children’s cognition and behavior at age 5.  In doing their analysis, they looked at a range of factors that could affect the child’s development in addition to cosleeping.  The results were clear: researchers determined that cosleeping with a child between the ages of one and three has virtually no bearing on the child’s cognitive or behavioral development.  Any differences between children at age 5 could be atrributed to other factors which are proven to have impact on children — socioeconomic standing, maternal education and parenting skills.  Or in other words, if you want to cosleep with your toddler, you can do so completely guilt-free.

This will come as welcome news to the many parents who cosleep for whatever reason — whether it’s what they had planned to do all along, or it’s the only way they can get their child to sleep, or any host of reasons parents may have. There is an enormous amount of societal pressure in the Western world to have children sleep in their own bed, although cosleeping is the norm in other societies. Hopefully, studies like this will give cosleeping parents the ammunition they need to use with those who are giving them “helpful” advice.

Related Stories:

Mother And Baby Reunited In Spain

Research Says We Should Parent Like Cavemen

Should Only 5-Year-Olds Enter Kindergarten?



Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann on Flickr


jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Doing what comes naturally. If you and your child are more comfortable co-sleeping--- GO FOR IT!

Amanda M.
Amanda M7 years ago

When our first daughter was born, we ended up cosleeping with her for the first month simply because it was the only way she could get to sleep! She had apparently gotten used to my snuggling up against my husband while I was pregnant, and after she was born, the only way she would sleep as a newborn was with both of us in the bed. On nights when my husband worked a midnight shift, I was in trouble-she would cry all night! She got used to the bassinet after the first month and got moved to the crib in her room when she was about three months old and started sleeping through the night. It made nursing her so much easier, although the time she tried to latch onto my husband by mistake was hilarious!

With our younger daughter, she was able to sleep in the bassinet right away, but with a twist-she would only go to sleep if I let her fall asleep on my chest. Apparently, my heartbeat was the comfort trigger for her. I couldn't put her in the bassinet until she had fallen asleep, and since she was a teeny baby who only slept for about two hours at a stretch at the beginning, it made for some long nights! She finally got moved to her own crib at about five months, but even then she still woke up at nights for nursing. It wasn't until after she had heart surgery at 18 months that she finally started sleeping through the night.

To each their own-if cosleeping is what it takes to get the baby to sleep better, go for it. And getting a baby to sleep is a prize worth more th

Cathy C.
Cathy C7 years ago

I co-slept with all 4 of mine. It was so much easier to breast feed at night, I'd just roll over pull up my shirt and we'd both get back to sleep. No mammal or bird leaves their helpless baby off somewhere by itself, crying itself to sleep. In Africa, all babies sleep with their Moms. If Mom and dad want privacy for sex, then the couch or another room comes in handy. Glad to see research back up what all us Moms on here knew all along.

Carmen n.
Carmen n7 years ago

Easiest way to get a full night's sleep when nursing an infant! She rooted by herself, and often found the breast on her own, and I'd wake up being nursed! Back to sleep, lickety split, rested and refreshed in the morning.

Chris S.
Chris S7 years ago

I had my baby in bed with me until he was about 12 - 14 months old. I felt safer knowing I could see, hear & feel him at any time. When he got older he was fine in his own bed, but often came into bed with us. No hassles. He's a normal teenager now. Makes you wonder how the human race ever evolved from cave men days, with putting their babies into another cave while they slept eh? ;-D

Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch7 years ago

All my kids slept with me when they were young.. and now.. they have no problems sleeping. But once when my youngest was a baby and sleeping with me I must have moved to much in the night and put the pillow over her face, she was fine but it was a lesson I never forgot..

Judy B.
Judy B.7 years ago

Quilt free co sleeping is like quilt free ice cream. Enjoy

Judy B.
Judy B.7 years ago

My children are grown ,caring, responsible adults now but I miss the nights of them coming in and sleeping with us.

Marty P.
Marty rajandran7 years ago

As compared to an infant crying itself to sleep, I say yes, give the child the warmth, love, security it needs as it is growing. This time will pass soon enough. Enjoy it while they want to be with you!

Carol B.
Carol Burk7 years ago

Study released this week. Well, there might be another study released at some other time that states the opposite point of view. There is always "another" study. Perhaps people could make their own decisions, bearing in mind the situation of the family and the ages of the children. To have a small child sleep in the bed with you is one thing, but to have three or four little ones in there makes getting a good night's sleep well nigh impossible. Why should this practice "harm your child's development" in any case?