Our Children Share Our Bed: Shame on You “Super”nanny.

Every once in a while I turn on the show “Supernanny”.  This past Friday, the voice narrating deemed one of the most wonderful and thoughtful parenting choices my husband and I have made, “shameful.”

Our Children Share Our Bed Shame on You “Super” Nanny by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

I am an intelligent parent.  I have taken an extensive amount of time to educate myself on parenting issues, options and theories.  I read books and articles.  I attend conferences and workshops.  I have sat back and said nothing while the media portrays other parenting styles as acceptable and normal, and mine as dangerous and detrimental.  I have not shared the sound research that my scientific husband trusts and supports the choices that we make.

But now, there has been a public firestorm of the parenting style that my husband and I carefully chose for our family.   Having my educated and beneficial life choice called “shameful” has made it time for me to speak up.

Our children sleep in bed with us.  Every single night, from the day they were born.  Sleep is the most beautiful thing I never could have imagined sharing with my children.  My husband and I are there to comfort our children every time they wake up. Whether it is because they feel afraid or are lonely.

Each time my husband or I stir in the middle of the night we look over to see our precious children sleeping peacefully right there with us.  When we climb into bed at night and turn off the lights, we know that everyone we love most in the world is right there with us, still connected, still physically touching, still comforting each other until morning comes.

For my husband and I to be the first things that my children see in the morning makes them giddily happy.  Before their eyes are open, they reach for us and are smiling and laughing.

And hearing “Good morning, Mommy” before my eyes are open, is blissful.  Right along with sharing a hug in those initial, hazy moments of waking.

That our children are the first things that my husband and I see and feel in the morning begins every single day as though it is the proverbial Christmas.  Every morning is better than the last and I have never been happier or more grateful in my life.

Additionally, we have never let our children “cry it out.”  When we hear our children wake during a nap or before we are in bed, we race up the stairs taking two at a time to reach them before they become upset.  Comforting them so quickly is a positive thing and they trust us and the world around them immensely.

While we are at it, my three year old still nurses.  He loves it, it comforts him, and it has seen us through the very difficult transition of adding a new member to our family.  A select few knew this about me before now, and I am embarrassed that I recently referred to it as “my dirty little secret.”  The beautiful act of my son nursing so happily is not dirty.  It is wonderful, connective, beneficial, and it should be commended.

It has also been recently suggested that this form of connected, or “attachment” parenting is anti-feminist because it ties a woman too strongly to her children. They become too dependent on her, which limits her potential and possibilities.    Oppressing any mother’s choice about child-rearing flies in the face of feminism.  To make a woman question if she can trust her own choices and intuition, is anti-feminist at its core.

Most of us make choices that we believe are in the best interest of our families, whatever they may be.  These choices matter. They form the kind of citizens our children will become.

Hearing the show “Supernanny” judge my strong and beneficial parenting choice so harshly and inaccurately is disturbing because it is wrong.  So I say:  “Shame on you, Supernanny”.  “And your little car too”.

If you practice a non-mainstream parenting choice, does this bother you too? 

Click here to read “Our Kids Sleep in Bed with Us:  FAQ’s about Attachment Parenting
Click here for safe co sleeping guidelines 
 

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86 Replies to “Our Children Share Our Bed: Shame on You “Super”nanny.”

  1. I didn’t see the Supernanny bit, but I was filled with similar rage over that Milwaukee anti-bedsharing campaigh that equated a baby sleeping with a parent with a baby sleeping with a knife. 🙁

    I’m with you: our 15mo has always slept with us, and not only have I never regretted this choice, I’ve also relished those incredibly tender nighttime moments with him.

    • Rhianna,

      Did you happen to see that video circulating that answered and debunked the Milwaukee campaign? It was excellent. It is on Our Muddy Boot’s You Tube channel and I will post it on our facebook page again tonight too. Watching it gave me a huge sense of relief. It is infuriating when stuff like that is falsely presented. I’m glad you shared this because it is a good time to start circulating that video again.

  2. YES! I recently left a local military wives group on Facebook because I was tired of being singled out and ganged up on for my parenting choices.

    Personally, I sort of want my own bed back lol BUT my kids will still sleep in the same room with us (my toddler sleeps at the foot of our bed on a twin mattress)

    I’ve lost friends over it. People send me news articles to “prove” that I’m wrong. My own parents think several of my choices are CRAZY and don’t mind telling me how “unsafe” I am.

    • Kasondra,I admire you for doing what you know is best for your family. It is so important. It is also really hard to hear (even from those closest to you) statements made our of ignorance. Not only are you not being supported, but you can’t even have a factual conversation. It can get lonely. Good for you for handling it. I am really glad that you are here 🙂

    • Pondering Jane, expressed my same sentiments beautifully! So, I second what she said. 🙂 I too, co-sleep and am currently nursing my almost 2 year old. It is what is agreed upon (right) for my family in this moment. 🙂

  3. I have been very lucky to feel mostly support by my family about my parenting choices. We have cloth diapered, co-slept, we haven’t vaccinated, and I’m still nursing my nearly 3 year old. For me, I think that the benefit of research and education in these kinds of important parenting topics is knowing that the people in my life who think of me as the weird mom don’t need to understand in order for it to work for us as a family. Parenting opens you up to judgement, it’s just a fact. Making great choices that work for your family will reward you, the reward of seeing those faces every morning is priceless.

    • Erin, so well said. That is an honest, accurate and direct assessment in my opinion. I recently changed my personal facebook timeline photo to one including the quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I’m not crazy about saying that anybody does not matter, but I do LOVE the idea of those who matter not minding, because it is so true. And those who “matter” tend to care a great deal about my children too, and are grateful for the people they are becoming.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Erin, please vaccinate your children. For their sakes, and for everyone else’s. Choosing to forgo this safe, time-tested health practice is NOT just a “parenting choice”; it’s reckless disregard of good science, and it endangers both your children and the community in which they live.

  4. Great article. I like how she speaks of her own experience without condemning the choice of other parents. I congratulate you “Muddy Boots” for finding your voice. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  5. What is it with some people who are against co-sleeping? The practices and choices that we make for our own children and families are exactly that, for our own children. What gives people the right to be so rude about something that is essentially a natural practice for humans (be it co-sleeping, ebf or whatever) Why exactly are they so defensive? unless deep down a teeny tiny little bit of them thinks we (the proponents of these dangerous or harmful’ practices) could actually be on to something good here, something, that perhaps they do not have the capacity to do for their own children. Makes me wonder.

    • It is for sure a tough thing to understand. And what really baffles me is how people who have so much influence are willing to promote such hurtful ideas. Years ago I said to my husband: “why don’t they do a show about the choices we make?”. “Jen, he said, the kids are too happy, it would never sell.” Sigh.

    • You realize that you are passing the same judgements on these “non-ap” parents right? You make the statement that, to paraphrase, deep down inside they do not have the capacity of being such dedicated parents to their own children. What a horrible thing to say.

      Geesh. I cosleep when mine are newborns, do a lot of baby wearing, but once my milk supply is well established and the kid is gaining weight well and eating solids during the day, you better believe that I’m going to see if they are receptive to some sleep training. My kids (I have 5) are happy, well adjusted, helpful, sometimes impossible little people. Same as I’m sure yours are.

      • Newsie,

        I actually believe that not only does everyone have the capacity for this parenting style, but that if we had our societal and cultural priorities straight- meaning more resources and support for new families, everyone would naturally practice this parenting style.

        • Actually, I have lots of support from nearby extended family, friends, neighbors, you name it. I live in a place where there is 1 year of paid parental leave. I chose my method of parenting (what I would describe as friendly, caring, authoritative and most of all, family and community centered) based on what I believe is best for my kids and the world that we live in, not because I was too lazy to live up to some ideal. My babies were sleep trained much the way that they were trained to do any task, chore or behavior, with patience love and inevitably sometimes tears, but never violence or coercion. I believe that we are living the ideal, and I’m sure that you’re living your ideal too. Different strokes. Peace.

          • I hear what you are saying Newsie, though I do not believe that tears are an inevitable part of learning, and that has not been my experience.

            May I ask where you live? How fortunate you are to live in such a community. The more reading I do the more I understand how advantaged children can be who live in an environment where society values their development and bond with their parents.

          • I live in Toronto. What a great conversation I believe we’ve had. I think that we can both agree that all that matters is raising responsible caring people who do more to help the earth than hurt it. Our paths are different but I’m sure that our children will arrive at that destination together.

  6. PS forgot to say that I can’t stand Supernanny, unlike most of my British peers who seem to think she is a hero!

  7. I DO commend you for nursing your three year old! I think it is the most wonderful, normal, natural, connective thing you can do with your toddler. I often wonder how other mothers can parent WITHOUT nursing! Today both my boys (2 year old twins) were having trouble with expressing some really big feelings. So we nursed. Their tears stopped, their breathing slowed, they made eye contact with me, I kissed the tops of their heads. It was so good for all three of us.

    And we cosleep 🙂 Rock on, Muddy Booted Mama!

    • Mama Mo- I am heading over to check out your blog after I write this. What a GREAT name!

      I have had similar experiences with each of my children. Big emotions are cleared up quickly when they are young and we can keep our day peaceful. It must be doubly helpful with twins!

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  9. Lovely to read a post about a family happy and proud of co-sleeping. We kind of do half and half. The boys both have their own beds, start of these after coming cuddled to sleep, then if they wander into our bed in the night they are always welcome. Sometimes they may start out in our bed too. I feel so very blessed to hold a tiny hand as I fall asleep. When we accepted that it was best for our family and stopped trying to do things deemed as the “right” way, we were all happier.

    In the UK, supernanny is very popular and before I had children I used to watch it and believe it was fantastic. Once my children arrived and I tried her methods, particularly the naughty step I hated it. It hurt me and hurt my son so now we practice the Unconditional style of parenting (see Alfie Kohn). It’s the harder option in that it takes more effort and creative thought but I think my children are happier for it. Co-sleeping is something I always feel I have to hide because from the moment they are born health professionals tell us it’s not safe or beneficial. I happen to disagree if the parents are responsible (ie not going to bed drunk or on drugs so they’d be unable to realise if they were suffocating their baby – a main worry of health professionals). But it’s a personal family choice as you say and should not be ridiculed in the media.

    Our sleep motto is whatever gets all of us the most happy sleep in our house goes. My husband has a sleep disorder and I have fibromyalgia so sleep is very very important for us (not that it isn’t for others but hope you get what I mean).

    I look forward to reading more from your blog now.

    • Natasha,

      I do get what you mean. When you have health issues that require more rest and sleep, it is certainly more important. Kudos to you and your husband for figuring out what would work for all of you- whether it is societally accepted or not. I think it is so important for us to share these things if we are able. It debunks the ridiculous and false myths that surround them.

  10. i love this post too. my very first child i followed the books. never co slept. admittedly she was very easy going baby she did sleep in our room next to our bed for 4 months til she outgrew her bassinet.
    our youngest is now 2 and she is in a big bed. every morning i wake up with her in that bed . i love it. meanwhile the other 2 are in bed with daddy lol. i keep telling dh i want a bigger bed so we can all jsut stay together.
    so many friends frown on me for this choice but they’ll be the ones frowning when their children leave home and no longer there for cuddles

  11. Our 2-year old still sleeps with us, he has from day one, and we are all happy with this arrangement. Baby #2 will be here early this fall…in just a few weeks! How would you suggest arranging bed sharing with a new born and toddler? We’ve come up with a few ideas but I’d love to hear input from others who have already been there! We don’t want to transition our toddler out of our bed, but we want to make sure we are protecting the new born from his toddler sleep positions!

  12. Not only is she anti co-sleeping and pro cry-it-out, she speaks positively about circumcision in her Confident Baby Care book. And if you read the reviews on Amazon, she doesn’t give the best breastfeeding advice either…

    Makes me wonder how someone without any children of her own becomes such an expert…

  13. As a foster carer working with children with massive attachment problems, I support everything you say and do. If people were more aware of the enormous psychological damage failiure to bond creates in later life I truly believe they would change attitudes.

    • Fenela,

      Thank you for sharing that. I suppose we just have to keep getting the information out there that combats what the media would have us believe. It is difficult for people to understand that everything they have ever been told is untrue. I know that first hand.

      Thank you so much for visiting and reminding us to keep our eyes open.

    • Fenela, I realize that your comment is nearly a year old, but I’d be really interested to know if you’ve been able to practice AP to any degree with foster children, what issues there may be with doing so, etc. I want to know these things in case I try to become a foster parent in a decade or so… 🙂

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  17. Great post. We’ve always done what worked for our family, and not what our current culture told us parenting should look like. We’ve cosleeping with all our kids, currently our fourth, who is a toddler. Snuggling up to go to sleep with my little one in the crook of my arm is one of the best parts of my day. Wouldn’t ever have had it any other way, and my husband and I have weathered a tremendous amount of criticism for our AP choices, but our nuclear family has been so blessed and deeply connected as a result.

    • “Our nuclear family has been so blessed and deeply connected as a result”. This is a tough thing to explain and understand. I feel the very same way. It is inspiring to hear of families who continue to make the choices they feel are best even when those closest to them “disagree”. Thank you for sharing those words with us, Angela. And thank you for being here.

  18. Great post! You literally took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you for so clearly articulating how I and so many parents feel as we navigate through the mainstream parenting culture.

    • Dina,

      This is an older post now and I can still remember clearly looking up from my computer with an open mouth when I heard the words come out of Joe Frost’s mouth. This message permeates our culture. I am glad that you enjoyed the post.

  19. Shame on you so called “super” nanny for not respecting a common and safe traditional practice that takes place in the MAJORITY of the world, where people would laugh at the idea of parents resorting to advice from someone without children themselves.

    • Keemchi,
      The more I read about her, the sadder I feel. I have watched several episodes since then and her objective seems to be to distance parents and children. It breaks my heart.

  20. I’m sure there are some really good aspects of attachment parenting. It does strike me though that your article is all about your own feelings about co sleeping. You say it’s good for your children and that there’s plenty of research supporting you. But you’re not writing why it’s good for your children. You’re not explaining anythin but your own feelings… This makes me wonder if you’re doing it for your own sake or for your kids sake. Why is it good for your children that you and your husband shields them from being upset? Is being upset a bad feeling? Or will rushing to your kids and shielding them from being upset actually make them fear getting upset? How are they able to handle getting upset when they grow up? Panic and fear because they have been shielded their whole childhood? Or trust and faith because they know what it means to be upset and they know how to handle being upset. I’m not writing this to provoke you. I just don’t know a lot about what this does to the children. And I’m curious to know.

    • Sisse,

      You have given us a wonderful opportunity to deconstruct the messages that society sends those of us who practice AP. I first want to let you know that this type of piece is called an opinion piece and is about my experience from my perspective. That was the intention of the piece.

      Let’s start at the beginning: you say “I’m sure there are some really good aspects of attachment parenting”. This suggests that there are really bad aspects of attachment parenting. Can you please provide evidence based information about those? We can begin our deconstruction there.

      • As i said ind my comment I don’t know much about AP and what it does to the children. I think I asked some really precise questions that I hoped to get an answer to. And I’m sorry you choose to be so defensive and not wanting to answer or even try. I never said there were really bad aspects about AP that’s your words and you putting words in my mouth. So no I don’t have any ‘evidence based information about those’. I only had a couple of questions.

        • Sissie,

          You did not say that you do not know much about AP. You used phrases like ‘shielding our children from being upset.’ You told me what I did not do in my writing technique and suggested that this level of commitment to our children was for the benefit of myself. None of those are questions. They are statements of disapproval. You would have to say a lot worse to make me feel defensive or provoke me, though. I want to use this opportunity for others who are reading who are at the beginning of their journey and are lonely and unsure.

          You did not ask any precise questions. If you want to start over by asking out of genuine curiosity, you are welcome to.

          I am going to say forthright that I do not believe you were curious. I believe that you were trying to say exactly what you said. That mentality permeates our culture.

          • ‘I just don’t know a lot about what this does to the children.’ was what I wrote and what I meant was ‘I don’t know much about AP and I don’t know much about what AP does to children’. I’m sorry for not being precise here.

            My questions were ‘Is being upset a bad feeling? Or will rushing to your kids and shielding them from being upset actually make them fear getting upset? How are they able to handle getting upset when they grow up? Panic and fear because they have been shielded their whole childhood? Or trust and faith because they know what it means to be upset and they know how to handle being upset.’ I didn’t add a questionmark after the last sentence but should have. I accept that you see my questions as statements of disapproval. What they were meant to be were critical and sceptic questions but also curious because I really don’t know the scientific evidence you know. And I thought maybe you could elaborate on that? Because I really am curious about AP. I do have some concerns and I hoped that you would be open for that and maybe help me understand. I’m glad you told me about your piece being your experience from your perspective though because that helped me read it in a new light. Thank you for that. I will look elsewhere to find research as well as experiences that other parents and children have with AP.

            Oh by the way my son sleeps in the same bed as my husband and myself and his own bed is in our bedroom even though he is almost 3 years old. But still I have concerns about the future! And it’s okay. To me it’s natural to be insecure and doubtful about the way I bring up my child as well as my own agendas. And I often find it useful because it makes me do a lot of research and soul searching and it makes me ask a lot of questions.

          • Sisse,

            Here is a page that will get you started with the benefits of Attachment Parenting. I will keep adding to this list, because there are so many more. AP is just a name for something that many parents (it sounds like you too) do intuitively. It fosters a sense of trust for the world and compassion for others. It allows babies and children to focus on things other than getting their basic needs met.

            This page questions everything, and I am filled with uncertainty- this is what this blog is about. This is a natural part of life and is exacerbated by the concern we feel for giving our children our best.

            Preciseness and lack of punctuation were not the issues in our communications. It seems that what you intended to be personal skepticism appeared as disapproval of an entire parenting style. One that receives criticism every minute of every day- from family, from friends, the media and our pediatricians. My role here is to deconstruct the ways in which this happens. Especially when it happens on a thread that offers rare support for those who practice AP.

  21. Hi there, I am so relieved to read this. It sounds exactly like what we’ve been doing with our 6-month-old and 2 year old. Everything (for them and us) feels safer, happier, more right when we co-sleep. It feels sometimes that parents who don’t co-sleep may be getting a deeper, smoother nights rest – but essentially losing out on building a closer bonding experience with their babies and toddlers. But I won’t judge someone elses parenting style, as I don’t like mine being judged either!

    And I totally hear you on taking two steps at a time up the stairs to get there before baby gets too awake or upset! You’re my kind of momma (and Dad!)

  22. On Sunday I sat mesmerized listening to Dr Gordon Neufeld’s talk on “Anxiety in Children and Youth”. I would very highly recommend the book he wrote with Dr. Gabor Mate called “Hold On to Your Kids” A look at the effect of AP on teens vs nonAP teens.

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  25. Although I’m reading this a little late, wanted to chime in with my support. as mom to 3 kids – now 21, 18 and 10, we’ve co-slept, cloth diapered, extended breastfed (6, 5, and 5 years nursing respectively) and homeschooled. the youngest still sleeps with us, or with an older sibling when the opportunity is there. how fondly i look back on the days when we all woke up in the same bed. i wouldn’t trade those times for all the gold in the world and i’d do it again in a heartbeat. you go, momma. and change the channel on super nanny. <3

  26. I was just wondering for all those that co-sleep, what are the ages of your children? Most of the posts I have read say the children are toddler age and was just wondering if anyone else co-sleeps with older kids?

    I have a 6 yr old (7 in July) who has slept with me since day 1 (I am a single mom) and shows no sign of wanting to change that anytime soon. I get lots of unwanted “advise” on how to “train” him to sleep on his own, but I feel that when he is ready he will tell me.

    A little background: My son also has had severe apnea since he was born and I always felt better knowing he was sleeping beside me where I could hear him if he started to gasp so I could help him adjust positions to sleep better (he is supposed to use a machine but due to SPD he can NOT tolerate the machine).

    • Hi there, we co-slept past six (with no medical or sleep issues). It worked for us. Our youngest, 10, still sleeps with someone – either us or a teen-aged sibling. With the oldest at 21 I can tell you it hasn’t hurt her or had any detrimental effects. We are it as normal. The same wayang adults with partners prefer to sleep with their partner, many kids would rather not sleep alone. I’ve a much older friend who was a single mom and once shared with me that she always slept with her young daughters until they were ready to sleep alone. Know that you’re not alone. 🙂

  27. whatever works for you and your family, that’s how it should be. No one has the right to criticize what you choose to do. BU they will as people are want to do. And really, does anyone listen or believe in this super nanny farce? it’s nothing more than McDonalds television. Good on you for doing what makes your family happy…:)

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  29. My daughter and I are all on our own, so we co-sleep. A) it really helps with nursing B) it helps with the post partum c) I just love baby snuggles.

    I also refuse to cry it out. The thought of her crying without comfort makes me sad. I know, as a single mom, there have been a few times she has had to cry for a few moments (mainly when I shower in the morning), but I became a pro at the 5 minute shower, so she is never alone for long.

    I plan on attachment parenting and never, ever spanking. I grew up with spanking, and I don’t think my daughter should behave because she fears me, but she should behave because she knows the difference between right and wrong and respects herself and her own choices.

  30. What I find interesting is how insecure the media has made most of us. I wish that parents just had the confidence to do what works best for the family unit without worrying that someone is going to judge them. So long as everyone is truly happy, does it really matter if the child sleeps in the same bed or not? Don’t forget that the insecure feelings you have about whether or not you are doing the right thing get transferred to your child! So whatever the decision is, just do it with confidence. And, remember it is temporary. My daughter is 4 and a half. She has always slept in our room either beside our bed when she was little and now that she is bigger, she sleeps in our bed. When she is ready, she will go into her own bed. I’ve never presented it as a problem. She likes to try out sleeping in her own bed, but I always tell her that it is fine if she wants to come back into the big bed. It is a total non-issue. However, I’m sure my relaxed attitude is directly related to the fact that my mother told me that I slept in my parent’s room as a child. My mother said she knew that when I was ready I would sleep on my own, and sure enough, I did! I wish more parents would just relax and trust that whatever decision about sleeping is fine–so long as it works. And feeling guilty about any part of it means that it really isn’t working.

  31. From My personal experience I can’t say too much (since I don’t have kids of my own yet); but I would like to say…I’ve worked with youth and young people for several years now and can easily see the difference between children who’s parents care about them and those that don’t. I would like to encourage all of you to keep it up, don’t ever stop caring enough for your kids to be willing to go out of your way or out of the norm for them! Well done!

    I’m born 4th in a family of 7 (2 brothers and 2 sisters). My parents were fantastic at raising us. My younger sister is now doing her matric year and all of us seem to be doing incredibly well. We were spanked, in love, to correct wrong behaviour. We also slept apart from our parents at a very young age. We were allowed to cry, but understood that there’s a point of it’s enough.

    Socially all 5 of us are doing well. Whether it being myself who’s an extrovert or one of my brothers who’s an introvert. We can all speak to audiences and have deeper relationships with individuals. I love my parents and have great respect for them, but I definitely am not afraid of them.

    Maybe what I would like to say, is to love your children, never discipline out of frustration and to be consistent with them. Children flourish where they know that they are loved and accepted, yet where there are boundaries.

  32. It might be counter-intuitive, but instant comfort to a crying child makes them strong adults who don’t have to take foolish risks to “prove” anything.

    • Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure that comforting a crying baby is counter-intuitive. I suspect that it is counter-cultural. At any rate, I agree that it makes them strong adults!

  33. Great post! I have a small circle of friends who are similar AP style parents – no vax, co-sleep, baby led weaning, etc. It is great to know that i’m not crazy, although I have lost a friend because of my parenting style. My approach to motherhood was to trust my gut, and my gut hasn’t been wrong so far! I did a bit of heavy reading before my daughter was born, but by and far, I think gut and instinct are our best assets.

  34. BRAVO!! I too believe that a family sleeping together is absolutely more natural and normal than each sleeping in their own room, for all the reasons you have mentioned. Kids have need to be closer to their parents than is deemed respectable by society, and I say society that dictates that this emotional and physical gap between parents and their kids are ‘healthy’ and necessary are the shameful ones!

  35. The link to safe co-sleeping isn’t working for me. Or is wrong or is it user error? 🙂

  36. My boy co-slept with me until he was 7. He was breast fed until then too. It was the most natural thing in the world. He is now at 12 well adjusted and above all confident in himself. He regularly goes off to adventure camps with children he has never met before, mixing well. I attachment parented and was told only too often as I jumped to meet his needs before he started crying that he would become clingy and insecure. I switched my ears OFF and the opposite has proven to be true. He is a delight and very independent (in a nice way).

  37. Here here!!! This is exactly how my hubby and I are raising our 21 month old still nursing daughter and when this new baby (13 weeks pg) is born (s)he will also be in bed with us and nursing to sleep. Hurrah for gentle, humane, kind, loving, attentive parenting.

  38. Love this, beautifully said! And you didn’t pass a second of judgement upon those who don’t parent the same way as you! If we could all be more like you in our parenting . . . doing what we feel is best for our family and allowing others to do the same.

    One question for you or others . . . How have you dealt with co-sleeping with step parents (specifically step-fathers). I have been in a serious relationship for quite some time and we are discussing marriage and living together. Often step fathers are looked upon far more critically than biological parents, and with three daughters (ages 10, 9, and 7 years) I am trying to figure out what I think is best for our changing family.

    Just so you understand their current sleeping arrangements better: Their biological Dad keeps them 6 nights a month and I’m very supportive of their relationship with him. He does not ever co-sleep (in fact they sleep in the basement at his house and he and step mom are on the second level). At my home, the kiddos currently usually prefer to sleep in their own beds in a shared bedroom right next to mine (we share a “Jack and Jill style bathroom”), but do regularly want to be in bed with me. Any sharing of thoughts or personal experiences in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    • You are asking if it’s okay to have your 7, 9 or 10 year old daughters sleep in bed with their stepfather? Am I understanding this correctly?

  39. I did not read the other comments. Partially because I commend you for writing this and I did not want to get upset at those that disagree with you. We have four kids. Our oldest is five and he sleeps in our bed every night. He used to sleep on his own but nightmares drew him to our bed around the age of 2. He has been with us ever since. He finds comfort in not being alone. I know there will come a time when he will no longer need us and will go back to his bed but now is not that time. They grow so fast and before he gets to an age where even talking to mom is no longer cool, I am going to cherish every minute of our snuggle times at night. Our three year old also sleeps in our room at night but on a pallet on the floor (his choice because he cannot stand people next to him when he sleeps but finds comfort in us being nearby). He comes in halfway through the night, every night. My two year old daughter also visits our room every night. I will never turn them down. Different things work for different people and this way works for us. I am thankful our kids find comfort in being close to us at night. Thank you for posting this!

  40. I disagree with allowing my baby sleep with me in the same bed because I have known people who accidentally killed their child in sleep, I do think it is dangerous, but not shameful. I would let my child sleep in the same room in his own space, but now is almost four and sleeps in his own bed and room, because he wont fall asleep but will get more energized when he tries to lay down with us. He does sleep with us now in bed when he is sick! I think every parent has their own ways of doing things that work for them since every kid is different in every way! 🙂

  41. Im a single father & I coe sleep with my child when he chooses to do so, which is almost every night. He starts off in his bed and between 3 and 5 in the morning comes and jumps in bed with me. I find nothing wrong with it. People have been doing it all through out history. I have read children will have troubles with things like knowing who to run to in times of trouble or being anti social and this could be true, but in the case of my child, he is very independent, well mannered, very friendly, well adjusted and most of all, knows who to run to when needed. When he wakes from a nape, I run to him so he knows Im there. It blows my mind when ever I see things like the nanny telling folks that their personal way of doing things is fact, but as the movie Babies shows, each child, each environment is different……

  42. We co-slept when my children were little. I jumped and took care of their needs immediately. They did cry it out. They learn safety and they learn trust. They also learn to have confidence. My children decided on their own when to go to sleeping in their own beds. I didn’t breast feed both past the 1st week or two because I was unable to. Had I had the choice I would have. My son is now 10 and will still come crawl in bed with me when Dad is on the road. We r close. My biggest issue is my kids are very strong willed and confident. My husband and I both are strong willed and confident. They will survive when others may falter. But it has built a very close bond between us.

  43. Yes, yes yes. And I didn’t plan to bed-share. I had read no books. But from day one our baby slept with us and still does. (She is two, and still nurses.) And it is right for all the reasons you listed and a million more. I read all the books after. While I nursed and my baby slept at my breast. I would have done it anyway but thank goodness for the books that tell you it’s perfectly fine and even preferable!

  44. I’d like to see if you have any research of this parenting style, and the children once they are older. Everybody that I’ve seen living this co-parenting/sleeping style has kids that are still 1-6ish years old. I’d like to see if a family that chose this style has grown kids, and what they are like. Thanks

    • My kids are 22, 19 and 11 they’re well adjusted young adults. We deal with the normal things others deal with. We also homeschooled part of the time (5 yrs the first, 11 years the second child and still going with the last one) oldest is beginning nursing school, middleis in community college. Both have held jobs since teens. Oldest is a nanny second one got her got her EMT license last spring. My sister also coslept and has one in her 30s. I believe ame kids are going to go through a rough time and have difficulties regardless.

      • Thank you, I appreciate you responding to me! And I’m glad it was somebody with a 22, 19 yr old, etc.. instead of like 12yrs old like it’s been in the past haha!!

        • Yes, I understand. I always felt like the attachment parenting principles/books/teachings dropped us somewhere around 10 yrs old and left us to find our way. But I suppose many parenting philosophies do that. We also extended breast fed and I don’t mean 12-18 mos. they’re not abnormal because they nursed as toddlers, either. We have our rough spots like anyone else but I feel like attachment parenting gives us a great foundation. I believe we have some inherent traits – some of us are extroverts and some introverts. I don’t think you can change that. Some of us are prone to being near sighted some to depression. I do believe attachment parenting helps you deal with those things in a solid manner. If that makes sense. All my best to you and yours in this new year.

    • Do you think for some reason that co sleeping would be detrimental to them as adults?? Granted my two oldest are only 11 and 9 but they’re incredibly independent and have no trouble sleeping on their own now…. I feel like cosleeping makes them more trusting and confident individuals.

  45. I happen to live in Milwaukee… I am a single mom who has co-slept with my now almost 8 month son since day one. He sleeps in his crib for naps, but when it’s nighttime, it’s snuggle time. I feel that the absence of my son’s father is all the better reason to comfort my child the way nature has done to their young forever! How is it so hard to understand that simple instinct? Just like how I intend to nurse until baby decides he’s done…. I just keep doing my thing and ignore the arrogance of those who feel they have to push their beliefs on to others… I don’t run around expressing my choices. I just continue to ndo what I feel is the best thing for my child!

  46. I know this is late but thank you for the article. My kids are 12, qr and 16 and when upset come in with mom and dad to sleep regardless of time. When my husband is deploys (lately most of the time) my son sleeps every night with me. Sometimes he sleeps on a seperate bed next to mine that I bring in and sometimes right in bed, whatever he wants. He takes it very hard when my husband is gone and he is the youngest. My daughters will also come in. I agree, do what is best for your family. Some say your kids won’t be independent and capable but mine have absolutely no problems what so ever.

  47. As a dad of 2 kids I give all new parents the same advice. Don’t be afraid to trust your own judgement. We also were highly advised (17 years ago) to not have our son in bed with us. It was horrible for him and my wife. She was so exhausted getting up to breastfeed all the time. Finally, after months of exhaustion, we said to heck with it. He’s coming in with us. It was a night and day change for everyone. My wife slept well. Our boy could be fed instantly. Everyone was happy. It did take a little common sense though. Both my wife and I are not very sound sleepers so sleeping with a little one is no problem. Plus if either of us even had a single alcoholic drink we wouldn’t sleep in the bed with our son just in case. It caused no problems when he was around 3 years old and we moved him into his own bed. He adjusted well within a few days. He has grown up to be a caring fantastic human being.

  48. Thank you! I realize this is an old post but I’m glad it’s out there for people to read. I’ve co slept 4 kids in the last 12 years and really had to fight the “norm” with my first two. So glad our warped society is at least somewhat coming back around to what humans have been doing for thousands of years. No other animal in their right mind would leave their infant unattended. I realize our kids generally aren’t in danger like in the wild but why would you leave a baby alone anyway?

  49. Sorry to comment. Late also, we have had kids in the bed for 17 yrs. My husband often traveled and scared kids found refuge with mama. Just recently a bed full of 3 boys and myself the older brother (15) walked in the room and said ” I miss this.” That was cool!

  50. I’m 60 now and my children are 26-38. They all slept with my husband and I, most leaving the family bed by age 5 or 6. All nursed for 2+ years some through the birth of the next sibling, the youngest until she was 4…

    All survived and appear unharmed by co-sleeping, they are college graduates, several with master’s degrees.

    My advice is do what works for you, my mom thought I was a bit nutty but you have to understand that others are coming from a different time and place and many have not educated themselves about the value of attachment parenting.

    Our bed is now a family bed for grandchildren when they visit. I’ll have to be honest and say that there were nights when I wanted a bed to myself and my husband probably had many more than I but time flies and soon they are out of the family bed and creating their own families.

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