The Major Flaws in the Anti-Cosleeping Movement

If you enjoyed the STARTLING video of a woman sleeping with a doll that aims to make us all reconsider co-sleeping, then you’re really gonna love their next production which will be an EYE OPENING demonstration that will show men the danger of pants and sitting down. This video will contain time lapse footage of a man with a pair of specially designed boxer briefs that hold strategically placed chicken eggs that will demonstrate the amazing unseen damage that can be caused every day when men unthinkingly sit on chairs.

I’m just kidding. Sort of.

It takes a lot to annoy me, but every time that video pops up on my news feed the thing that pops into my head is this: These people have absolutely no clue what co-sleeping is. They have no clue what makes it dangerous and they have no clue what makes it safe.

When a drunk driver causes a fatal accident we don’t blame the practice of driving cars. But when a drunk parent sleeps with a baby, we blame cosleeping.

When a driver drives off the road because they are not following the practices of safe driving, we don’t blame the practice of driving cars. But when a baby dies in a situation where the parent did not have access to or did not follow safe cosleeping guidelines… We blame co-sleeping.

If a child inexplicably dies in a car when there was no accident and no reason for the child to have died, we don’t blame the car. We try to determine whether the child had a medical condition that caused the death. But when a child dies in the bed of an adult even if the adult has followed every single precaution and there is no evidence that the child suffocated? We blame co-sleeping. Even though SIDS happens in cribs as well.

There’s a huge problem with how the anti-cosleeping movement tries to address the topic of cosleeping.

They don’t understand it.

They don’t understand why parents are cosleeping.
They don’t understand what makes cosleeping safe.
They don’t understand what makes cosleeping dangerous.
They do not appear to have reviewed any of the real-baby and real-mother sleep studies done in places like the Mother Infant Sleep Laboratory of Notre Dame.

They just produce videos showing a lady sleeping with a doll.
They just make shocking images of infants sleeping with guns or with butcher’s knives.

They’re not out to educate. They’re out to scare people away from something that can be done safely. Because doing it safely requires a judgement call.

And they don’t trust us to make good judgement calls.

5 thoughts on “The Major Flaws in the Anti-Cosleeping Movement

  1. I love this! It is so true and it is also the case with SO many parenting (and especially mothering) practices. I think about this frequently and have wondered the extent to which this is society continuing to believe women are incompetent. I follow gentle parenting practices but “failed” after 6 traumatic months to breastfeed. Although I did seek out and receive good support and education, I just couldn’t produce milk, I feel that much of the breastfeeding “support” and “education” isn’t well suited to the stated intention, instead coming from a place of assumption that women, if left to their own devices without coercion will fail to make the best choice for their family because they are sloppy, lazy, selfish or otherwise incompetent. Co-sleeping fear mongering is the same, as is the push to sleep train, discipline a certain way etc. Rather than people educating mothers it seems like often everyone has an agenda, a thing they think we MUST do but clearly won’t unless we are controlled and coerced. I would love to see more GENUINE support and education for all practices involving the gentle, loving and responsible parenting. Women and children ARE competent and DO make good choices when the support structure is there for them to do so. I apologize for the rant, but the sentiment of this article resonated strongly with me this morning.

  2. Thanks so much for this, *that* video annoyed me too. I co-sleep not because i’m trying to prove a point, it just makes life easier – for all of us. I get more sleep, husband gets more sleep, baby gets more sleep. Win-win!

  3. Thank you for this…I proudly co-sleep with my twins. I love your blog! I’ve gotten so much encouragement from it and realize I’m a little bit of a rock star for managing to AP/gentle parent/WIO my two little ones.

  4. This is largely cultural. In many countries families don’t have a room for each member so cosleeping is the norm. In the UK and here, it’s not. I was told by a nurse practitioner in the UK to put up a screen between my 11-month old baby’s bed and mine since we only had a one bedroom flat. Sorry but I’m not going to hide from my child! Lately the study that found lower heart rates and lessened physical stress in kids 3 and under when sleeping on the same surface as their parent(s) really reinforced my decision to cosleep – even though I know to take every scientific study with a grain of salt!! In parenting, you follow your instincts and do what works for your family. Just as you said so well, Sarah!

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