Kourtney Kardashian, a mom of three, recently published a blog on her website about what she referred to as “co-sleeping” and how it helped her and her kids get a more restful night of sleep. All of her children, including Reign, who is 3, Penelope, who is over 5, and Mason, who is 8, all co-slept in some form or fashion as she raised them, and she said it made the most sense for her family, but it might not make sense for everyone. Still, she extolled the benefits of “co-sleeping.” But here’s why her essay is not what it seems.
Bed Sharing vs. Co-Sleeping
Kourtney referred to the practice of having her kids sleep in her bed as co-sleeping, but it’s actually not co-sleeping. According to experts, that practice is actually called bed sharing. Co-sleeping is when a parent sleeps with their kid in the room — say, in a crib or bassinet by the bed — so that if their infant or child wakes up in the middle of the night, they can quickly soothe them back to sleep and fall back asleep quickly, as well. Bed-sharing is as simple as it sounds: it’s when a kid sleeps in the bed with their parents, not beside or near or in the same room. Co-sleeping has less risk associated with it as parents can’t roll over onto their baby or potentially harm them while sleeping; and all of the benefits — parents can still be close to their children during sleep training or to do night feedings.
Why This One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Work for Every Family
Kourtney is quick to admit that the arrangement that worked for her and her family isn’t going to work for everyone. For one, every single kid is different when it comes to co-sleeping — Kourtney herself noted that one of her kids, Reign, didn’t need any sleep-training or co-sleeping, whereas her other two kids took much longer to start sleeping in their own rooms. Additionally, bed sharing is a serious risk for parents who smoked during pregnancy or are smokers, because it can increase risks of SIDs. And the AAP recommends that while co-sleeping is great for babies and parents (babies that sleep with parents have more regular heartbeats and breathing patterns) that they stop short of bed sharing for infants.
Plus, some parents might just want space at night, especially if their kid is a pretty sound sleeper. Co-sleeping can put a point of contention in the marital bed, after all, making it harder for parents to feel like they can be intimate. And, it depends on how each kid sleeps. If you have a fussy kid who is up a lot at night, co-sleeping might make sense just so you can fall asleep faster after you’ve soothed or fed your baby. But you might not!
And while co-sleeping can be great, the transition from co-sleeping to a kid sleeping on their own can be brutal.
Why Most Experts Recommend Kids Get Used To Sleeping On Their Own ASAP
While co-sleeping is a totally valid way of going about sleep training, there is a point when it’s important for kids to sleep in their own beds and room. Children need to learn how to soothe themselves at night, and if they are co-sleeping or bed sharing, they don’t have the opportunity to gain those important skills. Kids also need to learn that parents have their own relationship with one another. A child’s self-esteem is greatly helped when they can self-soothe back to sleep after waking up or having a nightmare. Plus, since kids need about 12-14 hours of sleep as they grow older, the fewer disturbances they have at night, the better.