The Issue That's Turning Mom Against Mom

No, not breastfeeding, but almost as explosive: cosleeping. Or, in non-mom terms, letting your kid share your bed.

Writing in Redbook, Susan Dominus described the divide thusly:

Cosleeping with babies is one of those hot-button issues that elicits sermonizing from otherwise reasonable parents on both sides of the debate. And no wonder, with the stakes so high: Bed-sharing puts babies at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics). Still, some attachment-parenting gurus insist it can be done safely, and that it's the only arrangement a loving parent could choose. Then there is the other family bed phenomenon - the more covert one, in which older children of 5 or 10 come, pitter-patter, into their parents' rooms in the middle of the night or start out sleeping there, kids who prefer Mom and Dad's bed to their own. Whether or not they deliberately make this sleep choice, parents often keep it a secret, concerned they'll be judged as overindulgent or codependent at best - or creepy and perverse at worst. Never mind what it suggests about their sex life.

Of course, kid-in-bed is nothing new (nursing, nightmares and a million other factors have precipitated it for eons), but as a formal practice — and an integral part of "attachment parenting — it's on the rise. You can buy a "cosleeping pillow." The Kardashians do it. The Jolie-Pitts have even talked about "family night" in their massive bed. And, naturally, parenting, in the age of the net, has never been so loaded or fraught with judgment. Anonymous judgment is one thing, but the issue can lead to fissures within families (and yes, apparently it's more often the moms who advocate for co-sleeping. Although not always.)

The larger issue, of course, is the culture of competitive parenting, in which "choosing your choices" doesn't seem to be a valid option. "Not going there," one friend wrote me ("~shudder~" was in there too.) As one blogger puts her ethos to the New York Post, "A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, this isn't right for our family, but it might be right for another family.' No. There's no gray area: There's a natural way to birth, there's a natural way to parent." Um, okay, but who decides what that is? And when everyone's sleep-deprived, (while probably in a better mood to fight online battles)
is anyone in prime decision-making mode?

Moms Are Raging Over The Latest Parenting Trend: Co-Sleeping [NY Post]
Co-Sleeping Or Sleep Training [Babble]
Which Side Of The Co-Sleeping Bed Do You Wake Up On? [Redbook]