The question "Should children sleep with parents?" is a very controversial one. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) as many as 24% of parents have their children sleep in their beds for at least part of the night. So, if you have a child who wanders into your bedroom at night, you're not alone. There are many advocates for sleep-sharing or co-sleeping which is defined as a parent regularly sharing a bed with their children and in many countries, the idea of the family bed is the norm.
There are some safety concerns that come with co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is against bed sharing, however, admits that there are behavioral and electrophysiologic studies that make a strong case that co-sleeping makes breast-feeding easier and enhances mom-baby bonding.
They also say epidemiologic studies show co-sleeping can be hazardous and can cause strangulation or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Many parents have rolled over on infants and smothered them. This is especially dangerous in early infancy when baby is little and mom and dad are exhausted. On the other hand, mothers who are breast feeding may find that one of the wonders of breast feeding is you don’t have to get out of bed to feed the baby and that the transition between wake and sleep is much less noticeable. There is also nothing quite as relaxing, nurturing and bonding as a sleeping infant lying on your chest.
Professionals and experts also think that the family bed (co-sleeping) could cause a great divide in marriages, especially if one parent isn’t excited or agreeing about the idea. Others feel that co-sleeping is not accepted and is a taboo and don't readily admit to sharing their bed with their children.
Should kids sleep in their parent’s bed? If it works for you in your home, and things run smoothly because you co-sleep with your child and you don’t feel resentful about it, then it is the right decision for you. If you are uncomfortable with it for any reason,then maybe it is not for your family.
With so many other issues to worry about in life and with these early years of childhood being so short, families should do what is right for them, in their own time and consider what's best for their own family structure. I have three boys and I miss the days of my oldest coming in to cuddle with us! I know we only have a few years left with the other two so we embrace it!