The topic of co-sleeping has been a contentious parenting issue: Some swear by the method, while others fear it increases the risk of SIDS, the unexplained tragedy of healthy infants dying in their sleep.
Despite the stigma in the past, a recent poll has revealed a shift in sleep preferences, finding the majority of parents actually prefer to sleep with their children, even if it puts a strain on their relationships.
Celebrity parents such as Kourtney Kardashian, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard and Mayim Bialik heavily advocate for the method — claiming it helps the whole family get more sleep. And with more parents speaking out about why it works, more families are talking about why they prefer co-sleeping.
A survey from OnePoll has reflected an increase in popularity of co-sleeping, revealing 78% of parents are aware of the pros and cons of co-sleeping with their child, whether in the same room or bed.
The poll surveyed 2,000 parents of kids ages 1 to 10 years old, and 88% prefer co-sleeping with their kids because they said it makes them feel closer to them.
James McKenna, founder of the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, coined the phrase “breast sleeping” during his research to describe the safest way to co-sleep with children.
However, “most mothers, in today’s age, don’t think they’re going to bedshare at all, but, of course, all human infants are ‘contact seekers,’ as their survival depends on contact,” McKenna said.
“So they navigate closer and closer to their mothers, teaching them that bedsharing meets her needs,” he continued. This way, a mother “gets more sleep, as the infant is happier and more settled, which means the baby doesn’t cry.”
In fact, 62% of parents said they co-sleep so their families get more sleep, while another 62% said they do so because they want to make their kids feel safe and secure. Just over half, 52%, cited bonding with their infants as to why they share a bed.
McKenna also cited breast sleeping for prompting more infant wake-ups throughout the night, which could help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Most parents experienced ‘downsides’ to co-sleeping
Despite most parents agreeing there are many benefits to co-sleeping with their kids, it’s not a seamless shut-eye for all. A whopping 82% of parents admit it has strained their relationship with their significant other.
Only 6% said it hasn’t affected their relationships at all, yet three-quarters of those surveyed would still rather sleep with their children than their partner.
According to the poll, co-sleeping remains the most popular method to get children to sleep.
One-fifth of parents admitted they tried sleep-training their children but failed. Forty-three percent have successfully sleep-trained their kids, and 23% don’t plan to use any sleep-training method.