The second most-dreaded question for new parents after "Is your baby sleeping?" (Answer: "Well, yes, for forty-five-minute stretches, but not during the night, and only after I conduct a two-hour-long routine including feeding, swaddling, singing, rocking, and an ancient tribal sleep dance") is "Where does he sleep?" That's because the response is usually just as complicated and the people who ask are often ready to pass judgment on it. At least, that's what more than 6,000 of you told us in our national survey about sleep habits, in which we set out to determine the differences between parents who put their babies down to sleep at night in a crib (for convenience's sake, we're calling them "crib-sleepers") and those who share a family bed with their children (co-sleepers). Here, an illuminating peek into the night lives of new families:
"Now, That's Crazy!"
When we were creating this survey, we imagined a giant pillow fight, with moms on one side of the bed yelling "Safety!" and a posse on the other shouting "Bonding!" And we did hear those battle cries: Nearly half of all crib-sleepers admitted that they think co-sleepers are "irresponsible" and that parents who share a family bed are "putting their baby's life at risk." Another 39 percent think that co-sleeping parents are spoiling their baby. "I know people who still have a three-year-old in bed with them because the kid won't sleep alone. Now, that's crazy!" exclaims Patty Queen, a mom of two in Marion, North Carolina. "Come on, people, you are only making it hard on the kids by keeping them in the bed with you." Another crib proponent, Esther Tune of Henderson, Nevada, considers co-sleeping to be "the easy option." "I never brought my kids into my bed -- even though it would have been easier. I believe they're safer in their own crib."