Co-sleeping: Are you making your child fat??? Danger, danger!

I read this article the other day about helping your baby/child sleep.  Apparently, ‘scientists’ have ‘found’ that co-sleeping with you child ‘robs’ them of the ability to ‘learn’ to ‘comfort themselves’ and in turn they’ll develop poor sleeping habits and in turn they’ll become obese because poor sleep habits short-circuit your body’s ability to know when to eat or not eat.  It goes on to say that

infants who slept fewer than 12 hours per day — including naps — were nearly twice as likely as their peers to be overweight by age 3, potentially laying the foundation for childhood obesity.

But then it also goes on to mention that

The risk for obesity was exacerbated by TV watching: 17% of children who slept fewer than 12 hours per night and watched two or more hours of television a day before age 2 were obese by age 3, compared with 9% of the study participants overall.

I know that creating healthy sleep habits is important for your baby and child and that as the child matures, different approaches are required but I do not consider co-sleeping a risk factor in obesity. Homo sapiens have been sleeping with their offspring since Day One.  I highly doubt that the current spate of obesity plaguing our nation is related to co-sleeping, which has only become popular again in the recent past decades and which is still popular elsewhere in the world.  Do you not think, PERHAPS, that the problem could more likely be WATCHING 2 OR MORE HOURS OF TV BEFORE AGE 2 (HI! What parent in their right mind would allow that???) and not toddling about as toddlers are SUPPOSED to do, hence the name???

This article could have come off a lot better by saying: don’t let your toddler watch TV, let them run around and be toddlers, change and adapt your nighttime parenting techniques as your baby changes and adapts, make sure you set a consistent bedtime and quiet/nap times.  Do what feels RIGHT and HEALTHY for your baby, even if it it not convenient for you. 

The kicker is that they wrap up the article with some no-brainer advice:

“Go to sleep at the same time every night. Remove things that will create a lot of stimulation before sleep — don’t put a TV in the child’s room. These are proven sleep hygiene techniques that will hopefully translate to more hours of sleep.”

Hopefully, most parents would know that TV in kid’s room = dumb idea.

The problem with this article is that some parents might read this and doubt their instinctive parenting skills or doubt whether they should feed their baby during the night (yes! you should, especially if you are breastfeeding! altho it does say that after age 2, kids really shouldn’t need to eat if they wake up at night…) or doubt whether they should sleep with their baby if they want to.  Parenting is hard enough; we don’t need advice that makes us doubt the instincts that we need.

Sleep well! 


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