In this episode of The Lab, Daddy Troy fills in for Daddy Brad and joins Daddy Clay to talk about a controversial parenting topic, co-sleeping. Part of the attachment parenting movement, family co sleeping happens when the baby sleeps in the bed with mom and dad. The dads interviewed an expert who explained the controversy behind it. Why are some mothers and fathers for it, and others against it?
Daddy Clay: This week in The Lab we take the whole co-sleeping controversy and put it right to bed. Daddy Troy: And we don't even give it a glass of water first. Daddy Clay: Or read it a bed-time story. Nice that was good, no, that's good. Hey Daddy Troy! Get back to Gear Daddy. What the hell are you doing here? Daddy Troy: Where is Daddy Brad? Where is he? Daddy Clay: I don't know, I think he is off having a baby. So thanks a lot for sitting in. Daddy Troy: No problem. Daddy Clay: Today's episode of Lab is brought to you by BabyBjörn. You know what, I wonder, if the baby gets so relaxed in this BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Active that he falls asleep, is that co-sleeping? Daddy Troy: No, as I understand it, co-sleeping is the practice espoused by the Attachment Parenting movement, among others. That basically means having the baby in bed with you at night with mom and dad. Daddy Clay: It can actually be a sort of controversial. So we've gone to author and early parenting coach, Carrie Contey to help us sort this all out. Do you think it's a controversy, or just a difficult question that some parents face? Talk a little bit about that. Carrie Contey: I think it's more of a - it's not common in our culture. And that's why it has become somewhat controversial. But if you look outside of the U.S. in more than not --- most cultures just out of necessity don't have big houses, where there can be a bedroom for the child and a bedroom for the parents. And so it's not as unknown in other places, but here because we have so much space and because for the last generation or two, people really have had their children in the bedrooms and the parents have been sleeping in the other bedroom. It has resurfaced and it's controversial to the extent that it's not familiar. I think before babies arrive some people that are for it are doing it or thinking they want to do it because they want that closeness and there is the attachment parenting movement which really says, keep your babies close, meet their needs, it's easier to have them right in the bed and to be able to just nurse on demand, if that's what you are planning to do. The people that are making the choice not to do it or often coming from the perspective of they are used to the couple being in the bed and that sleep equals passion and sexuality. And that's where all that happens. So to add a little baby into the mix seems really unfamiliar. To be there when they are sleeping seems really safe. And also that there is bonding that happens during that time, but the cons can be the sense that -- yeah, the intimacy does change between the couple. And some families just don't sleep well altogether. Daddy Clay: Does the AAP come down on one side of this issue? Carrie Contey: I think they are saying, now I think their most reason is, yes, have the baby in the room but not in the bed. And so have a bassinet or a co-sleeper which is a little sidecar that hooks onto the bed, that's actually really good that the baby does thrive when they are closer to the parents, but not in the bed. And I guess the reasoning for that is the fear that the parents might roll over on the child. But really in my own professional work and just knowing lots and lots of families who choose to co-sleep. I've never seen that happen, and I think parents are a lot more aware of who's in the bed then we give them credit for. There is a gentleman by the name of James McKenna who is a researcher and he does a lot of research on sleep and co-sleeping. And what he has found is that, when the baby is that new, they can go so deep that sometimes their nervous systems forget to kind of rile them up and say, hey, come on out. And when they are in proximity to the mom or the dad, they are much more regulated. The parent is regulating their rhythms. And so when they go into that deep sleep the parent just naturally will sense that and they'll kind of bring them back up. And then the baby will come up and they will check in and then they'll more whist throughout the night. So in some ways, babies that sleep with their parents might wake up a little more, but what we are finding is, that might be an action evolutionary benefit. Daddy Clay: So when it comes to co-sleeping, I think there is certain number of - certain stereotypes out there, sort of break-down on gender alignment that moms would want to have co-sleeping and dads wouldn't. But in my family it's absolutely opposite. I would sort of into it, but my wife, no way. Kid is sick, throwing up, comes in there, no, you can have 30 seconds; she is going to stopwatch out. And you've got two minutes, and you're going back to bed, you can throw up in your own sheets. It's not because she is insensitive, it's because she really needs tons of sleep. Daddy Troy: Alright. Or she could hit the couch. Daddy Clay: Well yes, but no, because she can't sleep on the couch and if she doesn't get her nine hours of sleep, she is really grumpy. So for our family, the way Carrie Contey said, for our family, it didn't work. So no co-sleeping the kids right into -- Daddy Troy: Yeah, I think Carrie is right on it. It really depends on what works for your family, for our family, our kid to this day, even he is a six-year-older. First kid does not sleep well at all. And if he was in our bed, we are supposed to call him, he was training for Circus Olay or something. Daddy Clay: Her arguments are really compelling, that is a natural -- it seems like the right thing to do, just from an instinctual point of view. But if it doesn't work that lack of sleep can be really destructive for some people. So it doesn't work for your family. Well, I think that's all for our show this week, hey if you've got some ideas about co-sleeping, go to dadlabs.com, join the conversation there, it really is one of the best on the Internet. We also want to thank our sponsors BabyBjörn. If you decide to co-sleep and the baby happens to nod off in the babysitter balance, it doesn't mean you need to get in there with him. We'll see you next week here in The Lab.