New study reports co-sleeping not so great for moms

A new study by Project Siesta reports that co-sleeping isn’t so great for mothers. Apparently, co-sleeping moms are tired, and guess what? Exhausted moms don’t make ideal care-givers for babies. My first thought: Did we really need a study to tell us that how tired mothers are? Apparently, yes. Most moms report co-sleeping is a positive experience.

Most other studies have relied solely on moms’ recollections, but the additional data provided some surprising revelations.


Co-sleeping moms thought their babies were waking up more frequently than they were in fact, and reported more wakings than moms of babies who slept by themselves. But actigraph results showed the babies were not actually waking up: The co-sleeping moms appeared to be overly sensitive to nighttime movement by their babies, and were reacting to normal arousals or sounds that take place while the babies continued to sleep soundly.


These findings are significant because co-sleeping moms may believe they’re more sensitive to their child’s night wakings, though in reality they’re ignoring their own needs (and not actually helping baby).


Thank you Project Siesta for studying the well being of MOMS and linking back to what should be obvious: happier moms make happier babies. The study goes on to report co-sleeping moms are more depressed and anxious. This study makes me wonder: What if our culture did a 180 and valued mothers not for their devotion to self-sacrifice but their skills in self-care? And what if our culture understood that self-care for many women, just like for many men, includes a career and a paycheck? Not to mention, of course, that moms who get paychecks provide money to put food on the table, get their kids healthcare, education, and on and on, which is part of ” good mothering” just like it’s part of “good fathering.” Finally, isn’t it healthy for kids to see moms modeling self-care so when they grow up, they know how to do it too and expect their partners to do the same?



2 thoughts on “New study reports co-sleeping not so great for moms

  1. Hi Shana,

    i don’t think mom’s need to choose, sorry for being unclear. You sound like you are making great choices for yourself and your life, which is the point. I have 3 kids and did co-sleeping with each until they were 6 months old. I was totally sleepless, BUT now I love sleeping. I feel so grateful to get in my bed every night and sleep through the night. I go to bed at 9PM (and wake at 5AM.) I value and protect my sleep and without my experience co-sleeping, I may never have done that, so I guess that’s another benefit for me.


  2. In your commentary, I sense an implication that that you think mothers need to choose one or the other – a parenting style that includes cosleeping or self-care that includes paid work outside the home. As a self-defined ‘crunchy’ feminist mom who is the primary income earner in my household (with my husband as stay-at-home-dad), I think one can achieve, or at least strive as much as any other parent, for both. In fact, my crunchy parenting tendencies (co-sleeping and extended breadfeeding) evolved as a result of my trying to make life easier and more convenient for myself as a full-time working parent. As far as modeling goes, I think I am modeling for my sons a committment to meeting their physical and emotional needs and thus teaching them to be more nurturing men as they grow up, as well as demonstrating non-traditional gender roles which they will hopefully perceive as ‘normal’ because that is what they have grown up with.

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