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?