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Very interesting, but not a solution to everything
on 4 September 2009
Like many other new mothers, I have ended up sharing a bed with my son (now 12 weeks) out of exhaustion in the middle of the night. And, like many other mothers, I find few things more wonderful than waking up next to him. It was fantastic to find a book which told me that it was beneficial to do this; I am at a loss as to why co-sleeping is quite so frowned upon, as it is a very natural thing to do.
That said, the book does go too far in places. Ideas such as the reason why the US and Russia are the most aggressive nations on earth (it's a little out-dated) is because it is in these countries where co-sleeping rates are lowest, demonstrate that the book's agenda is clear, and not quite as scientifically based as it appears. I expect that most members of the Taliban slept in their parents' beds as that's what happens in Central Asia - and look how they turned out!
I also think that there is far more to bringing up happy, confident children than co-sleeping, whereas both the book and other reviewers seem to think that co-sleeping guarantees this. I was left to cry as a baby, as was my husband, as that was what our mothers thought was best in the mid-1970s. However, we are both happy, secure and independent people, and apart from a couple of blips as teenages, always have been. We both have wonderful parents whose love was unending and unquestioned, and who always treated us fairly and with respect.
Finally, the book doesn't really deal with day time napping. My son sleeps brilliantly in a sling (Tinokis, an Isreaeli brand - fantastic) and I love love love carrying him around. However, I can't carry him all the time, as the book advocates. It's just not practical given our current lifestyles where, rightly or wrongly, we have so much else to deal with on a daily basis. It might be different if we were part of a jungle community somewhere and didn't have homes to run, and jobs away from the home to return to at some stage. And, twelve weeks in, I really do need a bit of time without my son strapped to me, but this book makes me feel that I might fail as a parent for encouraging my son to sleep on his own.
At the end of the day, the message that physical touch etc is a necessary thing for a new baby is a good one, and, when I can, I carry my son instead of putting him in his buggy. But, if you feel you can't do as the book suggests, then please remember that there are many other very important aspects of raising happy kids, and co-sleeping is not the be all and end all.