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We need to stop shaming moms for co-sleeping—and research shows why

At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to decide what’s best for our own children—and ourselves.

We need to stop shaming moms for co-sleeping—and research shows why

All mamas want to make the best decisions for their babies—but what those exact decisions are can vary widely between families and even within them. When one person feels really passionate about one parenting decision and another feels another way, it can lead to some tension. And, as a new study shows, it may also result in depression among moms who feel shamed.


Looking at the link between depression and co-sleeping habits, researchers found that moms who opted to co-sleep for longer period of time had higher rates of depression—not so much because of the sleeping arrangement itself, but because they felt judged by other parents.

“We definitely saw that the persistent co-sleepers—the moms that were still co-sleeping after six months—were the ones who seemed to get the most criticism," says co-author Douglas Teti, a professor of human development and family studies at Penn State. "Additionally, they also reported greater levels of worry about their baby's sleep, which makes sense when you're getting criticized about something that people are saying you shouldn't be doing, that raises self-doubt. That's not good for anyone."

For the study, researchers analyzed sleeping habits among 103 American mothers during the first year of their babies' lives. Defining co-sleeping as sharing a bedroom, they found 73% co-slept at at the one-month mark, 50% by three months and 25% at six months.

Among those who were sharing a bedroom at six months, the mothers reported feeling 76% more depressed than those who moved babies to separate rooms. They also felt 16% more criticized for their sleeping arrangement—even though the official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatricians is for babies to share their parents' bedroom for six to 12 months.

Despite the AAP guidelines, co-sleeping and especially bed-sharing are still divisive topics among parents. As Teti says, “In other parts of the world, co-sleeping is considered normal, while here in the U.S., it tends to be frowned upon."

What this study shows is that “frowning upon" other parents decisions has consequences all its own. Considering how rampant mom-shaming already is—with 61% of moms reporting feeling judged—we each need to do our part in supporting other parents.

For families who do decide to co-sleep for extended periods of time, Teti notes it's important that both parents are in agreement (and, no, co-sleeping doesn't “ruin" relationships) and that moms don't go into too much sleep debt, which can be another source of depression.

“Co-sleeping needs to work well for everyone, and that includes getting adequate sleep," Teti says. “To be the best parent you can be, you have to take care of yourself, and your child benefits as a result."

At the end of the day, we're all just trying to decide what's best for our own children—and ourselves.

Have some questions on finding what IS best for your family (and how to do it safely?) Here's the simplest way to get expert answers.

Tot Squad sleep consultation

Tot Squad sleep consultation

Whether you're looking to learn how to co-sleep safely or want to develop the tools and routines that will bring your family more sleep, Tot Squad will connect you with a sleep expert that can help. The best part? You can do it from anywhere, anytime. The 30-minute virtual consultation couldn't be easier—or more helpful.

$50

[This was originally published March 2018 and has been updated.]

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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