When David Brinkley decided to share a story about his wife on the widely-read Facebook page Love What Matters, his intention was probably two-fold. First, to encourage fathers to respect and care for their wives, and second, to communicate – in a very public way – how much he appreciates his wife.
What he likely didn’t expect, however, was for the post to take on a life of its own, igniting an impassioned debate about co-sleeping.
On Sunday, Brinkley wrote on the page that his wife is a “best friend kind of woman” who spends “hours upon hours” of time on the phone chatting to her friends.
“Recently she was talking to a friend and they were talking about this thing called ‘co-sleeping’ and I heard the other person ask ‘doesn’t your husband hate that? My husband would never let me do that.’ This blew my mind and has bothered me for days. So I just decided to come out as a man and set a few things straight,” he began.
Going on to add that he would “never degrade or disregard anything she feels like doing for [the] children”, Brinkley argued men should appreciate and respect the decisions their wives make.
“Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe? The thing is that our wives only experience these little seasons in motherhood for a short time. They carry our babies, they birth them, they nurture them and maybe while they are little they let them crawl into our beds and snuggle,” he wrote.
But despite intending to encourage husbands to support co-sleeping, a debate of a different kind arose, with many health professionals voicing their concerns about the reckless way co-sleeping was championed in the post.
“Love that you love your kids and your wife, and clearly you do. With that said, I work with CPS in the fatality unit and it is extremely dangerous to sleep with babies age one year and younger. Practice safe sleep,” one wrote.
“This is dangerous for the baby. Babies should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib,” another added.
One more told a more morbid tale of the ultimate risk parents take when co-sleeping with young children.
“Not until you work in a pediatric emergency department and see the devastation of a family whose baby has died while ‘snuggling’ can you really understand how irresponsible and reckless this is. I’ve seen it happen countless times, done CPR on countless babies, and stood with shattered families who said they don’t understand how it happened. Babies die everyday because of co-sleeping,” they wrote.
However, debate wasn’t without vocal support for co-sleeping, with many telling the tales of their own experiences sleeping beside their children.
“Co-sleeping happened for thousands of years until we became a ‘civilised’ society and put the kids at the other end of the house! It’s been proven that it calms the kids and the mothers and encourages somewhat deeper sleep. Only when done with safety in mind, of course,” one wrote.
“My oldest came into our bed every night for seven years, my youngest woke me one morning and actually saved our lives as gas was all through the house! Our kids grow up too fast and those days are gone forever…it’s precious savour it,” another added.
Most, however, didn’t have blanket criticisms of co-sleeping entirely, but just the practice of co-sleeping with minors, like Brinkley’s image depicted.
What are you thoughts on co-sleeping with children?
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