Baby and Beyond: Parents say they're not ashamed to share bed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Baby and Beyond: Parents say they're not ashamed to share bed with kids

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A hot button topic that has been a constant debate among parents. Do you or don't you let the kids climb into your bed.

For years parents were told that sharing the bed was a no-no.

A new study from a group of researchers from Columbia University suggests that the practice may not have any negative long term affects at all.

"We just wanted to keep our room as a safe haven for our children. And a place where they could feel comfortable coming. Whether it be with a bad dream or just when they're sick, or just to cuddle," mother Megan Whitaker said.

"With the work schedule I have, it's one of the few opportunities where I get to just spend some quiet time with the kids," Tobias Whitaker said.

Megan and Tobias Whitaker are part of a growing trend of parents who are no longer ashamed to admit they share their bed with their children.

5-year-old Sophia and 3-year-old Liam both started off in mom and dad's bed.

"Our youngest daughter is 15-months-old now, and she is currently co-sleeping with us," Megan said.

And while the Whitakers say they still enjoy having Margo in their room, the concept of bed sharing has always been a controversial one between parents and doctors in the united states.

"Many other counties have been doing this for years in Asia and Africa, and all of a sudden it's just hit, maybe in the last 20 years in part, slowly," parenting expert Michele Borba said.

"When it's bedtime I like to sleep in mom's room," said a child.

In general, the medical advice on bed sharing is inconsistent. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against bed sharing during infancy because it could contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS.

Another medical concern is that bed sharing could interfere with healthy sleep habits.

And then there are the needs of mom and dad, whose own sleep and intimacy could be in jeopardy.

"How are you doing in the s-e-x category?" said Borba. "Sometimes that could be a stumbler with that little guy sleeping right between ya."

But there is good news for parents who choose to share their bed like the Whitakers. Researchers at Columbia Teacher's College found no long-term affects from bed sharing on cognitive outcome or behavioral problems in the children of nearly 1,000 families studied.

"If ya think this through, make good choices, based on what you think would work four your family and stick to it, because kids, above all else, work best with routines," Borba said.

"Really the number one reason why we continue doing this is the bonding that our whole family really has experienced," Megan Whitaker said.

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