In a previous post, Personality Inheritance, I talked about the widely debated nurture vs. nature theory, so when I stumbled across this great article on the Psychology Today website about evolution and co-sleeping I wanted to share it with you. I believe that while certain aspects of our behaviour are learned and originate from the environmental factors of our upbringing, others stem from a survival instinct. This Psychology Today article claims that some of these survival instincts date back to 10,000 years ago when we were all hunter-gatherers and when it was a matter of survival to co-sleep and the idea of sleeping alone was truly terrifying to babies and young children.

There must be some reason this particular instinct has persevered despite the diminished danger of youngsters being attacked by predatory animals in the night. This begs the question: should we ignore our instincts because times have changed?

Whether you agree or not, this is one interesting read. Click here to read the article.

As for me, I know I did the right thing for our family co-sleeping with Meebs. And when we were ready she transitioned into her crib with little to no protesting. There was some “sleep training” involved but she adapted quickly, as soon as trust and security were established. Meebs is now 18 months and sleeping through the night. If I’m the one who puts her to bed then I still nurse and rock her until drowsy and then place her in her crib. Every now and then she seems to need a few extra minutes of cuddles, so if she cries and clings to me putting her into her crib, back to the rocking chair we go for a few minutes. If others put her to bed, she often just lies down and goes to sleep. If she does protest, it’s a whiney toddler whimper and not the heart-wrenching “please save me” weeping of a distressed baby.

After a rollercoaster of emotions in our first year as parents and trying a number of different sleep arrangements and “training plans”, I’ve come to the realization that whatever your situation, sleep and bedtime should be relaxing and an enjoyable, loving experience, not a screaming match ending in tears and guilt. I believe Meebs sleeps through the night because she’s ready and doesn’t need to be nursed or cuddled in the night. If she does cry or call for us we always check on her and reassure her that we’re still here. This happens very infrequently now. Meebs still comes into bed with us in the morning—mainly because she gets up at 5am and sometimes mommy wants to sleep until 7! As long as she’s small enough to fit, Meebs will always be welcome to cuddle in our bed.