my~hearts~light - I can see both sides to this issue.
Our DS is a 14 month old who I co sleep with and BF. Prior to DS's birth, I knew nothing about babies, NOTHING at all about breastfeeding and I had never heard of "co-sleeping". I have only 2 girlfriends with kids and they both breastfed their children and they put them in cribs in their own rooms. I thought, this was the only option! My friends' babies all seemed to come home from the hospital and sleep in 4 or 6 hour stretches - within weeks of being born! From what I understood, the moms' routine was simple: hear crying, go to baby, nurse in a rocking chair, put the baby back in crib, go back to sleep for another 4 or 6 hours. After a few weeks, these LUCKY moms children were sleeping through the night.
Ha ha. Then I come along assuming, ignorantly, that this will happen with me. My son had reflux and was, a more normal baby actually - wanted to be with mommy and woke constantly. My doctor discouraged co-sleeping and no one else I knew was doing it. After about 6 weeks, I was going crazy with getting 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night. My DH works nights and I was just thinking I was in some sort of hell. Then, I finally read some decent mothering books, used my instincts and took my son into the family bed. And, life got better.
DO I think it's safe for a newborn to be in a crib? I don't know - I guess it depends on the baby, the distance, the parents, etc. In my case it wasn't safe because I was sleep deprived beyond all measure of sanity. Do I think all parents are making a mistake by putting their baby in a crib? Certainly not. I do think that I wouldn't trade the experience of co-sleeping for anything. I also think, despite the presence of Mothering.com and like, there is still a lack of information from mainstream medical profession and parenting media regarding the advantages of co-sleeping. I felt very guilty when I first started co-sleeping with my son because I had repeatedly been told it was "wrong" and was going to cause problems down the road. In fact, my worry at the time was I was increasing the risk of SIDs! Fortunately, I read Meredith Smalls' Our Babies: Ourselves which helped me immensely. You may think, how could she not know? But, I didn't. I knew nothing about babies. I was so naive, so inexperienced - had never even changed a baby's diaper - what did I know? So, I don't think it's fair to judge people. Besides, visit any baby department in any retail store - what do they sell? Cribs, decorations for baby rooms, monitors, etc. This idea of sleeping in a separate room is a big marketing thing, too. Luckily, I thought that part was a "scam". Our crib was a hand-me-down (from people who I later learned co-slept with their children but didn't admit it until later!!).