You know when you become a new parent and think you have everything figured out, only to discover that nothing you had planned ever turns out the way intended? I was one of those people who said “I am having a home water birth with a midwife and a doula”, only to end up on bed rest not even in my third trimester and having Little One canon-ball her way into the world without any doctors in the room to deliver her! I was only 28 weeks pregnant when she decided she wanted to make her grand entrance into the world!
I was also one of those parents who said our child would never sleep in our bed.
Wow. The joke was on me.
I had done extensive research on co-sleeping. When you’re strict bed rest when pregnant, you have a lot of time to do research. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
I knew that I wanted our little one to be able to sleep independently of us being in bed with her. I also knew that for our own mental and physical health, Hubby and I needed our bed to ourselves. Hubby’s an extremely light sleeper, so any rustling, movement, noise just really disrupts his sleep.
I read articles that warned of the dangers of co-sleeping. Babies could get suffocated by pillows, blankets or even get rolled on by an exhausted parent. All valid points. I also know that in many cultures, babies sleep in their parents’ beds or with older siblings. That’s just the way it is.
When Little One was an infant, we had friends who co-slept with their babies. I said that wouldn’t be us. I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of the “family bed”. Though it worked for friends, I wasn’t sure it was for us. We also had friends and family who told us, “DO NOT let that baby sleep in your bed, let alone your room!” I wasn’t sure of that either.
For my own sanity, I didn’t want Little One sleeping in our bed. I wanted her close-by because after her spending the first 72 days of life in the NICU, I wanted to have her in the room with us. She slept in a crib in our room for her first nine months at home (until we moved her to her own room). I won’t lie. I did get a bit lazy at times and brought her to our bed in the middle of the night to nurse her. To be honest, I was sleep-deprived, exhausted, and nursing her in bed was so much easier.
New parents! Wow! We look so tired!
For her first two years she slept in her own room without any issues at all. She was a dream baby! It wasn’t until she was three years old that she started coming to our bed in the middle of the night. She’d scream and cry because her legs or feet were hurting (we could actually feel the muscles tighten into knots in her calves). She’d cry because she had a nightmare. There was always something and the witching hour would be anywhere between 1am and 3am.
If your little one crawls into your bed in the middle of the night (and stays there until morning), is that considered co-sleeping?
To this day, she continues to start off in her bed and a few times a week (okay, maybe four or five days out of seven) she’d end up in our bed in the middle of the night! Most of the time I’m asleep and too tired to even notice that she’s crept into our bed. Hubby, being a light sleeper, always notices. He hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in ages. I’ve somehow learned to sleep through it all. When she was an infant, it was the opposite. Every irregular breath she’d take or the slightest of sounds from her crib, I’d bolt out of bed to see what was going on. Now? I sleep like a bear.
When is it time to say no to co-sleeping?
My question is, when is enough enough? I’m going to be honest here and this is where I think I may get shot down by other parents. It’s okay. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. I’m actually savouring these moments with Little One. Though I may complain that I have no room in our bed with her occupying an entire queen-sized bed, or that my butt’s always hanging off the bed, I actually do love having her close. I’m happy she starts off in her own room and love it when she manages to sleep a full night in her own bed, but I’m also aware that these moments of her being so little are fleeting. In a few years, she might not want to cuddle or feel the need to sleep with one arm on Mom and one leg on Dad. Better yet, one arm tightly around Dad’s neck!
She does love her own bed and her own bedroom (it is a pretty awesome bedroom!), but she somehow manages to stumble into our bed around 1:00 to 3:00 in the morning at times. Is this an issue? I don’t know. I’m sure she won’t be doing this for much longer. Seriously. When she’s 6, 7, 8, or 9 years old, will she want to do that? Likely not. She’ll be asserting her independence and before we know it, she’ll be ready to flee the nest.
Do you co-sleep? Why or why not? How old was your child when he/she decided to stop crawling into mom and dad’s bed in the middle of the night?
Please be respectful of others when commenting. What works for one family may not work for another.