Co-sleeping, something I never even knew existed. I had heard of sleeping with your child but never knew there was an actual term for it. This, of course was before I became a mom. But, whatever you want to call it – I wasn’t for it. I know I said many a times, “I am not sleeping with my child”, “my child will not be sleeping with me”. Once again, this was before I became a mama. Even after becoming a mom I said these things, because we didn’t start out as co-sleepers. Keep on reading to find out why I was against it and why I now love it.
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In this article I mention the Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Sleeper. Since using it, Fisher Price issued a recall. You can find information about it here!
So, what exactly is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping simply means sleeping in the same bed as your baby, and it’s thought roughly half of parents do it. Some families make a conscious decision to snuggle up with their babies. Others bring baby into bed in a sleep-deprived haze, because it seems the only way they will ever settle. And, some exhausted parents co-sleep by accident when they doze off after a feed. If you end up co-sleeping, it’s important to understand the risks and make sure you’re doing it safely.
My husband and I definitely did not plan to co-sleep. It just wasn’t something we wanted to do. You see, my husband is a respiratory therapist…in the NICU and PICU. He is well aware of the horror stories you hear – SIDS, babies suffocating from sleeping with their parents or falling out of the bed – because he sees them in real life. So, of course we were both more scared than anything to ever try sleeping with our child.
Not only did I think sleeping with my baby was scary or could end in disaster, but bedtime was also my time with my husband.
I didn’t want to lose that time. Becoming a parent is hard and you definitely don’t get the one on one time with your significant other like you did before parenthood. I wanted to keep that time for just us.
Myth #1: Co-Sleeping is Always Dangerous
If it involves sharing the same bed as baby, most doctors say, “don’t do it”, since it can increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But, you can practice safe co-sleeping if you put baby to sleep in a separate bassinet next to your bed – as opposed to in your bed. See, a happy medium!
Our little guy wasn’t ever crazy about swaddling, but he loved his Rock-N-Play. He slept in it like a charm (right beside me) and at six weeks, he was sleeping through the night! Naturally, after a 5-6 hour stretch of solid sleep, I woke up abruptly to make sure he was still breathing and he was.
It wasn’t much longer before our son was starting to out grow his Rock-N-Play.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little upset about that. What was I going to do?? He slept so soundly in his Rock-N-Play and mama was rested! Plus, I wasn’t ready to move him to his own room just yet. And, he was not going to start sleeping with us.
Truth #1: Co-Sleeping is More Common Than You Think
Think none of your friends are doing it? Think again. A study from 2013 found that bed-sharing nearly doubled between 1993 and 2010 – from 6 percent of parents in 1993 to 13.5 percent in 2010. This means that at least one parent in your circle is probably sharing their bed with baby.
Oh the pack-n-play, another one of those must haves for parents! This is where he slept next, still in our room, still by my side. And guess what, it worked! It took a few nights for him to get fully adjusted to it, but he was still sleeping through the night. Then, he started to roll over on his own! This little guy was meeting milestones and growing up right before my eyes.
I knew the time to move him to his own room was fast approaching.
Let me tell you, my home has never felt as big as it did when I decided it was time to move my son to his own room. You see, my husband works nights. So, a lot of times i’m solo parenting through the night. That’s another reason why I wasn’t quite ready to move my little guy to his own room, but I knew he was ready. And, it happened. The very first night he slept in his very own crib for FIVE hours straight. I couldn’t believe it! Being the mom I am, I slept in the guest room (which is on the same side of the house as his) for the first few nights. Each night his sleep got longer and longer. I thought, “wow, this is awesome“!
Myth #2: A Tragedy Won’t Happen to You
Even if you’re going to doze off for just a few minutes, even if you remove your fluffy duvet to “make it a safe” co-sleeping bed, even if you only do it this one time, the truth is, it doesn’t matter. All it takes is a single opportunity for tragedy to strike. Co-sleeping statistics suggest the majority of sleep-related fatalities in babies can be chalked up to bed-sharing: A 2014 study found that 69 percent of babies were bed sharing at the time of their death.
Then, the 8 month mark approached.
Our little guy had gotten sick and all of a sudden, some sort of regression stage set in. He didn’t want to be rocked anymore. Of course, inside this made me sad. That had always been one of the times we bonded and I loved rocking him and singing him to sleep.
Back to regression…he didn’t want to go in his crib anymore either. Night after night for at least two weeks, my husband (when he was home) and I would wake up to him crying or screaming. We tried every method you could think of. The cry it out method, the fading method, the pick up put down method. Seriously, who comes up with all of these? There’s more! And, we tried them too. Googling sleep methods all hours of the night. Until, we were absolutely exhausted – again – like newborn parents.
But, guess which method worked? You guessed it: Co-sleeping.
I felt like a failure. I felt that everything I had done or my husband had done to sleep train our son into his own bed was for nothing. We had back tracked and I was still against it. I was disappointed to say the least, but we were sleeping through the night again.
I’m talking 7-8 hours of solid sleep. My little guy was back in my room again, right beside me – and I was loving it. And, I still am. This is not to say that a jab to the stomach or a kick in the back during the night doesn’t make me want to move him to his crib, but it doesn’t compare to all the cuddles. And, if you ask my husband, he likes having him there too!
Truth #2: Co-Sleeping Shouldn’t Kill The Romance Between You And Your Partner
Sleep deprivation will probably leave you wanting more sleep than sex, but co-sleeping with baby in your room shouldn’t put a damper on the romance. “Where you decide to let your baby sleep isn’t the sole reason for the dissolution of your marriage or the reason you and your partner are no longer intimate,” says James McKenna, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, emphasizing there are always bigger issues at play. For some parents, room sharing with baby requires them to find other ways and moments to be romantic and actually helps spice things up!
I know my little guy won’t always sleep with us. I know one day he’ll want to be in his own bed because, “i’m a big boy now mommy”, so i’m enjoying all the cuddles I can get.
Will I co-sleep with the next baby? I’m not sure. We’ll cross that bridge when it gets here and hey, that’ll just be something else for me to write about!
Are you a mom against co-sleeping or all for it? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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