Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The CoSleeping Closet

IN the following post I will pretty much beg forgiveness for co-sleeping, condemn co-sleeping, and ruthlessly defend co-sleeping all at once. I have mixed feelings about it. Kind of like breastfeeding. I'm a pretty dynamic person all 'loving-things-and-hating-things' at the same time.

Confession Time.

I'm sleeping with another man.

Two men actually.

Two men and a dog.

But the dog is on the floor.

The two men are in the bed. My bed. Our bed. Our (GASP!) family bed.

I think I have to admit it and call a spade a spade. We co-sleep. We are a co-sleeping family. I rarely admit it in public. I generally just leave it with, "he sleeps in our room," and move on. Change the subject. Don't ask, don't tell is alive and well here.

I didn't plan it this way. I would have never, NEVER, ever even come close to considering putting a baby in our bed in my former life. Ever. Oh my GAH I would be a rolling-over-on-him-baby-killah. I mean don't you KNOW that all babies who sleep with thier parents are smushed under a roll of flab. And GAH. Those that aren't smothered by flab grow up dysfunctional and are awake all the time because the never, NEVER, ever will learn to soothe themselves to sleep.

Whatever. You know you've thought it. You're probably contemplating leaving me some comment about how I'm depriving my child of the self-esteem and self-confidence he will gain from being independent. You would love for me to know that my child will someday be teased by preschoolers that he slept with his Mommy at 7-months-old. What a wienie! What a wimp.

I set out with the best intentions. Bedside co-sleeper. Crib in nursery. Standard newborn fare. I was going to start putting him in the crib at night when he was 4 weeks old. Then when he was 6 weeks old. Then when he was 8 weeks old. Then, well, you get it. By 12 weeks he was too small for the bedside co-sleeper. Darn giant. He spent half the night in the bed anyway, so I decided to just keep that up here and there. I bought a bed rail for our bed. But I was totally going to move him to the crib by 4 months.


Totally.

But then we decided we wanted to keep him in our room. Because my husband was all, 'you don't really intend to leave our itty bitty baby in a big room a-l-o-n-e.?' And I was all, 'yeah, totally.' And he was all, 'hell no.' So, hence, the 'family room'. But totally not in our bed. Because GAH. Safety first. We bought a SECOND crib. For our room. Because we obviously still wanted him to nap in his own room. Plus it was just too much trouble to take apart.

He slept in that crib. Once. For two hours. And then he was up. And up. And up. And I was up. And up. And up. And then I decided I would totally start putting him in the crib when he started sleeping in at least 3 hour increments.

And that is just starting to happen now.
When people used to tell me they co-slept I got a little snotty with them. I'm totally judgemental, after all. I admit it. They must be weak. They are letting their child run their life. They must be total hippie granola people and/or live somewhere on the West coast. Or in another country. Because NORMAL people DO NOT SLEEP WITH THEIR BABIES unless they have no brains/teeth/common sense.

I had never even HEARD of attachment parenting until Gabriel was born. It wasn't a theory I started out with. It wasn't a method of parenting that I HAD to use because it was the only right way of doing things. I didn't research SEARS, FERBER, GERBER or FLYBYTHESEATOFYOURPANTS theories ahead of time and map all this out.

I'm just trying to survive. Because when you wake up at 5am to go to work, and you're breast feeding, and your baby wakes up every 1-2 hours due to _________ (insert word of choice here), you just have to sleep! Sleeeeeeep! And since Gabriel always ended up in the bed anyway, this is just the way it is.

But the sad thing is, the reallyreallyreally sad thing. Is that a lot of people do it. And they don't tell anyone they do it because of (see all of the above). Even my pediatrician basically said, 'if you're doing it don't tell me you're doing it because then I'll have to tell you not to do it, blah blah blah.' And so, again, the sad thing is, no one ever learns that they are actually NORMAL if their baby sleeps with them. AND they never learn how to co-sleep SAFELY.

And don't quote yer bullshite studies at me. The 'if you put yer baby in yer bed you'll roll over and kill yer baby and he will surely die' study lumped EVERYBODY together. So a 'safely co-sleeping' mother was put in the same category with the 'drug abusing drunk mother' and the 'let me lay my baby face-down on this waterbed' mother and the 'let me cover my baby up with this down comforter' mother. And once even one study is published that says 'if you put yer baby in the bed he'll die there', it is OBVIOUS that it will be forbidden.

And what about all those babies that die in cribs?

So the trade off is, no one learns the basic safety things and they make dumb mistakes.

I recently saw a picture on Facebook of a newborn baby. The baby was wearing a cap, a hoodie shirt, had a comforter underneath him. Was swaddled. And had a comforter on top of him. BUT he was in a crib. NOT SAFE.

Gabriel sleeps in our king-sized bed. In his winter pajamas. Between me and a rail, and now that he's older between me and his Daddy (because my husband is oblivious to his presence). With no blankets on top of him. With me wearing 18 layers of clothes to keep warm--Covers pulled up to my waist. And he can't fart without me waking up to check on him. PRETTY SAFE.
And when he's not teething, ear-infected, respiratory-infected, etc. He does sleep really well. And by really well I mean going to bed around 8pm and waking up at 1 and 4(ish) for boobs. That is really well for us.

And I love it. Reading a book (with my handy book-light) at night while he sleeps quietly next to me. Snuggling him. Kissing his head. Easily breastfeeding him in the early morning hours. Waking up to someone smiling at you. Chatting away. Rubbing your face. Laughing. Watching him move his hands back and forth as if they are the most fascinating things in the world. It is so so priceless.

And I hate it. Going to bed at 8pm on nights when he's inconsolable without me there. Having no evening free time. Waking up 50 times a night when he's fussy. Getting my nipple bitten/grabbed/squeezed/head-butted at 2am. Waking up to someone digging their nails into my bottom lip.

So like pretty much everything in my life, I love it and I hate it.

And anyway. We totally decided to move him into the crib when he started crawling. Which he did this week. But by move him to his crib I just mean until he wakes up in the middle of the night--because I know I'll continue to bring him in to bed for cuddles for at least awhile longer.

Totally.

Totally.

And you? Where are you in the CoSleeping Conundrum?

And if you, like me, were a reluctant cosleeper...I would highly recommend these books so that you don't feel like some closet freak.

Nursing Mother, Working Mother.....by Gale Pryor
The No Cry Sleep Solution....by Elizabeth Pantley
And of course....pretty much anything by Dr. Sears.

If you are cosleeping because you made a choice to do so...as opposed to feeling it was the only option for survival....you pretty much rock.

If you have a baby that slept in a crib from the very beginning...that is awesome and I'm slightly jealous...but only slightly.

If you did cry it out and it worked...you have bigger balls than me and my husband combined.

51 conceptions:

Anonymous said...

I did a ton of research ahead of time and decided that I loved the sound of co-sleeping, but wanted to go for the bedside co-sleeper because it felt like a slightly more controlled environment (and would be easier to train the cats not to use, since they have already laid claim to every inch of our marital bed).

The main reason I wanted to do co-sleeping? Because after infertility and waiting for the axe to drop all pregnancy, I knew I was going to be a nervous wreck over SIDS, and the idea of being able to reach out and touch him at any time during the night sounded like bliss. Later on, I loved the fact that I could do his night feedings without having to leave my bed.

However all my ardent love for co-sleeping was finally overwhelmed by his habit of grunting all night and my inability to sleep through it. So we first converted the sleeper to a bassinet and put him the other side of the room and then, at six months, put him in his own room.

What I will say is that my son is a brilliant sleeper who rarely gives us problems about bedtime and slept through the night from three months on. I suspect that's just who he is rather than any magical parenting style, but I can't see that the co-sleeping hurt!

JB said...

So go ahead and hate on me -- we started crib sleeping in his own room (next door to ours, with a monitor I keep at around 80 decibels next to my ear) since 4 weeks. And we are just now hitting a stride with bedtime at 8, waking around 1-2 and again around 3-4, then up by 6-7. On really lucky nights, I only get up once (since our first cold arrived 2 weeks ago, I've kissed that goodbye). But I will admit freely, I am jealous of cosleeping mamas. I don't have the balls to do it. Too scared of flattening the baby, or him rolling under the covers or on the floor somehow. I've dabbled in it a few times, on weekends when my husband lets me sleep in until the little monkey starts howling for food, and I nurse him in bed. I let him fall asleep after, making a fantastic pile of drool on my side of the bed, and nap with him. It's so awesome. So at least I get to do it as a special treat. And as for cry it out -- I have even lesser balls to do that. I don't want to make him cry that hard for that long, like, ever. We'll see. If our sleep stays where it is and/or improves, I see no need to do any crying it out. I figure he'll cut out nighttime feeding when he's ready. (And I sort of think, deep down, I don't actually mind getting up at night since going back to work and sending him to daycare...I only get to nurse him once in the morning and once in the evening, so those nighttime feedings add a little extra alone time. We'll see how I feel about that a few months from now.)

Celia said...

We coslept for months out of desperation. We did NOT want Peter Pants in our bed. I did enjoy having him there, but none of us slept well. But some sleep was better than the NONE we were getting. We were crazy from exhaustion. I did come to enjoy it, and oddly even though I knew his crib was safer- it felt safer to have him next to me. Waking up with him was awesome and adorable. A smiling baby that wakes up nursing or cuddling is way better than a baby crying for you to come get him.

I really hated going to bed at 8 30.

Ella said...

*raises hand*

We're co-sleepers, too. Didn't plan on it. Kinda wish we would have, because then we would have probably gone out and bought a king-sized bed!

At 5 months she started going to bed around 7:00-7:30 and sleeping in her co-sleeper. We'd go to bed at our normal 10:00 and I'd bring her into bed when she'd wake up. At 8 months we started putting her down in her crib when she'd go to bed (still about 7pm) where she'd stay until her middle-of-the-night wake-up, when I'd bring her into our bed for the rest of the night when the nursing, boob scratching and nip.ple pinching/grabbing you described would commence ;) At almost 14 months, I don't see an end to this anytime soon, and we're okay with that. We know it is all so temporary... they are only little once!

And you're right about the safe vs. unsafe co-sleeping. It drives me crazy when people talk about how "deadly" co-sleeping is. There's new research coming out that's finding that safe co-sleeping can in fact be more safe than babies sleeping alone in cribs. I've been a fan of Dr. Sear's and attachment parenting ever since E was born and we started... um... attachment parenting! I guess we didn't plan on it, but it's just what came natural to us. I realized soon after she was born that there was a name for what we were doing.

I've enjoyed your recent posts (and all your posts!) - thanks for being so honest about a subject that so many of us hide from.

Anonymous said...

I have a little man named Gabriel too, he is 9 mo today. An we co sleep. We didn't plan on it, I also co slept with our older two too and thought not this one , but he had other plans! :) I think he maybe has slept in his crib for a total of 6-7 hours. Also I hear you on the cry it out method, doesn't work for me either!
Love all your posts.

mngardener said...

We did all the same things you did...bought the crib and the co-sleeper and then the lil man arrived. He was born late in the day on May 15th and was so tired from the long journey that the first night he slept in the bassinet and I had to wake him every three hours to feed (something I am sure that he has never forgotten as he now wakes ME every three hours to feed!!). The next night we chose to stay at the hospital again. Big mistake! He wasn't so tired and wanted to be with me....go figure...he'd only spent the last nine months with me...but this was a huge NO, NO with the nurses (not to mention the huge sign right in front of the bed that listed as the final rule that babies must sleep in the bassinet). They checked on me every 30 minutes and I kept saying no, not sleeping with me, just feeding. It was they who made me want to sleep with my warm, cuddly baby that I had dreamed of for the past seven years infertility more than anything. And that is where we still are 7.5 months later. I wouldn't do it any other way. Period. It's lovely and pure and simple and right. For me. Dad has moved to guest room even though we have a king size bed. I guess all our sleep sharing and love sharing was keeping him up. Now that lil man is close to crawling we spent some time wrestling with the idea of naps in the crib. We tried for one very long and heartbreaking day to introduce the crib. Now we've decided to move the mattress to the floor and baby proof the room. The crib will be used when it is converted to the toddler bed. Or maybe later. We are going to continue to do what works for us, until it doesn't and then we will have to figure out the next step. Everything I read in the Sear's books makes sense to me. Maybe that makes me crunchy. So be it. He's happy and healthy and I believe the self soothing will come in it's own good time. However, as a new mom I find it hard not to second guess myself often. I'm grateful for your post. One day you and I will both sleep for more than 3 hours, but for now I contemplate the words "Full hands now, full hearts forever" very, very often.

Kristin said...

I was very much in the same situation you were in. You have my sympathy and my admiration.

UCL said...

I coslept by accident with my first simply because I never had a crib and I didn't know how to put him down in his co-sleeper. He would cry. And wake up. So, when my daughter was born, we kicked my son out of bed, got him a big boy bed, he was 3 and half, and he has slept in it no problem since, and bought a king sized bed for ourselves. It's been different this time, because my husband and I divorced and I coslept with my son alone, and we got back together with an oops pregnancy that was our daughter(so much for infertility) and we have coslept together. I never actually worried about the roll over and squish them part because I wake up too easy, I worried more about the they could die int heir cribs and I would never know. My daughter is now 2 going on 2 and a half and the three nights she has slept almost all night in her own bed(we got her a big bed at 2 which she naps in and goes to bed in, until the middle of the night when she comes to bed with us) we have panicked, sure something is wrong with her.

meggo said...

Yup, yup, that's us!
My mom bought us our co-sleeper and MIL our crib. We fully intended to use both prior to DD being born. Once she was here, we quickly discovered A slept so much better with me than when she was laid down (of course! She needs her mama. Why would it or should it be any different at night?). Heck, she cried when she was laid down.

The co-sleeping was a very temporary thing in my mind. I felt some anxiety about it her first month---DH didn't trust himself to not roll over on her so he slept elsewhere. I couldn't deal with that permanently! But I grew to really LOVE having her with me at night, sleeping so securely and soundly in the crook of my arm.. So I went with it, My sleep quality was magical and I could attend to her needs immediately overnight. Night waking wasn't a big deal. Once the breastfeeding really took off, I wasn't even sleep deprived, Plus, it REALLY helped with bonding,

Over Christmas we stayed with family, and DH had no choice but to join me and A. Now DH is back in our bed at home and we're all loving it. She's 2 months old now, and I have no intention of booting her out--- well---EVER!! I figure someday she'll consider herself too grown up to sleep with us. :) When that day comes, we'll put her in her own bed (and I'll be crying inside). I honestly can't imagine it any other way!

As for keeping it a secret? Nah. I don't advertise it, but when the conversation relates, I don't have a problem talking about it. I do get annoyed by the "crib is safer" campaign. Uhm, what is "most safe" is not always "best". There are ways to make the family bed just as safe as the crib, if not more! (but then I also get annoyed by the SIDS recommendations... last I heard, we don't know what causes SIDS, yet we're telling every parent to avoid SIDS by doing x, y, z. In ten years they'll be telling us to do q, r s. People, just use your common sense and do what works for your family.

Oh and it's only now that I'm reading up on what they call "attachment parenting". I was already abiding by its tenets without realizing, only because it's what came naturally to me. It's what jived with my instincts, and made the best sense for A's needs.

kmina said...

We have a queen size bed, which is a wee bit too small for 2.5 persons and a cat. Actually, it's the cat's bed and we are tolerated in there. The baby slept for 4 months in our room and this holiday we moved him into his room. And he does sleep better(ish). Of course, the naps are still with me in the big bed and so is the morning time.
I can co-sleep for 3-4 hours tops, after that my shoulders get too stiff and it becomes a PITA. So we combine it. And this way we have some mummy-daddy time in the evenings, not much, but precious none the less.
Oh, and you know, whatever works for you is best. The ones who say so and so are not you, they are not living your life, hence what they say has no relevance for you and should not matter. Don't defend your choices, Murgdan, you make them, you live with them and the consequences, sod the others who put you down (incidentally, the verification word is screw, I kid you not, found it relevant in the context). There will always be someone to do just that, you can't please everyone, yada yada.
You managed to live your life quite well until now, you will somehow manage to do it from now on. If it matters, I am very pleased to know you and read all your posts, because they show me the reasonable and caring human being I suspect you were in the first place. So write me in the crowd pleased by your mothering skills. Now I bet you can sleep way better, innit? ;-)) If the little one allows it, obviously.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah I could have written this post (only it wouldn't have been so clever and funny) with my daughter! We moved her into a crib when she was 9 months and waking me every 45 minutes to nurse.

With our son (another Gabriel!) co-sleeping hasn't been a viable option because of refluxy-type issues. But we do miss it.

Mommy! said...

Actually, we were a little bit different. My first son slept between us until he was about 8 weeks old in one of those co-sleeper box things. However, he made so much NOISE at night, we had to move him into his crib, so we could sleep. However, he didn't start sleeping through the night until he was 13 or 14 months old, because that's when we put him back in bed with us (where he continues to sleep now, at 23 months old). My second son slept in a bassinet next to our bed for the first 2 or 3 months, then moved to his crib with no problem at all and sleeps all night in there, only waking up once to eat. (He's 6 months now.)

So co-sleep, crib, bassinet: I say do whatever it takes to make life easier for everyone involved, just be as safe as you can with it and use good, common sense.

Carrie said...

We co-slept here and there, but my neighbor co-slept with all four of their kids until they were ready to move to a bed pretty much on their own. (Or until the next baby came along.) I had never known anyone who co-slept personally and like you, had all these pre-conceived notions of how BAD BAD BAD it is.

But, like everything else in parenting, as long as you are doing it safely, then do what you need for it to work for you. If people look down on you for your decisions, that's their problem.

MommaOf2InME said...

I was completely, totally against co-sleeping with my daughter (born in 2006). She was in her crib in our room until 6 months, her own room from then on. No questions asked!
Then I had my son (2009) who was a completely different baby. It wasn't supposed to be like that! I had plans. It had worked before!
He slept in our bed until he was 9 months old. Survival mode. I could not sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time and neither could he. Unless he was snuggled up next to the boobs. After that, he was in his bed right next to my bed for another 2 months. Then FINALLY, I had had enough. He started wanting to play all night because he knew I was right there. So we put him in his own bed in his own room and bam... slept all night.
No one thing works for everyone.

sprogblogger said...

I could have written this post. We got a bassinet - a co-sleeper - to use when we brought him home, but NO WAY was I going to be one of those families where the kids have no boundaries, etc. etc.

Hah.

Henry sleeps in my arms in the early evenings, or in his crib (with the lights on) if we're in the bedroom reading. At about 10-12 he wants a big feeding & usually wakes up to ask for it. He gets changed, put back in his crib & usually falls asleep quickly.

Sometimes he wakes at 2 for another meal, sometimes he sleeps til 4. But by 4 he's ready for cuddling more than sleeping, he's a bit chilly, and he refuses to settle down alone in his crib. So I bring him to bed - between the edge of the bed & me, because my husband sleeps the sleep of the innocent. And there, Henry snuggles and sleeps happily until I'm ready to get up, entertaining himself if I'm being a slugabed.

It works. (Especially on a king sized bed!) Though I'm not sure yet how well it'll work once he starts rolling easily and crawling. (Where'd you get your bed rail?)

Astrid said...

I'm only pregnant currently, so I don't have any personal experience to share, but I have mixed feelings about co-sleeping. It really seems like something I would like to do, because I am lazy and don't want to get up and walk to another room to breastfeed in the middle of the night (and, um, we don't have another room), but I just can't wrap my head around the logistics of it. I was thinking about getting one of those bedside co-sleepers, but if it's only going to last me 12 weeks, why bother dropping the money? Our bed is a deathtrap of blankets and pillows and cats and enormous, heavy-sleeping husband and I just have no idea how it's going to work. Help!

Minta said...

Mah baby was nevah evah gonna sleep in my bed. Not because I would roll over and suffocate him, but because it's my bed dammit! That resolve lasted... one night. Graham has been in our bed since the second night home from the hospital. I tried a bassinet next to the bed, but every night he'd end up all the way in the bed. So, around 4 weeks I gave up and just started him in the bed. And, I love it. And, I hate it. But, honestly, mostly I love it. I cannot imagine how bottle feeding mothers with babies in cribs function at night. To actually have to get up and make a bottle and go in the other room and be awake for the whole feeding? Not for me. I love being able to get him latched and dose while he eats... without getting out of the bed.

Like you, though, I was led to believe that co-sleeping was abnormal and BAD. But, I don't care. We do it safely and it works for our family.

Genie said...

I don't feel so alone!! My son (born 2006) would sleep for 15 minutes in his bassinet, and for three hours on me. When he was a newborn, it was a matter of survival. And I found out I loved it. He stayed off and on for years (but only because he was a good co-sleeper -- no kicking, yelling, writhing). My daughter was born April last year and we didn't bother buying a crib or bassinet -- she's in beside me. And yes, we now have a king size.

And just in case anyone is concerned my son is a very confident, outgoing independent and smart four year old. I don't think co-sleeping hurt him!

sara said...

I LOVE your blog!!! You are too funny! My dear, you said it right, we all think we are the ones with the abnormal kid, but since we are all too chicken sh*t to talk about it, little do we know that everyone is doing it. love, love, love your blog you are spot on with everything!

Heathrow's World said...

Ha! Love this post! I was a judgy co sleeping hater too! Until my daughter was born. The first 2 nights in the hospital I refused to co sleep with her. And got all teary about her WAY over there in her bassinett. Then we came home. And holy cow the child never slept anywhere other than on me or with me. So co sleeping it was. Lasted until about 6 mo, then she'd start out in a crib and I'd bring her back in our bed for the night feedings. Worked well for us. By a year she was in her own crib all night.

Stephanie said...

Sorry, I absolutely can't sleep with my baby in my bed. Out of desperation, we did it for two nights on our vacation, but only because we didn't want my mother to wake up. And I didn't sleep well at all. She rolls all over the place, including on top of me, she reaches out and pushes her hand into my face. Not fun. I need my sleep, and that means my baby in the other room.

My daughter, who is 18 months old now, has been sleeping in her crib since she was 5 weeks old. She sleeps much better in there than anywhere else. And yes, we occasionally let her cry for a bit. She's not hungry, she's not wet, she just needs a little time to soothe herself. And you can hate me, but she's been sleeping 12 hours a night since she was 6 months old. But she uses a pacifier at night, which helps a lot.

And by the way, I am a granola, West Coast person. And I don't co-sleep. And I hate Dr. Sears. With a passion. But I totally get why it works for other people. Seriously. Whatever gets you through the night.

Trinity said...

I am a social worker, and there is so much emphasis right now in the field of attachment. When I was working on my masters degree (which was during our early days of discovering our infertility and continued through our IVF cycle--when I graduated I was 8 weeks pregnant), I was fortunate to be able to do a wealth of study on attachment theory. I promised myself that if I was ever lucky enough to get pregnant and have a baby I would do everything in my control and desire to foster healthy attachment with my baby. It felt like a personal imperative, and infertility just magnified that.

I read Dr. Sear's Attachment Parenting book when I was pregnant. I loved it.

I always knew I wanted our family to co-sleep... Actually there seems to be a bourgeoning distinction between co-sleeping (sleeping in the same room with your baby) and bedsharing (which is what is sounds like) in a lot of the literature that I read about sharing sleep with your children. Mothering magazine dedicated an entire issue to co-sleeping, and it was sooo enlightening. (You can order it as a back issue, but a lot of the issues articles can be found online here: http://www.mothering.com/sleep).

As much as I wanted to bedshare with our baby, I did find it harder to do than I had anticipated. (Our little guy is just 2.5 weeks old.) The first few nights of his life, my husband and I alternated holding him through the night--he was sleeping on either of our chests at any give time. But I found that I wasn't sleeping very deeply because I was so worried about falling into a crazy deep sleep due to the sleep deprivation and not being fully aware of where he was in the bed. We have a bassinette, but I found putting him in there--even though it was immediately next to the bed--even harder. I just sat with my pillows stacked up, perched over the edge of the bed, contstantly checking to see if his chest was rising and falling. HOLY NEUROSES, BATMAN. We ended up ordering and overnighting one of those "snuggle nests" and he now sleeps right between us in his little bed on top of the covers. I do swaddle him at night (even though I am reading about the no-no's of that now) because it seems to create some security for him. Anyway, it is working very well for us. I literally sleep snuggled right up next to his little bed, our faces just inches apart. This really was for my peace of mind more than anything. I know he'll outgrow it soon, but by then hopefully he'll be a bit bigger and I will feel more secure with him free-ranging it in the bed. I just may invest in a bedrail...

As neurotic as I felt those first few days, I still wouldn't have it any other way.


http://www.mothering.com/sleep

Courtney said...

I co-slept with... GAH 2 babies in my bed! Why? Cause I am a working mother of twins who has a hubby who isn't home 1/2 the time. So yes, I slept with my girls. I did it for sleep and my sanity! I HAD to! I didn't research it, I just did it.

I did stop right when they started sleeping until 5 or 530. Cause that's when I started pushing them to "sleep" all night (meaning sleep until after I showered and got ready for work at 6) so that way they could "sleep in".

I don't regret having them in my bed. I wish they had slept better. But like you said. I needed sleep! I didn't start out with them in my bed. But they came into the bed after the 11pm-1am feeding. Cause I was just SO tired!

Co-sleep on girl! Co-sleep on!

AmbyLand said...

My sister had a baby 3 months before me and she was all about cosleeping so I had planned to before my baby girl was born and it was wonderful. At 6 months I put her in her crib. I used the CIO method. It was the only thing that worked.
I did the same thing with my son. I LOVE co sleeping. People would ask me about how much sleep I was getting and I would laugh because I was getting just as much as ever. I love going to bed early.

ALso WIC now recommends co sleeping

PS I love your blog

rebecca said...

It's funny that "co-sleeping is dangerous" is the mantra here for most people, because it totally depends on your perspective and what you read. I find that parenting books are so dogmatic about whatever perspective they are preaching.

We are bedsharers, and in my circle of Brooklynites, it's not that weird so I didn't really realize that it elicits such negative feelings elsewhere. Our daughter slept on my chest for the first 4 months; she was a tiny preemie and it always felt safer to know she was right there with me the way she had been for the prior 36 weeks (which followed 3 years of infertility, 5 IVFs, and a miscarriage). Then she moved to sleeping in between us, and we moved the mattress and box springs to the floor. She fell asleep in the carrier at night and hung out with us in the living room until we all went to bed. When she turned one a month ago, her sleep stopped working so well, so we finally started putting her in a crib (actually, the co-sleeper turned into a play yard - hey, we live in Brooklyn and don't have space for a crib in our 500 square foot apt!) and doing a version of soothing and crying her to sleep. Now she mostly falls asleep within a couple of minutes and we bring her into bed with us in the middle of the night when she wakes up.

We have never been sleep deprived, so clearly this works for us. And in my view, that's what parenting is all about. From what I understand from friends who have more than one kid, in the end most of it comes down to the kid's personality rather than the parenting choices we make anyway.

In any case, an interesting (dogmatic) perspective on how co-sleeping is safer is Three in a Bed by Deborah Jackson. It includes lots of interesting cross-cultural and historical information illustrating where and when (recently!) the whole "crib is safer" concept took hold (full disclosure, I just skimmed the book because there's a lot I wasn't interested in, but the anthropological and historical stuff is FASCINATING to me). According to this book, the study that found that co-sleeping is dangerous was done among an aboriginal group in New Zealand with high rates of obesity and alcoholism, but then it got picked up as gospel.

Check it out; there's a great cartoon of a caveman family with the baby asleep in a separate part of the cave surrounded by all kinds of eyes of creatures of the night, and the mom is saying, “the nurse told us it’s safer for her to sleep alone…”

HereWeGoAJen said...

Newer studies have actually shown that co-sleeping (done properly) is safer than cribs for the risk of SIDS.

We co-slept for a long time. We finally had to stop when we were waking her up. (Then we moved her to a pack and play in our giant closet because my husband was also with the "tiny baby can't sleep alone in a big empty room by herself."

I always say that anyone who has judgy feelings about some parenting choice just hasn't yet had the baby that insists on doing that exact thing.

Anonymous said...

My litle guy is 13 months and still in our bed. We keep saying we'll move him out, but it's just so nice to all snuggle together that neither of us is ready for that yet. He's a quiet sleeper and doesn't move around much, so we all sleep well. And really, isn't that the point? That everyone should just sleep? These are the days we're going to long for someday, so we're going to enjoy them while we've got them.

We intended to cosleep (bedshare) from the beginning, so he still doesn't even have a room of his own, much less a crib. Our plan is to transition him to a mattress on the floor of our room (someday) and then to move that to the floor of another room once we're all ready for that.

As for talking to others -- I know of very few parents whose babies spend the whole night in their own bed. But you're right about the stigma -- most of those parents are relieved to be able to "come out" to me about where their kids sleep at night. I do my part to be up front about the fact that he's in our bed -- I casually drop it into conversation all the time. And so far I've been surprised at how few people are critical. (And I just dismiss those who are.)

Heather said...

Like you, finding a sleep solution that worked for us basically came down to survival... and not so much doing anything we had planned on doing. The "plan" was for baby to sleep in her bassinet beside our bed. Apparently, no one told the baby about this plan, because when she was born, she wanted nothing to do with that bassinet. She was in it (awake) for a total of about 30 minutes... ever... to this day. She ended up sleeping in a bouncy seat next to our living room couch, next to our bed, in our bed, etc., you get the idea, while we were within an arms reach of the bouncy seat... to you know, bounce it. Until one day when she was a few months old and I decided to try just putting her in the crib in her room. And my god, she frickin' loved her crib. And she's slept there ever since. I don't know why or how that worked, but it did.

Summary: We figured things out as they happened... when stuff wasn't working, we changed it... we did what worked... for the moment... that's it. :o)

Laurie said...

To each his own. I have no thoughts either way when it comes to co-sleeping. If it works for you go with it! I'm sure some people would have plenty to say about the fact that we let our daughter sleep in her swing every night. But you know what? I got 7 hours of sleep last night (in a row!)so I really don't care!

Anonymous said...

West coast? Haha! I guess that would be me. We did cosleeping as a means of survival... my husband actually ended up sleeping in the spare bedroom for SEVEN MONTHS because HE was afraid he'd squish him (and he probably would have.

He still was never a great sleeper. He slept in two hour blocks. Till I put him in the crib. We did cry it out, and the first night it lasted 30 minutes, the second night 4, and he has slept through the night (7-6) since.

With our daughter, who as adopted at 6 months, we tried endlessly to co sleep, but she wanted no part of it... I guess by then she had her own rhythm.

I think we all do what we think is best for our kids (and us). And most of the time, they are no worse for the wear.

areyoukiddingme said...

Our girl slept in a pack n play bassinette in our room for 5 months. Then she moved to her own room. She was too loud. I used the video monitor for 2 years after that. I would have died trying to cosleep because I have to have covers over me. Now, whenever she crawls into my bed, I carry her back to her own bed...because she likes to kick and roll and elbow in her sleep, which interrupts my sleep. I wish she were a less mobile sleeper because I would like to sleep snuggled up with her, but we cuddle in the morning when she wakes up.

Someone above said it best - whatever gets you through the night.

pippasmum said...

Thank you, yet again, for writing what I needed to read, just when I needed to read it. I am on my second child. My first was nightmare baby - colic, refusal to sleep without be rocked for hours, impossible to get down, etc... we fought it for five months and then, one night when my husband heard me weeping in her room after trying to put her down for the 14th time (literally), he told me to bring her into our room. It was heaven. She slept, I slept and my husband got to see a LOT of boob. It worked for everyone. I won't say it hasn't been a bumpy journey but she is now three, in her own bed full-time (without a tremendous amount of stress but it only happened a few months ago) and she is a great sleeper. I felt so much guilt having her in our bed and especially as she got older, I took flack from family members but how could something that felt so right be wrong? Especially when I went back to work and missed her so fiercely, I treasured every minute.

With my son, things have been a little different but we have ended up at the same place. He has never once slept in his crib but he is in a co-sleeper for most naps and for the first part of the night. After the first waking, he comes in with me (dh has moved to the guest room, just because he has to take sleep meds and it wouldn't be safe). Yesterday, I was feeling terrible about it - was I making him needy? Was this all my fault? Am I someone deficient as a mother that my child can't sleep alone? It's so good to read that I am not the only one.

My favourite part of it all is waking up to having my face stroked and the warm smiles. You summed that up so wonderfully! Thank you!

Jamie said...

Our bed never seemed like there was enough room in it with two adults and four cats, so I was one the side of 'kid goes in the crib.' I just didn't see where he would fit!

Then I birthed a baby who doesn't like being cuddled or held or rocked and will drop to sleep like a rock if put in his bed alone with the door closed and no music playing. And all I want is a baby that will sleep with me!!

Sure, I know it will be great for the long-term future type stuff, but I right now I want to snuggle.

B MoM said...

Co-sleeper not by choice here. totally done for survival and wish baby would sleep on his own in his crib. He'll fall asleep lying down with mommy, we put him in his crib, he'll wake up a few hours later and we either wash, rinse and repeat, or give in and let him sleep with us for the sake of getting our own sleep. when does it end? I hope he eventually grows out of it! I dont want to be one of "those" parents with a 3 or 4 year old still sleeping in their bed!

eggorchicken said...

I never wanted to co-sleep either. I was convinced I'd have the baby that sleeps through in his own cot by 6 weeks of age.

Alas. I got the baby that woke up in his own cot every 20 minutes. Repeatedly. I couldn't do the crying out thing either, so eventually I moved him to bed with me...and wouldn't you know it- it was *bliss*.

My fellow first-time moms were all about the bleary eyes and the sleep deprivation whereas I was well rested, happy, calm.

I realise it doesn't work for everybody but oh boy does it ever work well for us! The routine that eventually worked best for us was putting baby down in his cot at nighttime, he'd sleep there until anytime between 11pm & 1am (basically a time when I was sleeping anyways) and then he'd cry. I'd get up, bring him through to my bed and co-sleep for the rest of the night.

It's been blissful and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Anonymous said...

Our son ended up sleeping in a bassinet in our room for the first 5 1/2 months, sometimes cosleeping in the beginning, until he was too big for the bassinet. It was easier for me too as I ended up recovering from a csection and nursing.

Then we did a short CIO at 6 months (2 nights of 15 min of crying) and he slept through the night ever since in his crib and is now almost 2.

Our daughter on the other hand is about to turn 7 months and has slept in a cosleeper in our room or coslept since the beginning. It wasn't an intention, but whatever worked best. I am nursing again and recovery from a VBAC was much easier.

She now sleeps in her crib from 7-9 or 7-10pm and then she either cosleeps in her cosleeper or on me.

My mom coslept with all for of us til we were 1-2 yrs old.

So I never intended it...but never rejected it. Just whatever worked and also making sure that it was in the safest way possible.


Kelley

jennyonthespot said...

Dude. I TOTALLY hear that. I relate, relate, relate. Of course, my youngest ins almost 6 now, but I felt like I was reading from my heart in the past. Nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Oh I also forgot to add in my comment a note for Astrid:

The mini cosleeper is awesome. A traditional bassinett holds up to 15 lbs but I know mini cosleepers can be attached to the bed or as a bassinett alone and can hold up to 23 lbs. The larger cosleepers hold up to 30 lbs so most people can get 6-12 months out of them. They can be pricey ($150-$250) so check baby resale shops or craigslist. Oh and they are called Arms Reach Cosleepers.


Kelley

Aisha said...

Once I leave this message I'm heading back to read the comments- I'm honestly kind of amazed that there would be such judgment on co-sleeping- I think in my culture most people coslept back in the motherland so my families both sides didn't bat an eye- some people said its a bad habit but nothing even remotely close to horror- its natural and done the world over- I mean in our culture- the American culture- where independence is practically worshipped and we are so individualistic here- its seen as a horrid thing- but there's nothing wrong inherently- its a values thing. You do what works for you- and let that be that. I love cosleeping with him- don't do it all day, he starts the night off in his bed, and then around 12-2am he comes and joins us. Like you I love waking up next to him- and its such a fleeting time- I wont' regret these nights at all.

Aisha said...

oh and one more thing- like you, I never adhered to a philosophy- i just did what worked- I've honestly stopped reading the books- more headache than they are worth.

MARY said...

yep, co-sleepers here for both girls. Our youngest (now 12) is autistic and wouldn't respond to smoke detectors blaring when we would cook LOL. So I was scared to death to have her in her room, what if there was fire and our bedroom was on the other side of the house.
We let them tell us when they were ready for their own space.

My best friend's daughter had/has AML (don't know which is correct had or has as next Wed will be 5 years in remission after her 2nd bone marrow transplant). She began chemo at 2years, so they started to co-sleep, because she would get sick so easily, mom need to be right there. At age 6 she told mom, "I'm a big girl now, I beat cancer I can sleep by myself"

I worked as a nanny for years. One of my couples did it because they both worked over 40 hours a week and it was their bonding time. He was happy and well adjusted so I never had a problem with that.

Jill M. said...

I was totally not going to co-sleep before Tyler was born... BUT then he was born and he was in our bed for a good 4 months. Even now when he makes it to his crib at bedtime, he still ends up in bed next to me before morning. He loves it, I love it! Nothing else matters.

Jasmine said...

With my first, I hadn't really planned out anything - I just assumed it would be easy enough to get him to sleep in the crib. Boy was I wrong! We ended up co-sleeping until he was 14 months. With my second, I never even tried to put him in the crib - we co-slept from the beginning. Just this past week, we have been successful in moving him to his crib (he just turned one).

I have loved having my boys sleep next to me all night long :) I always worried about SIDS, etc., but have pretty much just done what works best for us, even though I have had people (co-workers) give me the sly eye when I mention that my baby still sleeps with me. I don't care what people think anymore, though. I do what works.

Dora said...

Yeah, I rock! ;-) I totally planned on co-sleeping. We love it. As an SMC, it seemed natural to share my bed with my daughter. She started off in a "Snuggle Nest," and now just has her own side of the bed. She's 13 months, and I have no plans to transition her out of the bed anytime soon. As adults we understand how comforting it is to sleep next to another warm body. Why should it be any different for a child.

Once she's asleep, I put a long pillow next to her so she can't roll off the bed. (There's a bolster under the sheet on the other side of her.) Then I can get up an do things in the apartment. Once she's really solidly asleep, I can turn the light back on and even watch tv. I love the way she often rolls towards me in her sleep for a cuddle when I turn the light out to go to sleep myself. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, I can usually get her back to sleep in about 2 minutes. Used to take a few sips of mommy milk from the source, but we recently weaned, so now she has a little water and goes right back to sleep.

As a working mom, bed sharing is part of our quality time.

Anonymous said...

What a very interesting post! Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing your experiences. As I mentioned in a comment to an earlier post, I'm pretty much the exact opposite of a co-sleeper; my son is six months old and has been in his crib every single night starting his 2nd night at home. He has also never once been in our bed! But, I think the concept of co-sleeping is pretty interesting, and I'm intrigued by it. I also think having a baby after infertility has made me so much less judgemental on so many topics. To each his own, and whatever works for your family is great. I always enjoy your posts. Thank you! Heather

foxy said...

What a fascinating discussion! How come we can't just support parents and families in doing what works best for them, whatever that might be? Would't it be awesome if we gave parents permission to follow their instincts and quit trying to 'tell' them what to do?

I grew up in a bed-sharing attachment-style home. My parents bed was always a place that my sisters and I was welcome. As we got older, my sisters and I shared a bed of our own, and then as we wanted, we moved into our own private beds, at first int he same room, and later in our own private bedrooms. It worked for our family. I had no idea that it wasn't normal - or maybe it really is normal but no one talks about it. Whatever, it worked for us.

My mom was a La Leache Leage leader, and from what I remember we ate 'granola' at those meetings. Many of these families met in order to find support for doing the things that were right for their family. Breastfeeding brought them together, but they found common ground on so many other topics too.

I can't say what will work for my someday family, but I do know that we will follow our gut.

You are incredible mama, Murgdan, and I LOVE reading your (now) parenting blog.

Emby said...

While I go to a small church, almost every family there has 3 or more kids. Like, up to 8, going on 9 kids for some families. And, all but 2 families does hard-core attachment parenting. I am not sure if they all co-sleep b/c I really don't get into the mommy talk, but I am sure a lot do. I think that if you feel comfortable with it and it keeps you all sane and somewhat rested, do it.

jrs said...

Very interesting and fun post.
Our baby slept in a pack n play from day one and then in his room in a crib after 3 wks old or so.

Sometimes we take naps together when he lies on me. Maybe some people think that's crazy, but it works for us, and it is just an hr or so long.

during the day he naps in different places-a swing, his bouncer, etc. but he has never slept in our bed.

I think that is great that the co sleeping is working for you.

Valeria said...

My daughter is 8 months old and your story is just like my story! Almost word to word... well, I am a SAHM and I also have to lay/nurse to sleep during the day... Life is Awesome :) but I have to admit - I choose co-sleeping... I love cuddling :)

my name is Valeria and I live in Vienna, Austria. I recently discovered your blog and I love it!

dani84m said...

I co-sleep also. Not planned and I also have a love hate relationship with it. It does make it easier when you are breastfeeding. My baby is the type where as soon as I put him down he wakes up. I just wish other people would understand and accept it. It is always one of the first questions asked by my mother in law when she visits.

Dagmar said...

I love co-sleeping, have from day one. When L was 3, we transitioned him to his own bed - without a problem. I still fall asleep in his bed with him often and love it. And sometimes he crawls in our bed for the last hour in the morning and cuddle.

Co-sleeping is practiced safely all over the world because it works -- everyone gets more sleep :) Once it doesn't work for one family member, it's time to find another solution - maybe a mattress on the floor next to mom and dad at first...

Dagmar ~ Dagmar's momsense

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