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.
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.
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.
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.