May 1, 2011

Coming Out of the Co-Sleeping Closet


We co-sleep. Not with a crib in our room or a co-sleeper attached to our bed. Becks sleeps in our bed, in between me and a guardrail. There. Now it's out in the open. Think what you will.

People are very touchy on this subject. Even very pro-attachment parenting people are against co-sleeping. It gets a pretty bad rap in the news, I will admit. Tragedies have happened, precautions aren't taken and a child gets pinned and suffocated. It's horrible, but tragedies happen in cribs also.

Initially, my issues with it were simply - I like my space when sleeping and want to be free to toss about as much as I like. When planning for Beckett, we were going to put him in a bassinet next to our bed for the first few months and transition him to his crib when he was a bit older.

HA! Wait. I just need to compose myself. Okay. I'm better. Oh those naive days when we thought we'd be making the decisions. In the first month we quickly learned that Beckett slept very well as long as one of us was holding him, but as soon as we put him down, he'd wake. He was eating every 2 hours on the dot. I was severely sleep deprived. One day while nursing him in the afternoon, I was laying on my side and drifted off to sleep. Turns out, so did Beckett and we slept peacefully for over three hours. It was the longest stretch he'd slept since he was born. And the co-sleeping began.
I kept thinking I would start to transfer him to his crib once he got a bit bigger and didn't need to nurse as much. Winter came and our old, drafty apartment wouldn't even get up to 62 degrees some nights. He needed my body heat at that point. He was only 6 lbs at birth and is such a little mover that he hasn't gained that fast. He wouldn't be warm enough alone.

At first I didn't tell anyone. The first thing they said to me in the hospital, was DON'T SLEEP WITH YOUR BABY IN YOUR BED. I don't like to break rules and I certainly didn't want to put my child in danger. I would even travel with our Pack and Play as if I was going to actually put him in it. I wasn't trying to intentionally lie to our hosts. On some level I even thought maybe tonight will be the night he sleeps alone. Of course it never was. But in the mean time, he was sleeping, I was sleeping. Why was this bad again?

I started to do some research and not only is it the preferred sleeping option of attachment parenting advocates, but the Dr. Sears's books highly recommend it. I love the Dr. Sears's library of books and it boosted my confidence.  It turns out there are many benefits for both mom and baby, such as increased bonding and even breathing and heart beat regulation.  

He's getting bigger now and is sleeping a lot more during the night. Also weather dictates our actions again - this place stays about as cool in the summer as it does warm in the winter, so having our own space will probably be more comfortable. I have mixed feelings on transitioning him, because while I do want more of my own space, I love snuggling with my little guy. But I feel like it might be time to at least begin for all of our sakes.

My plan is to put him down in his crib at night and bring him into bed with us when he wakes up to feed. Eventually he'll sleep through the night. It might take a while, but that's okay with me. I doubt when I'm at the end of my life, I will look back and wish I had spent less time with my darling boy.


Sami C. said...

I agree totally!! Wyatt and I co-slept for a while due to his colic. We found that after hours of crying and rocking he would finally calm down long enough to listen to my heartbeat and he would fall asleep on my chest. I would pass out in exhaustion on the couch. The back of the couch would keep him from rolling off or getting smooshed. We got a good 4 hours a night that way.

tinadalton said...

I loved this blog!!! I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and boy you are right the topic is taboo. I personally think that each family needs to do what works for them. It sounds like you have it worked out perfectly! My nephew Sullivan refused to sleep in a crib, he never spent one night in one actually. He is ten now and has slept in his own bed since he was two with zero sleep issues. Keep up what works for you and your family.

Wendy Altschuler said...

I co-slept with all of my boys at least the first 6 months. With breastfeeding, I found it to be the best option. I know there's a huge controversy with it and I'm wondering what percentage of the nay sayers bottle feed.

Corhea said...

Your story is so similar to ours! I'm proud to be a co-sleeper but I was nervous to say it out loud at first because people that aren't educated about it make you feel like a bad parent if you sleep WITH your baby. My little one is 10 months old now and we've decided we won't try to transition her to her crib until after we're no longer breastfeeding... for which we have no set time frame.

Dagmar said...

I have blogged many times about co-sleeping and about how much I love it.

I mentioned your/this post in my latest one:)

Dagmar ~ Dagmar's momsense