Co-sleeping is one of the great parenting mysteries that I get questioned about all the time. It never fails, when someone (in real life) finds out that we were a co-sleepling family they immediately want to know why I would do such a thing.
Often, that curiosity comes from the notion that they find co-sleeping an odd arrangement and wonder how I arrived at that decision.
I get it. It is different.
Even though co-sleeping is becoming more and more “main stream” in the parenting arena there are still a lot of people that don’t understand it. In fact, when I first started co-sleeping I didn’t even know it had a name, much less that it was part of a parenting movement so to speak.
Many people are shocked to hear that I didn’t start co-sleeping as part of an “attatchment” style of parenting. Back then I had no idea what attachment parenting was!
I had never even read a parenting book!
Never in a million years would I ever have thought I would be sharing a bed with my children.
A husband? Sure. Kids? NO.
Then life happened.
I started co-sleeping as a survival mechanisim.
When I had my oldest daughter I was a single mom with a full-time, high stress job and very strange hours. In an attempt to save some money, I took in a roommate.
Looking back the roomate situation was probably my biggest mistake. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her, because I did, we were pretty good friends. She just liked to have company all.the.time.
I didn’t feel good about having my baby in a room down the hall with strangers in my home while I was trying to sleep. So, with that thought, I put my daughter’s crib in my room and figured all would be fine and dandy.
Up until this point she was a great crib sleeper. I would even brag about how well she slept at night to my co-workers who’s babies were night owls. Once the crib was right next to my bed everything changed.
Instead of just going back to sleep like she would in her own room, she would see me in my bed and cry and cry and cry…
Finally, desperate for sleep I put her in my bed to see if she would just go back to sleep.
And it worked!
From that day forward that was where she slept. Right next to me in my bed. Apart came her crib and on went the bedrails to keep her from rolling off.
My sanity had been saved!
Well, for a little while at least. Did I mention that I was already pregnant with baby number two? That was when the real fun started…
Fast forward roughly 18 months, I was married and had 2 out of 3 babies trying to sleep in the same bed.
For the first 8 months of my son’s life he actually slept in his own crib. But at 8 months he was starting to become aware of being alone and out of sheer exhaustion I started letting him sleep in the family bed.
Why not, I already had the other two kids in there!
It became a nightmare.
The bigger the kids got, the less sleep I would get.
The problem was that I just couldn’t figure out how to get them in their own beds. On the surface it sounds like a simple issue, just put them in their own beds, they’ll get used to it.
It really isn’t that easy. I wish it were, but it’s not.
Most parents will agree that bedtime struggles are the toughest!
Over the years I have had a love/hate relationship with co-sleeping.
For instance, when I was nursing co-sleeping was great. When my babies were sick I could feel their temperatures rise and I could hear them breathe. It also provided lots of bonding time in the evenings.
But then there are the not so great things involved…
Our children have become terrible sleepers.
Even though we are not actively co-sleeping anymore they still crawl into our bed every.single.night. If they don’t feel me laying next to them they wake up and come looking for me.
Until recently, my husband and I hadn’t fallen asleep together in years and at times our marriage has suffered. It is hard to connect at the end of the day when you have 3 kids between you.
We have been very creative with how we manage our quality time together but I just wish that it wasn’t so hard to come by.
Maybe that is just parenting in and of itself and things will be hard no matter what route you take.
I don’t want to sit here and say that I wish I would have never have chosen to co-sleep, but honestly, most of the time that is how I feel.
Or maybe we just shouldn’t have kept it up for so long. I don’t know.
This probably isn’t the perspective you were expecting.
When I was searching for tips on how to transition away from co-sleeping all I could find were articles talking about how amazing and beautiful co-sleeping is.
I wanted to put my experience and perspective out there. Yes, we have had beautiful and amazing moments but overall I didn’t enjoy co-sleeping. I also feel that those amazing moments would have come all the same, whether we co-slept or not.
Am I saying that co-sleeping is wrong or that it shouldn’t be done? Absolutely not. Choosing to co-sleep is an extremely personal decision and by no means wrong.
It just isn’t for everyone.