Joy - posted on 11/03/2010 ( 200 moms have responded )
First, I'd like to start off by saying that I would be ever so pleased if this conversation could stay polite, rational and non-judgemental. I intentionally did not title this thread "Co-sleeping VS non-co-sleeping" because I want to immediately avoid the whole "right and wrong" thing. It's not a matter of right or wrong. We all do what we think is best for our children and we all have to understand that there are MANY ways to be a good parent. Different techniques and styles work for different families, as well as the fact that we all know that all babies are different. What may work for one child may not work at all with another in the same family. Soooo...please share your thoughts and opinions, but please also keep it respectful. Thanks :)
I'd like to know:
Where do your kids sleep?
Do you co-sleep? If so, why?
Do you feel it's best to put a baby immediately in their own bed? If so, why?
My son is 3 years old. When he was first born, he slept most nights in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. Some nights, he would sleep in our bed, between my husband and I on a mattress pad that was designed for co-sleeping. It kept him elevated enough that we couldn't roll over on him if we tried but also, it gave us the opportunity to do exactly what we, as new, first time parents wanted sometimes, which was to lay there and just watch him sleep. Goo goo mushy, I know lol Like I said though, most nights he was in the bassinet. At around 4 months we put his crib in our room accross from the foot of our bed and he slept there. When he was 6 months, I started noticing that he would wake with every sound we made. Just our normal sleep noises would wake him up. So I put his crib in his room and that's where he slept until this past February (when he was two and a half). There were occasional (about once a week) nights that he would be unsettled in his bed and no amount of coaxing would get him to sleep, so we would bring him into our bed and we'd all sleep like logs. But in February of this year, we made a huge move, from Florida to NY. Temporarily (for like 3 months), we had to live with my in-laws. Myself, my husband and our son shared a room. His crib was set up in the room and we slept on my MIL's guest bed (a full sized bed). I'm sure it was the huge transition, and I'm sure he needed the added reassurance, but for a host of reasons, he began coming into our bed every night, just after we would go to bed. At first, I would let him fall asleep and then put him back to his own bed because three people on a full sized bed is TIGHT. But he would just come back again half an hour later. Flash forward to May, when we found a nice, big 3 bedroom house to rent. We have our room, he has his room and we have a guest room / office. The first night in our house, he went to sleep fine in his own room but woke in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder. I chalked it up to a strange new environment (his second house in 3 months). That first night I let him come to sleep with us. We were all exhausted from moving that day and needed sleep. Around this time is also when he stopped napping. I tried everything and finally realized that I was spending 2 hours of my day miserable, trying to make him nap and he was miserable too. So I gave up on naps. I figured, unless he was falling asleep at like 4 or 5 in the afternoon, if he could make it until 7 and not be overtired then so be it. The nap thing actually worked out because now he sleeps a solid 12 hours a night. Anyhow, I spent the first month or so after we moved in trying to get him to sleep at night in his own bed. We decorated (I let him help). I set his toddler bed up like a tent, thinking he would think it was "cool". I bought him special Cars and Thomas sheets, hoping they would entice him. I slept on his floor several nights. You know what would happen the nights I would sleep on his floor? I'd wake in the middle of the night (sore as hell lol) to find that he had gotten out of his bed and was now sleeping soundly in my bed, on my pillow. Honestly, it was sheer exhaustion that made me decide one night, "Screw it, he can just sleep with me." My husband works nights, so the bed wasn't crowded at all with my son in it. Hubby gets home in the mornings just as we are getting out of bed, so there is no issue with squeezing 3 people into our queen bed. After a few nights of sleeping like this, I began to realize that we were both rested. I wasn't snappy for lack of sleep. I wasn't achy from sleeping on the floor or sitting next to his bed with my head resting on a cold, metal bar. We were both waking refreshed and well rested. I also began to realize just how much I enjoyed having him right next to me. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and I look down at him like I used to when he was a newborn. I'm able to kiss his forehead or scratch his back or brush his hair from his face any time I want. And sometimes, in his sleep, he throws his little arm accross my chest or around my neck and says, "Hugs" in his sleep. I get to wake every morning to the smell of his hair or with his hand on my cheek and to me, there's nothing sweeter than that. Once I realized that I am a "co-sleeper", a lot of stress went out the window for me. And as for my husband and what he thinks? Well, he likes that Jacob sleeps with me. He says that with him working nights, he worries less knowing that our son is right beside me, should anything happen in the night when he's not here (knock wood). He gets one day a week off and on that night he is home with us, he LOVES that Jacob sleeps in our bed. I've caught him many times leaning over me to stare at Jacob sleeping and I think it's sweet. Is it a little crowded in our bed? Sure it is. As we all know, a baby can just about take up an entire ANY sized bed lol (How do they do that??? lol). But we also know that a few years (or whenever he is ready for his room) of being crowded pales in comparison to what we feel we are all getting in return. Jacob sometimes lays on his bed in his room when we are playing pretend and he "pretends" to sleep. It's really cute. He lays on his bed, squeezes his eyes closed and says, "Mommy, I leeepin' my bed!" Not the real thing, I know. But when he's ready, at least I know he knows it's his bed and he can go to it anytime he wants. I don't worry that it will be a struggle getting him to sleep in his bed. I'll say that I am hopeful he starts sleeping on his own within the next year because this time next year he'll be in preschool. But even then, he'll only be 4 and I still don't think that's too old to sleep with me. l probably wouldn't let it go past 5 years old. My way of looking at it is that eventually, I'll help him to be ready. Maybe I'm naive in that way of thinking but I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I'm flying blind in a sense, like every other mother out there once did, and I'm listening to my instincts. My instincts say he's fine just the way things are, for now. That's my story. What about you?