Confessions of a Co-Sleeper

Co Sleeping

When I was expecting Squishy, I knew that we would co-sleep. We hadn’t co-slept with our oldest (apart from at naptimes) and it was something I regretted even though, at the time, there wasn’t much of a choice in the matter.

However, my reasons for choosing to co-sleep weren’t the mushy, snuggly reasons I had read about on so many attachment parenting forums and blogs. Sure, I liked the idea of snuggling in a warm bed with a soft baby – who doesn’t? – but have always been a creature that needs her own space. I couldn’t imagine that I would be happy sharing a bed with a baby for long – just for long enough to get through the serious sleep deprivation.

Then Squishy arrived, and turned everything on its head.

For a while, Squishy and I broke one of the cardinal rules of co-sleeping, and slept together on the couch. I was still suffering from SPD, so I had to sleep propped up in order to avoid terrible pain. He would sleep on my chest, his little head resting close to my beating heart. It was beautiful. He would awaken every hour or so to feed, but I wasn’t tired at all. I would rouse just before he did and latch him on, before replacing him back on my chest again. Sometimes I would just stare at him for what felt like hours, taking deep soul-filling breaths of the top of his downy head.

Once the exhaustion began to kick in, after 6 weeks or so, I started becoming more concerned about the risk of us sleeping on the couch. We acquired a white crib that he slept in, next to the couch where I slept. For a while he slept well, until a sleep regression began at 3 and a half months. My nights became a whirl of crying baby, crying mummy and seemingly endless wakeups – every 30 minutes, sometimes. I longed to take him to bed with me, but I couldn’t – the SPD was still at a level that prevented me from laying flat without serious pain and temporary disablement on the following day.

Gradually, things started to improve, and by 7 months post-partum we were able to begin our co-sleeping journey properly. We set up the cotbed like a sidecar and into it he went. Immediately our lives improved. Still, though, my reasons for continuing to co-sleep were more about convenience than anything else. I loved how easy it was to feed him through the night, and I wished that we’d been able to do the same with our oldest. However, it was always in the back of my mind that as soon as he was old enough to share a room with his brother, or when we were able to move to a bigger house with a room for him, we would make the transition to solo sleep.

As time has gone on, though, things have changed. My co-sleeping journey has unexpectedly transformed into a love affair. I love the fact that his sweet little face is the first thing I see in the morning. I love the sleepy midnight feeds, when the whole house is quiet and the only people in the whole world are my Squishy and I. I love gazing at him in the early hours of the day, the light in our bedroom just barely enough to highlight the smooth contours of his nose and cheeks. I love the fact that my wake-up call in the morning is a lovely chubby baby face smiling right at me, or trying to latch on to my arm (or more recently, a hearty slap in the face accompanied by a rousing giggle). I never imagined that I would love sharing sleep this much, or that my original plans to move him out of bed by 12 months of age would be scrapped without a second thought.

We chose to co sleep because I felt it was best for our baby, and for us. I was happy that we were “ticking all of the AP boxes” – co-sleeping, babywearing, cue-feeding etc. I was overjoyed that we had found a way to make nighttime parenting far easier than it had ever been with our oldest, despite the more frequent wakings.

We continue to co-sleep for all of the above reasons, but mostly because I just can’t imagine it any other way. The thought of moving my baby out of my bed makes my heart hurt, and I simply cannot see any reason why I would – at least not for a while, anyway. Co-sleeping has become such an important part of our relationship. It’s a part of how we connect. Having my sweet baby within reaching distance from me at night is something I cannot imagine changing.

People also often wonder about how co-sleeping affects a marriage – well, for us, our marriage is going from strength to strength since initiating the family bed. We both want to be close to our baby at night, and my husband is glad to have a wife who isn’t completely deranged from sleep deprivation.

I know that co-sleeping isn’t for everybody. But, for me, it’s the very best thing I have ever done. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, it’s just me, my Squishy, and the night.

Comments

  1. Charly says

    I never imagined I would co sleep ever! But now cannot imagine not waking up to my sons smile, nuzzling into his neck at night and his sweet smell is so relaxing. My arms ache to hold him close. People keep telling me ‘not to worry’ as he’ll grow out of it (he is almost 19months) I tell them that I choose to co sleep and am happy with it – they don’t believe me! I tell them we have a ‘family bed’ and they laugh! I count myself very lucky to be co sleeping – soon enough he will be grown up…and I will have these memories to cherish…

    • says

      Oh, absolutely. These months just fly by, don’t they. Before we know it they will be having their own babies and these days will be long behind us – why not enjoy it while we can? :) Thank you for commenting <3

    • says

      Aww :) That’s exactly the point; these months are so fleeting and the memories we’ll have from it are precious! Thank you for commenting :)

  2. says

    Great story, I too am planning on cosleeping with a side car crib the second time around (starting September). I wish I’d disovered the joys of cosleeping earlier with my first.

    Pleased you now have it worked out, those first months sounded tough.

    • says

      Thank you for commenting! Yes, it certainly was tough. Incredibly frustrating when most people are trying to get their babies *out* of their beds, I just wanted to be in mine with my baby! Lol.

  3. says

    What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing. :)

    We co-slept with our first, but after about a year, she had her own room where she started out a lot of nights. Then she would come into our bed in the middle of the night. Once our second was born, and he started sleeping with us, our daughter wanted in on the nighttime party too. Now we have a queen bed and a twin bed pushed together, and we all sleep happily together. I love that we are right there next to the kids when they wake up upset in the middle of the night. It is a joy to wake up smooshed between the two kids (ages 4.5 and 2.5 now). Thank goodness my husband loves it too.

    • says

      Aww, that sounds lovely! :) I sometimes wish our 3yo would join us in bed sometimes too, but he never does. Probably a good thing really, he’s such a fidget ;) Thank you for commenting!

  4. Jill says

    When our second child was born 10 year after our first, I had the notion he was going to sleep in a crib in his own room. I had the crib all set up, the sheets on the toys in place the room was ready. Then — it happened. He was born. We had a beautiful home birth, he was born in water right in the middle of our living room. It was wonderful. After his birth, the midwives put me in the shower washed me up, put my husband, my self and our baby in our bed, closed the doors and left. He never touched the crib! LOL He never left my arms. That old family heirloom cradle I had refinished? It is up in the attic collecting dust. The crib, well thank goodness I had borrowed it, because I gave it back. I proceeded to have child three, four and five, and don’t even own a crib. They snuggle with me at night. I still have 2 in bed with me now. I know the day is coming when one more will move into the big boy room, but for now, I cherish my sleeping babies next to me. One thumbs up for co-sleeping!

  5. Gena says

    I love co-sleeping with our son (14 months), but we are about to have another baby in a month and I am worried about how to deal with the situation! Baby #1 is a roller so I worry about putting the new baby in with us. Perhaps he can hang out in the crib for the first few months until he is not so tiny…any takes on this? We don’t have a “side-car” crib to attach to our bed…

  6. Kalan says

    I have co slept with both of my babies and loved every minute. I will admit they are now 5&7 and just now moved to bunk beds of their own. The 7 yo is having a hard time transitioning. She says she really misses snuggling with somebody;( It’s breaking my heart but I’m just trying to reassure her and telling her I understand how she is feeling and telling her how strong she is and she can do it. They are still coming to out bed by morning and I am glad my husband and I still get those sweet morning snuggles with our daughters because I know it will not last forever. I am thankful we have a king size bed with co sleeper #3 on the way. Best of snuggles to all you co sleepers.

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