when i was pregnant with thing one, nearly eleven years ago, i swore there was no way i would ever put my baby in bed with me. i had never been around anyone who had slept with their baby intentionally. and, i pretty much knew everything, and knew that i was right when i told everyone my baby would learn to love their crib, and take naps when i said so, and if that baby didn’t, i was all for the cry-it-out method.
i was no stranger to babies. i had two significantly younger brothers, born when i was 15 and then 17. i spent years working in a day care. i went to school and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in child development. i was pretty sure i knew everything i needed to know.
we found out i was pregnant with thing one in october. for christmas, brent bought me The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears. i thought it was sweet that he was so thoughtful, but inside, i knew i didn’t need the book– i knew everything.
i picked the giant book up one night before bed, and poured myself into it. there was not a whole lot in that book i agreed with, and really, i was pretty sure there wasn’t a whole lot i thought brent agreed with either. i’m downright convinced he found the fattest book about babies with a cute picture on the front of it, and thought, “this is it!!”. i might not have agreed with it, but i wasn’t really judging while i was reading, just sort of, thinking, “not my baby” and “not for me”. this book was filled with examples of attachment parenting, including cosleeping.
fast forward 7 months, and thing one had graced us with his presence. he was the picture of perfect. i mean, i had literally never felt anything like the love i felt for him. it was exhilarating, and exhausting, and completely different than i thought it would be. while i had said i nonchalantly that i would give breastfeeding a whirl, when my baby came, i was now on a mission to make it work (and it was not an easy start). while i had needed every single contraption available to put my baby in when he arrived, i didn’t want him to be put down. i snuggled with him every second i could.
then came night.
i was tired. i was sore. i was the sole provider of his nutrition. i could not stand to put him in his cradle at to sleep. it felt wrong to me. still, i kept at it. every night for 2 weeks, i put him into his cradle to sleep, and every night he didn’t sleep, and consequently, i didn’t sleep. then at 2 weeks old, my perfect little baby ended up back in the hospital because his jaundice levels were so high. that whole night and day he was in an incubator. i wasn’t allowed to hold him, and i wasn’t allowed to nurse him. friends, i cannot imagine doing this for longer than the 2 days we did. my heart goes out to those that endure anything along these lines. we were blessed to have such a tiny, little hospital stay.
it was enough though. when we came home, i just couldn’t put him down, and i just couldn’t put him back in that cradle. i fell asleep that night with my baby snuggled next to me, and we slept. we both slept. it was glorious.
after that, my Baby Book, was my Baby Bible. i guess i didn’t know as much as i thought i did.
three babies later, i can tell you we don’t even own a crib. there was a time that we were closet cosleepers. it’s impossible to hide it now, since the older kids would rat us out, and there is no crib. it may not be for everyone, but it works for us, and it just feels right for us. 11 years ago, i didn’t have the confidence to back our decision to cosleep, and i felt like i was the only person in the world that slept with my baby. i scoured the internet for more proof that i wasn’t crazy, there wasn’t much. i have since figured out, we are definitely not alone! over the years though, i have heard some ridiculous questions..
if you do cosleep, i’m sure these questions will be familiar to you, and if you don’t- there’s no shame in that (amber doesn’t either, and she is fabulous mama!), just don’t ask these questions!
1. how do you and your husband DO anything???!!! really? that is not anybody’s business, and yet, i am amazed by the amount of times this has been the first question out of a person i barely know’s mouth. don’t ask this. ever.
2. aren’t you worried you will roll over your baby in your sleep? well, i don’t drink or do drugs, i don’t even take cough medicine, so, no. if any of my babies wiggles their pinky toe while in bed with me, i am up. i don’t put pillows around them, and i use a bed rail, so the baby is always next to just me. that said, it’s so sad that people ask that question. i always felt like they were suggesting, i don’t love my baby enough to put him in his crib.
3. what if he never leaves your bed? actually, brent used to tease that thing one would come back to bed with us, after being out driving around with his friends. no. he sleeps in his own bed, and i was never worried my 16 year old would have any weird issues of wanting to sleep in our bed.
4. how do you get any sleep with him right next to you moving around? listen, i truly believe that it’s completely OK that we all have different parenting styles and ways of doing. i don’t for one second think that there is one right way to do things. what does upset me, is the lonely place those that don’t abide by the norm, end up in. i do sleep great with my baby next to me. she doesn’t even cry at night, never has. she starts fidgeting, and gets restless, and i pick her up, nurse her, and she goes back to sleep and so do i. i feel like i would have a harder time sleeping if she were in a different room.
5. isn’t that dangerous??!! this goes along with number 2, but i feel like it’s worse (for me, at least). there is a ton of research out there that states that cosleeping can actually be beneficial. it can help regulate temperature, it can regulate breathing patterns, and it can even remind your baby to eat. i don’t think it’s dangerous if you’re not altered…
i’m not here to say everyone should choose to cosleep. i never in a million years, would have guessed i would cosleep with my babies. choosing to cosleep, or not to cosleep, is a personal choice, and we all do what works best for our families. just make sure you don’t ask these questions, if you choose not to…
keep your eyes peeled for a follow up to this…all the things i love about cosleeping