When I was pregnant with my son, I never thought we would end up cosleeping. I remember reading about it and thinking, ‘No way are we having a baby in our bed! I need my space!” Plus it didn’t seem safe. ‘What if I squished him?!’
Then Dax was actually born. Our healthy and beautiful son found his way into our arms in the wee hours of a quiet fall morning. While that first day we held him and oohed and aahed over him while he napped, that first night we looked forward to some much-needed shut-eye. We eased our sleeping little angel into his cozy bassinet, and tiptoed to her beds.
Within one minute, Dax awoke and started wailing. His doting father picked him up, soothed him back to sleep, and placed him gently back to his bassinet. This time, Dax barely hit the sheets and started wailing. Repeat, repeat, and repeat.
It was abundantly clear: Our brand new baby would not be sleeping alone. However, tacked everywhere in the hospital room were looming posters of parents sleeping in their beds with babies and big red X’s over it. The hospital stance was clear: It was a dangerous no-no.
Exhausted, we pulled him into my bed and took sleeping shifts. I tried to stay awake, but would frequently doze. When a hospital staffer walked in, I would rouse myself, pretending to be simply holding him. I felt like a bad parent already.
Our little boy slept no better at home. When placed down in his expensive crib, he wailed. So, we did what the majority of families around the world do: We co-slept. And guess what? Our son, nuzzled next to our warm bodies, slept like an angel, nursing every few hours throughout the night. He almost never cried, and I slept amazingly well.
While we made sure to follow all the safety precautions recommended for co-sleeping, I honestly felt he was SAFER sleeping with us. I knew instinctively that I wouldn’t roll over on him. The slightest move and my eyes would snap open, my hand moved to his little chest, and I’d wait for his breath before drifting back to sleep.
As the weeks and months passed, co-sleeping continues to feel comfortable, natural and healthy to us. I feel angry when I hear recommendations from trusted authorities against any co-sleeping whatsoever. I think it scares people and robs them of their ability to trust in their own instincts, whether that means sharing a bed with your baby for a few months or a few years. It’s not for everyone, but for us, co-sleeping has been one of the most special, beautiful, a natural bonding experiences we’ve shared with our son. I’m so thankful we’re able to block out the societal noise urging us otherwise.
Dax is five months old now. His sleep cycle has matured considerably, and we moved him recently into a bassinet beside our bed. However, when he wakes for his 5 a.m. nursing, he sleeps with us after that. It’s the perfect hybrid for our family. We love waking up, cuddling with him, and seeing his smile before we peel ourselves from the bed for the day. I look forward to it for years to come.
Darcy K. is a stay-at-home mom to little Dax and fawns over him endlessly in her blog Little Mes & Yous. She cloth diapers, breastfeeds, baby wears, and does whatever else she wants to too. You can follow Darcy on her blog Little Mes & Yous.
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We had the exact same experience with our daughter. We had planned to have her sleep in a bassinet next to our bed, but she wasn’t having that! We co-slept for five months, and she now sleeps in her crib with no issues. But when she wakes up at 5 or 6 am, she then comes to bed with me after that. I love it. 🙂 I think that as long as proper precautions are made, co-sleeping is definitely a safe choice!
I do too! Plus, I LOVE the cuddles :-)! I feel so close to our little guy.
I started co-sleeping with my daughter when she was just a few weeks old and we LOVE it!! I, like many new parents, was very frustrated and exhausted with no sleep. Finally, I was so sleep deprived one night I put her in bed with me. And we both slept soundly and for 5 hours, which was the longest stretch for her, and one of the longest stretches for me in weeks. During my pregnancy I read about co-sleeping and the benefits of it but when my mother came to help me out with the baby she stressed to me repeatedly how important it was for my baby to sleep in her own crib and blah blah blah. I was suffering from postpartum depression and I had no mental capacity to argue with her about the benefits of co-sleeping when done safely. But I finally decided that co-sleeping was the best thing for our family and we were all finally getting a good nights sleep. She is 5 months old now and we still sleep together. I hope we do for a long time as we love it! It’s a wonderful way for us to bond together and there is nothing better in this world than waking up to her smiling face. You have to do what’s best for your family and ignore the nay-sayers.
Adriane, YES! I feel some of that backlash from my family too. I never know what to say, but I do what I will anyway. It’s weird to feel different from my family :-(. But I think you know in your heart what’s right for you and your family.