Before I actually had a baby, I believed I’d never allow mine into our bed. I believed it was a recipe for disaster. And after I had the baby, my belief was only reinforced by all the rhetoric I kept seeing about how unsafe it is.
So I followed a book about babies and sleep and schedules and followed it meticulously.
And when that didn’t work, I bought a “gentle sleep training” program and did everything it said.
When that didn’t work, I tried another book.
And then another program.
Nothing worked. And we were miserable. Every time I tried to put him in his bassinet safely next to our bed, he’d scream no matter how many times I laid him down “drowsy but awake”.
I was so exhausted I kept falling asleep with him in my arms night after night. One night after his last wake up, I gave up and put him in the bed with me… and we slept. The next night it happened again, only earlier this time. Each night I kept giving in because we were both sleeping! Until finally, I put his bassinet in the attic and called it what it was. Our sweet baby boy was co-sleeping with us.
I then realized…
When do I do anything I’m told at face value? Why is it that I didn’t second guess this as I do with nearly everything?
When I started digging, I was blown away by all the research about just how safe it actually is when it’s done right. I felt like I had been robbed of those precious months when we could have been sleeping soundly right from the beginning. Additionally, there are actually a ton of health benefits for baby's development of which I was completely unaware.
Co-sleeping changed everything for me. My depression dissipated quickly, I felt well-rested more than I didn’t, and my attitude improved as did my relationship with my husband. I started to enjoy being a mother.
And now the evenings we spend together in bed are the times of the day I cherish the most.
:: Watching with our little tyke as he rolls around between us. Observing him as he goes back and forth showing us whatever new trick he learned that week.
:: Seeing the outline of his head bob around in the middle of the night between sleep cycles makes me smile before I pull him close to me to nurse and go back to sleep.
:: Feeling his tiny body pressed against mine as he sleeps with his little arm and leg wrapped around me as close as he can get.
:: Hearing all the little noises he makes as he dreams through the night and being by his side when he wakes and needs me.
:: Being there at first light to see the big smile on his face and listening to him chatter in gibberish what I’m certain is “good morning mama”, “I love you”, and seeing how happy he is.
Now, most nights we feel well-rested and connected in a way we were struggling to before.
If co-sleeping isn’t for you, I get that. I thought it wasn’t for me either. It wasn’t until our sleeping situation was so dire that I simply had to find another alternative. And I happened to find our solution by accident.
I’d you’re scared to co-sleep, don’t be! Below are a few of the resources I found helpful if you want to look into how to do it safely and learn just how much it can benefit you and your family.
Now I enjoy each day and night with my baby. My focus is no longer on his sleep, but on HIM. I feel robbed of those months filled with unnecessary stress and forced disconnect. I feel angry that no one ever told me there was another way. And mostly I regret putting aside my own intuition and listening to everyone else.
"7 Benefits of Co-Sleeping with Baby" by Dr. Sears
"Co-sleeping; Yes, No, Sometimes?" by Dr. Sears
"Sleep - Bedshare" by La Leche League
"Bedsharing & Breastfeeding" by The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
"Co-sleeping & Bed-sharing" by Kelly Mom
Taylor Kulik Sleep & Wellness - her Instagram is fire