I was not a co-sleeper. When my first baby was a newborn, I was terrified to smother him in his sleep. So I made sure he slept safely in a crib, without a blanket, stuffie or bumper pad anywhere near!
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I didn’t get much sleep.
When he was nine months old, he learned to stand up – in his sleep – and would scream for me to nurse him back to sleep at 2am. I decided to try to train him to sleep through the night. For two months, I walked the floor every single night for two hours, refusing to give in. Finally it worked and he slept through the night. But then I went back to work and when he occasionally woke up I didn’t have it in me to fight him. I gave him a bottle and rocked him back to sleep. By eighteen months, he was finding his way into our bed every single night. And there he slept until he was four.
But I never really considered myself a co-sleeper. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a true, hard-core, co-sleeper. They have a “family bed” – a king size mattress on the floor in case the little ones fall out. Both her girls sleep with them and she swears she doesn’t regret it for a minute. So when my daughter started to wake at nine months, my sister encouraged me to just co-sleep with her. “This is such a short time in her life. And co-sleeping is the greatest thing next to nursing. Trust me – just do it. You will all be so much happier.” I decided to become a co-sleeper.
Since my son, who was then six, still liked to crawl into bed with us and we only had room for a queen sized bed, I had to find a different solution than all four of us in one bed. I put a twin mattress on the floor in my daughter’s room and she and I co-sleep there. Yes, it seems kind of crazy at times – I am sleeping on the floor in my daughter’s room and my son is taking my spot in my bed many nights. But you know what? I don’t mind a bit.
In fact, I love co-sleeping with my daughter so much I don’t regret the decision at all. After a long day of work and household craziness, it is so nice to snuggle up and bond with her. It is no wonder our kids want to sleep next to us at night! It is such a stress reliever and such a comfort to feel each other’s presence, to breathe the same air.
Sure I wish we could fit a king size bed in our house where both of our kids could join us at night. But that isn’t an option for us. So for this short window of time in our children’s lives, we are making do with what we have. And I am refusing to apologize or feel like I failed by sleep sharing. No, I am embracing co-sleeping and enjoying every last second of it.