This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.
My journey towards co-sleeping began years ago, I think it was a 20/20 special about it. I thought it was odd at the time, boy, how my mind has been changed!
When I was pregnant with our first child, I knew I wanted to co-sleep. It just made sense. I was going to breastfeed, and all the people I talked to admitted to how much easier it was to nurse at night if the baby was with you, how much more sleep they got once they just brought the baby to bed. I also couldn’t fathom leaving my very, very small new baby in another room to sleep, it didn’t seem right or natural at all. Plus, the practical side is that we lived in a one bedroom house, with a very small bedroom, no room for a crib. We still have never had a crib, through two children :).
My husband admitted later to thinking I was nuts, but knew we didn’t have the space, and thought he’d just let me do what I wanted. He told me after a few months of this, and how he was convinced it was much better. He was never woken by a crying baby, since I (and the milk!) where right there within a little wiggle. He said that he had watched Paul rooting around at night for milk and how he would just fuss a little and then latch right on. It just seemed like that was how it was suppose to be.
I had planned to let our children sleep with us/me until they were ready. My husband wasn’t convinced of this right away, but he is even more open now to letting them stay than I had been in the beginning. We both feel that if they need us at night, and the comfort they get from being with us, that it’s better for them, and we all get more, restful sleep.
We are so vulnerable when we sleep, it only makes sense that a small child would want to be near/with the people who have protected them all their life. Plus what is better when you have a bad dream? Having someone for comfort right there or having to scream into the dark night and HOPE someone comes? Both my husband and I still have horrid dreams, we could not imagine letting our children go through that alone.
At some point we plan to put a little bed for Paul in our room to see what he thinks. We have asked him, but mostly he gives us this look of ‘why would you do that to me’ and says he wants to cuddle with us :). I am fully confident that when his time comes, he’ll move on to sleeping solo.
Physically, we foster safe sleep by having the bed on the floor. Paul sleeps between us, and Dolores between me and a wall. No worries of falling off. In the winter I make sure they are dressed warmly so there is no need for extra blankets. I also make sure that every one has their own blanket, that way no one is fighting with someone else for one, and when we move throughout the night no one loses covers or gets their head covered. Paul has been fully able to cover and uncover himself for over a year, so he does that throughout the night depending on how warm or cool he is. Dolores is still to little, so I make sure she is covered every time I rouse. It is second nature, and not ever a real disruption of sleep.
I thoroughly enjoy sleeping with my children next to me. There is nothing nicer than crawling into bed next to all the most important people in your life, and the sweet little cuddles and snores are all the better :). Yes, there are nights of endless nursing, but then I remember how much harder those nights would be if I had to actually get out of bed to tend to their needs. I am very thankful for having a supportive husband who fully supports our co-sleeping.
Below is the only picture I have. Dolores is about a week old, Paul about 2 and half.