I’m Not a Co-Sleeper, But I Co-Sleep.

Before I had Luca, I was adamant about many things.

Like, he wasn’t going to watch too much television.

Now, at almost four years old, he can pretty much belt out every cartoon theme song that’s ever be written.

He wouldn’t be big juice drinker, because of the sugar factor. Selfishly, this was more for my benefit than his, because HAVE YOU SEEN A KID CRACKED OUT ON FRUIT PUNCH?

This bit me in the ass hard, after discovering he was allergic to the milk I’d been poisoning him with for two years.

I would not spoil him with material things.

He has approximately 4,034 dinosaurs.

And the big one, I WILL NOT BE A CO-SLEEPER! Nothing against people who are, it just wasn’t for me. My bed was my bed and his was his.

End of story.

Until it wasn’t.

He now crawls into my bed every. single. night. around one in the morning, sometimes earlier.

It hasn’t always been this way. He used to fall asleep on his own each night, and wake up in his own bed each morning.

I can’t recall exactly when it happened, maybe sometime towards the end of my pregnancy with Leo, or when we switched him to a big boy bed in another room, or possibly when he became aware of things that go bump in the night.

Whatever the catalyst was, it caused me to begin lying next to his bed each night, until he was out cold.

This backfired on me rather quickly. He grew accustomed to having me by his little side when trying to fall back asleep. So, when he’d wake up throughout the night and I was gone, he couldn’t go back to sleep without me.

I became his security blanket…his pacifier.

Fine, as long as he was still sleeping in his own room, I could deal.

Then one day he got sick with something minor, probably a cold, so I brought him into my bed to snuggle.

And again the next night.

And the next.

Everyone had an opinion on it, as everyone usually does.

Ohhhh, bad move. You’re never going to get him out of your bed now. Tough love. Let him cry. It will only take a few nights.

Everyone’s balls are so much bigger from the sidelines, aren’t they?

But, it wasn’t like he was being a spoiled child or taking advantage of my weak nature. My Luca is so very sensitive. To everything. And, for this, I am so very grateful. Because, I want him to be sensitive. But, as little as he is, it can be really tough to process, and feel, all those emotions.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total pushover. If he’s throwing a fit because I won’t buy him a toy, I have no problem letting him throw himself on the floor, kicking and screaming.

I don’t indulge that sort of behavior with him.

Most days, anyhow.

But, this? This is different.

The kid is terrified of the dark. How can I possibly take a tough love approach?

I’m especially sensitive to this because I was TERRIFIED of the dark as a child. For years, I’d lie awake at night in tears, my tiny body buried under my covers, because everyone knows they make you invisible. I’ll always remember the sweet relief that came with crawling into my mom’s bed.

For the past year, I’ve tried to get him to stay in his bed. There have been many late night shouting and crying matches, leaving us both frustrated and drained.

Then one day a thought occurred to me. I pictured myself a decade from now, looking back on this period in our lives, wondering what I would tell myself.

And I have no doubt what it would be.

Why was I ever so fucking hard on my baby because he wanted to sleep with his mommy?

The regret would be excruciating for me.

And the silly thing is, I was being so hard on him because of all the well-intentioned shouts from the sidelines. Because of what other people were telling me was right and wrong.

But, you know what I’ve decided?

Fuck other people.

I know they mean well, but this is my baby and my life…AND MY BABY!

Someone recently approached it from a different angle, asking me, “Well, how is this affecting your quality of life?”

And you know what?

It’s making my life better.

I love scooping him, his blankie, and ten dinosaur friends into my arms when he’s scared and crying in his dark room. The relief on his face is a relief I know all too well.  When he falls onto my bed and snuggles up next to me, all the worry is gone from him.

And, I love waking up next to him, with his crazy, beautiful bed-head.

Isn’t all this my job as his mother?

Sure, there are nights when I’m frustrated, with a foot in my eye and a dinosaur up my ass, but it is what it is.

He needs me.

And really, I need him just as much.

As a parent, there are so many battles we have to fight. So, I’ve decided that this will no longer be one of them.

Because, if he doesn’t feel safe in his own house, where can he feel safe?

Besides, the day will come when he won’t want to sleep with me. I’ll eventually be replaced by some skanky high-schooler with piercings in odd places.

Bitch.

So, for now, I’ll continue letting him crawl into my bed each and every night, until he decides he doesn’t need me by his side to face the night anymore.

But, there’s one thing I want to be really clear about….

I am not a co-sleeper.

 

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “I’m Not a Co-Sleeper, But I Co-Sleep.

  1. I was 100% against cosleeping. And then I had a baby. A baby who wouldn’t sleep on his back in his bassinet. Out of desperation I called my aunt, a doctor, and pleaded with her to tell me it was okay to place my newborn on his stomach to sleep. No she said. She said just put him in bed between me as my husband. I didn’t want to. But I also didn’t want a baby who cried all night. Long story short and I’m cosleeping with my second child. And despite everyone telling me I’d never get my first born out of our bed shortly after his second birthday he chose his bed in his room to go to sleep. No flighting, no tears, no big deal. There are many times I wish my 16mo old wasn’t in our room but like you I think in 12ish years he’ll want next to nothing to do with his uncool mom so I saver the cuddles and watching him fall to sleep. It won’t last forever.

  2. I LOVE this post! This is exactly how I feel about the crazy sleeping situation in our house. By the end of each night I am in bed with one kid and my husband is in another bed with the other kid.

    Ideal . . . nope but at this point they just want the security of knowing that a parent is close by and that is not a bad thing . . . contrary to what those on the sidelines seem to think.

  3. Hey, whatever gets you through, is my motto. I for one was never going to allow video games. Guess what the boys get to do on the weekends? Guess what gives me sanity on a rainy day? Mmmm hmmm.

  4. No judgement from me. You do what you have to do. We’ve been lucky so far. We’ve tried bringing Addie into our bed when she’s sick and so far she hates sleeping in our bed. Of course, now we have two night lights in her room and more times than not we have to leave her bedroom door open until she’s asleep. 🙂

  5. Oh Allison.

    Since the divorce Ava has been anxious about sleeping alone. It comes in spurts. This kid who always slept alone, in her own bed from 9 months on.

    I’ve had people tell me the same thing. I’ve worried and fretted over it, worried that I’m somehow damaging her by letting her sleep in my bed. My ex MIL will get on my case about how she won’t sleep on her own over there and it’s all my fault because I let her sleep with me.

    But I decided this was not a hill I was willing to die on. I let her guide me and some nights she will happily sleep in her own bed, surrounded by 5 pillow pets and a dozen other stuffed animals. And some nights she clings to me and asks “Mommy can I sleep in your bed?”.

    I’m with you. In ten years, they won’t want the cuddling and closeness that they crave now. We turned my baby’s world upside down and if sleeping in my bed gives her some comfort and reassurance, then like you said “fuck other people”.

    xoxoxo

  6. I am smiling as I read this post. Man it was so me too. NEVER EVER!!!! I swore it. I did well with it for years. My girls almost never slept with me. Then my son was born. He was so tiny (not really, he was my biggest baby at 8.6 pounds) and needy (again, not really) and we brought him home in a early snow storm. I couldn’t put him in his crib that night. I just physically couldn’t. It was as much about him as it was me. The previous year I’d had a second trimester miscarriage and yeah. Maybe it was all me. But I was okay with it.

    I got him into his crib around 11 months. Then I got divorced and my middle kid started sleeping with me every night.

    Shrug. I’m not a co-sleeper either. I just…well I don’t mind when I end up with one or both of my younger kids in my bed.

  7. Oh I wanted to add….they all eventually do sleep alone. That’s the thing. People tell me oh she won’t ever sleep alone if you keep this up. Ever? Really? Ever is a long time when one is talking about my seven and three year olds.

  8. I completely agree with this post.

    My 4 year old daughter doesn’t sleep in our bed EVERY night, but I’ve stopped trying to stop HER. This won’t last forever, and it’s a precious time.

  9. I was never against co-sleeping. We did with my first and ignored all the unsolicited advice. My middle child is super independent and I swear, came out of the womb that way. She wanted nothing to do with sleeping snuggled up with me. She’s almost 3 now and will very occasionally take a nap with me. The baby is 13 months and in her own crib most of the time. If she’s having a rough night I bring her over to the bed with me. I’d rather that than sacrifice both of our sleep.
    My son would rather sleep in our bed like all the time too. I let him do it on weekends but on school nights I tell him he has to sleep in his own bed. It doesn’t help that my hubby works nights so I’m tempted to let the kids sleep with me just so there’s *someone* to snuggle with.

  10. Isn’t it funny how much of a better parent you are, BEFORE you have kids?

    We were the same way with our first, and it worked out OK as an infant, because when we lived in CA, our first house was so small, that his room was like, a popcorn farts distance from our room. When we moved to our permanent house, his room was further down the hall, but he was already established in his crib and it wasn’t an issue. We did co-sleep with him when we traveled (way easier than dragging a pack n’ play with us, and we all slept great), and occasionally, he will climb into bed with us and sleep, and I don’t really get uppity about it. We co-slept with our second because you know how it is when you have your second, Jesus, JUST GO TO FUCKING SLEEP ALREADY. And it was the ONLY way we were getting sleep for that first six months.

    I look at it this way, they won’t co-sleep in your bed when they’re 12, because they’re way too concerned about what other kids think at that age. My sister slept in my parents room for three years as a small kid, because she was afraid of things that went bump in the night, and now she’s married and lives on her own, and holds down a job as a semi-functioning adult (I mean, we’re all in therapy for something, right?).

    • “Isn’t it funny how much of a better parent you are, BEFORE you have kids?”
      Very funny, loved this.
      Great post, i’m a closet cosleeper, didn’t even get a nursery ready for my second. But i’m cool with it.

  11. My very favorite thing in the world was sleeping with my newborn on my chest. Seriously, brings tears of happiness to my eyes to remember how wonderful it was.

    My husband has always been more against kids in our bed, only because they tend to snuggle up to me and kick him out. 🙂

    Our boys had a time when they weren’t in our bed anymore, but with my recent health issues, not only do we allow them to come in, we encourage it.

    They won’t be there forever, and I seriously love cuddling with them, especially my youngest who is so snuggly.

    We were all perfect parents before we had kids, now we just do the best we can and are perfect for our own families.

  12. I kinda/sorta co-slept with my first. Like, we took naps together, but generally she slept in her crib at night. It wasn’t something I stressed about.

    With my 2nd, I desperately wanted to co-sleep, because my (now ex-)husband had moved out of our bedroom when I was 6 months pregnant, and I felt so alone in that enormous king-size bed. I wanted the baby in there with me, just so I wouldn’t feel so horribly isolated. Of course, I gave birth to the lightest sleeper ever in the history of the world, so that didn’t work out. By the time she was 6 weeks old, she was in the crib in her own room with an air filter running for white noise. Turns out I needed sleep more than companionship.

    After my ex moved out, though? My oldest suddenly wanted to get in bed with me every night. And so many people cautioned me about it, “oh if you let her sleep with you, she’ll never leave.” Which, really? You expect me to think she’s still going to be crawling in bed with me when she’s a teenager? Sorry, no. She’s not hurting anything, she’s not disrupting my sleep, and everyone is fine. And yes, I do love seeing her sleepy eyes and crazy bed-head next to me when I first wake up in the morning. Not a thing wrong with that.

    Like everything else, you do what’s best for your family. Luca is lucky to have a kick-ass mama like you.

  13. The past few years all I can think about is the noise that is created around me leading to me not being able to hear the voices I relied upon for a full 35 years before I got myself in the family way.

    The books, the pinterest boards, the well meaning (um, um, um) relatives and in-laws, the people who are talking about their own experiences only we are so used to hearing everything through the veil of criticism, it is hard to tell.

    We slept the five of us in one room up until last year at this time. My eldest was 8, the others were 6 1/2 and 4 when we finally moved the three of them — two girls and a boy — into a room of their own. My husband said it was the most romantic period of his life, to date. I hope I don’t have to be clear in saying that it was not male/female romantic.

    I think the closer I get to not caring what how things work for others or what they think is “right”, the easier it is to hear my own inner guiding voices, the ones who have never steered me wrong before. It is a relief to be able to hear them (me) again.

    Um, I really like your post. Can you tell?

    karen

  14. Alexa’s been wanting to come back to bed with me again….after a year or so of wonderful alone sleep I now have two kids in my bed. I just can’t do the 1am fights to keep her in her bed, and honestly I don’t think it’s fair to force a kid who is visibly scared to stay alone in the dark. I’m a bit of a softie in that respect though.

    I really do like sleeping with her most nights, it’s just hard because she’ll have a fitful moment and wake her sister…then screamy battles start and I’m fried.

    I’m looking forward to a year from now when Emma is hopefully sleeping all night and they can both lay peacefully next to each other. Maybe they’ll want to co-sleep in their own room, HEH!

  15. I hear a lot about how those of us without kids are the ones shooting our mouths off about parenting choices, but see way more people who parent differently weigh in with opinions. (Of course I have no opinion about much, lest I be burnt in effigy on the internet. ;))

    That said, I always feel like if a kid is as loved and cared for as yours obviously are, and you’re following your instincts and what you think is best for them and your family, screw judgment from others. They don’t have to live in your house or walk your path. It sounds to me like just like he has sought refuge with you for this patch, he’ll eventually go back to his own space when he’s ready, too. Nothing wrong with that.

  16. You know what the very best sleeping method for children is?

    The one that makes you happiest. Or, the one that works best for your family.

    Everyone who has a problem with that can go eat a stack of dried reindeer dongs, otherwise known as pizzles.

    We were not co-sleepers either, until an earthquake shook our apartment in L.A. at 2 in the morning and we raced downstairs for what seemed like forever to get to our tiny sleeping boy. And from then on, we brought him up to our bed when we went to bed at night, because we couldn’t deal with what would have happened if there had been an actual emergency. And when we moved away from L.A., he still came to bed with us at night because that’s what he was used to. And we loved it. And we got so much shit from other people for it.

    But as I previously mentioned, they were cordially invited to eat reindeer wangs, because it was none of their beeswax. 🙂

  17. Such a sweet post! I never thought about it that way but I think you make a good point! I try to keep my three year old in his room but sometimes he wakes up in the middle of night and comes into my bed. I don’t mind. I too love the cuddles!!

  18. We lived this, and the thing that made it hard was all the people telling me how wrong it was. One day I was talking (whining) about it with my uncle and he said the most profound thing, “I would give anything in the world to be able to crawl into bed with my momma now. Let that baby sleep with you for as long as she wants.” It hit home. After that my attitude was “screw the naysayers.” It all worked out.

  19. I find myself asking the “what will I think about/feel about this down the road” question a lot as a new mom. All we can do is what feels right at the time. And I can’t stand to see a quivering bottom lip & tiny baby tears. Maybe I’m a pushover but I’ll never get those times again.

    And, so many sideline voices!! GAH!

  20. I feel you. Big. I had ideas that both babies would be in cribs from the moment the got home. Sucker. I did the same thing with ava. She was 5 years old and I was dealing with a brand new baby and a new house when we finally got her to go to sleep alone. Thank God for the magical video monitor.

    Screw it all. You do what works for you and your family. For me most nights I was too exhausted to bother fighting her. And she’s perfectly good now. Does she still like to sleep in our bed? Hell yes. But that works in our advantage as a bribe.

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