<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d18872353\x26blogName\x3dThe+Lactivist+Breastfeeding+Blog\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://thelactivist.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://thelactivist.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d4224927842028678352', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

My Conflict with Cosleeping

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On the rare day that I get to the mall to take the kids for a walk I always end up with a conflict. As I walk past the Cinnabon stand, my mouth waters, my eyes glaze over and my hips instantly expand by at least 1/2". Yep...all I have to do is smell them and I gain weight. Thus, I look longingly at them as we walk by, but deep down, I really feel like I'll regret it if I "give in."

And that, my friends, sums up my internal conflict with the idea of co-sleeping.

With Elnora, we never even considered it. Cause as you know, co-sleeping with your child results in:

1.) INSTANT DEATH!!! DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!! YOUR CHILD WILL SMOTHER!!!!

2.) You'll NEVER have sex again.

3.) They'll sleep with you until they're in high school and that's just SICK.

Right? :)

So, like a good little American mommy, Elnora slept in a pack n play across the room for the first two nights she was home. Then, (due to more than a little pressure from well meaning family members) we moved her to her crib. I didn't sleep for the next three nights. Every single sound on the monitor made me want to go look. Every single LACK of sound on the monitor made me want to go look. I wrote it off as first time mom jitters. But deep down, I didn't really believe it. After all, I'm the mom that raised my first kid like she was a third kid. (Germs? Ehh...whatever...it's only been on the floor five minutes...who cares if the dog licked it?)

When Emmitt was born, I was bound and determined to nurse him. We spent the first week on the back porch. He was eating about once an hour so I'd simply sleep in the recliner with him on my chest. We tried side lying but we had a bad latch and I ended up with cracked nipples. (And woo boy, ain't nothin' more fun than big old cracks in your nipples...) Since his nursery was upstairs and our bedroom was downstairs (and there was no WAY I was traipsing upstairs eleventy billion times a night) we stuck him in a bassinet next to the bed.

Until three weeks later when he outgrew it. (LOL, yep...my four week old was too big for a bassinet...he's a hoss.)

So we traded our pack n play with my mom's because her's had a full size bassinet insert. (So I didn't have to lean over so far to get him in and out.)

Almost five months later, he still sleeps in there, in our room, next to the bed. In fact, he's never been inside his nursery.

Now you're asking yourself...why am I not co-sleeping this time around? Surely I don't really believe those three things I wrote above...

Not at all...but I DO have my reasons...

1.) I'm not going to be able to convince Greg to put the mattress on the floor. It's just NOT going to happen. Since we have a tall bed and hardwood floors, well...obviously if Emmitt did slip out, it would be bad. (I've already dropped him on his face once...don't really want to do it again.)

2.) Greg is a cover-guy. He wants sheets, blankets, comforters...all that great baby smothering stuff. Since I spent the first year of Elnora's life waking up in a cold sweat convinced that she was buried under the mounds of covers (while she slept peacefully in her crib), I'm a little hesitant to try it out in real life.

3.) While I LOVE cuddling up with my little guy and find side-lying to be a fantastic way to get some sleep while he nurses, I also know that I don't want a 3 year old sleeping with me. Heck, I don't want a 2 year old or even an 18 month old sleeping with me. (More on this later.)

4.) I don't sleep as well with Emmitt in the bed as I do with him in his pack-n-play. Sure, I can sleep while I nurse, but other than that, I end up being worried about him getting buried in covers, so I sleep SUPER light. That leaves me exhausted in the mornings...more so than I am with having to get up to feed him.

See, we do co-sleep sometimes and Greg would be fine with it if we did it all the time. (Especially when it's 4am and I'm ready to cry...his response is "just put him in bed with us!") Usually it's the last feed of the "night" which actually happens around 7. Greg's getting up to get ready for work then anyway and I usually have until 8 or 8:30 before Elnora's going to wake up. So...I snag Emmitt and the two of us sleep in the bed by ourselves for another hour or two after he nurses back to sleep. On the rare day that I have my work done early and I can nap while Elnora naps, Emmitt and I take a nap together in the bed during which he nurses once or twice.

Ok...all of that ramblingness was to get to this point...

I have no problem with co-sleeping...I think it's a great idea...I really enjoy doing it and I have no fear of "spoiling" my child. That said, I have an immense fear of forming a habit for my child that I will then be forced to either live with, or break.

Knowing how difficult it is to convince a two year old to do something that they don't want to do, I realize how tough it would be to get a two year old out of our bed if I decide that we don't want him there any more. As such, if I were to shift to co-sleeping, I'd pretty much be committing to doing it until he decided on his own that he was fine with switching OR until I was ready to go through the "fun" of making him move.

Neither one of those options appeal to me. In fact, they sound so awful that they're enough of a reason to keep me from going to full time cosleeping.

So while I love the idea (much like I love the smell of those Cinnabons) I'm just not sure that I want to live with the "consequences."

My current plan is to get both kids' rooms moved downstairs within the next month or two. (We have two bedrooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs.) That way, I can put Emmitt in his crib for naps during the day so that he can get used to sleeping in there, but he can stay with Greg and I in our room upstairs until he begins sleeping through the night. Once he does sleep through the night, it shouldn't be as hard to switch him to his crib because he'll already be used to sleeping there during the day.

Which leaves me curious to hear your experiences... Did you co-sleep with any of your kids? With one but not with others? How long did you co-sleep? How hard/easy was it to transition them to their own beds? How old were they when they moved out? (I'm not worried about the sex, you can have sex anywhere...lol...it's really the "habit" that worries me.)

Labels: , ,

  1. Blogger MamaBean | 9:22 AM |  

    Wow I'm the first to respond? lol, I expect this one to get a lot of comments.

    Have you ever heard of a sidecar? This is something we are preparing for in our household. I have a 6 month old baby girl who has been in between me and my hubby in our queen sized bed since we brought her home.

    Now let's clarify some things. For one, my husband, like yours, is a cover hog. Down comforter and flannel sheets up to the neck through most of the night. So yes I'm a light sleeper and am constantly checking to make sure she isn't smothered. So far so good. My husband also is a fish-flop turner due to some old injuries when he got back into Judo. Therefore every time he wants to "roll" over there is a small earthquake in our bed. All this combined with a small child who seems to grow larger at night and sometimes likes to go sideways between us, has got me ready to move her into her own space.

    I think she'll sleep better if she doesn't feel us rolling around. However, I am also still exclusively breastfeeding her, for at least another three months (doc's suggestion due to her being prone to allergies), so I need to keep her close to me.

    Hence the sidecar. Basically, you take one side completely off the crib and attach it to your bed frame. They get a large space to roll around in that is protected on 3 sides and is attached to your bed on the remaining side. You reach in when they get fussy, scoop them to you to feed or comfort, scoot them back when they fall asleep. Heck Jen with your super boobies you may be able to wiggle close enough that you won't even have to pull Emmitt into the bed with you!

    Like I said, we are in preparation to do this. We just got ourselves a crib, but still have our mattress on the floor so we are trying to find a bed frame that doesn't break the bank. Then we'll have to do some rearranging in our room. We also have hardwood floors, so I'm planning piling pillows and/or blankets on the floor at the edge of the crib on the off chance that once she starts crawling she'll manage to slip around the open side before I can wake up and grab her.

    I am also waiting for my Bean to finish whatever little growth spurt she is going through right now that is causing her to need extra nursings and cuddling (read: requires me to be touching her at all times throughout the night). Don't want to try to move her until she's settled back into a regular pattern!

    Sorry this is so long but we're excited to try this out. I'll let you know how it goes if you are interested!

  2. Anonymous jtm | 9:40 AM |  

    First - i *love* your shirts. Would by one now, but cafe press is behind in maternity wear and I'm not sure how to size the regular shirts LOL - advice would be appreciate!

    Second - it sounds like what you are doing is working? Right? I mean really the co-sleeping benefits as far as breathing patterns for SIDS reduction occur w/ baby in proximity, not necessarily in the same bed - nursing seems to be going well - so don't worry about your score on the crunchy scale ;-).

    Third - We have co-slept with all of our children. I am pregnant with number 7 (4 living, 2 lost prior to birth, one expected in September) so obviously sex need not be an issue LOL.

    I keep the nursling on my side of the bed (not between dh and I) so dh can deal w/ his own blankets separately. We have carpet floors so wasn't to concerned about falling - but it is easy enough to get a bedrail (be sure it fits properly for your bed).

    We've usually night weaned them/ moved them from sleeping right next to me during the next pregnancy which has been sometime between just shy of 2 and 3. That being said - after the night weaning part (which dh is in charge of) they usually end up back in our bed (except for the oldest) at some point during the night.

    They usually go to sleep with each other at various locations throughout the house (each of the oldest 3 do have their own rooms and beds) or on the floor of our room - the rule is they can't come into our bed until we are asleep (this gives us alone time).

    Right now the youngest just turned three and does still fall asleep in our bed as we haven't done anything to change that yet. I am getting ready to transition him to starting the night with his older brother (we currently have 2 boys and 2 girls) in preparation for the new baby.

    So - in answer to your question - that is how it works in our house :).

  3. Blogger Jennifer | 9:42 AM |  

    ROTFL at the super boobies comment...

    Truth be told (shhhh) I can actually nurse while pretty much laying on my back. *sigh* (I do have to put a blanket there to sort of prop me on my side, but they're big enough that I can move around a lot without him losing his latch.)

    I thought about the sidecar idea, but honestly, it kinda freaks me out. I think I worry about the bed scooting and them falling inbetween the cracks. Our bed is on casters (yes, I know I can take them off) and with the hardwood floor, it often moves when we get in and out of it. Since I'd have to sit up to pick him up from a sidecar, it didn't seem that much worse to pluck him out of the pack n play.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in our room until he's 9 or 12 months old.

    Our current plan once the bedrooms are moved and he's STARTING to sleep for long stretches is to put him in his crib at night. We've got a twin bed that will be in the nursery, so if he wakes up, I can come down, feed him and just finish the night in the twin bed.

    I think it's kind of like extended nursing. I'm so fully supportive of a mom that practices child-led weaning. I really admire them. But deep down, part of me feels like 18 months is going to be my limit...like at that point I'll really want to start gently weaning. I know full well that I may change my mind when I get to that point, but in the here and now, the idea of nursing a three year old icks me out. (ME, not someone else doing it, again, I think it's awesome...but it's kinda like running a marathon...good for you! I'm just not sure I can do it.)

    So yeah...would LOVE to hear how it turns out mamabean...and still hoping to get lots of other feedback on this topic as well.

    It makes me mad that so many moms are scared off of the idea by all the "death! death! death!" scares when we know the reality is that safe co-sleeping actually has a lower SIDS rate than crib sleeping.

    Now if mom doesn't want to co-sleep, no problem...but I can't help but think that there are a lot of moms that would LOVE to co-sleep but really are fearful that they're being bad parents if they do it...ya know?

  4. Blogger Jennifer | 9:48 AM |  

    jtm, if you hunt for it, there's a great little link on each product page that says "size chart." It will show a real life human being, give their height and weight and you can see how the shirts fit them.

    Seems to me that most of the regular t-shirts (the organic cotton one, the value tee, etc...) would all work pretty well if you bought a few sizes up from your normal.

    Or just wait until the babe is born and buy one of the sexy fitted ones. :)

    Anyway...LOL on your sex is not a problem comment. Love it! I'm with you on that...there's always the couch, the floor, the futon on the back porch, plenty of locations other than bed if we wanted to go that route though how you have the energy with that many kids is beyond me! (Though I do have an aunt and uncle that managed to have four in five years...so clearly some people just do have more energy than others...ya little bunny you!)

    All of that said, let me also say how sorry I am for your two losses. I've never been through it, but I know several people that have and my heart breaks for you.

  5. Blogger Erin | 9:50 AM |  

    We have the Arm's Reach co-sleeper, and I absolutely love it. I sleep with my infants close without worrying about their safety. With our first, my plan was for her to sleep there so until she was sleeping through the night, and then move her to her own crib and room across the house. Well, Madeleine didn't sleep through the night until she was 13 months old. She outgrew the Co-Sleeper at about six months (I discovered while napping with her, as a thud and a cry woke me). That night, I tried to put her in her big crib, but I really didn't want to get up and traipse across the house in the middle of the night to feed her. And there was something about the move that didn't feel right. I don't know if it was Mommy Instinct, or what, but I was very uneasy at the thought of putting her in that crib, and I was crying as I was trying to go to bed that night. My husband suggested she sleep with us. So we put her in our bed and she's been there ever since, and she's two. I tried to get her to at least nap in the crib, and I converted it to a toddler bed and tried that, too, for naps, but she just would not sleep in the darn thing.

    I have found that I love sleeping with Madeleine, and so has my husband. I work 12 hour nights, so for me, it's a nice way to reconnect and be a family after I've been working for a stretch. My husband likes it when I'm at work, because he's a very sound sleeper, and worried he wouldn't hear her if she slept in her own room. Now that she's two, however, and no longer nursing and sleeps well at night, we are getting ready to transition her to her own room. We bought new sheets and a comforter, and we are going to paint the room and make it a "Princess Room" with a "Princess Bed" (much thanks to the evil geniouses at Disney). I'm not expecting it to be immediate, I'm certain she'll end up back with us for the first several nights. But whatever. She'll get the hang of it eventually. And as far as sex is concerned, you just have to be creative. Quite frankly, the fact that we have a child at all has more to do with limiting that activity, rather than where that child sleeps.

    So sleeping with our child was not something we planned from the start, but we had to adapt when she didn't understand the plan. I totally understand the fears. I am an NICU nurse, and a big part of our discharge teaching has to do with SIDS prevention. It is helpfull to note two things about sleeping habits and SIDS, though. Making sure infants sleep on their backs is the single most important thing you can do to prevent SIDS. Deaths from SIDS have but cut in half in the decade or so since we started telling parents to put kids on their backs to sleep. Secondly, the AAP has started recommending that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, as studies have shown this also reduces the risk of crib death. And, of course, breastfeeding also reduces the risk.
    Noah is five months old now, and he'll be pulling himself up soon, which means he'll be able to flip himself out of the co-sleeper like his sister did. He's not sleeping all night yet, and we'll have to make some decisions. We'll probably put him in our bed, too, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. If there's been nothing else I've learned by being a mom, it's to stay flexible and keep your options open.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:06 AM |  

    We've coslept from almost the first week and are still cosleeping at 2.5 years. I love having him in bed with me! He has his own bed in his own room where he naps, but we love to snuggle up at night and sleep together. It makes waking up so much sweeter when I can get warm sleepy baby cuddles.

    When he was an infant it was SO much easier for us to cosleep. Why get out of bed, turn on the light, get baby out of crib, nurse, put baby back in crib and get back in your own bed 10,000 times a night when you can jsut roll over and lift up your shirt? That's what drove me to put DS in my bed in the first place. I was dead set on him having hsi own bed, but then reality kicked in with a side of convenience and he's been in our bed ever since.

    We've experimented with him sleeping in his own bed at night before. Usually he'll stay there until sunrise and then he'll come into bed with me and snuggle. If it was more of an issue to me I would be more adamant about him staying in his bed, but truthfully I love having him there with me, so if he wants to sleep with me, I don't mind at all. If we have another baby before he moves out of the family bed, though, we're definitely going to be putting him in his own bed. It's bad enough when I get kicked in the face, I wouldn't want that to happen to a newborn.

    -Jill

  7. Blogger Lori | 11:56 AM |  

    Our version of co-sleeping usually involves one of us sleeping with Pete on the couch while the other person gets the bed and some more restful sleep. Maybe we'd co-sleep if we had a king bed...

    Pete goes to bed in his crib, and whenever he wakes up, we try to get him settled (often by nursing/feeding) and then back into his crib. If he's not sleeping sound enough to go back in the crib or we're too lazy (read tired) to wait until he's settled, we lay down with him.

    He likes to nurse and use me as a pacifier so I don't sleep so well when I am nursing him all night.

    He is definitely fun to snuggle with though. :-)

  8. Blogger Becky Miller | 12:41 PM |  

    I second Erin on the Arm's Reach co-sleeper. I've had my four-month-old daughter (first child) sleeping in that since we brought her home. The co-sleeper attaches to the side of the bed, so it doesn't scoot away. Unless the baby really tried to shove between the two, she's not going to fall. I co-sleep part of the night most nights. My husband's request was that I only have her on my side of the bed between me and the co-sleeper, not between me and him. That way he doesn't worry about rolling over on her. This works great for us, and I get plenty of sleep this way. I can have her in bed with me as much as I want, and when I want her to be in her co-sleeper, she's still right next to me.

  9. Blogger beth | 12:45 PM |  

    Our baby girl slept with us until she was a year old. We never meant for it to happen, but she did. :-) she nursed every two hours around the clock for the first year. I tried getting up each time, but I was also having to get up at 5:45 each morning to go to work, and I was the walking dead, let me tell you. At least sleeping with her I was able to fall asleep while nursing. Oh, and also, she was such a light sleeper and was so attached, she would wake up and cry forever whenever we tried to put her in her crib. So taking two hours to put her to sleep each night was another reason for co-sleeping. Human contact all night = sleep all night.

    At a year, though, we spent the summer at my in-laws and they highly encouraged her sleeping in her crib. My mother-in-law is a fantastic woman and mother of four (all were nursed, whereas my mom didn't nurse any of us) and I decided to follow her advice. That meant a lot of tears for my baby girl. Especially since we were in the same room and at night, she would wake up and see us and cry for us, and we'd just lay there pretending to be too asleep to hear her. Or we'd get up and put her back down and tell her it was time to go "night night" until she finally gave up on us. Yep, that's what it felt like. Like we were letting her down and she had to give up on us. As much as I hated myself at the time, though, she's been sleeping through the night ever since and when that summer was over and we got a bigger apartment, she's even had her own room with no problems whatsoever.

    I'm a month away from having our new baby boy, and we have the pack and play with the bassinet feature all set up in our bedroom, but my husband jokes it won't get any use except as a changing table. We'll see. I don't have any clue how this child will be, and I've learned not to make assumptions, but to just watch your child and learn what he needs because each child needs something different.

  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:56 PM |  

    I just wanted to share this story that your entry reminded me of. We co-slept from the day Alisha came up until ... well shes 2.5 and she still sleeps with me. But one night, she was maybe 3 months old. Dave walks up freaking out. He runs around the house grabbing blankets and pillows and lines the bed with them. I sit there staring until I finally ask him what his problem is. and he said he had a dream alisha rolled out of bed and under our bed and we never found her again ! LOL ! Anyways, co-sleeping worked for us. Dave works nights now, so I have someone to cuddle. Its going to be hard to wean her from my bed when she leaves for college though ! lol !!

  11. Anonymous Lil | 3:06 PM |  

    We co-sleep. The baby sleeps between me and the wall (yes, I know it's a no-no. But our mattress fits SNUGLY against the wall. I can fit ONE finger between the wall and the mattress if I work at it. No risk of baby getting trapped there!)

    The husband gets his own blankets behind me, and I share mine with the baby- They only come up to his armpits, and I sleep with one leg bent up, and his feet touch my leg so he can't scoot down- so no smothering risk from the blankets. It's usually way too cold in our room to sleep without a blanket, even blanket sleepers are too cold to sleep in at night. Our building likes to turn the heat waaayy down when they think everyone's too fast asleep to notice and complain. I also sleep with one hand resting on his hip, so if he moves he wakes me up. The blankets only end up coming up to about my breast-height, and I sleep in a warm robe so my shoulders are covered.

    Since he naps in his own bed and we don't really keep a schedule (ie: he naps there during the day, or during the night when we're pulling all-nighters)I don't expect it will be grief transitioning him to sleeping there full-time eventually.

    And the night nursing rocks. Since we've co-slept since birth, he's been able to squirm a few inches over to my nipple and latch himself on since he was about a week old. So I barely have to wake up to nurse him.

    I can also closely monitor his temperature and adjust his coverings, since he's prone to over-heating. Our building goes from zero heat (freezing) to something like 500 degrees in a 15 minute period of time. When he gets too warm he'll start to squirm without waking up or fussing, I'll kiss his forehead and notice the light sweat that's starting, and I'll remove some of his clothes or pull off the blanket and let him sleep with just the sheet. Same thing with the cold.

    Then there's the fact that he'll occasionally pee through everything he's wearing and not notice until it becomes freezing cold against his skin, he'll then wake wide up and start screaming until he's changed, then have a hard time getting back to sleep. When we're sleeping together I notice the pee before he's awake and can change him without fully waking him up.

    I'm also deaf, so I freak out at the idea of using a monitor to listen for him, or even having him sleep two or three feet away from me where I couldn't hear his fussing sounds quite so clearly.

  12. Blogger Elizabeth F. | 5:55 PM |  

    I have 3 children. When I had my first child, I was struggling b/w the acceptable mainstream route of bassinette to crib around 3 mos. That worked well for my baby. She learned to sleep in her crib. I would stand by her and pat her until she fell asleep. I "trained" her.

    I am a reformed Baby Trainer. With my 2nd child, he was colicky. He nursed about every 30 mins I think. LOL! We had to have him in our bed. There was no other option. He wanted to be my his mama and would have it no other way. Right before he turned 2, I decided he must move. It was a long process. I sat by his bed patting him, deliriously, every night. After a few weeks, then I sat in his room, giving no eye-to-eye contact until he fell asleep. I then moved closer and closer to the door each night. Eventually, I was out into the hall. There were moments of resentment. I was missing time with my hubby, time with the TV! After about 2 mos. I could go through his nightly routine and lay him down and he would put himself to sleep. He is 4 now, and still visits out room in the middle of the night. We have a sleeping bag for him on the floor beside our bed.

    Child #3: After the experience with child #2, I was scared to start that again, but I do believe in the benefits of co-sleeping. I love the convenience. So, we do the pack-n-play beside our bed and he goes down without a hitch at night all by himself. He wakes in the middle of the night and gets into our bed. He is usually there most of the night, unless I am not comfortable and then I move him back to his bed.

    With all that to say, you have to make the sleeping arrangements work for you and your family. Be flexible. And, each child has different needs, be open to that too. You know with baby #2, we had our queen mattress ont he floor, right beside a twin. That made more room for everyone and I wasn't so worried about the falling. Sure, it wasn't pretty, but it was only for 1 year or so! So what works so that you can get rest. Weaning them from your bed, is just like weaning them from the breast. Do it gradually and with love. I promise, when they are 13 they will not want to sleep with you! LOL!

  13. Blogger tiny-dog | 8:06 PM |  

    It's funny that you are talking about this because I just went to a mother's group for extended breastfeeding and oddly, the topic switched to cosleeping -- basically the message among the facilitator and all of the attendees was, it's mandatory if you care about your baby! I was sort of horrified because... um... my daughter sleeps in a crib. In the early months I slept with her on and off but I gradually realized that for various reasons, neither one of us was getting much sleep. And so, I moved her to the crib and she slept great there. Also, I stopped being a zombie sleepless witch and got my personality back :-) I however feel like this is something I need to hide in breastfeeding circles because they seem to go hand in hand. Sigh.

  14. Anonymous amygeekgrl | 8:18 PM |  

    we cosleep.

    DD slept in an arm's reach cosleeper (which attaches to your bed, so you don't have to worry about a crack between it and the bed) for the first 4 months, then came in bed w/ us. we didn't have an ideal cosleeping arrangement for a while (and i'm in the middle of writing a post on this to be published some day soon). DH moved to a different room (something i don't recommend), but eventually we all ended up back in the same room again.

    a few months before DS was born, we got a twin bed for DD (who was about 2 yrs, 3 mos.) and put it next to our bed. she transitioned very well into it and generally sleeps the whole night in her bed.

    when DS was born, we got one of those snugglenests that goes on the bed, but never used it. he just came right in with us and it's been good. i honestly sleep better w/ him in bed w/ us than i did with DD in the cosleeper next to our bed.

    so we all continue to sleep in the same room and i enjoy it. i like knowing my kids are safe because i can look over and see them or hear them breathing. and i like the morning cuddle time, especially on the weekends when it's all 4 of us. :)

  15. Blogger Micky | 9:10 PM |  

    We cosleep and always have (3 kids). I wouldn't have it any other way and neither would my dh. We use the sidecar idea too as mentioned by mamabean. It is usually more of a place to flop my arm into or my butt, but it does kinda extend the bed a bit (we have a queen size).

    Just as you said you are too lazy to fix formula bottles - especially at night. I am too lazy to get up and go ANY distance at night. I do not get out of bed once I get there. That is my definition of "sleeping through the night". IF I don't have to put my feet on the floor, then that is sleeping through the night :)

    As far as transition out of our rooms and into big beds, not a problem. We very slowly transitioned kid number one during the pregnancy with number two and so on. We started by doing the first part of the routine in her room (story), then slowly added one part each week or two until she was in there and asleep. Our second child easily went to sleep in the kid's room, then would come into our room half way through the night. We bought him a blow up bed/mattress for our room and the rule was, "you can come get in the ready bed but not with mommy and daddy". I don't know how long that lasted. Now the 6 and 3 year old not only sleep all night in their beds, they sometimes read stories together and we don't even have to put them to bed. They don't protest, cry or whine. They don't have nightmares. They actually used to sleep so long and hard that they could not stay dry at night. So, two all night nursers that have become completely independent sleepers both between 2-3 years old. Having an older sibling helps too. Positive peer pressure and someone else to sleep with if you get lonely. I personally don't believe human beings were meant to sleep alone, so it is nice to have siblings share sleep if they can't share with mom and dad any more.

    Blessings,
    Micky
    www.mochamilk.blogspot.com

  16. Blogger Celticdragonfly | 6:06 AM |  

    I coslept with all three of my kids, and plan to do it with my upcoming fourth. My first son, we started out with kingsize bed, mattress and boxsprings just on the cheapy basic frame, so not far from the floor, and had it up against one wall at first, so he wasn't at an edge. Later he graduated to crib at the foot of the bed part of the time, moving into the bed with me later to nurse and then staying. I had no problem moving him to his own room later when we moved and had a room for him, he was a pretty secure kid. He'd still come in to cuddle in the mornings sometimes.

    My 2nd child, my daughter, we started with her in the bed part of the time, in the arms reach sidecar part of the time. The only time I worried was when my husband was put on Paxil and was sleeping so deeply he couldn't be woken, and yeah, in that state, could have rolled on her and not noticed - so I tossed HIM out of the bed and made him sleep on the couch until they changed his meds. We moved up to the crib next to the bed when she got a little bigger. That house we did have a big bed frame, and she did fall out twice - that made me feel bad, but didn't seem to bother her very long.

    Once we moved to Texas and had my 2nd son, we put the kingsize mattress and boxsprings on the floor, and up into a corner of the room, and coslept with him there. The nursery had a crib that my daughter was using by then, and a queensize mattress/boxspring on the floor that I occasionally used in there with them, and my daughter used some. It easily transitioned to the two kids using the queen bed together, for quite a while, until they started getting rambunctious in there, and we moved my daughter to her own room. The queensize bed has since moved to our guest room and my 2nd son is now in his own bed in the nursery - and they're both very good about it. Heck, he's three, and I can send him upstairs to go nap *by himself* - he complains, but he goes and he gets into bed.

    I think the transitions have gone well with all three because they'd been secure in love and attention when they were so small - they weren't left to sleep alone. A mantra I'm fond of is "To make a child independent, meet their dependency needs." My daughter will still come in to cuddle in the mornings, or sometimes come in in the middle of the night if she's scared of something - she's 4 - and I generally let her cuddle, she's going to outgrow it all too soon.

  17. Anonymous Mary Jo | 6:34 AM |  

    We used a weird combination of sleeping with DS. We had a pack and play in our room (with bassinet insert) and he slept there for the first couple of nights. Then he developed a serious infection and spent a week in the hospital. He came home with an apnea monitor, which would beep loudly if he stopped breathing (or if one of the leads fell off, or if someone bumped it wrong!). Well, the doctors told us he had to be sleeping alone when wearing this thing. That lasted about 2 weeks. Then I took off that darned thing and slept with him right next to me. I did not do a great job of being perfectly safe . . . we had covers and pillows and a bed on 5 inch risers. But I didn't sleep very hard for the 4 or 5 months that he slept in our bed full time (how could I? He woke up every hour to hour and a half to nurse . . . and we used a nipple shield most of that time to facilitate nursing . . . no sleeping while nursing for me). By the time he was 6 months old, I was sick of him kicking me all the time and started transitioning him to a crib. I had very little trouble getting him to sleep in his crib from 7:30 or 8 to midnight. Then some nights I would nurse him and put him back in his crib until 3 or 4, other nights he'd come to bed with us at 12. He almost always woke up in our bed, it was just a matter of how long he was there before he woke up. (Actually, that's still true . . . most days he comes to our bed around 6 and sleep until 7 or 7:30. He's 2 now.) At 9 months we used the Sleep Lady's method of gentle sleep training and since then, DS has mostly slept though the night in his own crib (or bed now). When he did wake up, it was not difficult to get him back to sleep without picking him up (after the first few weeks of training).

    I have a group of friends who all practiced extended breastfeeding. Most of us co-slept (one never did). Three are still co-sleeping with their 2 year olds (and two of them have new babies in their beds . . . don't ask me how THAT works). But only one of them has ever tried to get the child out of bed . . . and it worked, until the new baby came (and stole all of the mommy's energy for fighting to keep the child out of her bed!). I certainly think it is easier to move them out before 18 months, since they tend to get stubborn about then. But when we tried before 9 months it was really hard on me (the constant getting up was much worse than just being awake to nurse).

  18. Anonymous Nev | 2:11 PM |  

    I didn't PLAN on co-sleeping. I just...sort of did. My now four-month-old nursed nearly non-stop once he figured out how. (A whole different story--took almost a month to get him to BF properly.) So we started out in the big LA-Z-Boy. I could prop him up and nurse him, and fall asleep without worrying that he would fall off the chair or I would roll over. He has this thing about laying flat when he sleeps--he *hates* it. lol

    So, I started transitioning him to the bedroom with me. (DH and I, uh, aren't living together ATM). This was one of the best arrangements yet--mattress on the floor, and a memory foam pillow on the other side of the baby. We can nurse and neither one of us really wake up. :p (I really couldn't tell you how often he eats at night, he just does.)

    When he's not feeling well, we have to go back to the big rocker. It's still his favorite. Crib's never been used. I'm following my gut on this one--he'll sleep with me until I feel it's time for him to move to his room. I'll probably start with letting him sleep in the crib in the bedroom, and then moving the crib out. Don't know. My general philosophy has been to follow his cues and see what works best.

  19. Blogger Shelly | 5:59 PM |  

    We co slept with both our kids. Our two year old daughter still sleeps in our room, but on her own mattress by her choice. As soon as my four month old was born and came in the bed with us, she decided that it was too crowded and asked for her own mattress.
    My four month old is still in our bed. I love it , my husband loves it, it makes our lives easier. And I don't mind waiting until they decide to sleep on their own.

  20. Anonymous Melissa | 2:14 PM |  

    I had first baby in crib all the time----totally mainstream. Second baby partially coslept, moved her to crib cold turkey when we moved to another state when she was 15 mo old and it worked, not a cry....third child was mostly coslept. We finally got him out of bed when he was about 20-22 mo old. He was a little rougher to get out of bed, but he was VERY attached to me---I think it was more personality than habit. We also did it very gently. We have lots of covers on the bed but I always kept baby to the outside until they got older and we didnt' have the mattress on the floor either. This last time around we kept Ivy in bed with us from the beginning. After having her at home unassisted, I didn't have the heart to put her in her bassinet by herself. She's never been in a crib/packnplay/bassinet. She sleeps well and we are used to each other by now. I did have her sleep sometimes in her bouncy chair when she was littler and boy did I sleep hard those nights lol. But I don't plan on moving her to a crib. After she learns to climb up and down, I'll start having her sleep in the toddler bed (in our room). And when I get bunk beds for the other kids' room, she'll move in the big bottom bunk with the younger three. This should happen by the time she's 2-3. She should also be weaned by that time. BTW with very gentle weaning (mostly on his own) my 2 yr old weaned about a week after he turned two. He was ready and he did very well with it and doesn't even ask anymore.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:48 PM |  

    I'm new to the blog and am very much enjoying the reading! My heart goes out to you on the sleeping issues, too . . . just wanted to pipe in as the mother of three babies (now 7, 13 and 15) to say that co-sleeping literally saved me.

    I also had many of the same concerns that you do--how do you get them out of your bed, if you nurse them on demand 24/7 how do you ever wean them, etc.?

    I was lucky that when my first baby was only a few days old a very seasoned mother of many said to me, what's the best way that you feel you can meet your baby's needs right now? I sheepishly said to her (looking at my son in the bassinet) that I felt like bringing him to bed with me would help me get some sleep and be a better mother to him in the morning.

    She told me, well, then that's what you should do and confessed at the same time that she found co-sleeping to be one of the best ways to get sleep (in those days there was no such thing as "attachment parenting" or all of the restrictive rules that are now associated with it--the exact opposite. We were considered bad mothers if we so much as thought of bringing our babies into bed with us).

    I have to say, I'm so grateful for that advice. Once I let go of everything I'd been told I "should" do and simply did what worked best for me and my baby, I never felt sleep-deprived. I didn't worry about covers, pillows, etc. I trusted that both my husband and myself would be attuned to our baby's needs and that those worries would be a non-issue. And that's what happened.

    In an odd way, sleeping with our first baby (and the ones that followed) gave both my husband and myself an alerted sense of their safety--being careful about blankets, pillows, rolling over, etc. But those concerns were far outweighed by the rest and relaxation we received from bringing them into our bed.

    Knowing they were safe and sound, knowing that the second they stirred I could latch them on before they started to cry, knowing I could fall back to sleep with them satisfied and content . . . all of that contributed to a strong sense of comfort. I literally never felt sleep-deprived during the fourteen years I spent pregnant and/or nursing.

    As for getting children out of your bed, this is where the advice of my friend proved so encouraging and prescient. She told me to focus on how I could meet my baby's needs now and to worry about the larger issues later. She also reassured me that children do develop a sense of independence and will want to sleep in their own beds when they're ready.

    None of my children ended up sleeping with us beyond the age of two--some of them needed more encouragement than others to sleep in their own beds. But I have to say that now, looking back on it, I'm amazed at how independent each of them is. Protective of their privacy is more like it!

    I guess what I'm saying is that if you can look at it in the long term, it helps ease some of the worries you might have right now. Whether you decide to co-sleep, to do a variation of it or to let your baby sleep in a crib, trust in the knowledge that any decision you make that helps you be a better mother now will pay off in the long run.

  22. Blogger nurturing notes | 10:23 PM |  

    I'm late in my comment, but skimming through the responses, I figured I had something to add:

    I occasionally coslept with my first. He did better in the crib. With my second, the crib was in our room and after his first wakening, he stayed in bed with us. Some nights he'd stay there from the get go because my kids have always ended up falling asleep better when I nursed them to sleep.
    Funny thing is that my first would always try to get in our bed as was older. Our second does not sleep well when he's not in his own bed. When he was cutting his molars, he'd just cry in his bed. He would cry harder if we brought him to ours, so one of us would end up sleeping with him in his bed. Go figure!

    My third has coslept the most. She caught 3 colds in her first six months so we wanted her close. She's in her crib in her room now. I will feed her once or twice at night. If I'm too tired, I just bring her to my room. We also have her cosleep if she sounds a bit congested.

    I really don't sleep well when I cosleep, especially when the comfort nursing kicks in. But sometimes you won't sleep well anyway. Here I am typing in the middle of the night because I can't fall asleep!

  23. Anonymous Csara | 5:45 AM |  

    We did not plan on co-sleeping, but we did and we do. My son is 20 months and still sleeps in our bed and he has absolutely zero intentions of ever leaving. LOL

    I, on the other hand, am conflicted. While I absolutely love the cuddles and the fact that I can just roll over and kiss him at night, I really miss my own space. I don't sleep well and have been seriously sleep deprived for almost 2 years now. Not fun!

    I just don't feel like there is anything I can do about it at this point. I've tried gently transitioning my son to his own bed, but if we even step foot in his room around bedtime, he freaks out. If I do happen to get him to sleep elsewhere, he just wakes up and runs into my room.

    So, that being said, I am pretty adamant about not co-sleeping with any future children. While it's so easy and convenient while nursing and while they are babies, it is extremely difficult to get them out of there once they are older. ARGH!!!

  24. Blogger Cairo Mama | 12:48 PM |  

    I didn't intend to co-sleep. I thought I would just kept the crib in my room for awhile. After my son was born, I kept him with me in my hospital bed the whole time unless someone else was holding him or the nurses were weighing him, etc. When I got home, I found I couldn't sleep with him in the crib, I needed him with me so I could here his breathing. I was very aware of his presence and never worried about rolling over on him, or smothering him with blankets. I comfortably slept in a fairly ackward position with both of us on our backs, then later on our sides with my arm providing a barrier around him. Co-sleeping was my natural instinct.

    When I returned to Egypt and my husband, I thought I would put him in a crib, but it took a month to get a crib ordered and 6 weeks after that for it to arrive (I am supposed to pick it up tomorrow). My son is over 5 months old and hasn't slept in a crib, yet. I am actually glad, because as soon as I got over here I changed my mind about wanting him in a crib.

    I really enjoy having him sleep with us. It is so much easier for breastfeeding at night because I don't really have to wake up. Plus, I like the reassuring sound of his breathing. My dog keeps the covers from moving by sleeping at the end of the bed on top of them (my son kicks the covers off of himself, also). My dog also ensures that my husband keeps to his allotted 6 inches on the bed (the same as pre-baby). My son sleeps between my husband and I , but closer to me.

    I plan to set the crib up right next to the bed, maybe with one side removed and have the crib attached to the bed as another poster described previously. When he stops feeding at night, I will transition the crib to his room. Dr. Sears says that you should use whatever sleeping arrangement gives your family the best sleep, so as long as this works for us we will do it. I think I would like to have him in my room until he is at least 9 months old, maybe a year, but I am not ruling out longer. We will see how things go with him in the crib next to our bed. I plan to transition him from next to our bed to across the room to his own room. If there are problems later on, I will deal with it then because the convenience, closeness and security I get from co-sleeping now are worth any trouble later.

  25. Blogger sajmom | 10:25 AM |  

    Interesting. My first started out in a bassinet and when I had to go back to work when she was 3 months old, I found co-sleeping. Much better! We both slept! We started putting her in a crib with one rail off(a little bed) in our room at about 2 1/2. She'd start out in her bed and come into ours about halfway through the night. I expected that so it was ok. Her brother was born when she turned three and we all slept in the same bed for a week(because of the trauma of having Mommy gone for a few days and the new brother and all). Then her Dad said enough, she's going back to her bed. And she did, absolutely no problems. She stayed there all night. It was like she was just ready for it. Her brother was INTENSE from birth and I am currently weaning him from our bed. First I had to wean him from night nursing (it was necessary, but actually easier than I thought. I told him he couldn't do it at night anymore. I had to remind him of that a few times, but he accepted it). He sleeps with his older sister but still wakes up in the middle of the night. Sometimes he can be settled down and other times he comes in with us (depends how tired I am). His younger brother still sleeps with us and I am expecting #4. Not sure what we will do about sleeping arrangements yet. The new baby will definitely be with me. I lost one pregnancy also, so with 5 pregnancies-sex is not a problem. Where there's a will, there's a way! It surprised me that so many people are worried about the baby rolling off the bed. If you read up on co-sleeping that's not really a problem. I also find that I naturally regulate the baby's temperature and if they're close to the edge of the bed, where the blankets are on them....and I don't have to wake up to do it!! We have a queen sized bed, but it would be nicer to have a king sized bed as they get older. Co-sleeping had it's good and bad points, like all of child rearing. I think it's so important to me because I have vivid memories of waking up with nightmares as a child and being too scared to get out of bed to go to my parents and too scared to go back to sleep. I was terrified and I dont' want my kids to feel that way. People have always worried about me co-sleeping with the kids-no matter what you do there's always someone who judges you for it. You just do what works for your family. That was what attracted me to the ap philosophy. Ironic that so many feel it is very rigid and I liked it because it didn't say you MUST DO these things OR ELSE! It's a shame people make some feel bad if they don't co-sleep-you don't know their child or their family situation. It's a shame some people make you feel bad if you do co-sleep, the same applies!

  26. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:16 PM |  

    I'm currently co-sleeping with #4 and #5. I co-slept with my older three as well. I can assure you, that at 12, 14, and 15 they've been LONG out of my bed (funny typo, first time through I typed mind instead of bed) :). I've co-slept with all my children, but with two different husbands (not at the same time obviously!)

    And I honestly have to say, I've never understood how people can get any sleep unless they co-sleep. I'd have been up and down all night with a few of my babies. And then I'd worry if I couldn't check and see if they were breathing anytime I needed to.

    My older three all moved to their own crib/bed between 18 and 36 months. Number 4 is 39 months but has some speech and developmental delays and sleeps in his toddler bed about half the night.

    It is hard at times. Sometimes I get tired of being so squished. But, I have the perspective of babies long grown, since my older three are teens or close to, and I don't regret a single second I spent cuddling and hugging on them. They get a lot prickly as they get older and I'm glad I stored up all the cuddles and loving I could.

    That said, do what works for you, as long as its not CIO :). I think research is showing pretty consistently that abandoning your children for 12 hours every day is a bad thing.

  27. Blogger V | 7:21 PM |  

    We actually co-slept for the first 2.5 months, but moved him to his crib when I thought that we were waking him up (mostly with K's snoring). I was right. He went from waking every 1.5 hours to every 3 by the second night in his crib.

    I didn't really intend to co-sleep, so it didn't break my heart. The bonus of him sleeping better on his own made it easy to let go. I was EP'ing for the first 2 months, so I was getting up to get bottles anyway.

    Plus... I co-slept with my parents. And I remember them forcing me to leave... when I was like 7! My little brother was born when I was 7 and I think they were over having me around. I used to slink into their room and sleep on the floor at the end of their bed because I didn't want to sleep in my room. An extreme case, I know, but it's one of the reasons I'm not married to co-sleeping in any way, shape, or form.

    Just my thoughts.

  28. Blogger Hanmee | 10:49 AM |  

    I think different things can work with different families and every baby is different. Some are more "clingy" than others.

    With my first, we had him in a crib from day 1. We didn't think anything of it. His room is down a short hallway, we had a very sensitive monitor. My feeling was to always get to him when he first starts stirring just so he's not in rampant crying by the time I get to him. As time went on, I got better at distinguishing when he was just moving about and making noise and when he was awake and needed/wanted attention.

    He never seemed to have a problem with this. Sometime between 6 and 8 weeks, he was sleeping through the night (and I mean from 7pm-5am).

    The only thing was that my mom watched him during the day (after I returned to work) and she would always lay down with him during nap time. We didn't always do that and he seemed to have no problem with naps when we were at home with him. Of course, as he grew older and became more aware of this, he wouldn't take a nap without someone sleeping next to him. Yet, for nighttime, he never had an issue with just going to sleep (at least, he never put up a fuss).

    I didn't mind my mom napping with him and eventually, when I would come home after picking him up, I would nap with him because I was so exhausted.

    The only thing is that I got pregnant again when he was about 16-17 months old and knew this couldn't continue because I couldn't guarantee it would be naptime for the baby just because it was naptime for him. I mentioned this to my mom and asked if she would try to get him used to sleeping by himself at naptime and I would do the same, but she said she just "couldn't" get him to sleep. As time went on and his nap went down to one a day, she could "never" get him to nap so he wouldn't nap until I brought him home, which was late afternoon (when he was more worn out and irritable). Yet, we rarely had a problem getting him to nap, even at earlier times on weekends (instead of 330pm on weekdays, id get him down around 1pm on weekends when he was naturally getting tired).

    We put my daughter in our room from the get go just because we didn't want her crying to wake him up. We kept her in a mini arms cosleeper for awhile. Eventually, as she got closer to the 6-8 week mark, we transitioned her to the crib with no problem. She didn't sleep through the night as quick as my son, but she did it (maybe took a month or so longer).

    I honestly don't know how she'll be when she's older, but she sleeps well through the night (she's 5 mos). My son, who's now 2.5 years old, sleeps through the night most of the night. Of course, he has the occasional/rare nightmare. And of course, occasionally, he'll wake up earlier than normal. The only time the bed/naptime seems to be tough is when he actually wakes up sooner than he should because you can tell he's too groggy and sleepy.

    There was some transition though with getting him to nap in his own bed and sleep in his own bed (vs a crib). I think there's some security and familiarity with the crib, so it wasn't just a matter (for us) of cosleeping vs sleeping alone, but also old bed vs new bed.

  29. Anonymous paige | 8:59 AM |  

    Co-sleeping has become of the many, many things I now do that I claimed I'd never do. I thought it was weird and dangerous. That was before I experienced night nursing. For me that meant sitting upright in my bed, uncomfortable as hell, four times a night, crying and giving the evil eye to my peacefully sleeping husband and inwardly resenting my sweet, sleeping nursling in my arms. It took 2 nights of falling asleep with my little one in my arms, both of us lying on our sides, my back propped up with pillows before I was convinced. It was so much easier for me and I got so much more sleep. It seemed like a miracle.

    That being said, at 5 months old, my little angel is a wildly active sleeper: kicking, arm flapping, even crying in her sleep. I'm getting tired again and I'm just starting to transition her to her crib. At this point that means sleeping in her room until her first feeding at 10 or 11, then coming into bed with us. If I could just stay awake, I'd probably be able to get her back in her bed. *sigh* We're still working on that.

    I guess any way you do it has its high points and low points and everyone has to work out what's right for them.

Leave your response

Links to this post: