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Remember what pre-mommy-you used to think what being a mom was all about? Ahh the naivety of it all. Let’s all have a good laugh together about what we thought we knew about what kind of parent we would be before we had kids.
Like many women do before they have their first child, I believed I knew what kind of parent I would be. I thought I knew my stance on all of the controversial topics like breastfeeding, sleeping arrangements, sleep training, pacifier use, and about a million other things that I thought I knew something about.
Co-Sleeping Was Not For Me
Co-sleeping was one of those things that I had already decided I would not be participating in. I hardly gave this topic a thought at all, to be honest, because although I knew people did it, I thought it was more of a choice they make ahead of time. Such an inconvenient choice wasn’t even an option since my baby was going to be a perfect sleeper (duh).
I bought a nice bassinet for him, after all. He’ll love it. Plus, I had heard that co-sleeping is dangerous and what kind of mother would put their child at risk just for the sake of extra cuddles? Right? And you know what else? I wasn’t going to be an overprotective mother that needs my child right on top of me at all times because I need my space too. Riiiight?
I was in denial
My baby boy was born at 8:21 pm and I think I started co-sleeping at oh, I don’t know, let’s say…8:30 pm? I hadn’t given up on my ideas about co-sleeping at this point. This is just when i started making excuses for it. I just pushed this baby out, ok? I don’t want to put him down yet, judge me all you want.
- Related Read: The Day I Became A Mother: Our Birth Story
Honestly, I really don’t think I put him down at all while I was in the hospital. Looking back, I don’t remember ever seeing Logan in his basinet other than when the nurse brought him back to me after his circumcision asleep in his basinet and I left him there.
When the pediatrician came in to talk to us about being discharged home, I remember that he mentioned to me (as my baby was asleep in bed with me) that co-sleeping in the same bed is not a safe place for baby. He said that the best way to put him to sleep is alone in his own crib or basinet. I nodded my head in agreement and smiled “I know, I know, I won’t be co-sleeping for long.”
It just didn’t go as I had planned, you guys. What really does when it comes to having babies, anyway? Not a whole lot, does it? We always picture things differently than they actually turn out.
Please note: I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose, or treat any form of any disease. This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am only telling you what worked for me. Please refer to my Disclaimer Page for more information.
I Fought Co-Sleeping Tooth and Nail
Logan seemed to never sleep. All of this “newborns sleep a lot” thing that people tell you about, did not happen for us. I would nurse him to sleep, rock him to sleep, bounce, pat, do all of the things to get him to sleep but he just wouldn’t stay that way when I would lie him down in his basinet. And boy, did I try.
- Related Read: 10 Things Every Parent Needs To Knew About Their Newborn
Over and over again, night after night, I tried to put my baby to sleep and then lie him in his own space. After a few weeks I realized that I was getting absolutely no rest. My poor little nugget had Infant Reflux, terrible gas, and abdominal pain that was keeping him up at night (and day). At first it seemed like there was nothing that I could do to make him comfortable.
Half way through the night, most nights, I would give up on trying to do things “right” and I started to do things “easy”. I would plop him on my boob, let him fall asleep there and then I would ever so gently lie down with him nestled next to me in bed. It was the only way that I would get any rest.
Even though it was obvious to my husband and I that it was a little easier just to let him lay next to me in bed, we still stuck to our guns and said “No, I don’t want to co-sleep. We have to keep trying”. So, on and on it went for 5 years. Ok, just kidding, it just seemed that way. It was probably about 6 weeks that we really fought it. After that, we decided that this was just how it was going to be.
Whyyy did I put myself through that suffering trying and trying to do things a certain way when the reality was obvious. The way that I was so hell bent on avoiding was the only way my baby was happy. Being next to his mama was comfort to him when he was in pain. He needed me and I, for whatever reason, wasn’t accepting the obvious truth.
I accepted that it wasn’t going to be forever
Babies are so adaptable. Things are constantly changing within a newborn’s mind and body and his environment can change with him. You can introduce things and take things away and they will still be happy, healthy babies that grow into happy healthy adults. I know all of you moms are already thinking about how your decisions when your child is 3 months old are going to affect his career one day.
I’m that mom too. I do the same thing. It’s nuts, but we all do it.
I learned that I was making the right decisions if I believed that they were what was best for both of us. There is no book to look up the answers in. You have to make the decisions for your family and you have to believe that they are the right ones.
So that is what I did. I made the decision.
- Related Read: How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Well Right From The Start
We Made Co-Sleeping Work For Us
In order for me to be o.k. with co-sleeping, I needed to make sure that my husband and I were going to be happy, and my baby was going to thrive. I wasn’t about to let something into our lives and mess up my plans. (Are the experienced mammas out there laughing yet?). But seriously, we were able to fit it into our lives in a way that we felt good about.
It Became A Part Of Our Routine
We wanted to keep our same routine, so at bedtime, I still always put him down in his basinet. That is the last step in our bedtime routine and I wasn’t about to change it.
When he woke up because he was hungry or he was throwing up (or for whatever reason babies like to wake in the night), I would bring him into bed with us and not continue trying to get him back into his bassinet for the whole night. It worked.
Over time, like all babies do, my son started to sleep longer stretches. His first stretch in his bassinet went from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, to two hours, to (sometimes) four hours. When he woke, he always came back into our bed with us. Once we made it part of our routine and it became expected, I wasn’t nearly as stressed about the whole thing.
- Related Read: How To Make Life With A Baby E.A.S.Y.
We Kept It Safe
There are reasons why people have this idea that co-sleeping is dangerous. You have to take measures to make sure that your baby is safe. Whether you put him in your bed, his own crib, or anywhere for that matter, put your baby to sleep safely. Sleeping safe is important no matter the situation.
Co-sleeping deaths do happen. As do crib deaths. Sleeping next to your baby is not a risk in and of itself. You’ve got to be smart about it.
Evaluate your sitch
Co-Sleeping is not for everyone. If you are a smoker, or are under the influence of…well, anything, like alcohol, drugs, sleep aids, or anything that might affect your judgement and awareness, then please don’t co-sleep with your baby. Also, if you are extremely obese, it’s a good idea to get a co-sleeper to attach to the side of your bed. That way your baby has his own space and doesn’t actually sleep on your bed with you.
Why It Makes Sense
Regardless of what the new “norms” are for moms and babies. It makes the most sense to sleep close by to your newborn. During the ever so important fourth trimester, all your baby knows is you. He lived inside of your womb for nine months and listened to the constant rhythm of your heart, lungs, and digestion. He always felt your warmth and never went hungry because you gave him constant nutrition 100% of the time.
Instead of expecting them to completely change everything they know and transform into tiny adults right away, lets treat them like what they really are, newborns! Infants! Little people that depend on us for everything!
Listen, your baby will sleep alone, they will go hours without eating, and they will be happy without being held. But my goodness, give it time.
Why It Works
Co-sleeping works because it’s what we were meant to do with our babies in the beginning of their lives. Sleeping close to mom helps baby regulate their heart rate, breathing patterns, body temperature, even their blood sugars! If we are able to help our babies maintain their needs throughout the night, they will sleep better and not constantly stir, looking for mom to help them out.
It also helps mom get some much needed rest. You’d probably initially think that the opposite is true since you have a baby in your bed. But honestly, you end up sleeping better. Think about it. You won’t have to get up to check on your baby, nurse your baby, or listen to your baby’s breathing when your paranoid in the middle of the night.
If your baby is right next to you, he certainly doesn’t have to get to the point of wailing in fear and frustration before you reach him. You will be able to give him the attention, comfort, or nutrition that he needs before he ever fully wakes up and before a screaming cry ever fully wakes up your entire household.
- Related Read: Breastfeeding 101: How To Feed Your Newborn
It Didn’t Last Forever
I was able to get my baby out of my bed, don’t you worry. I’m not going to have a pre-schooler in bed with me. I never even had a toddler in bed with me. When my baby was no longer a newborn, at around 3 months old, he was more adaptable to his environment and he needed me less. Yes, he absolutely still needed nutrition and reassurance throughout the night, but he needed it less often.
I made the transition out of my bed gradual and easy for him. Anticipating the transition ended up being a stress on my heart for no reason at all. I was terrified of the day that would eventually come that Logan would cry all night because he would be so unhappy in his own room. The day never came. Because of how I introduced independent sleep (slowly and gradually), I never had the sleep training nightmare that I had mentally prepared for.
It was not only easy, but it was a good decision for our entire family to make the transition at the appropriate time.
I Completely Support Co-Sleeping
I’ve completely changed my mind about co-sleeping. I by no means am against crib sleep, or putting your baby down in the basinet even from the very beginning. If it works for you and your baby, please, go for it. But now that I have experienced the newborn stage with one sweet baby, I feel like I can learn from my mistakes for my future babies.
Not that it is the only way to do things, but I highly recommend co-sleeping with your newborn for a minimum of six weeks, or ideally for about 3 months. After that, move your baby to a basinet in your room, right next to your bed if you want to keep them close. Or, you could move them right into their own room directly from co-sleeping if that’s what you desire.
I learned so much
Over the course of my son’s life, I’ve learned one thing more than anything else. Everything with babies comes in time. I have done almost every transition gradually. With every transition comes their own struggles, but for the most part, each and every thing that we have given and taken away has been an absolute breeze.
If you just read your baby and let go of your preconceived notions about everything that moms like to debate about, and just figure out what works for you and GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR BABY TIME to adjust. Most things aren’t as bad as they seem in the beginning.
If you think that it’s a valid option for your family, co-sleep with your baby. Just try it. If you can do it safely, then I really do believe, you will thank God for it later. It was an experience that I never wanted but one that I am so glad that I didn’t miss out on.
My baby needed me, I needed him, and we both needed sleep.
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Did you co-sleep? Do you plan to co-sleep? Leave your story in the comments!