Sleeping Together

85 Comments

istock_000010175106medium

I have a confession: My son, King, is almost 5 months old now, and we’re still sleeping together.

A habit I am at once proud to share with fellow co-sleeping families but almost embarrassed and reluctant to disclose to most everyone else, I feel burdened to make the decision soon which way to let the pendulum swing. When I was pregnant with King, I didn’t think it was even possible for me to turn out to be one of those, you know, hippie and free-living mommas that would snuggle with her baby all night long in the same bed but somewhere along the way to Mommydom, that is exactly who I have become. I started with the best of intentions, I swear, but that first night in the hospital—my baby being every bit his cute and cuddly self in his bassinet next to me—why, I just couldn’t let him be all cold and lonesome, now could I?

Against the nurse’s caution on how sleeping with your baby could increase the risk of SIDS or suffocation, I sneaked little King into my narrow hospital bed and held him close to me for the rest of the night. I loved how I was able to nurse him without having to get out of bed for it and seeing his angelic face at peace and watching his chest gently rise and drop with every calm breath…why, it was love at first sleep.

When King and I were released from the hospital a day later, I had already made up my mind that co-sleeping was the right lifestyle for my family. Oh how Patrick tried and tried to put up a fight but all his reasons why King needed to be tucked away in a separate room at night were immediately quelled when I pointed out how Patrick never got around to selling his pool table to make room for a crib in the “nursery,” now did he?

So for the past five months, we’ve tucked baby King smack dab in the middle of our bed with us every night and Patrick and I would make soft cooing noises and twirl the little hair that King has on his head until he would quietly slip into slumber. I cherish our nighttime routine and even though Patrick may argue that certain “other” parts of our relationship have suffered because of our sleeping arrangement (Sex? What’s that?), co-sleeping has created a new level of intimacy for our whole family that has me advocating left and right the virtues of the family bed.

When Patrick’s dad came to visit us last weekend, however, he sung a different tune and wondered how on earth King will ever grow up to be independent and unspoiled if he continues to be wrapped up in my arms each night? While I truly believe in my choice to co-sleep, he does have me thinking that maybe King does need his own bed, his own space, a room to call his own…and better that we implement these changes now than later.

To his recommendation, I’ve set up a crib for King next to my bed and for the past couple of nights, it’s been this back and forth game I play with myself of putting King in there to sleep and when I would hear so much as one tiny baby cry (of utter discomfort! And abandonment!) I would quickly rescue him in one fell swoop and have him back in our bed—where he belongs—in no time. But then I would feel guilty, that maybe I am not letting him grow up or am in some way hampering his maturation into toddlerhood, and want to—but can’t—put him back into his crib to sleep.

I dread going to bed tonight since I don’t know which way the pendulum will swing.

Comments

The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    Yuliya says

    Oh what a fun read! Here’s my twenty-two cents, listen to your gut (not your Mama guilt, your gut) and if tonight it tells you to snuggle that baby up right next to you go with it! And if tomorrow night your gut tells you to that his crib is the right place for him, then so it is. A mamas gut is always right!
    PS Sex is for the kitchen counter, not your bedroom!

    Show Replies
    • 2

      Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. says

      thank you! i have always just followed my instincts when it came to raising King and i think this has really helped us know each other better and he is such a good boy. this is one issue that i am struggling with since a lot of our extended family want king out of bed with us!

      Show Replies
  2. 5

    Kerryonliving says

    I co-slept with both my babies and loved every minute as did they. They were safe, warm and snuggly and exactly where they should be – at the centre of their parent’s world. Your baby will probably naturally grow out of the need to be so close to you and it will be easier to move him into his own bed between 6 – 12 months, so for now love every minute while it lasts and don’t listen to anyone else!

    Show Replies
  3. 9

    Sara Plays House says

    My first never slept in our bed. She’s never been the touchy-feely cuddly kind of kid. #2 though? She wound up in our bed EVERY morning around 4am when she was still itty-bitty. I think she was maybe 9 months old when she cut out that feeding? Anyway, my point is–do what you feel is right for all of you. But even when you know it’s the right thing to move him out of your space, it will still be hard. I STILL miss those early mornings where I could snuggle up with Zoe. Gah. Why do they have to grow up???

    Show Replies
  4. 10

    Raquel says

    Aww what a hard choice. I too slept with my pumpkins. Although I was worried all night if they would suffucate and a few times we ended up entangled in a mass of pillows and blankies, they all survived. Problem is though, it is a hard habit to break.

    Show Replies
  5. 11

    MommieV says

    They will tell you when they are ready. Mine co-slept with me until she was 14 months old, and almost overnight went to her crib in a separate room. I felt mountainous guilt about not fostering her independence. Duh, she’s a BABY, she’s not SUPPOSED to be independent. When she was ready for it, it was almost painless. Our biggest obstacle wasn’t the co-sleeping, but the night nursing.

    I agree with the first posted about listen to the gut, not the guilt. Don’t allow someone else to make your parenting decisions for you.

    Show Replies
  6. 13

    Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) says

    Don’t dread it Mama! Good for you for listening to your instinct. I ended up a co-sleeper too…never thought I would but my baby let me know he’d have no other way. I’m so glad I tuned in and listened. Now we have peaceful nights. And, know what? My son is now 5 and sleeps peacefully in his own bed, his own room, all night long.

    No, you are not spoiling your baby (impossible) and no, he won’t always be in your bed. Enjoy this time with him…goes way too fast. Keep on listening to your Mama instinct and it will all fall into place :)

    Show Replies
  7. 14

    Ally says

    The only thing I can tell you is that now, is that when I look back at those decisions I fretted over when my son was a baby or a toddler, I realize that for the majority of them, the time only lasted a split second in the grand scheme of life. When he’s sixteen, will it matter that he slept in your bed for 5 months, or 12 months? Will it matter that he used the pacifier for 2 years or 2-1/2 years? Will it matter that he potty trained at 3 instead of 2-1/2? Naw. And he’ll be perfectly well rounded and independent because he’s loved by his parents.

    Show Replies
    • 15

      Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. says

      yep!! you said it best. the little things we agonize over won’t be remembered or matter down the line. i feel the same way about milestones. i was freaking out because king hadn’t rolled over yet but you know what? he will soon enough!

      Show Replies
  8. 16

    dusty earth mother says

    You tell a good story, girl. I thoroughly enjoyed that and am feeling for you, because I have gone through this (and what mother hasn’t unless her heart is made of cement) and come out on the other side, scarred, but alive. But no way am I giving unsolicited advice. I’m extremely interested in seeing which way the pendulum is going to swing.

    Show Replies
  9. 18

    Jennifer says

    About a year after my grandmother died my Baby Girl (2 at the time) was in the hospital with a high fever. My uncle called to check on her and I told him she was fine, but it was hard sleeping in the hospital bed with her (I had made them take out the kid bed and bring in a regular bed because she would only sleep with me). I told him that I guessed I should have never got that started and should probably stop it. I will never forget his reply. He said, “I would give anything to be able to crawl up in bed with my Momma right now. You let that baby sleep with you as long as she needs.” And that is exactly what I did and I don’t regret it for a minute. She slept with us until she was five (the first of this year) and then we transitioned her out. It has been a super easy process because we were all ready for it. Don’t let anyone tell you the way to be a mother to your baby. You do what YOU think is right. Screw everyone else.

    Show Replies
  10. 23

    Erin says

    My first born was in our bed for at least half the night for the first 6 months. We then transitioned him into a crib in his room. My youngest wanted nothing to do with sleeping in bed with anyone and would end up kicking my husband and I both out of the bed. As many people say, every baby is different. I’m a firm believer in, “you have to do what works for you.” No matter what you do, people around you will have their opinions.

    Show Replies
  11. 24

    Ronda says

    My daughter is now 6 years old and she still sleeps with me. I wish I had stopped it years ago but now she is hooked and refuses to fall asleep unless she is in my bed. She has always been touchy feely and kind of clingy. I’m afraid that I have in some way crippled her ability to be independent. I am still working on this issue. I keep giving deadlines for when she has to sleep in her own room but they come and go and still I give in. Be careful that this doesn’t happen to you! He may have to learn to self soothe at night because if you come everytime he makes a sound he will expect that. It is easier said then done. Good Luck!

    Show Replies
    • 25

      Ida says

      My we did the family bed with both of our kids until they reached age 4 (by choice rather than necessity but I loved every minute of it). My daughter was actually more independent than my son (and moved easily into her own bedroom when she was ready) so to alleviate his fears we set up a small toddler bed in the same room as ours and he slept in there until he was ready to move into his own room with a brand new big-boy bed. It was baby steps but it worked. Good luck!

      Show Replies
  12. 27

    Kir says

    I have never thought of myself as a Co-sleeper either.
    I am an “OLYMPIC SLEEPER” I love the sleep more than I love to shop or watch Law & Order…and if you know me, you know I loves me some Law & Order. LOL

    but somewhere around the June of this year, under the guise of “he’s not feeling well” or” he keeps coming back in and I’m just TOO Fing lazy to get out of bed and take him to his own room” we have twin 2 yrs olds in our bed most night, and we are suffering with it.

    I think that trusting your gut is the right thing, he’s still little and you’ll get your bed back (if you want it) I , just this morning, was discussing our nighttime bed companions with my husband, and while I agree taht we need our QUEEN Sized bed to ourselves, I do love falling asleep with those little heads next to me. ..it’s a wicked double edged sword.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!

    Show Replies
  13. 29

    Valerie says

    What a funny read! There are about a thousand things I now do as a mom of two that I swore I’d never do and I agree with the others… pitch the guilt and go with the gut. After all, you know your child best, and more importantly… you know what you’re capable of handling on any given day. I’m still learning to pick my battles carefully! :) Good luck!

    Valerie
    http://mamaneedsmaintenance.blogspot.com/

    Show Replies
  14. 30

    Miss Rebecca says

    We bought a king so that our Henry (20mo) and Lewis (2mo) would fit! They have their own beds too, but end up in bed with us every night.
    My older two slept in bed with us too, until they wanted their own bed…
    I love my space… but I’ll have plenty when they move on to their own things… You can’t spoil a baby, and they are only small and cuddly for a little while.

    Show Replies
  15. 31

    Karen Perea says

    My youngest son (now 2 1/2) is a co-sleeper. He refuses to sleep in his own bed. Mostly it is his dad’s fault. He did great in his bassinette and then he learned how to get out of the crib quick and come to our bed. We finally got rid of the crib and had him sleep in our bed. When we moved we got him a toddler bed and put it in the room with my middle son and no go. He refuses to sleep in it. Unfortunately he is a very rowdy sleeper and I try to refuse to let him in bed with us but my husband always gives in ruining the night sleep for me (he is a stay at home dad). i have finally advised him my bed is big enough for 2 people. He slept on the floor in the living room for a while with the baby but now is getting sick of that. I sometimes wake up and find them sleeping on the couch and I put the sleeping baby in his bed and tell my husband to get to bed but the baby usually wakes up and climbs into my bed. I think we need to be more forceful with it, but eventually I know my baby will NOT be sleeping in my bed. I KNOW that there will come a time when he wants his space and privacy. I have a 12 and 11 year old so I am not stressing it now but sometimes in the middle of the night when you get a child poking you going Mommy wake up watch TV you wish he wanted space and privacy NOW!

    Show Replies
    • 32

      Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. says

      haha you sound like King’s daddy patrick! patrick does not like the poking and prodding at night since he is such a light sleeper. i, on the other hand, don’t feel it at all and can go right back to sleep. i think cosleeping bothers the parent that is the lighter sleeper, and thank you for sharing that it is not always the hubby!

      Show Replies
  16. 33

    Kendra says

    You do what feels right for you and your family and not what society or grandpa or whoever tells you is right. If you want him in the crib, then make that transition and hold on. If you want to be a co-sleeper that’s okay too! Don’t beat yourself up, it’s not a bad thing. I have co-slept with all 4 of my children (7-20mo). They were all different in level of how long and what they wanted, but they all 4 sleep peacefully in their own beds now. It is so much easier to nurse this way, I got so much more sleep than I ever would have up 4 times a night traipsing down the hall to feed the crying baby who was wide awake by then. My 3rd child comes to my bed fairly often right now, but she is going through an afraid of the dark phase and knows mommy’s bed is a safe place. I am glad I have created that comfort for them. I firmly believe you cannot spoil a baby and you’re not teaching him to “be dependent” on you – he already is, he’s a baby! It’s your job to teach him independence and potty training and all that jazz, but not at 5 months. As you already know, they aren’t 5 months for long. Good luck in your journey and remember to talk everything with a grain of salt. In the end it’s your baby and you do what YOU feel is best, that’s usually the right answer.

    Show Replies

Load More Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>