There, I said it.
That’s not to say I haven’t done it. I co-slept with each baby until they were about three months old. It worked great while I was breastfeeding because I could just roll over to feed. I didn’t have to get out of bed. I didn’t have to put on pants. I could doze in and out of consciousness while my baby nursed, safely tucked beside me.
But pretty much the second I had my boobs back to myself, I wanted my bed back too.
We moved our kids into their own cribs, in their own rooms. It wasn’t that difficult a transition. In fact, everyone was sleeping better shortly thereafter.
Now that our toddler is three, she has her own queen-sized bed. My husband and I still snuggle up with her, read stories, console scary dreams, or sleep alongside her — but on our own terms. Once she falls asleep, we can escape back to our own room.
As for sharing my bed, I just couldn’t. Here’s why:
As a work-at-home mom, I’m surrounded by kids all freaking day. If they’re not touching me with their sticky hands, they’re probably trying to wipe their stickiness off on my clothes. Sometimes I just need somewhere to lie down without anyone touching me — a brief moment to have my body and mind all to myself. A place to relax and not have to worry about the possibility that someone pooped.
Assuming that you don’t co-sleep on a couch or take Ambien, I think co-sleeping is generally safe for kids. But once babies outgrow the love-to-be-wrapped-like-a-burrito stage, they immediately begin training to become mixed martial artists. First they get you with a fist to the face, then a kick to the abdomen. You’ll wake up struggling for air because they have somehow rolled their entire tiny body onto your face. You’ll be lucky to make it ‘til morning.
Our three months of co-sleeping I was in recovery so this wasn’t an issue for us then. Parents who co-sleep are always saying that they find “creative” ways to reconnect. How? Where? I’m not very limber anymore and our pantry’s not that big. Never mind the fact that the minions are ALWAYS around. The only time we really get to ourselves is when they’re sound asleep… behind closed doors.
In a world where every single thing I have is shared with my kids, my bed is the one place that’s my own. And I don’t feel guilty about it. My bed is my sanctuary. It’s where I like to read, write, be still, and enjoy some silence. If I do want to watch TV or listen to music, I can choose what I want. There are no cartoons or obnoxious kids’ songs allowed.
I don’t get much sleep, quantity-wise. So the sleep I do get needs to be decent quality. I can’t be woken up constantly and expect to be able to function the next day. When you’re not waking up to being poked or prodded, you wake up to every weird noise you hear. Not to mention every time you roll over onto a warm spot, you wake up to figure out if it’s wet or not.
To be clear, I’m all for everyone making the decisions that work best for their families. But for the parents who choose to co-sleep, maybe you should consider just buying your kid a bigger bed. Because sharing your bed means having to sacrifice all of the above – and that’s just crazy.
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