During my son’s first appointment at the pediatrician when he was less than a week old, the doctor made me feel like absolute crap because I was nursing him to sleep, and letting him sleep with us.
Of course, I wasn’t really sleeping, but it was the only way I could get him to sleep. It also made it a lot easier on my then-husband and me to have him so close since we were literally going on a week with a few hours of sleep. Needless to say, I tried it the pediatrician’s way, and gave up. My son slept with us off and on until he was about one.
I had my daughter right after he started sleeping solo, then another son a year after that. They both followed in their big brother’s footsteps and wanted to sleep with mom and dad. I didn’t let it get to me and decided I was going to do what worked for us without a second thought.
The years went by, and as soon as my daughter learned how to crawl out of her crib, she’d come and get in between us each night. My youngest did the same.
We wondered how long this was going to last. A family bed was nice for the first half hour but let’s be honest, if you share a bed with kids they are the kings of that castle. They thrash, kick, steal the covers, and if you put them back to bed, they’ll either come right back in, or the fight they put up isn’t worth it.
If you’ve never been in a midnight fight with a stubborn, mini version of yourself, are you even a parent? The most plausible thing to do is to let them have their way so you can all get some sleep and you can feel semi-normal the next day.
It wasn’t until my kids were around five or so that they stopped getting in bed with us every night, but it still happened a lot. We decided to make it fun and told them if they wanted to come in our room to sleep they could, but we would make a cozy bed on the floor for them.
I thought that might deter them but then I realized to little kids, this was like camping and they were more excited than ever to sleep with us. It was okay, though, because they’d come in the middle of the night and we wouldn’t hear them. They’d fall asleep quickly and everyone was happy.
That went on for another couple of years. I told them they had to clean up their bed in the morning if they wanted to sleep with us and they passed that test with flying colors too.
It wasn’t until my daughter was twelve and my son was eleven that our overnights stopped.
To be honest with you, I miss that time very much. They’re all teenagers now and the mere sound of my breathing bothers them.
I know co-sleeping is hard. You have a love-dislike relationship with it, and wonder if they are ever going to be able to sleep on their own. I’m here to tell you that day will come and you will be happy… and sad. Soon enough your kids will tell you they don’t remember sleeping in bed with you. How could they want to do that? You’re so annoying and don’t know anything anyway. So as exhausting as it is now, I’m here to tell you to enjoy it while it lasts.
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