How We Accidentally Became a Co-Sleeping Family
The First Week
Before our son was born, my husband and I hadn't planned on co-sleeping. He is a very deep sleeper and, for the first two weeks of our sons life, we were still sleeping in a twin size bed. We weren't against co-sleeping, we just hadn't ever really thought about it.
We started off with our son sleeping in a swing just inches from our bed because we had little floor space and it was much smaller than the bassinet. At his first doctor's visit, just two days after coming home, the pediatrician told us having him sleep in a swing while we were sleeping was dangerous. We were sent back to the hospital due to a low temperature and, while there, he was sleeping on his back and began choking on spit up.
Swing or Bassinet?
When we returned home, afraid to let him sleep in the swing and having seen him choke while laying on his back, we laid him on hiss stomach in the bassinet. This worked well for a few days.
Until one day I heard him start crying and then suddenly stop. I ran into the room to find that he had spit up, inhaled it and couldn't breathe.
After an incredibly eventful two weeks, I put him back in the swing. He slept beautifully, never choked or anything once. On the other hand, between waking up to pump, feed, burp, change diapers and wash the pump and bottles, plus waking up to every single sound my tiny baby made, I was exhausted.
Catching Up on Sleep: The "Mommy-Baby Nap"
The switch to co-sleeping was slow and completely unplanned. In order to catch up on some much needed sleep (and get some extra cuddle time ;) ), we started doing what I like to call the Mommy-Baby nap. After my husband left for work, I would feed our baby, lay down with him and sleep until 7 or 8. It was the best sleep I had gotten since he was born. I learned the difference between his sleeping baby noises and movements, when he was hungry and when something was wrong. I knew he was safe because he was right next to me.
These naps happened pretty much every morning. Then one day, after my husband came home from work, we were having family cuddles and all of us fell asleep. We slept for about an hour and no one, not even baby, moved an inch. It was beautiful.
The Family Bed
Bigger Bed, Better Sleep
After moving up to our queen bed, I stuck with our previous sleeping arrangement (swing next to the bed) for a little while. I would wake up in the middle of the night, get my sons bottle from the fridge and try to stay awake while sitting at the foot of the beds feeding him.
Eventually, I gave in. I crawled into bed, laid baby down between the wall and myself (with room to move, of course) and I fed him laying down. This became even easier once I was able to stop pumping and using bottles. Now I can sleep while feeding him!
Would you consider co-sleeping?
Co-Sleeping Research Overview
Once we were officially co-sleeping all the time, I wanted to make sure we were doing what was best for our baby, not just what was easiest for me. So I decided to do some research. Here's what I found:
- Co-sleeping increases the child's self esteem
- Decreases behavioral problems
- "More happiness and general satisfaction in life"
- Less prone to peer pressure
- Encourages independence (yes, really)
- Promotes physical and mental health
- Decreases risk of stress disorders and SIDS
- Promotes family bonding
- More sleep for nursing moms
I personally sleep much better knowing my baby is safe and sound, right beside me. Plus, he seems to be a magical sleep-inducing baby.
What are your thoughts on co-sleeping with a baby?