Co-sleeping is one of those things that are “in” right now. There are pros and cons to it and at the end of the day, it is your decision. Today I am sharing with you why we chose not to practice co-sleeping and why it was the best decision for us.
Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are two very different things and not to be confused! The first one is when babies and young children sleep close to the parents and therefore senses their presence. Bed-sharing, however, is when the babies sleep in the same bed as the parents and can be very dangerous if not done correctly.
When I was pregnant, I always said I would not co-sleep and that the baby would sleep in his own room from day one. My mother in law even told me I’d change my mind because my sister in law said the same thing and then ended up having her baby sleep with her for ages. We had our babies four months apart, which is why some comparisons were made and I didn’t take it the wrong way. I knew we would end up doing what was best for us.
WHY WE CHOSE NOT TO PRACTICE CO-SLEEPING
While at the hospital, Benjamin slept either in the bassinet next to me or with me on the bed. A very nice nurse helped me build a “bed” for him using a nursing pillow, so he was safe in bed with me.
We don’t have space for a bassinet or a “co-sleeper thingy” (pretty sure that’s the technical term) next to our bed, so the only way for Benjamin to sleep in our room was on the nursing pillow between us. I had always said that I didn’t want him to sleep with us, but I was still in a protective mode from being in the hospital, and his birth where we had some issues.
On the third night, Markus finally convinced me to move Benjamin into his own crib. For everyone’s sake. See, that little bug made weird noises when sleeping! (still does) We basically spent the night waking up with every little grunt Benjamin made in his sleep. Once he laughed in his sleep – full-blown laugh – in the middle of the night. It totally creeped me out! My parents gifted us a baby videophone and that made me feel a lot better. Knowing I could check on Benjamin really made a difference! I still spent the first night checking the monitor every hour or so, but managed to get at least some sleep.
Benjamin has slept wonderfully since we moved him into his own room and started sleeping through the night at about 4 weeks old, with only one feed at 23:00. We try to put him to bed at 19:00 and he wakes up on his own between 7:30 and 8 am.
CO-SLEEPING ISN’T FOR EVERY BABY
I understand that, as new parents, we often want to be with our babies 24/7. Especially as a mother, having spent almost 10 months with a little being inside you, it can be difficult to let go. But I also feel parents shouldn’t do what everyone else is doing or saying is “right”. Because what is right for my baby, may not be right for yours. Benjamin sleeps much better when he’s in his crib. On the rare occasions when he slept in the same room as us, he would wake up a lot more times and didn’t sleep as well.
Benjamin also doesn’t always want to fall asleep in our arms. When he doesn’t and we still try, he will squirm and complain and try to go away from our grip. If I put him in the crib, he’ll turn around and get into his sleeping position. He pretty much falls asleep on his own. Then there are other days when he wants to cuddle and we may sit in the chair, quietly, until he falls asleep.
I pretty much try to “feel him out” and see how he wants to go to sleep, instead of choosing myself. I know a lot of parents who do it how they want to. Not to say that is wrong, it’s just not what is right for us!
I get a lot of criticism when I say we don’t co-sleep. Because it’s the “best thing” to do, because doctors “advise it” or because it helps “strengthen the bond” between the baby and the parents…you pick the reason, I have heard it. I feel in this case we all should let the babies decide what they prefer.