I was no stranger to babies. I had two significantly younger brothers, born when I was 15 and then 17. I spent years working in a day care. I went to school and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in child development. I mean it when i say I knew everything I needed to know about babies.
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Before I get into my cosleeping journey, If you haven’t had your baby yet, or a baby shower, or you just have others asking what they can get to help you out, it’s worth mentioning that Amazon now offers Baby Registries. How awesome is that??!! I seriously wish this existed during my pregnancies. You get free shipping, AND you get 10-15% off all of the items in the registry that you end up having to purchase on your own after the shower, etc. Plus, it’s free, so there’s really no point NOT to do it. I mean, it’s basically a wish list, right?!! Go here to set one up now, I’ll wait…
In October, we found out I was pregnant. That Christmas, B bought me The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears. It was huge, and filled with a lot of information I was sure already knew. You know, because I knew everything.
One night before bed, I picked that giant book up, and poured myself into it. Most of that book highlighted information that went against everything I thought I knew. In fact, it went against everything B thought he knew too. I’m downright convinced he found the fattest book about babies with a cute picture on the front of it, and thought, “This is it!!”. Despite my not agreeing with the information in the book, I kept an open mind while reading the book, and silently noted that it wasn’t for us particularly. The book focused on a lot of attachment parenting issues, as well as cosleeping with a baby.
Fast forward 7 months, and wild thing #1 had graced us with his presence. I fell in love all over again. It was exhilarating, and exhausting, and completely different than I thought it would be. While I was pregnant, I casually thought about giving breastfeeding a whirl, once my baby came, I was on a mission to make it work (and it was not an easy start). I had needed every single contraption available to put my baby in when he arrived, and I didn’t want him to be put down. I snuggled with him every second I could.
Then came night.
I was tired, I was sore, and I was the sole provider of his nutrition. On top of that, I hated putting him in his cradle at night to sleep. It felt all kinds of wrong to me. Still, I tried. Every night for 2 weeks, I put him into his cradle to sleep, and every night he didn’t sleep, and neither did I. Then at 2 weeks old, my perfect little baby ended up back in the hospital because his jaundice levels were so high. That whole night and day he was in an incubator. I wasn’t allowed to hold him, and I wasn’t allowed to nurse him. Friends, I cannot imagine doing this for longer than the 2 days we did. My heart goes out to those that endure anything along these lines. We were blessed to have such a tiny, little hospital stay.
It was enough though. When we came home, I just couldn’t put him down, and I just couldn’t put him back in that cradle. I fell asleep that night with my baby snuggled next to me, and we slept. We both slept, and it was glorious.
After that, my Baby Book, was my Baby Bible. Apparently, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.
Three babies later, we don’t even own a crib. Our progression went a little something like this- wild thing #1 had his own room, and crib, wild thing #2 had an actual crib with one side off of it attached to our bed, wild thing #3 had a cosleeper AND this first years’ secure sleeper, and wild thing #4 has no room, and no bed other than our own. There was a time that we were “closet” cosleepers, and we told no one our dirty little secret. It’s impossible to hide it now, since the kids rat us out, and there is no crib (although at this point we are out of the crib phase anyhow. It may not be for everyone, but it works for us, and it just feels right for us. 12 years ago, I didn’t have the confidence to back our decision to cosleep, and I felt like I was the only person in the world that slept with my baby. I scoured the internet for more proof that i wasn’t crazy, there wasn’t much. I have since figured out, we are definitely not alone! Over the years though, I have heard some ridiculous questions..
5 questions you should never
ask someone who chooses
cosleeping with a baby
If you do cosleep, I’m sure these questions will be familiar to you, and if you don’t- there’s no shame in that. I have wonderful friends that cosleep, and wonderful friends that choose not to. Both groups are wonderful mamas.
1. How do you and your husband DO anything???!!!
Really? That is not anybody’s business, and yet, I am amazed by the amount of times this has been the first question out of a person I barely know’s mouth. Don’t ask this. Ever.
2. Aren’t you worried you will roll over your baby in your sleep?
Well, I don’t drink or do drugs, I don’t even take cough medicine, so, no. If any of my babies wiggles their pinky toe while in bed with me, I am up. I don’t put pillows around them, and I use a bed rail, so the baby is always next to just me. That said, it’s so sad that people ask that question. I always felt like they were suggesting, I don’t love my baby enough to put him in his crib.
3. What if he never leaves your bed?
Actually, B used to tease that wild thing #1 would come back to bed with us, after being out driving around with his friends. No. He sleeps in his own bed, and I was never worried my 16 year old would have any weird issues of wanting to sleep in our bed. At 12, he wouldn’t dream of sleeping in bed with us.
4. How do you get any sleep with him right next to you moving around?
Listen, I truly believe that it’s completely OK that we all have different parenting styles and ways of doing. I don’t for one second think that there is one right way to do things. What does upset me, is the lonely place those that don’t abide by the norm, end up in. I do sleep great with my baby next to me. She doesn’t even cry at night, never has. She starts fidgeting, and gets restless, and I pick her up, nurse her, and she goes back to sleep and so do I. I feel like I would have a harder time sleeping if she were in a different room. (And now that she is done nursing, she doesn’t wake up at all, and yes, she still does sleep with us.)
5. Isn’t that dangerous??!!
See number 2, but this feels like it’s worse (for me, at least). There is a ton of research out there that states that cosleeping can actually be beneficial. It can help regulate temperature, it can regulate breathing patterns, and it can even remind your baby to eat. I don’t think it’s dangerous if you’re not altered…
I’m not here to say everyone should choose to cosleep. I never in a million years, would have guessed I would cosleep with my babies. Choosing to cosleep, or not to cosleep, is a personal choice, and we all do what works best for our families. Just make sure you don’t ask these questions, if you choose not to.
One more thing to note, my kids all have cycles of good sleep, and bad sleep. In my mind, it’s part of parenting. I tease, and make comments about how I haven’t slept in years (it’s true). We have 4 children. I have been nursing babies for 8+ of those years, and most of that time, I was nursing through the night. It is what it is, and due to the way we choose to parent. That said, I don’t for one second believe that choosing to cosleep (in our case), is the reason any of my kids wakes up at night as they get older. Our best sleeper at the moment, is the one that sleeps in bed with us.
Do you cosleep, have you ever had to deal with these questions?
I know there are some of you that didn’t go sign up for Amazon Baby Registries yet. Don’t forget to go here to set one up now. Like I said it’s completely free, and you can browse as much as you want from the comfort of your own home. Plus, you don’t have to leave the house to add something every time your realize you’ve forgotten something.