While I was pregnant I would imagine life with my newborn and when it came to our sleeping arrangement, I pictured him all swaddled and cozy in the bassinet which would be placed next to my side of the bed. Even though my Sister co-sleeps with her babies, I always said that I would never, ever, co-sleep because I was too nervous about all the terrible possible outcomes.
I thought I would roll onto my child and that I would wake up to have my worst nightmare come true; there was just no way I would ever risk it…. and then my Son was born. For the first few nights in the hospital, he slept in the bassinet they provided. It was always a hassle to get out of the hospital bed to get him to attempt to nurse but I thought no, it’s just the hustle and bustle of all the medical routines and checkups that needed to be done and at home it would be easier… then, we went home.
I had such a connection with my Son right away and the Skin to Skin contact I was able to have for the first hours of his life were the best moments I’ve ever experienced. We got home and he would lay on my chest to sleep and I continued to love sharing the bonding experience of skin to skin with him. It was just too hard to have him away from me throughout the night. Not to say that we didn’t attempt to have him sleep in the bassinet, but he would cry right away and just would not settle. He would always only fall asleep on our chests or in his swing. As a newborn he barely slept between feeds so he was constantly in our arms. When he was a month old, we began to offer him a pacifier and that helped calm him down enough to be placed in his swing in which he would fall asleep. It also helped him sleep in his bassinet successfully once, for about an hour. He simply seems to not enjoy his bassinet.
At night, as we would be enjoying skin to skin, to try to get some rest, I would think, “Here I am, getting as close to sleep as I can and we are co-sleeping, something I always said I would never do.” It was not that I simply forgot all about my fears- I thought about them constantly which is why I knew I would never let anything happen to him. It is like a switch gets turned on as soon as your baby is born and you are in tune to them right away. I read all about how to co-sleep as safely as possible and knew that he would be okay. If he moved just the slightest amount, my eyes opened to make sure he was okay. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I thought it too and so did my Doctors. “You can’t go weeks on end, DAYS even, without getting a real, deep sleep. You will eventually wear yourself out and no matter what you think, accidents can happen. Your body will be too tired to react the way it needs to in order to keep him safe.”
The thought of that, kept me in tune even more to my Son’s every move however, I am not ignorant to the fact that it was all true. That is why any naps I can get during the day, while my Son is kept preoccupied with his Dad, is how I manage to ensure my Son’s safety during the night when we co-sleep. I also don’t drink, we have a smoke-free household and I have talked to my Dr about safety precautions several times. We still try to have him in his bassinet every once in awhile but he is simply not ready and comfortable enough to be left in a bassinet. Whenever we try, he sleeps for maybe 15 minutes until he wakes up crying and that includes when he is put in the bassinet after already being in a deep sleep.
Believe me, not having enough room in our bed for all of our bodies to comfortably sleep is not ideal for us parents, who rather roll off the bed than have anything happen to our Little One. Liam just isn’t quite ready to sleep on his own and to be honest, even with the “tetris” like positions I have to sleep in to ensure his safety, I too am not ready. He will only be this small for so long and the cuddles we share during the Fourth Trimester mean the world to me.
There are several pros and cons to co-sleeping and as someone said, it is a controversial topic which will get hundreds of different opinions. Thanks to What To Expect, here are a list of pros and cons:
The Pros of Co-Sleeping:
Supporters believe that sharing sleeping quarters:
- Encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime nursing more convenient
- Helps a nursing mom get her sleep cycle in sync with her baby’s
- Helps babies fall asleep more easily and go back to sleep more quickly when they wake up during the night
- Leads to more nighttime sleep overall for babies
- Helps parents who don’t see their baby much during the day regain a sense of intimacy with their child
Anti sleep-sharers point to these disadvantages:
- Potential risks. Again, the AAP advises against sleeping in the same bed for safety purposes, but you can still experience most of the pros if you opt to share a room instead.
- Less sleep for you. Infants toss and turn and burp and bark in their sleep — pretty noisy little creatures to keep close while you’re trying to sleep yourself.
- Less sleep for baby. Your super-attentive tendencies (picking baby up at the first whimper) may actually do more harm than good when it comes to (both of) you getting a good night’s sleep.
- Less whoopee. Let’s face it — can you really let it all hang out when baby is sleeping (or cooing) in the same room? If so, more power to you — your baby won’t remember a thing. But if you’re like most couples, either the two of you — or your child — have got to go for the passion to flow.
I will mention, that I understand many of these cons and when it comes to more interrupted sleep for both of us, I can see how that may be so I WILL be working on placing him in the bassinet. However, I will say how much easier night feedings are because of co-sleeping. He is right next to me for easy access and at this point, I am able to nurse while laying down and sleep is therefore not interrupted as much as it would be if he were in his bassinet. A fellow Mother also said this was an advantage to co-sleeping, “Jack has been in his crib since 4 weeks because he’s a serious grunter but there have been some nights where we’ve decided to co-sleep and I totally get why people do it. It makes breastfeeding so much easier! Momma can fall right back asleep with ease.”- via Instagram from Anne at GrownUpGlamour
I may receive a ton of backlash concerning this post but everyone’s parenting style is different and that’s okay. That is how we learn from one another. As long as I know that I am following what my Doctor has told me to keep Liam safe, I will do what feels right for our situation for the time being. My kind Mother-in-Law, purchased a crib as a gift for Liam and it is beautiful. It will grow with him into a toddler bed and it is so practical; I will feel good knowing Liam is asleep in it, for I know he will be safe and cozy. It is in the room next to ours so until 6 months hits, which will be here sooner than I would like, he will remain in the room with us- no matter if he is in his bassinet or co-sleeping with us.
Do you have tips on how I can transition both of us from co-sleeping to having him sleep in his crib? I know that his Dad will welcome having the bed back to ourselves, but I also know I will have a hard time not having him next to me- as silly as that may sound- so advice is welcomed! Please comment below or e-mail me with your own co-sleeping experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook/Instagram (@athomewithjoanna). Thank you everyone!