Thursday, March 28, 2013

why we said no to co-sleeping

I started to comment the other day on a FB post asking if readers did or didn't co-sleep and why or why not.  My comment started to get lengthy. And then I accidentally deleted it. That was the end of me commenting on that post. 

We chose from the beginning not to co-sleep.  I worked for the Department of Child Services Child Abuse Hotline at the time Theo was born and every child death had to be reported to us.  Every unexpected infant death was investigated as a possible abuse/neglect case.  We received a startling number of these reports.  So the decision, for me, was largely about safety. I did not want me & my baby to become a statistic.  I didn't know what I was getting into - how easy it would be to roll over on an infant, etc.  I didn't know I would sleep lighter than I'd ever imagined for 2 years after becoming a mother...yowzer, that sucked, but is not the point here. (Disclaimer: That's not to say we didn't doze off during a nursing session and succumb to the exhaustion more than a couple of times during those very early, sleep-deprived weeks.  Being a real parent and not just a lady that worked for DCS, I realize that those suffocations usually involve an altered state due to drug use, alcohol, or some other risk factor that did not pertain to us.  But notice that I did say USUALLY.  Not always. This is still a strong argument for not co-sleeping with an infant).

My decision was not solely based on safety.  Someone I knew allowed their child to sleep with them from the beginning and that worked out fine for them.  But I knew it wouldn't work for me. It turned into a situation where the child did not would not go to bed until the parents went to bed.  The child ended up sleeping with the parents until age 5 or 6.  That's a lot of child-in-your-bed time if you ask me.  And as much as I love playing with those little cherubs, I value my me-time after they go to bed. The child didn't end up sleeping with the parents for life.  I just saw the fight they had to get the kid to go to bed alone and knew that I didn't want any part of that if I could avoid it.

So we were determined from the beginning to a.) not smother our baby and b.) have our grown up bed to our grown up selves.

Do I regret our decision? Not really. Sometimes. Occasionally.  No, not really.  Sorry. I had to sort that out in my head for a second. 

The only time I regret it is when those cute snuggly little bears do actually crawl into our beds and fall asleep in my arms.  They learned to sleep in their beds from the beginning  - not to say we didn't rock them, etc. Gah I sound so cruel and cold.  WE ARE VERY LOVING, okay? Anyway, they learned to sleep in their beds early on so they don't seem to need that closeness to fall asleep now that they are 1 & 3.  However, there is the random occasion when this happens and all I can do is stare at their sweet, peaceful faces and soak it all in.  I let my mind wander off to consider what life would be like if we had let them sleep with us all this time.  Would they be more snuggly now? They wouldn't sleep with us forever, after all.  Childhood goes by so quickly and the years are short, even when the days and nights are long. 

Then, while I'm kissing a baby-smooth forehead and smelling a head full of silky hair, the thought starts creeping into my mind, should I have let him sleep with us? Is he going to think this is how it's going to be from now on? Don't worry, I'm able to snap out of it and enjoy the moment.  Unfortunately, these moments are all too rare.  I'll have to enjoy our snuggles on the couch and before bedtime because these boys are not even interested in sleeping with mom and dad 364 days a year.

Ultimately, I do not have any regrets. We've been lucky in the sleep department for the most part and this lifestyle works for our family.  And that's all that matters.



  1. We are the same....our bed is for us, our room is our room. It's how I grew up, my parents room was pretty much off limits to us. Our door is always closed because it's full of things I don't want Mackenzie to get in to. She slept in her Rock N Play next to our bed for 6 months and then it was to her crib. At about 8 months she only took naps and slept in her crib. Also we didn't rock her to sleep, except for the rare occasion.
    I don't regret any of this, but there are times I wish she would let me rock her to sleep. I wish we could crawl into my bed at nap time and both snuggle up and take a nap. Or nap on the couch. But we don't, because her bed is where she sleeps and that is best for us.

    1. Both of my boys liked to be rocked to sleep when they were little little little. Then they both got to the point where we could just lay them down. A month or two ago I jokingly was holding Dexter like a baby and swinging him back and forth, singing Rock a Bye Baby. Now, EVERY NIGHT he begs for "rockabeebee." So no we are rocking this 25 pounder and singing to him. Haha! It's work but it's worth it. Only problem is that he gets too much enjoyment out of this to fall asleep so he gets mad when we put him in his bed!

  2. We had a co-sleeper in our room for the first month or two, but more often then not our little guy ended up in bed with us. We didn't want him to get too used to the idea, so we had him take naps in crib, and then when he started daycare, he had no problems being in a crib. When he hit 6 months, we moved him into his room for good since he was crawling around and we were lucky to have no problems since he was already used to his crib as well. At first I was worried about the dangers of co-sleeping, but neither my husband or I move around much once we're asleep and it's different with a kiddo - you just sleep lighter. Maybe that's why I started sleeping better when we moved him into his own room - it was kind of great to get our bed back.

    1. I know what you mean --- I never felt remotely like there was a possibility that I would roll over on my kid and not know it. But it happens. Scary! I do love that we have solid sleepers.