While I was pregnant and when Jax first came home there were two things I was adamant about:
1. Breastfeeding – I wanted to
2. Co-sleeping – I NEVER wanted to
At almost 16 months Jax is an avid booby lover and, well…she is a mommy/daddy bed invader as well. And honestly, I love having her sleep with us, so I am glad I broke my word to myself on that one.
When I tell some folks that we co-sleep with Jax I get the “look.” I’m sure some of you are making it as you read this…am I right? I’m sure I am, and that is ok with me. Co-sleeping isn’t for everybody, but it works for us.
We didn’t start bringing Jax to our bed until she was about 6 or 7 months old. Before then she slept in a Nap Nanny (yes, I know they have been recalled) nested in a cradle wedged up against our bed. I slept right at the edge of the bed only inches from her. She slept through the night early on, I’m talking at 5 weeks old she was sleeping 8-10 hours straight. It was bliss.
Then around 5 months she started waking up in the wee hours of the morning. Every night. I would reach out and rock her and she’d bellow to be picked up. So I did. And I took her out to the living room half awake and freezing and nursed her until she was ready to go back to sleep. Then I’d put her back in her cradle and she’d sleep another hour and we’d do it all over again.
She had spoiled me early on with a full night’s sleep and then suddenly at almost half a year. I was grumpy, short-tempered and exhausted. This carried on for a month or so. I tried feeding her oatmeal so she’d have a full belly while she slept. We gave her warm baths at bedtime. Nothing worked. She always woke up like clockwork between 2 a.m. – 3 a.m. I felt like a brand new mommy hovering on the brink of sleep-deprived insanity.
One early morning when she woke up, my husband sensed my anguish and suggested I just put her in bed with us.
NO WAY! What if I rolled over on her? What if she fell off the bed? What if she got smothered in our bulky comforter? What if she got used to it and sleeps with us until she leaves for college?
But as I made my way with her in my arms down our cold, dark hallway I changed my mind, got back in bed and nestled Jax alongside me, she latched on for about 2 minutes then immediately fell asleep. And she stayed asleep until 10 a.m. It was bliss all over again.
Now here we are 10 months later and she has been in our bed every night since. Knowing that she is safe and warm and breathing and content next to me is an unbeatable feeling. Never have I rolled over on her. Never has she fallen off. Maybe she will sleep with us until her prom night, but I doubt it.
Right now I don’t care.
I love crawling into bed with her. She keeps my side of the bed nice and warm and as soon as she feels me she melts into me. There is no better way to fall asleep then with the two people you love most in the world pressed against you. I won’t have that forever. She’ll grow up and want her own space and I’ll ache for her closeness.
Surprisingly my husband likes her in our bed too. I think he likes it even more than me. He suggested it many times before I finally, desperately gave in. Sometimes when he thinks I’m sleeping and Jax has found her way between us, I catch him gazing down at her with such adoration it brings tears to my eyes. I’ll see him holding her tiny hand, looking so content and wistful, overjoyed with pride at his little human masterpiece. Very sweet.
We all sleep better…together. Warm and content.
Sure there are restless nights. Times when I wake up with a foot jabbing my neck or a head burrowing into my back. Sometimes all she wants to do is nurse and I have to sleep on my side to allow access, making me feel like an open bar, milk on tap all through the night. That usually only happens when she’s teething or feeling under the weather and I am happy to oblige if it brings her comfort.
Yes, I know I probably overindulge my child, but she is thriving with our parenting choices and that is all that matters to us.
So yeah, I know the look all too well when I tell people I co-sleep. Often it’s followed up with one or more of the following statements/questions:
“Co-sleeping is dangerous.”
“How do you and your husband have sex?”
“You’ll never get her out of your bed if you don’t stop now.”
“You should never share your bed with your babies.”
“Aren’t you afraid you’re going to hurt her?”
And my answer is:
“If we’re not losing sleep, why should you? Don’t worry about it!”