I never envisioned myself co-sleeping with my son, let alone enjoying it. In fact, I had (unfortunately) heard so many myths and unnecessary warnings about co-sleeping, that I was afraid of sharing a bed with my child. However, after my son was born and struggled to regulate his body temperature, my team of doctor's and nurses suggested co-sleeping. My son's first night alive was spent by my side and that, as they say, was the beginning of the end. While I love co-sleeping, there are some gross things that happen when you co-sleep that can make the entire experience, um, not the best time. Is it worth it? Sure. Is it also pretty damn disgusting, at times. Oh, yeah.
Overall, I can confidently say that I've enjoyed a very positive co-sleeping experience. From the moment I used my body to help my son regulate his body's temperature, to the moment we bought our son a toddler bed and he transitioned to his very own sleeping spot, I've been able to get more sleep than most parents, breastfeed my kid at night with relative ease (and minimal effort) and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being so close to my son that I know, without a doubt, that he's breathing. I can also confidently say that co-sleeping hasn't always been pleasant. While I was able to get more sleep, most nights, there were nights when I didn't sleep at all. When one person wakes up, everyone wakes up, so if a tiny toddler fist or foot or entire body decides to throw itself in multiple directions, well, them's the breaks. If I would like a little extra room to oh, I dunno, actually stretch out and not feel like I'm confined to a cage, oh well. It was beneficial and bonding and the best thing for my new family, to be sure, but sometimes co-sleeping sucked like nothing else has possibly sucked before.
Perhaps it's the gross part of co-sleeping that I, still, haven't necessarily come to terms with. I mean, my idea of "normal" has definitely change since becoming a mother, and what I put up with now compared to what I ever thought I would put up with in the past, is night-and-day different. Still, some things are simply disgusting, no matter the circumstance. For as much as I enjoyed co-sleeping, I can't say I miss the following absolutely gross things that came along with it:
Your Kid Will Pee The Bed...
Look, you can change diapers as frequently and consistently as possible, but it's still going to happen. You can potty train your kid to the best of your ability, but when your kid comes crawling into your bed at some ungodly hour in the morning, they'll probably leave said bed with a very big wet spot. I mean, come on kid, get it together. Cleaning pee-sheets every other day is driving me, and your father, freakin' insane.
...And Pee On You...
If I had a dollar for every time I have woken up either in pee or with pee on me, I would have enough money to pay for my mother to live with us, take care of our kid and co-sleep with him instead. I can't lie, I was pretty horrified at first but, after almost two years, I'm just like, "Eh, at least pee is sterile." I know, I'm gross. I make no apologies.
...And, Sometimes, You'll Be So Tired, You Won't Care
I'm not proud of the following, you guys, but this is a safe space so why not be honest, right? There have been nights when my partner and I have been so exhausted, so utterly useless as human beings, that we just put a blanket over a pee stain, slide to our respective sides of the bed and go back to sleep. I know, it's gross. I know, it's shameful. I also know that I need sleep, dammit, and turning on lights in the middle of the night (essentially waking up our son) and stripping the bed and putting on more sheets only to try and go back to sleep just isn't going to happen. Nope. I'll deal with it in the morning.
Butts End Up In Faces...
My kid throws his little body around like he's practicing for an upcoming gymnastic's tryout. While his "starting position" may be in the middle of my partner and I, his adorable head on a pillow, he'll inevitably end up turned around with his butt in my face and his body stretched over mine and my partner's. It's not comfortable. It's not my idea of a satisfactory "wake-up call." It most certainly isn't appealing, because my kid farts you guys. Like, a lot.
...Butts With Very Dirty Diapers
There are few things worst than waking up to a diaper filled with poop, directly in front of your face. I would rather smell bacon, not the remnants of last night's dinner.
It Can Get Hot, So There Will Be Sweat
In the winter, co-sleeping is pretty awesome. My kid doubles as a human furnace we don't have to pay to keep on at all hours of the night. He's super warm and cuddly and it's the best. In the summer, however, the opposite is true. He's still super warm and cuddly but it's not the best, it's horrible and sweaty and uncomfortable. Like, don't touch me kid. Ew.
Your Sheets Get Dirty, And Quick
It's recommended that you change and wash your sheets every one or two weeks. If you're co-sleeping with a baby and/or gross toddler, I suggest cutting that down to maybe every few days? If you can, of course. This is a suggestion, after all. While it would be nice to keep the sheets as clean as possible, I can tell you that we definitely don't wash our sheets as often as we should. I mean, you already know what I do with the pee thing.
If One Person Is Sick, You're All Sick...
I'd argue that you could say this about any sleeping situation. Co-sleeping or not co-sleeping, if someone in the household gets sick, you're all freakin' getting sick. However, co-sleeping definitely makes it easier for germs to spread and people to get sick. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, because it's not the worst thing) my kid loves to cuddle when he's not feeling well, so anytime he spikes even a low-grade fever, we're all sleeping in the same bed. I can almost time the moment I know I'm going to get sick down to the second. Thanks, buddy.
...And Waking Up In Puke Will, Probably, Happen
This doesn't happen all that frequently, however, there have been instances when my sick son wakes up just to roll over and throw up all over me. In fact, it's happened twice. It's disgusting. It's, honestly, heartbreaking, because seeing your kid puke is just painful. It's inevitable. Oh, well.
Toys Brought Into Bed Will Get Stuck In Weird, Um, Places
This wasn't an issue when my son was a baby, and we practiced safe co-sleeping habits. However, now that my son is a toddler and has his own toddler bed (that he religiously leaves in the middle of the night or early morning, in favor of ours) I'm finding more and more toys in, um, odd places. Look, it's hard enough to get comfortable when there's three people in a bed and tiny toddler fists are hitting you in the face. Rolling over and onto a freakin' Elmo doll? Yeah, no.