10 Sacrifices You Make When You Co-Sleep That Are Totally Worth It
Being a mother, in general, requires a certain level of sacrifice. No, you don't have to sacrifice every single thing about how you are as a human, what you want out of a career or whatever your social life previously looked like, in order to be a "good" mom, but things will change. It's just how it works; now you're responsible for someone else and your life needs to make room to accommodate that responsibility. If you decide to give it a shot, there will be sacrifices you make when you co-sleep; sacrifices that can leave you questioning your sanity and whether or not sharing your bed with your kid is actually worth it; sacrifices that are, thankfully, completely worth it.
My partner and I didn't make the decision to co-sleep so much as it was made for us. My son had problems regulating his body temperature directly after he was born, so our doctors and nurses suggested that my son sleep in the hospital bed with me, skin-to-skin. That was the beginning of our co-sleeping experience, and it lasted for about a year and until we transitioned our son to his toddler bed. I can tell you that I absolutely loved co-sleeping, but it required my partner and I to make some sacrifices because, well, we were sharing one of our favorite places with a tiny human who didn't know how to control their bowels and who needed to eat every two hours.
It's easy, now, to look back on co-sleeping and completely enjoy it. Nostalgia is funny that way, and my memories are always softened when time has done it's dirty work and scrubbed the exhaustion and hardship from them. However, if I'm being honest, there are plenty of sacrifices you have to make if you want co-sleeping to work. Here are just a few but, I promise, they are more than worth it:
You Don't Have Any Room
How can a tiny little body take up that much space?! I mean, seriously, how is that a thing? My tiny baby easily took up more than half of our bed, so my partner and I were forced to either be smashed up against a wall or teetering on the very edge of the bed. Unreal.
You're Going To Get Hit In The Face...
Kids flail around and, in an attempt to find a comfortable spot (I'm assuming) kick and punch and flop and it is the worst. My kid has given me a subtle black eye, and he has definitely given my partner a few bruises. It's not intentional, to be sure, but those little bodies can do some damage.
...And Kicked In The Face.
Seriously, how do they manage to contort their bodies while simultaneously inflicting an immense amount of pain? I would be impressed if I wasn't too busy tending to my wounds.
There's No Cuddling With Your Partner
In order to make sure our son wouldn't roll off the bed, our son slept in-between my partner and I. That meant, for about a year, every time my partner and I went to bed, we didn't touch one another. Nope. No touching. No cuddling. No waking up in one another's arms and no kissing that didn't require carefully maneuvering around our tiny human spawn. Our bed was full of people, but sometimes, it was lonely.
Your Sex Life Might Suffer (But Not Always)
I, personally, don't believe that co-sleeping automatically means your sex life will die. My partner and I found plenty of other ways to enjoy one another (and even ourselves, individually) even though we were sharing our bed with our baby. You can have sex during the day or on a couch or when someone else is watching the babe, so honestly, don't assume that co-sleeping means you cease being a sexual person.
However, it's also pretty normal for your sex life to take somewhat of a "hit." I mean, it would regardless, because you're a parent and you're not sleeping and for six weeks (or even longer) you're not medically cleared to have sex anyway.
Some Nights, You Won't Sleep Very Well
I give co-sleeping all the credit for providing me with some much-needed sleep, especially during those first few months. I had some fantastic, beautiful, wonderful sleep-filled nights, because of co-sleeping. I also had some sh*t sleep nights, too. I mean, when my kid is thrashing his little body around and hitting me in the face and taking up every square inch of the bed, it can be hard to get comfortable enough to actually go to bed. It's a catch-22, you know, just like parenthood itself.
It Might Take A While To Get Your Bed Back
We had a pretty easy time transitioning my kid from our bed to his toddler bed, but it did require constant effort. In order to make him feel "safe" and like mom and dad were still there with him, we slept on the ground, right next to his bed. I would hold his little hand and assure him that mom was right there, even though she wasn't in bed with him. After a few weeks (I know, it kind of sucked) he was sleeping in his own bed and all was well.
You Might Get Touched Out
Being touched out is very real and I experienced it for a pretty long damn time. I had to explain to my partner that cringing when he touched me was nothing personal. I had to tell him that with breastfeeding and co-sleeping and just general childcare, I was being touched by another human every hour of very day and it was driving me insane. Body autonomy can be hard to come by when you're a new mother.
You'll Never Forget The Perfect Moments You Had With Your Kid At Night Or In The Morning
The memories of every baby snuggle and the smell of your child's head and the way they turn into you when they want to go to sleep will be something you never, ever, get rid of. I carry them with me now that my son is about to turn two and sleeping soundly on his own. I'll carry them with me when he walks across a stage and graduates. They won't leave my mind and, hey, that's a freakin' awesome thing.
You'll Be Hard Pressed To Find Or Experience A More Peaceful, Serene Time
I won't lie, co-sleeping will be a hard experience to top, my friends. I mean, yes, the first time your kid crawls or laughs or walks or says they love you will be up there. I can only imagine that first days of schools and first dates are big, too. However, for now, I can confidently say that co-sleeping with my son is one of my favorite parts of parenthood. It is so very, very, worth all of the punches and kicks and sleepless nights and loss of complete body autonomy. My baby was able to sleep knowing that mom was right there and I was able to sleep next to my kid and know that he was still breathing. Win freakin' win in my book.