I've been co-sleeping (well, bed-sharing, to be more specific) with my now toddler since he was born, and for the most part it has been a great experience. It's made night feedings far more convenient, and getting to soak up baby cuddles all night and wake up to his tiny, adorable face as soon as I open my eyes is pretty much the greatest. However, as with anything, co-sleeping has its advantages and its drawbacks. There are definitely things no one actually likes about co-sleeping, as much as we may appreciate co-sleeping overall.
Especially as babies get older, larger, and more mobile, co-sleeping becomes more challenging. Despite still being the smallest one in the bed, toddlers somehow manage to take up an incredible amount of space. And unlike sharing a bed with an adult partner, a small child requires certain accommodations and some extra patience. After all, you're all still learning about their sleep needs and they're still learning about how their bodies move in space and how they affect other people. (All of that is fancy talk for, “At some point, every co-sleeping parent gets hit in the face. Repeatedly.”)
Please know that if you're feeling some kinda way about the following aspects of co-sleeping, it doesn't mean all the co-sleeping haters are right and you've made the wrong choice, or that you need to do a total about-face on your sleeping situation. Honestly, it just means you're normal. Just as there are aspects about sleep training or any other parenting choice that folks like and dislike, co-sleeping has its own upsides and downsides. Nobody like those downsides, because that's how downsides work (or rather, don't work).
Getting Punched By Tiny Sleepy Fists...
Or slapped by tiny hands, if you're fortunate enough to have a child who sleeps with open palms. My child regularly dreams that he's doing the Rocky training montage or something, so he often has little fists of fury at night. Punches and slaps don't happen often, but when they do, oof.
...And Kicked By Tiny Sleepy Feet
When little ones are teething or sleepless for some other reason, those little legs and feet can really start flying. Unfortunately, sleeping is basically the worst self-defense strategy. Not that you'll be asleep for much longer.
Getting Headbutted By A Restless Child
How can such a small head be so hard? If you've already seen signs that your child is restless (see items #1 and #2), be on guard if your little sleepy one starts angling towards your face. I almost got my nose broken once and as a direct result of missing that clue.
Having To Be More Strategic About When And Where You Have Sex
Changing up the location can actually be really fun, but still, co-sleeping definitely makes you miss the days when you could just kind of take it for granted that if you both wanted to, you could just roll over and mess around at any point in the night. Then again, most parents have to get creative about sexy times, anyway.
Having Just A Teeny Sliver Of The Bed To Yourself
Maintaining your position on the bed without falling or hitting anyone definitely improves your balance, though. I don't see “Toddler Co-Sleeping” taking off as a new fitness craze, but there is a thin silver lining on that particular cloud. Maybe.
Having To Give Up Some Of Your Preferred Bedding
If I didn't share my bed with a husband and a toddler, I'd have four thick blankets and approximately 70 pillows. However, since letting your partner and child sweat and/or suffocate to death is a downer, I have given up the fluffy bed of my dreams. Where is my prize for valor and sacrifice?
Having To Kick Beloved Pets Out Of The Bedroom At Night
Especially when they're really young, pets and babies sleeping in the same sleep space is pretty much a no-no. So, if you used to co-sleep with your fur-child, it can be a bummer to give that up for the duration of your co-sleeping experience with your human child.
Not Being Able To Fall Asleep Watching Your Favorite Stuff
Whatever, sleep hygiene experts. Some nights, a lady just wants to fall asleep binge-watching her favorite show. But even the most screen time-tolerant moms can't justify running How To Get Away With Murder or Game of Thrones once the little one has come to bed. Sigh.
Having To Sneak Around If You Can’t Sleep Or Need To Use The Bathroom After Your Babe Falls Asleep
The worst is when your child has sweetly, peacefully nestled themselves into the crook of your arm or across your chest, and you're both so comfy and you're reveling in the warmth and beauty of the moment...
...and then you realize you are dying to pee.
Dealing With People Who Are Judgy About Co-Sleeping
‘Cause there are always some folks out there just dying to let loose some creepy things to say about co-sleeping if they find out you're a co-sleeping parent. Oh well. Haters gonna hate.