Co-sleeping is one of the (many) evergreen parenting controversies. As long as there are parents with babies, there will be controversy over where said baby should sleep. Some people love co-sleeping, while others feel it can be dangerous and, as a result, aren't willing to take the risk. Whatever your opinion, I think it's important to know there are a few weird things that every mom does when she's co-sleeping.
If you ever find yourself amongst a group of co-sleepers and you say something like, "And then I felt his toe in my nose," chances are ridiculously high that everyone will know exactly what you mean. When my son was a newborn, we had a lot of sleeping issues. And by "a lot," I mean absolutely all of them. In no time at all I found myself exhausted and desperate. I'd Googled "baby sleep problems" and "how to get baby to sleep" and "why won't my baby sleep, is he an alien?" so many times that every targeted ad that popped up on my computer was baby-sleep related. Then, as you might have already surmised, I found out about co-sleeping.
When I first started co-sleeping, I felt like I was blazing a new trail and doing something unexplored and "unheard of" because, to me, co-sleeping was this crazy new thing; nothing short of groundbreaking. I was such a noob. Co-sleeping has been around for as long as there have been babies, so it's safe to say it comes with a few universal truths, including the weird things every co-sleeping mom eventually does.
She Never, Ever, Rolls Over
The first time I put my newborn son in bed with me, I was terrified. Desperate for sleep, yes, but also positive I would roll over on him. I was surprised and comforted to realize that instead of tossing and turning or rolling all over the bed, I didn't move a muscle. Seriously. Once I got him snugged up beside me, I was completely still for the rest of the night.
For the next year or so, I slept solely on my right side. I was sore when I woke up in the morning, sure, but the relief that came with knowing my body instinctively knew not to crush my baby was palpable and more than worth it.
She Puts Her Baby's Head In Her Armpit
I think there's also some sort of brain magic that tells women where the absolute, undeniable best place to put their baby is so they can keep them safe. Turns out, that place is right next to mom, the baby's head in her armpit.
I never learned about this co-sleeping position or read it in a book, it's just the place where babies go. I'll even go so far as to say that if you ask a co-sleeping mom about this position, she'll tell you that a baby's head fits perfectly in the armpit.Your arm is curled protectively around your baby, and nursing (if you choose to and/or are able to nurse) is super easy.
She Can Sleep Through A Marching Band But Will Wake Up Instantly If Her Baby Lets Out A Sniffle
My husband had an alarm set for 5:30 every weekday morning. It was not a gentle alarm, mind you, but heavy metal which is, honestly, the worst thing I could think to ever wake up to. Luckily for me, however, it never woke me up. I slept through the best rock has to offer, day in and day out for years.
I did not, however, sleep through tiny baby sniffles or groans or hiccups or coughs. My brain seemed to filter everything ancillary and tune in to my son. It was pretty amazing.
She Sleeps With One Boob Out
If you co-sleep and nurse, sleeping with a boob out is almost inevitable. A tank top or nursing bra or (super stretched out) v-neck with one boob in the wind so baby can nurse at his leisure becomes your go-to sleep arrangement. Convenience is key, you guys.
She Doesn't Actually Remember Nursing At Night
When you go long stretches of time without nursing, you know. Your boob feels full and heavy and if you become engorged, you'll be in some amount of pain. When you wake up in the morning to find your "out boob" not painful or heavy, showing every indication of having been nursed overnight, but you can't remember nursing at all, I'd say you've officially become a co-sleeping mom. There are no badges, but you can consider these nights and misfires in your memory to be your ticket to the club.
She Smells Her Baby's Head. All Night Long.
Every mom smells her baby's head. It's a rule. It's another one of those instinctive things passed down through the generations. However, a co-sleeping mom gets to sleep with that sweet, perfect smell right by her nose all night. Trust me, she doesn't take that opportunity for granted.
She Ninja Rolls Out Of Bed
Co-sleeping makes many things easier, but it also makes a few things trickier. For example, things like getting out of bed without waking your sleeping angel. We all develop our own special moves, whether it's a ninja roll to the bottom of the bed or a slide straight off onto the floor. Honestly, I've simply learned the less jostling, the better. (Of course, there are always moments when levitation would be a perfect solution.)
She Has Sex In The Kitchen Or The Family Room Or The Bathroom Or Wherever
When baby is asleep where the magic used to happen, it's time to get creative. Sofa, blanket on the floor, shower; a little imagination will serve you well (literally and figuratively, of course).
She Balances On The Edge Of The Bed Like A Tightrope Walker
Your baby is tiny and your bed is huge (maybe) but somehow you are relegated to the smallest stretch of bed you can fit onto. As a result, you cling to the side like a mountain goat. The smallest breeze and you risk toppling into a pile on the floor. The things you do in the name of parenthood, right?
She Shrugs It Off When Her Kid Pees The Bed...
I'd venture to guess that every co-sleeping parent has found themselves sleeping in a puddle of urine. In fact, I'd say it's a guarantee. After you have a baby, their excretions — urine, feces, vomit, mucus, you name it — just aren't gross to you, and the middle of the night diaper leak or potty training accident just aren't that big a deal.
If you're a really motivated mother, you change the sheets, or at least move to the other side of the bed.
...Or Just Puts Down A Towel And Goes Back To Sleep
Or you just lay down a towel and go back to sleep. #Priorities