The decision to co-sleep with my children wasn’t so much a decision as it was a gradual wearing down of my resolution not to co-sleep with my children. I was thoroughly and adamantly against the idea before I even got pregnant. I had seen Supernanny, people. I was under the assumption that that once your kids came into bed with you they wouldn’t leave until they were off to college. Turns out, my resolution not to co-sleep wasn't as strong as my love of actual sleep, and I went through all the stages of not planning to co-sleep that inevitably end up with your baby in your bed anyway. Sorry I'm not sorry, I guess.
Honestly, this non-decision ultimately turned out to be a really excellent non-choice-turned-wonderful-decision for me and my family. Everyone agrees, including my youngest (at least I assume my youngest would agree if she could speak in sentences longer than three words). Now that our babies aren't "babies" anymore, my partner and I have our bed (mostly) to ourselves again, barring some occasional cuddles after nightmares or during illnesses.
We look back on the time we shared our queen-sized bed with (at one point) two little kids fondly and thankfully. Perhaps it goes without saying that we also laugh at the complete 180 we’ve done from the days when we said co-sleeping was completely out of the question and something we would "never do" because there's no way we would be "those people." (What can I say? We were unknowing and judgmental. No, it's not a good look.) We'll chuckle at the non-choice we made and how it call came to pass, which looked a little something like this:
As stated, we swore up, down, and sideways that we would never have “a family bed.” We even hated the term “family bed.” We thought it sounded smug and obnoxious. Little did we know...
Calm Follow Through Of Resolution The First Time The Baby Gets Up That Night
When the baby got up during the night, one of us (usually me, since I breastfed) would get out of bed, pick him up, and soothe him back to sleep. This could be accomplished by nursing in a chair or on the couch in the living room, or walking while patting his behind for a while. All in all it could take anywhere from 2 to 25 minutes. We’d stay calm through this process because, it’s all good. and babies wake up and we knew that when we decided to have a kid. We knew this would be part of the deal.
Finally Get Baby Back To Sleep. Go Back To Your Bed. Hear Baby Wake Up Again As Soon As You Get Back Under The Covers.
Kid, I love you, but you're the worst.
Reassure Yourself That You Can Make It Through This Insanity
“Babies wake up. It’s what babies do. This is normal. This is perfectly normal. It’s 1:30 in the morning right now. I can still get enough sleep to see me through the day if I can get him to sleep within the next 15 minutes. It’s going to be OK.”
Weep Profuse Hot, Silent Tears When Your Baby Wakes Up Again
Repeat For Days. Or Weeks. Or Months.
So, for us, this went on for about 6 weeks after the birth of my son. Now, a small part of that was due to the fact that it would have been very dangerous for me to bring him into bed with us because I was on pain pills following my c-section for a while.
During this time, we went actually insane. Waking up sometimes every 20 minutes all night long? That’s the sort of thing they do to break elite soldiers. I am someone who really doesn’t need that much sleep, and I could put up with this for days at a time. However, every five days or so, I would just sob for, like, an hour, because I was so damn tired. My husband, who needs a ton of sleep to be even semi-functional, was basically a zombie-extra from The Walking Dead.
In A Sleepless, Daydreaming Moment, Think To Yourself How Great It Would Be To Get More Sleep
During one of these fantasies, I thought about co-sleeping. I had just read an article on side-lying nursing and thought about how damn convenient that would be. I shook it off, though, because co-sleeping bad, independent sleep good! My baby was going to be self-sufficient and unspoiled and I was going to get better sleep without them in bed with us. Ha.
Resume Your Nightly Routine Of Sleep Deprivation Torture
At this point, the concept of “going to bed” was more a declaration of intent than a definition of reality.
Bring Baby Into Bed "Just For A Minute"
“I’ll just nurse him in bed and then put him back in the bassinet.”
Fall Asleep In Seconds
Of course I did. Anyone would have!
Wake Up Hours Later Realizing You've Just Slept Longer Than You Have In Days. Or Weeks. Or Months.
The sun streaming through my windows was never more beautiful than it was that morning. I swear I heard choirs of angels singing softly.
This honestly felt like a genius parenting hack and we were all getting hours of more sleep every night.
...Or Until Your Kid Starts Taking Up Too Much Room And Kicking You In The Face Every Night. Then Kick Them Out.
There came a time when having our kid (or kids) in bed with us was costing us more sleep than it was saving, and that’s when we knew that baby jail (aka their cribs) were calling them home again.