A lot of families choose bed sharing because of the bonding, breastfeeding convenience, and because, for many children, it makes going to bed much easier. But what if you're done with the breastfeeding stage (or you were never in it the first place), and your kid sleeps just fine in their own bed but sneaks into yours later in the night? Why do you choose to bed share? Is it just for the cuddles? Or are there some things you love about bed sharing that have nothing to do with your kid? In my experience, I've realized more often than not it's likely a mix of both.
My first son co-slept with my husband and I for a little while, but solidly slept solo after he was 4 months old. Our second son has been in our bed since he started learning to escape his crib. It started as an every-couple-of-nights thing. Now, bed sharing is where we live. I love lots of things about it, most of all just being close to him and smelling him and seeing his face first thing in the morning.
Then again, there are also a lot of little perks to having one more person in our bed, that I hadn't anticipated when he first started appearing at our bedside in the middle of the night around the age of 2. I've grown to really love bed sharing, and here some of the unexpected reasons why:
Your Bed Is Always Warm (Or At Least In One Spot)
You know how having a dog at the bottom of the bed is like having a nice, warm, heater to toast your feet at night? Well, a kid in your bed is even better, because you get all their oven-like body heat where you need it most, near your heart's center, (and isn't that what yoga people are always talking about as a seriously important part of the body)?
I am always freezing when I first get into bed. However, if my preschooler is already in it, I can count on the bed being warm before I get in. It's like how my husband goes and warms up the car for us before we actually have to get in it on those horribly freezing days. Now that's service!
You Always Have An Excuse For Why You Are So Tired
I talk about bed sharing with our preschooler as both a point of pride and a solid excuse. If people see me at half-mast, looking a little groggy and out of it, I can usually say something along the lines of, "Ugh, our kid was in our bed all night," and be on the receiving end of some major sympathy smiles. No one needs to know that, at least most of the time, I really like having him in our bed.
It's A Great Form Of Birth Control
Now I'm sure there are some parents out there who get creative around bed sharing and procreating (or to just have fun), but for me and my husband, a kid in the bed is a number one mood killer. Nope! Not for me, thanks.
Of course, there is always the possibility of leaving the bed, but our little guy seems to sense whenever there's a disturbance in The Force. So once he's in our bed, that's kind of it for us for the night. Let's just say we are strategic about getting the job done.
There's One Less Bed To Make
On the nights when we skip the pretense of my toddler even starting off in his own bed before coming into ours, I at least rejoice in the fact that I won't have to make his bed in the morning. Small victories need to be acknowledged, too.
Less Distance To Travel To Meet Middle-Of-The-Night Requests
Before we started bed sharing with our son on an every-single-night-no- matter-what basis, we used to have to leave our bed and travel down the hall in the cold of night to find out what it was he so urgently wanted to tell me every time he called out. Now, all I have to do is whisper, "What is it, Dear One?" and he is right there to tell me that he "doesn't like his socks take them off now", because he is mere inches from my face. It is so very convenient.
You're Never Alone, Even If Your Partner Is Out Late Or Away
When my husband travels, or on the nights when he is out late and I actually get my butt into bed instead of waiting up until he gets home (rare, but it happens) I know I'll have company. My child will be right beside me, taking up just enough space to make it impossible for my legs to stretch out the way I like when I'm in bed, and forcing me to cling helplessly to the edge of the mattress, but it doesn't matter because I know that I am not alone.
I am one of those people that despite having taken a broom and a Swiffer to the floor underneath my bed just hours before turning in, I am still suspicious that a corpse is waiting under there to come back alive and pull me into some kind of underworld. Somehow, knowing my child is in the bed comforts me, and chases away the bad, bad thoughts.
You're Prohibited From Late-Night Social Media Scrolling
The light from my screen tends to keep my kid awake, and even if I do manage to sneak a few minutes scrolling through my Instagram feed, he'll inevitably wake up and start asking for his iPad. Then the next 40 minutes will be complete and utter donkey poop because arguing with a child who is under 3 (and still half-asleep) about why he can't watch Little Einstein at night is one of parenthood's greatest challenges. I consider it a great opportunity to go to sleep at a more reasonable hour when my son is already asleep in our bed and we are in it for the long haul for the rest of the night.
You Have To Keep The Phone On Silent
I used to like to keep my messages on a low, but still audible ping, just in case something very important happened that I really had to know about (like a life-changing BFF breakup, middle-of-the-night BFF pregnancy discovery, someone in LA offering me a book deal or a chance to do a show about my life, etc.) But with my son sleeping in our bed, messages on anything louder than silent are no longer a thing. I probably am sleeping better than ever before, and I have my bed sharing preschooler to thank.