Co-sleeping, or sleeping with your child in your bedroom, is a choice a lot of parents end up making. Honestly, it's easier than going back and forth all night during all those wake ups. Still, at a certain point, what seemed easy ends up becoming more of a pain. It can be difficult to sleep with a baby in the room, or too tiring to always be walking on eggshells after bedtime. So saying goodbye to co-sleeping can feel like real cause to celebrate. There are lots of benefits that await you when co-sleeping is over that are practically champagne-worthy.
We co-slept with my first son for a short enough time that I didn't feel like my life had been ruined by it. However, it was long enough that when he moved on to his own room, I remember feeling such a sense of relief that I could simply walk into my bedroom and not have to brace my whole body for fear the crack of my toes on the floor might wake him into a screaming state. For the first few days after he had settled into his own room, being with my husband in our bedroom alone at night felt like we were two kids partying at home while the parents were away.
So, with that in mind and because us moms need to take our wins whenever and wherever we can get them, here are some of the things you can look forward to if you're currently trapped in co-sleeping hell:
Saying Goodbye To The Co-Sleeping Guilt
The second you start typing the words "co-sleeping" into your computer is the second you're going to receive a world of information you didn't necessarily want about the topic. Co-sleeping, like so many different parenting choices, can bring with it possible concerns (and risks, too, if you practice bed-sharing).
So much of my co-sleeping guilt stemmed from my fear that when I did try to transition my first son to his own room, he wouldn't be able to handle sleeping alone. And guess what? I discovered that my son hated sleeping in general, so it wasn't just being in the room alone that he disliked, it was being put down at all. I would have lost out no matter what I did. In the end, he learned to sleep beautifully, alone in his own crib, and is the better sleeper than my other son who still sleeps in our bed (he's 2). Make of that what you will, but once we had successfully transitioned him to his own room, it was really nice to not have to worry anymore about the "what ifs" about whether he would be able to do it and if it was true what everybody had said about how co-sleeping would "ruin" his sleeping habits "forever."
Having Your Bedroom Back
Once you've moved on from co-sleeping, you may find yourself singing songs like, "My bedroom's back and it's better than ever!" It feels so good to have a room that is no longer crowded with the presence of yet another human. Most likely, you already are sharing your bedroom with your partner, and you know, three's company (however small that company may be).
Watching Movies Without Headphones On
When we had our baby sleeping in our room, my husband and I had to say goodbye to normal television watching (or in our case, watching shows on our iPad). Fearful that we would wake the baby, we had to watch everything with headphones on, which meant that if we were watching something together, we had to share the earbuds, or, just watch things separately (sad).
When the baby had gone off to his own room, we were able to watch shows as a couple again, free from the constraints of headphones, and able to bask in the glory of listening to the audio on the regular iPad speakers.
Not Having To Strategically Plan When You Can Enter Your Own Room
When you have a baby sleeping in your room, that pretty much makes your room off-limits from whatever time your baby goes down until morning, save for the moment you tiptoe to the bed to go to sleep. When co-sleeping is no longer a thing, you can finally celebrate being able to enter your own bedroom as you please, any time of night, to fold all those onesies, to grab a new pair of socks, or simply to lounge on your bed while talking on the phone like a teenager.
No More Whale Sounds
That Sleep Sheep, man. Am I right? Anyone else notice that it is kind of weird that the Sleep Sheep sound machine makes whale noises and not sheep noises? I think it is a little twisted. More importantly, I was pleased as punch when I didn't have to listen to that creepy character echo into the night for 45 minute stints next to my bed forevermore once my baby started sleeping in his own room.
Not Having To Listen To A Noisy Baby
Speaking of noises, as cute as baby grunts and sniffles usually are, if you are a light sleeper they're not that pleasant to listen to in the middle of the night. I normally sleep like the dead, but when I was a new mom sleeping near my infant, I was particularly attuned to every breath my baby was taking, convinced that it could be his last because I come from a long breed of worriers. All night long I'd lie awake, listening to my son doing his baby noises. I'd tap my husband to ask, "Does that sound normal? Do you think he's OK?" and then I'd go over to check and the subtle sound of my body disturbing the air would jolt the baby awake, and he would start screaming.
I know, I know. Completely brought it upon myself.
Being Able To Talk (Or Do Whatever) At A Normal Volume In Bed At Night
When you're finished with co-sleeping, that means you can also be finished with whispering and doing whatever else it is you want to do at night (hee hee) as quietly as two butterflies saying hello. You can do those kinds of things at regular, normal volumes, or whatever "normal" means to you because now, you don't have to worry about waking the baby. That is, unless you're a screaming type and your walls are thin. Then, maybe just keep it on a semi-low decibel. For the baby's sake and yours.
Oh who am I kidding? You just had a newborn. You're just going to be enjoying watching TV.
Having More Square Footage In Your Room
With the co-sleeper, bassinet, or crib out of the way, you've finally freed up some valuable real estate in your bedroom. That means you can now use that space for something really cool, like a decorative basket, or maybe vintage record player, or just extra floor space to dance around in your underwear.
When we were co-sleeping with my first born, even though it was just for the first month and a half or so of his life, I was always surprised by how much space his bassinet took up in our bedroom. Even though
Never Having To Hear Advice On The Topic Again
Hallelujah! Now that you're done co-sleeping, no one (not your mom, not your partner's mom, not your kid's babysitter) can share their heartfelt, unsolicited advice on this topic anymore. You don't need it because it is no longer a part of your life. If it comes up, or if someone starts with you on it ("I was just reading the other day about how children who co-sleep are likely to become serial killers") you can tell them to save their breath because your child is now happily sleeping in his or her own room. (But don't forget to point out that the reason he is so happy is that you left him with his own fire-starter and Baby's First Knife kit.)