I co-slept with my son the first night he was born; in the hospital and skin-to-skin. He couldn't regulate his own body temperature, so my body helped his body stabilize and, well, we co-slept every day since. I knew that there were going to be some weird things I'd have to just put up with when co-sleeping, but I didn't realize there would be weird things that happen when you stop c0-sleeping, too. Honestly, it was hard for me to even envision a day when I wasn't sharing my bed with a tiny little human who loved to hit and kick and thrash around. After a while, three people in one bed just became normal.
My son started sleeping in his own toddler bed when he was around a year old. The transition was smooth (almost too smooth. I mean, my partner and I spent so much time waiting for him to regress, but it never happened.) and I was able to essentially regain my bed as my own with ease. So, it was a ridiculous, unwelcome surprise when I realized that while getting my son to sleep in his own bed was easy, me sleeping in my own bed wasn't. I had what I had been looking forward to since my kid started throwing around his elbows like a damn NBA player, but I was bummed. I missed my little mini-furnace; I missed waking up to baby kisses; I missed smelling his sweet baby head; I missed it all, and no longer co-sleeping was going to be much harder than co-sleeping itself.
So, yeah; co-sleeping can be weird and you have to deal with some strange stuff when you share your bed with a baby and/or toddler (pee spots on the regular, anyone?) but it only gets stranger when you decide you're done. So, with that in mind, here are just a few weird things that happen when you stop co-sleeping with your baby. Hang in there, mom. It's going to get easier. I think.
You Remember What Space Is Like...
I'll never forget the first night my son slept in his own bed, by himself. It felt as though what would have been a Twin Bed, had instantaneously morphed into a California King. Obviously our Queen didn't actually get any larger overnight, but you couldn't have told me that.
...And What It Feels Like To Actually Have Some
I stretched and rolled around and marveled at how much space I was able to enjoy in my own bed now that a tiny human being wasn't taking up the majority of it. So this is what luxury is like, huh? Splendid.
You Hear "Phantom Cries" On The Regular
For the first couple months that my son slept in his own bed, I heard at least two or three "phantom cries" a night. I could have sworn he was crying or calling for mom or just speaking out loud (probably saying, "Why would you let me sleep in this huge bed all by myself, you horrible mother?"). Of course, he wasn't; he was fast asleep every single time I checked on him.
You Actually Have A Hard Time Sleeping
I thought about the day I would no longer have to share my bed with my kid for, well, a while. I envisioned this glorious all-night sleep that I would be enjoying unapologetically, passing out in minutes and staying asleep until the morning.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
I had such a hard time falling asleep without my little by my side. I kept thinking he was crying (when he wasn't) and I honestly missed him. It was so strange. I had what I wanted and what I as looking forward to for a while (my own space in my own bed) but the moment I could enjoy it, I missed my little one and wanted to go back.
You Miss Getting Kicked In The Ribs By Tiny Human Feet
This doesn't make any sense. Like, at all. I couldn't stand being kicked in the face and hit in the face, but there were nights when I would gladly have my little kick and punch me relentlessly if it meant that he could still sleep next to me. Motherhood is strange, you guys.
You End Up Checking On Your Kid Regularly
My partner had to literally talk me down from checking on my kid every five minutes, the first few nights he slept alone. I mean, I wasn't there to make sure he was safe and he was still breathing and some random person didn't sneak into his room through the locked window. My mind was relentless and it felt so strange to not have him next to me, so I wanted to check in on him regularly.
You Don't Worry About Rolling Over Or Falling Or Even Moving
I learned (very quickly, I might add) how to sleep completely still. The position I fell asleep in was the position I woke up in, and I didn't move a single inch. I could teeter myself on the edge of the bed and remain there, never moving unless my son needed something from me.
When he finally slept in his own bed, I almost forgot what it was like to not be afraid to move or not sleep in the same, unwavering position. Now I had options, you guys. Whoa.
You Can Have Sex In Your Bed Again
Whoa, sex in an actual bed? Not sex on the couch or the living room floor or the kitchen counter? What?! What is this madness?!
You Start Forgetting What It's Like To Defend Your Choice To Co-Sleep
There are so many myths and so much misinformation about co-sleeping circulating parenting sites and just the internet in general, that I spent a good amount of my time letting people know that, nope; I will not kill my son if I co-sleep with him (safely, of course). It became somewhat of a frustration; to constantly have to defend my choice to co-sleep, or to at least listen to people go on and on about something they really didn't understand or know much about.
So, when my son started sleeping in his own bed and I no longer had to tell people I was co-sleeping, I felt strange. No one was going to tell me about the dangers of a toddler sleeping by his or herself? This is insanity!