Bed-sharing is a choice many families make, whether it was organic or planned for, but it's not always easy. Sharing a bed with a baby, toddler, or a kindergartner can be mentally challenging and physically tough. There are a lot of good things that can come from bed-sharing, sure, but how does bed-sharing adversely affect your body? Do the benefits outweigh the risks to your own well-being?
Here's the thing, if you're not into bed-sharing, it's best not to do it. Kelly Mom noted that bed-sharing is really up to you and what you want to do. If you think you would be miserable, then pass on it. You can have your child sleep on a separate surface in the same room as a compromise or you can move junior into their own bedroom. Personally, I need my space. AlthoughI love cuddles and Sunday naps with my toddler, I prefer my own bed at night. I need to stretch, I need to roll over, and I don't want to wake up with new scratches on my face from a toddler who wanted me to wake up and fix her some cereal.
So take it from me — there are several ways bed-sharing adversely affects your body. If you can get past them, by all means, do you, mama. Do whatever it takes to make sure both you and your kiddo are happy. But if you're unsure of the idea of bed-sharing, heed my warning — toddlers have excellent kicking aim.
1. You Sweat Through All The Things
You would think you'd be cold being as you've either removed loose blankets for your baby or had them stolen by a toddler, but it turns out, bed-sharing is sweaty AF. My child likes to have most of her body firmly planted against mine, so I've learned to wear tank tops and shorts if I'm going to make it through the night. Goodbye, flannel pajamas. I have my own source of heat now. It's also worth noting that if your little one is sweaty, too, it might be time to reevaluate their own pajama options.
2. Your Body's Alignment Is Thrown Off
Biomechanist Katy Bowman noted on her website Nutritious Movement that bed-sharing can cause your body's alignment to get out of whack, especially when you sleep on one side. You can experience what she called a "rib slide" and, normally, it can be fixed when you switch sides, but bed-sharing doesn't always allow for that — you often end up sleeping on one side all night.
3. Your Arms Are Numb
My child loves to snuggle. And although it's my favorite thing in the world, it also makes my arms feel like bags of sand instead of the functioning appendages they are supposed to be. Her sweet little head in the crook of my elbow is fine until I can't use my fingers to hit the snooze button in the a.m.
4. Your Back Has Tiny Feet Imprints
Seriously, what is it with kids and their feet? My kid constantly kicks if she's sleeping with me and I'm legit concerned that there's going to be organ damage one day from her martial arts moves in the middle of the night.
5. Your Body Aches From Your Cirque De Soleil Positions
Seriously. You know the old stand-by moves — hanging off the edge of the bed, contorting your body around a tiny human who now takes up four feet of space, holding your arms above your head to keep the pillows from moving, sleeping with a toddler between your legs because they move all over the place. They all suck and they all make you feel like you've aged 80 years when you wake up in the morning.
6. Your Body Is Covered In Bruises & Scratches
My toddler has a bad habit from when she was breastfeeding — she shoves her hand down my shirt and kneads my breasts for comfort. No matter how many times I remove her hand (she always apologizes and says, "No pinching Mama"), if she's in my bed and trying to fall asleep, it's the first place she goes. My boobs are always scratched from her tiny toddler T-Rex claws and I have more than one bruise from where she's pinched me so hard in my sleep that I wake up. Some kids grab their parent's hair when they're tired or tug on a parent's ear as a comfort and you know what? That sh*t hurts, too.
7. You Get Seriously Touched Out
There's no other way to explain it. Bed-sharing seriously makes you feel touched out. La Leche League International noted that this feeling, often characterized by irritation, feeling your skin crawl at the thought of cuddling, and overwhelming claustrophobia, is very real and can happen when you spend so much skin-to-skin time with your kid. Breastfeeding can be a big trigger for it, but so can bed-sharing. You don't have to give up bed-sharing, but you may need some alone time or a nap in your own bed without anyone crawling on top of you.