Before you had kids, were there things you swore you would never do once you became a mother? You’re not alone! In our series “I Never Thought I’d Become THAT Mom,” we’re sharing our “can’t believe” moments as we reflect on motherhood.
Before my son, Noah, was born, I thought I knew everything about parenting and the best way to approach every aspect. The research showed that the healthiest option was sharing a room with baby, but not sharing a bed. So that was what we would do!
Thankfully, he was the best sleeper ever, sleeping through the night at only 6 weeks old. I still liked having him nearby to peek in on and make sure he was breathing, but had no desire to have him in the bed with me. I was too light of a sleeper and his every twitch would have kept me awake all night. Noah slept in our room in a pack ‘n’ play for three months before moving to a crib in his nursery.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, Riley, I assumed we would follow the same practice with her; and for a while we did. She slept in the pack ‘n’ play next to the bed, and I would take her out to nurse and then put her back in the middle of the night.
Things changed when Riley was around six months old. She got a bad cold and couldn’t sleep lying flat. The only way she would stop screaming was reclining in my arms. Exhaustion got the best of me, and I let her sleep in the bed. I swore that as soon as she got better she’d be right back in that pack ‘n’ play. What I didn’t count on was her getting used to sleeping in my arms.
After that week, Riley refused to fall asleep — or stay asleep — anywhere other than on me. My husband was annoyed; I was just too tired to care. This became our new normal.
Before I knew it, I grew to love co-sleeping! I loved waking up at 2 a.m. with that tiny angelic face next to mine, cuddled up to my chest. I learned how much easier nighttime nursing is when baby can fall back asleep right at the breast. Not to mention, she sleeps so much more soundly knowing I am right there if she needs me.
Now at almost a year old, we do a mix of co-sleeping and rooming in. Riley might spend half the night in the pack ‘n’ play and half the night in my bed in between my husband and me. I must admit, sometimes I pick her up, still asleep, and bring her into the bed just because I need some cuddles. And when she snuggles up next to me, I have to wonder how I ever thought co-sleeping was some horrible, annoying thing.
I have no idea how long we will continue co-sleeping. Maybe just until she can sleep through the night, maybe longer. I know my husband would prefer sooner rather than later, but we are just taking it one night at a time for now.
It’s important to keep safety in mind when co-sleeping, particularly with an infant. Kellymom.com, askdrsears.com and the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory offer information on helping the whole family get a healthy, safe night’s sleep.
Does your family co-sleep? Tell us about it!