“He’s definitely not sleeping in our bed.” Famous last words. Yes, these were my words. I spoke them to my husband when I was carrying Big Chunk.
I remember a Dr. Phil episode once about “family beds”. I thought it sounded kind of perverse and a little like a weird hippie/commune type deal. Or maybe something that goes on at that Texas polygamist compound led by Warren Jeffs. (You remember, they raided it a few years ago- the people looked like Duggars.) Maybe if Dr. Phil would have referred to it as sleep sharing or co-sleeping it wouldn’t have sounded so creepy to my non- mother self. No. It probably still would have freaked me out. In my horny, single gal mind the bed was where you did the deed and maybe slept a little if there was time afterward. Why would you want pooping and peeing children in the love nest?
Anyway, when that sweet helpless baby was born my tune changed. Having Big Chunk cuddled up to me at night was and is pure bliss. Our bond grew stronger and I got more sleep because I barely had to wake to nurse. In fact, when we go to the pediatrician and he would ask me how often he wakes to nurse at night I have no idea since I barely wake up.
Truth be told I can’t imagine those tiny little people having to sleep in a big cold bed all alone. I adore holding hands all night long with the Little Chunk while he has his sleepy milk. And believe it or not the husband loves it too. Seeing your smiling babies the very first thing in the morning is a pretty life affirming thing. Keeps the day ahead in perspective.
As with everything in parenting safety comes first. These are some imperative safety steps that must be taken when co-sleeping:
- Never sleep with baby when you are over tired, taking medication, under the influence of alcohol or smoking.
- Don’t allow baby to sleep next to older siblings.
- Make certain sheets fit tight to the bed and no blankets or pillows are around baby’s face.
- Be very cautious of letting baby sleep next to dad. He doesn’t usually have the same awareness of baby’s position and could rollover onto baby.
- Never sleep with baby on a couch or in a chair.
- Make sure there are no gaps between the bed and wall or headboard. Baby could fall between and get strangled.
- Avoid sleeping with baby if you are extremely overweight.
- Use your mother’s intuition and good old fashion common sense. You know what’s best and safe for your baby.
Here are a few books that have helped me to get more and better sleep. Notice I didn’t say help your children get more and better sleep? I bet if you asked them they’d say they sleep great!