As a brand new mom, I had it all figured out. I’d read all the books. I’d made plans. I knew what it was going to be like when my baby was born.
Then I had a preemie who needed to be fed nearly every hour for almost the first 6 months of his life. To say I was sleep deprived just doesn’t cover it. I went back to work when he was 3 months old and I was so tired that I would find myself wandering the halls at work with no recollection of where I’d been for the previous 20 minutes. I swerved when I drove by parked cars on the side of the road.
I was functionally sleepwalking.
All the books said to let baby sleep in a bassinette for a few months then move him to a crib so that’s what I did, but most of my night was spent feeding, changing, and rocking my baby to sleep in the nursery rather than sleeping. One night I was so tired that I brought my baby into bed with me so I could nurse him lying down and (surprise, surprise) I fell asleep before he was done eating.
The next morning I was shocked to wake up feeling something similar to rested. I had a vague memory of waking up a few times to nurse my baby, which was easy since he was right there. Not having to get up and care for him in the nursery let me stay half-asleep and avoid the struggle to get back to sleep before he woke up again.
That night was life changing. From then on out, I started to sleep again. My baby slept in my bed 90% of the time until he decided he was ready to move back into his crib. The extra sleep I got made the difference between being able to enjoy my baby’s first year of life (and my first year as a mom) and being so tired that I didn’t even remember it.
I’ve co-slept with each of my other babies and have loved those quiet moments snuggled with them through the nights. Well-meaning family and friends have questioned the safety of co-sleeping, but in my case, having a sleep-deprived mom was more of a risk to my babies. Fortunately my pediatrician agreed and was supportive of my decision.
I sleep with my babies cuddled up on my arm so I knew where they were at all times and I’ve never felt that they were at risk by being in my bed. For new mom’s who aren’t comfortable having baby physically in the bed with them, I always recommend looking into using a co-sleeper so that you get all the same benefits of having baby in bed without the risks.
My now 10 month old is just getting to the point where she prefers her crib because she wiggles so much but she’ll still end up in bed with me when she has a rough night. I love waking up to her blowing raspberries on my cheek and now that my co-sleeping days are mostly behind me I can say without a doubt that I don’t regret a minute of it.
Do you co-sleep with your baby?