I’m Calling Shenanigans on the Anti-co-Sleeping Stance

24 Feb

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The other night, after a long day of breastfeeding and grocery shopping, paying bills, cooking chili and who knows what else because I can’t keep up anymore, I laid in bed, finally relaxed, photowith one arm slipped around my sweet baby boy. His chubby little hand gripped my finger and my other arm rested on my husband’s shoulder. At that moment my heart fluttered as I thought, this is the best night of my life. Does it get any better than this? Did you just throw up in your mouth?

I didn’t actually think that last part, but I wanted to check in on you for a sec.

So I had my disgustingly gushy moment and then I told Matt, “I know we should’t let him fall asleep in our bed like this but we don’t normally do this.” When those guilt-stricken words were spoken aloud I realized that I could not have sounded more absurd. Because, really, let’s teach this three-month-old a lesson by making him cry in his bed. Let’s not snuggle up together, because that will really show him the right way to act.

Meanwhile, our sweet baby started snoring like an old fat man and then I really did want to lay him in his bassinet, but that’s veering from my point. Back to the co-sleeping issue and namely the guilt trip we get as parents who choose to bed-share. Because isn’t there this underlying tinge of hesitation you hear in a mom or dad’s voice when they quietly admit they’ve been co-sleeping for the past two years? Safety issues aside, and you can discuss safe bed-sharing techniques with your pediatrician, I’m more concerned with this unspoken idea that we are weak parents for allowing our kid to sleep with us.

I started doing the math. And let’s say, for all extreme purposes, we assume this lil’ guy will sleep with us until he’s five years old. Folks, that’s 1,825 days of co-sleeping. If you live to be 78 years old – today’s life expectancy – that’s approximately 6.4% of your life. I don’t know many people who co-sleep until their child is five years old, but I’ve done the math for you just in case.

In my humble opinion, it just isn’t very long.

It’s rare that a family chooses to only co-sleep. I normally hear about some combination that involves a nursery or baby sleeping in a bassinet. But regardless of your dedication to the practice, I’m calling shenanigans on the whole anti-co-sleeping regime.

No matter how you slice this pie, 6.4% of your life spent co-sleeping – the extreme measure here – is not something you’re probably going to regret. If parents have personal reasons for choosing to place that dear baby in a crib – as in it just ain’t jiving and we don’t want to hear the lil’ fat man snore – then by all means, do what you need to do. I’ll be there cheering you on (metaphorically speaking; I won’t creepily visit your house wearing a cheerleading uniform with my stretch-mark fat rolls peeking out and….ok, I took this one too far).

BUT for those who want to snuggle up with that little person and may be having reservations, I for one am not going to perpetuate the guilt trip. I say, have the “best night of your life” for the 6.4% of the total time you’re allotted here on earth.

Because, “dear God, I can’t get this teenager to stop sleeping in my bed,” said no one….ever.

And there will come a time, dear friend, when our homes will be filled with the wrath of an angry, confused, moody, but hopefully still lovable, teenager. And we’ll miss the 6.4% of our life filled with toothless grins, belly laughs, milky mouths and falling asleep with one arm wrapped around that perfect little angel.

So do it up, dear parents. Co-sleep till your heart’s content.

Share your sleeping setup. What works for you and your family? 

P.S. If you want to discuss research and safety issues related to bed-sharing, you can do that here.

P.S.S. G is not snoring anymore, thank goodness. And I joke about it here, but snoring could actually a pretty serious concern. You can read about that here.

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24 Responses to “I’m Calling Shenanigans on the Anti-co-Sleeping Stance”

  1. Natalie February 24, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Christina this is so true! I remember I would nurse my first son, and he fall fast asleep on my chest, and then I would fall asleep. My second didn’t do this, so I missed my little cuddle bear!

  2. whoviegirl February 24, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Agreed. When people ask me if Quinn sleeps through the night I say “Yes.” Let them assume he is in a crib in another room. People don’t realize that bed sharing and co-sleeping are heavily practiced in other countries, with positive outcomes. We only get these cuddles for so long.

    • mouseinyourhouse February 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      Yea, Gray is 3 months and already pulls his head away more. He has to be asleep or really tired now to lay his head on my shoulder ;(

  3. becomingcliche February 24, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    It frustrates me when I see huge anti-co-sleeping headlines that say something like “39% of babies who die of SIDS were co-sleeping at the time,” ignoring the fact that 61% of them WERE NOT. I wonder every time if I’m the only one who can do math.

    Babies should be where their parents are most comfortable. If you’re going to judge me as a parent, do it because I gave Squish chocolate cookies for breakfast.

    • mouseinyourhouse February 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      Yes, I saw a headline from FL recently that looked completely sensationalized! I’ll have to find it and share it with you

  4. Dena February 24, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Roman slept IN MY ARMS every night for the first three months of his life. Not just in my room, not just in my bed, but in my arms. I think that we broke every safety rule known to mankind, ever, but *I* knew he was safe and happy. I think that’s what we need to do as mama’s — what we know to be true and good for our families — and then ignore all the rest. :)

    (Sidenote, I may be an exception to all rules because I am the lightest sleeper ever. I literally have woken up at a pin drop — we tested the theory. So maybe what we did wouldn’t work for everyone, but it worked for us.) <3

    • mouseinyourhouse February 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      And that’s what matters most ;)

    • Rebecca February 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      My son is 13 and I am POSITIVE I haven’t slept “heavily” since his first night home. I’m tired! Co-sleeping was the best thing we could have done. It fosters a closeness that you only have that time (when they’re babies) to find.

  5. Garner February 24, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    We are Happily bed sharing with our three year old. I wouldn’t have it any other way. When she is ready for her own space she can have it. But I will in no way “train” her to be without me. Great read! Thanks for this!

    • mouseinyourhouse February 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      I love that ;) and I despise the word “train.” It makes it sound like our kids are dogs, you know

  6. Laura February 25, 2014 at 1:06 am #

    I have no issues with bed sharing. I am not planning on bed sharing for a few reasons, but I am not against it. The only issues I have is allot of moms seem to act like you “need” to bed share/co-sleep in order to breastfeed or act like it is the solution to allot of problems related to Breastfeeding.

    • mouseinyourhouse February 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      I completely hear you. There are a lot of different situations that work best for making breastfeeding work!

  7. Missy February 25, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    Bedshared with my son for 3 1/2 years and my daughter for another 3 1/2 years. It’s not unusual to wake up in the morning with one or both kids in the bed now. I know some of my best memories will be waking up on a lazy weekend day with both kiddos in the “big bed” and being goofy and cuddly and warm.

  8. Angie February 25, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    Because, “dear God, I can’t get this teenager to stop sleeping in my bed,” said no one….ever. :D we have been sleep sharing with my daughter since the beginning- shes 1 now. I have found it easier than doing the crib/nursery thing ( rolling over to nurse was much easier than getting up and going to another room – yup, call me lazy, but i cherish my sleep as well). plus this is the oldschool technique (our greatgranparents and all of humanity before that) and what most of the world still does- it cant be all bad. I figure it might be difficult when i want her to sleep in her own room/bed- but i figure around 2 when she is finding her independence- she willbe more than happy to leave our bed (or she might be 5)- but we’ll just go with the flow and cross that bridge when we get to it.

    • mouseinyourhouse February 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

      And if she makes it to 13, you can come back and tell me I’m crazy haha ;)

  9. Rebecca February 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    My kids are 12 and 13 now and when they were born I was so uneducated about co-sleeping- I didn’t even realize that’s what we were doing! I just wanted to “sleep when the baby slept” and I thought that was the easiest way to get the most z’s. I think it’s a wonderful bonding experience and it helps calm your baby- as in being near to you and your breathing and heartbeat- as in the womb. My kids are incredibly calm, even keeled and we are very close and in-sync. I say “GO FOR IT!”

    • mouseinyourhouse February 25, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Yes, the same thing happened to me. I explained that I slept with Gray in a LulyBoo and someone said, oh, so you cosleep? Haha I didn’t even know that term existed originally. So glad to hear happy, healthy stories like yours from parents of teenagers. ;)

  10. Kelly February 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who lets their babies sleep with them!! I have a closeness with both of my babies that is unreal!! My son will be three and June and didn’t sleep a single night in his own bed until a few months ago…he still wants to “cuddle” in mommy’s bed a lot…little sister is almost one and she is right in between my hubs and I almost every night ;)

  11. creeksidehome&gardenmissy March 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    My daughter is 16. I became a single parent when she was 2 and she slept with me for the next 5 or 6 years. When she was ready to sleep in her old bed so just told me and that was that. We are really close now, probably because I was a single mom for quite a few years, and she seems to have no scars from co-sleeping. My second child is 4 and he sometimes sleeps in the big bed with my husband and me. We all enjoy the cuddle time, and if the worst thing I ever do is love and cuddle my kids then I’m fine with that. Do what works for your family.

    • mouseinyourhouse March 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      I completely agree! Co-sleeping can be great for a lot of different families for a lot of different reasons. Thanks for sharing your story ;)


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