Roll Over, I’m Crowded!
We have co-slept with Kieran since the beginning. I had a bassinet that I tried to use a few times – he had none of it. Along with breastfeeding, co-sleeping is one of the most convenient things we’ve done as parents. We have never had to get up in the middle of the night to either make a bottle or leave the bed to tend to a crying baby, and that has been wonderful for our sleep. Now that Kieran is a toddler, however, co-sleeping is becoming more of a challenge.
For some reason, many toddlers have a tendency to flail and spread out in bed.
I am woken up several times each night because I feel Kieran flipping over and kicking Tom, so I wrestle him back over with me. Invariably, Kieran and I both end up crowding Tom by the end of the night, who has to fight for both bed space and the sheet. We have a queen size bed right now, but we have outgrown its usefulness.
Consequently, we have been on the hunt for a king size bed.1
We think we have it narrowed down to a memory foam bed from Costco, but I hate buying a bed without being able to lie down in it first. Personally, I wish we could just put another bed down next to ours. We could just have a room full of beds! But Tom is drooling over memory foam.
Why do we continue to co-sleep, you may wonder? Well, for many of the same reasons we started out that way. Here are a few of our reasons:
1) Convenience: like I said before, there was nothing easier than nursing in bed and falling asleep with Kieran. It took me a few months of nursing before I was able to do it in my sleep, but we have it down to a science now. And since we’re still nursing to sleep (and many other times each day), it’s still convenient to have Kieran in our bed.
2) Bonding: what better way to form a solid attachment to both parents than snuggling up with them every night? I can’t tell you the hours Tom and I spent just staring in awe at the little life nestled in bed with us. Along these same lines, Tom can tell you that I hate sleeping without him; my thoughts on Kieran in his own bed are – why would he want to sleep alone either? He’s just a little guy! I’m not forcing him into his own bed until he’s ready.
3) Health: skin to skin contact is so essential for a new baby; it can act as pain intervention, it can help stabilize heartrate and breathing as well as reduce crying, it is an essential part of establishing a breastfeeding relationship, it completes brain growth/development, and more. I also felt more secure as a new mama having such close contact with my baby.
4) Sleep: all of us have gotten hours more sleep with Kieran in bed. As a baby nurses, the mother produces a special hormone which acts as a sleep aid for both mother and baby. It was easy for us to drift off during breastfeeding! And having Kieran in bed meant never getting up to tend to him when he was sick, wet, or just restless. (For the record, we also do not believe in “crying it out” or “Ferberizing” kids: it is psychologically and physically damaging to babies and is simply disrespectful to babies’ needs. This blogger describes my feelings on CIO exactly.)
And even though Kieran is in the midst of the toddler nighttime Olympics (a close cousin of the breastfeeding Olympics, by the way), we still get much more sleep than if we had to get up several times a night to go settle him back to sleep in a separate bed. Kieran simply doesn’t sleep well on his own – and yes, we envy those parents who have the rare good sleepers. But it is much more common for kids (and adults) to wake up many times each night. (For a really quick lesson on sleep cycles, read pages 41-47 of the No Cry Sleep Solution, available in this Google Book Preview.)
Those reasons have been compelling enough to keep Kieran in the family bed. It may not work for every family, but we are quite happy with it. Well, if happiness includes a toddler’s foot in your eye.
How long did you cosleep?
What benefits did/do you get from cosleeping?
What is your cosleeping arrangement?
- June 2010 Update: I wanted to let everyone know that we decided on the memory foam bed from Walmart. (I know, I know, I hate giving them my money, but sometimes I have to shop using my wallet as well as my conscience.) We’ve had it since January 2010, and we LOVE it. I think we love the room more than the actual memory foam – but it is pretty comfortable. I thought it would be more foamy – but it’s actually kind of firm. In fact, if/when we ever have another baby, I will feel very safe using this bed to cosleep in (in other words, I know some pillow top mattresses are too soft for newborns – this bed does not pose the same problem in my unprofessional opinion).
If anyone wants to add their own bed recommendations for future readers, please comment! Thanks for all of the input. ↩
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"Roll Over, I’m Crowded!"
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