Sleeping With Us

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 17 Comments A+ a-

**I realize there are so many theories and ideas when it comes to parenting; I’ve read Babywise and Dr. Sears, and everything in between. (Erin, does this sentence sound familiar?) I don’t find that I identify with one theory alone; I find that I take a bit of this and a bit of that and throw it into my mix of parenting. Obviously, I tend to identify more with attachment parenting than babywise but I am in no way, trying to put down one style over another. I merely want to share why I’ve chosen to parent in this way.

I never intended to co-sleep, its something that just happened. Our first night in the hospital, I didn’t want to let Devyn go. She’d been a part of my body for so long and it felt strange to have her sleeping apart from me. That first night, I slept with her cuddled in the crook of my arm. Nurses were in and out of the room all night, taking our vitals, taking blood, etc., they all tried to get me to put Devyn in the bassinet but I just couldn’t do it.

When we brought her home, I swore that she’d be spending nights in her bassinet. I had good intentions, I swear I did. However, the minute I laid her in the bassinet by our bed, she woke. We spent a few nights trying to get her to adjust to her bassinet but to no avail. We finally found some solace in her vibrating, bouncy seat and it became the only place she would fall asleep and stay asleep. (We wore the vibration piece out in no time!) So, there we were, both a bassinet and a bouncy seat by my side of the bed, but I still found myself waking every hour to lean over the bed and make sure she was still breathing. Finally, I pulled her back into bed with me, settled her into the crook of my arm, and drifted into a deep sleep. It was the best night of sleep I had gotten in a week. So, that’s where she remained, in bed with us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I learned some valuable do’s and don’ts from letting Devyn co-sleep with us. For instance, it only works when BOTH parents are on board with the idea. Jon was done with co-sleeping way earlier than I was and I should have honored his wishes. And secondly, Hudson will not be sleeping with us for two years, like his sister did. Training her to fall asleep on her own and in her own bed was a nightmare. We’re thinking after our trip to Florida, we’re going to put him in the bassinet by our bed; a good year and a half earlier than we did with Devyn. So, with that promise and with the blessing of my husband, Hudson now has a place in our bed… for only a little while longer.

Honestly, I love co-sleeping, every aspect of it. I love the weight of my babies against my chest, or on my side. I love feeling the rise and fall of their chests. I love listening to the murmurs they make in their sleep and the deep, content sighs. I love feeling their hands stroke my face or my hair. I love the way their bodies curl into mine and find the comfort they seek. I love that I can lay on my side and breastfeed while sleeping. I love breathing in the scent of their hair and their breath. Even now that Devyn is putting herself to sleep and is sleeping all night in her own bed, she still prefers cuddling with me. We’ll lie in bed together and she’ll scoot over and get as close to me as she can while reading her bedtime story. *Sigh* There is nothing more precious than the sight, sounds, smells, and textures of my sleeping babes. They’re only this little once and I’m trying to soak up every moment that I can.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

17 comments

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HappyMama
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11:09 AM delete

This is beautiful post, Jenn. I have to agree that there's nothing better than cuddling with your kids in bed or during storytime!

For the most part, Brooklyn sleeps in her own bed and she's really caught on to soothing herself to sleep at night. She usually wakes up before we're ready to be up for the day though, so we bring her into bed with us, and I must admit it's the best cuddling with her. And, now, when she's ready to wake up, she gives both of us a hug and kiss and flashes a huge smile when we open our eyes.

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Stacey
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11:26 AM delete

Amen! I love this post because it captures the beauty of co-sleeping! We only co-slept for about 3 months and even that was off and on (mostly on). Had I nursed longer, I can see that we may have co-slept longer!
But you know, when my daughter was one (until she was two) there are times when I would literally climb into her crib with her - she was sleeping and I didn't want to disturb her, but I wanted to be close to hear, feel and smell her...precious!!

And now that the kids have bunkbeds, both Tim and I will snuggle&switch - snuggle with one for a while and 20 minutes later or so we will switch. It is delightful. We have both fallen asleep with the kids and stayed put all night long before! (That is actually why I am a huge fan of twin beds rather than toddler beds - you can co-sleep in their bed whenever you want!!)

Great post sweetie!! You sound great - how is work going?

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proud parents
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11:59 AM delete

I love your post. We were specifically told not to co-sleep with Ava because she was too tiny, but there were a few nights that the only way she would fall asleep was on my chest. She would stay there for a few hours until her next feeding and I loved it! I told my mom this weekend that I am so thankful that Ava sleeps so well on her own, but I really miss those days of her laying on my chest. Ava is still in the cradle next to our bed, but she is supposed to move to her own room after our vacation next week. We'll see!

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Kristin Broughton
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12:46 PM delete

I love your post. I did not co-sleep at all with Ty he was a hard fussing baby and the only time he and I were both asleep well was when he was in his room in the crib and I was in my bed.He is a loud sleeper and it kept me up more than comforted me. However with Aubrey and us going through the RSV thing with her when she was 8 days old the only time I felt ok with her was when she was with me in bed or in the bassinet directly next to me. I was so sure she was going to stop breathing again. She started sleeping in her bed after Memorial day and I miss it but I know it is the right thing for Ryan, me, and Aubrey.I do bring her in the bed with me after the 430am feeding and love being with her. ONe saturday RYan let me sleep in and took Ty out and Aubrey and I slept in my bed until 9am THAT IS AWESOME. I love my little girl!

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aggiejenn
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12:55 PM delete

I know the feeling! This was a sweet post.

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Amy
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1:32 PM delete

I love that you have found something that you love and that works for the whole family--that is the most important thing, right? It sounds wonderful...

I wish that we could co-sleep, at times! I'm the opposite as I wake up every hour when they're in bed with me to make sure they're breathing! We have Griffin in our room and I sometimes lay awake at night listening to him. I don't want him to leave and go to the big boy room:)

I bet you are creating such an intimate bond with your babies by sleeping with them...so great! much love to you! Amy

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Sonya
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3:07 PM delete

My hubby would never go for co-sleeping although I would have loved it with the girls. He was always afraid of one of us rolling over and hurting the babies. So, while I don't know what it's like to co-sleep, I do know that I loved napping with the girls on my chest during the day. I loved all the things you mentioned...the beating of their hearts, the noises they made, etc. I pray that we will get pregnant again someday so that I can experience all of these wonderful things again....maybe this time I could even talk hubby into co-sleeping!

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AndiMae
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3:14 PM delete

Okay. So it is probably b/c I am a super overly emotional pregnant mama, but this post totally made me cry! I love co-sleeping for all the same reasons you do and like you, it was never in my "plans" of how I would parent; it just kind of fell into place and worked really well for us with Audrey. I hope that this next one loves it too! Besides the things you mentioned, one of my favorite parts was how I didn't have to be fully awake to nurse! I never felt like I was losing any sleep with a newborn!

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Sarah
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3:19 PM delete

You're so right, after reading all the books, we have to ultimately do what feels right to us. With Emma, I was the same as Amy, her in our bed, or even just in our room kept me up all night. As it was, I was running in at every whimper to rock her or nurse her back to sleep. We learned the value of teaching self soothing a little late in the game, but oh what bliss to get a full night's sleep when Emma was ten months old! Then with Chloe, maybe it was because I was more relaxed, but I could sleep better with her in our room, even in our bed at times. When we lived with Connie and Lee, she slept in bed with Travis and I the whole two months, and it was wonderful, we actually missed her when we moved into our new house and made her sleep in the crib in her own room. Co-sleeping wasn't so great for our sex life however, so I was glad to have my bed back for just Travis and I. You're a wonderful mama Jenn, I'm so proud of you! Way to do it the way that feels best! With LOTS of guidance from the Lord, and a little of our own intuition, I think that's the best formula for successful (not perfect!) parenting.

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Renee
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3:36 PM delete

I am the mother of ten, and all ten babies have slept w/ me and my husband. All ten are now in their own beds (including the two one year olds). There is one little secret we have learned: make sure the baby naps in his crib. That way he is used to sleeping alone, and it isn't tramatic to make the switch later.

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Paula
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4:47 PM delete

You said it perfectly, do what works for YOUR family. They are all right.
I loved sleeping with Colton as a baby. Now, NOWAY! He is like sleeping with a tornado. Up, down, sideways, kick, turn, slap...I hope he outgrows that or his poor wife!!

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dareth
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12:42 AM delete

For the first 9 months, I read all the books. I was a little obsessed about "doing it right". But, like you, I took what I wanted and worked it all into what works for our family. 9 months later, we are a little "fly by the seat of your pants", but I have a happy, well adjusted child...isn't that what counts?!?

I love that you are so real and honest in your blogs. Moms should feel safe to be real and honest...we have enough other things to worry about. Love you!

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8:48 AM delete

You go right on "soaking up every moment"! You know as well as I do that someday they'll be big two-year olds, running all around, and you can never make them tiny new-borns again :) Make those memories precious :)

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Rachel
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9:45 AM delete

I totally agree with you. Although I usually go to bed with no kids, more mornings than not, they are all three in the bed with us when we get up. :)

I've tagged you for a meme. :)
http://www.nothinggold.net/blog/archives/513

~~Rachel
www.nothinggold.net

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Joy
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1:02 PM delete

Awwww, that's all so sweet! I agree that they are only little for such a short time that I want to soak it all up while I can.

For some reason we fell into a different approach. The baby sleeps in the crib while the toddler sneaks into our bed at some point in the night. We didn't plan it that way but it sorta happened and its worked for us. Though Moriah is pretty content sleeping on her own now and I really miss snuggling her sweet soft hair at night!

I also agree about the books - I obsessed over reading everything on parenting with the first two kids, but now I just pull out what works for us and leave the rest tucked away in the book.

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Jennisa
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12:46 PM delete

I agree. It will be so sad when them sleeping with us is just a distant memory...sigh...

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BigMama
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8:29 AM delete

We weren't intending to co-sleep with our kids either, but after countless nights of falling asleep with the first one on the couch, we realized it was just better for everyone if we just all slept together.

Even now, I still like it when any of the kids pop into bed with me in the middle of the night.

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