I am not a health or medical professional. I do not advocate, recommend or instruct you to co-sleep. This is only my personal experience as a parent that chose to co-sleep. You must consult with a health care professional or doctor for professional advice.
Co-cleeping is the term used when the parents sleep in close proximity to their child. There are multiple ways a family can co-sleep: bed sharing- parents and child sleep in the same bed, side car- a crib is attached to the side of the bed, or different beds in the same room. (source: Kellymom.com)
Due to the size of our one-bedroom apartment, we have always practiced some form of co-sleeping. This arrangement may not be for everyone but, for us it was the easiest decision and has allowed everyone to get restful sleep from the start.
Momma was Exhausted
Before JR was born, I had made many assumptions about how I would parent. I thought that I would have my baby on a strict schedule right away and would never co-sleep. I quickly realized that parenting is all about making the right decisions in the moment and letting go of preconceived notions.
For the first four months, JR slept in the Auto Rock N Play (which I highly recommend). I would nurse him in the living room, to allow Johnny to get sleep, but, by 4 am, I was exhausted and just staying out on the couch for the rest of the morning, until about 6-7am when we would get up for the day.
Once JR was a bit more sturdy and rolling over easily on his own, we were ready to bed-share. I figured that it would help me get more sleep by nursing through out the night without physically getting up. After researching it, I felt that nursing while laying next to the baby would benefit both of us. Let me say, this was the best decision I could have made.
I was able to nurse and comfort JR before he was roused awake, which made him sleep deeper for much longer periods. I never had to drag myself up, out of bed and would be able to sleep and nurse at the same time.
Be sure both you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to bed sharing. Johnny was an advocate for me getting a restful nights sleep and has enjoyed the bed time snuggles as well.
For us sleep training was not something we were interested in practicing so, bed-sharing and nursing to sleep worked well for us. I do understand the need for other families to sleep train but, it was not something we felt comfortable with.
I have nursed JR to sleep from the very beginning and do not mind the time we spend together before naps and bedtime. It is my job right now to be his mother and I’m taking advantage while I can. I don’t know what the future holds and if I will need to work once we have more children so, I may need to sleep train at that point, but for us, in this season, I nurse him to sleep.
I didn’t realize that nursing to sleep is not something everyone did and was a bit embarrassed when I was scolded at the playground by a nanny over it. As time has gone on, I’ve learned to stay confidant in my parenting decisions and laugh off the well-meaning advice from strangers.
Transitioning to Room Sharing
As JR is getting older, he will nurse for a short period of time and stop on his own, snuggle up to me and drift off to sleep. I feel confidant that he will begin to self-wean as he gets older and will begin the process once he transitions to his own toddler bed.
We will be placing JR’s own bed next to Johnny’s side of our big bed, so that they will be able to hold hands during the night if needed.
It may be hard to transition to separate beds but, I’m sure we will find a routine that works for us when the time comes.
Do you co-sleep in some form? Has bed sharing worked for you and your family? And do you have any advice on transitioning to separate beds? I’d love to hear about your experiences and feel free to ask about ours!