As I try to articulate my thoughts on this topic, I can’t help but feel my chest tighten up. Co-sleeping has brought us comfort, warmth, and peace of mind. Three things I never thought I would be able to feel again at night. This is a topic that I am very passionate about because there are so many negative associations to it.
As a first time mom, I wanted to do everything by the books and the books said I had to train my baby to sleep so that is what I did. That is also what led me to a night full of regret, a night in which my sweet boy cried as if he was in the worst pain he’d ever experienced, and a night that turned into me opening my eyes and seeing my son peacefully asleep for the first time in a long time.
So grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and let me share my heart with you. My most natural and motherly heart. The heart that craved for closeness and finally felt it.
Why I Did Not Want To Cosleep
I will begin by telling you that I was that woman. The one that said she would never EVER cosleep. My main concern being that my intimacy with my husband would suffer at the tiny hands of our son. But then we had him and the thought of anything being damaged by his presence dissipated. Bringing a little human into this world, made our love stronger and our intimacy deeper. We had, after all, created him out of pure love for each other.
I was also VERY wary of the dangers of co-sleeping. What if I roll on to him? What if the covers go over his head and suffocate him? What about SIDS? I had read enough horror stories to convince myself that cosleeping was a big no-no.
When Liam entered the three-month stage, I started researching and experimenting with sleep training. We worked on forming a bedtime routine first and that is the routine we still use to this day. My baby is an early to bed and early to rise kind of kid. I’ve tried to push his bedtime back to no avail.
His routine includes a gentle wipe down — we do not do baths every day because of his eczema — baby massage with generous amounts of lotion, his pajamas, a bottle, and a little rocking. As you can tell, we keep it very simple. It lasts about twenty minutes, thirty if it was a work day for me and I want to spend more time cuddling him.
Our Sleep Training Journey
Once his routine was established, I thought he was ready to sleep train and I needed him to sleep train because at this point Liam was still waking up every two to three hours. We decided to start our sleep training journey on a week in which I only worked two days. This way we would be able to stay consistent.
Consistent we did not stay.
On the first day, I broke. I followed the rules. We did the routine, I fed him until he was drowsy, but not fully asleep and I placed him in his crib. The second I did that all hell broke loose. My husband and I walked out of the room and set our timer to three minutes. He cried so hard, that he started to gag. When the alarm went off, I walked into the room and I reassured him and placed my hand on his chest. He did not calm down. He was still crying as if he was in the worse pain he’d ever felt. Tears were continuously rolling down his cheeks, making the sheets beneath him wet. I broke. I carried him and hugged him as tight as I could. I then rock him to sleep and held him for almost an hour. I tried it a few more time and every night was the same.
I decided that we would no longer sleep train him. This is not to say that maybe someday we will not try it again because I believe that teaching a child to self-soothe is very important, but my baby, at that moment in time, was absolutely NOT ready.
Listening To My Gut
Then came the night it all changed. I was at my worse. I had not had more than three hours of uninterrupted sleep in almost three weeks. I was also feeling the pressure and anguish that my separation anxiety brought on. I was feeling so guilty for not being able to spend time with him because of work that I started to believe that I deserved to be up all night with him. Even on the nights in which Jay Jay was off, I would not let him care for Liam. The second I heard him grunt, I was up and catering to him — that was MY failure.
Related : Bonding With Your Baby
Throughout this whole time, there was a storm inside of me. A gut feeling I just knew I had to follow. All of my motherly instincts were screaming at me and I kept tuning them out. Almost all the other moms in my life advised me against it, but it only took one night to find that THIS was the right thing for my baby, for me, and for my little sleep deprived family of three.
On that one night, I followed my intuition and I placed Liam on MY bed. A good space was between us. There were no blankets and no pillows. Just my baby and I. On that one night, Liam had five hours of uninterrupted sleep. FIVE HOURS. After so many months, he finally slept peacefully and without any grunts. He woke for his feeding and went right back to sleep for five more hours. I, on the other hand, barely slept because I was so concerned with his safety. This did not last long, by the fourth day of bed sharing and doing so much more positive cosleeping research, I too, was able to sleep for long periods of time.
Even though everything was going great, I still felt that I had to add another barrier of protection. If I was going to co-sleep, I wanted to do it as safely as possible. That is why we decided to invest in a Dock A Tot. Once we had this cloud of a pillow, my family and I started getting between seven to eight hours of continuous sleep. I also got the closeness I so badly craved. In a way, all the time spent sleeping in bed with my baby made up for all the time I lost during the day do to work.
Why We Cosleep
When we co-sleep it is about more than getting a good nights rest. It is about feeling secure, close, and at peace. It is also about trusting my heart and remembering that I know what is best for my family and I. So that is why we co-sleep. Now tell me, why do you want to co-sleep? Or if you already do, why do you co-sleep?
But wait, before you go, I want you to head over to Bottles + Bellinis and read her sleep training journey. When my sweet pea is ready, I will be using her amazing post as a resource. Chells from Bottles + Bellinis is one of my favorite momma’s. She’s so kind hearted, courages, and educated. If I were you, I would definitely give her a follow on IG @bottlesnbellinis.