Yes we co-sleep. No we don’t want your sleep training advice.

Yes we co-sleep.  No we don’t want your sleep training advice.

Want to start a heated parenting debate?  Talk about co-sleeping.  Everyone, even people who aren’t parents, have an opinion on this one. But here’s the thing.  I don’t want your opinion. You probably have one.  And that’s great.  Feel free to use it in your own home.  But we will make our rules thank you very much.

Just like almost every parenting topic – you can go out and find evidence to support whatever it is you want to believe.  There are potential negatives to co-sleeping and there are potential benefits. It’s pretty easy to find “evidence” to back up either side. I’m going to be totally straight with you here – we never intended to co-sleep.  We had a pretty little nursery with a pretty little crib all set up for our bundle of joy.  Well, it didn’t work out that way.  From day one it was clear that she was not going to sleep on her own, even in the cozy bassinet beside our bed.  Just wasn’t going to happen.  The only way she was going to sleep was on her side or propped up on mommy or daddy’s chest.  In fact, our little stinker insisted on being held at all times, sleeping or awake. Before you jump on the  – oh that’s how you spoil a baby bandwagon, let me tell you a couple of things.  First, you cannot spoil a baby. If it’s less controversial let me narrow that down a bit and say you cannot spoil a newborn.  Second, at two months we had our little one diagnosed with some pretty bad reflux – so her insistence to not sleep alone  was not her playing baby mind games with us, and our decision to “give in” to her was, well, unquestionably the right decision.

Sure, we had an “excuse” to co-sleep.  So maybe we got off easy with the sometimes well meaning, often not, how to put your baby to sleep in their own bed advice. Whenever I see the anti co-sleepers throw around their “expert” advice I don’t instantly reach for our fall back rational.  I don’t need to.  My family, my choice. I don’t know how things would have played out had our baby not had reflux.  Maybe we would have ended up co-sleeping anyways.  She’s pretty cute. And warm. It made nursing easier.  We had few risk factors – I didn’t drink at all when I was nursing, I don’t do drugs and I’m not obese. She’s four now so I think she’s out of the woods.

Sure co-sleeping is not for everyone, but neither is sleep training.  We tried it, when she was older and the reflux has passed.  I just couldn’t do it.  It never felt right – for us.  And that is the key isn’t it? The biggest and most important thing I have learned as a parent is to always, always, always trust my instincts.  Always.  Did I say that already? It is the single most important piece of wisdom (not advice because people don’t want advice) that I would give a new parent.

It’s funny I have yet to come across a co-sleeping parent that thinks their way is the only way.  Most of the time any hostility you find from a co-sleeping parent is born out of a need (or perceived need) to defend themselves. Of course not every parent who didn’t or doesn’t co-sleep is pushing it down your throat either.  Sometimes they have simply done what works for them as well.  Every baby is different.  Every family is different.

So, unless you ask I probably won’t give you any advice.  And I’d prefer it if you did the same.  Does that sound harsh?  It looks a little harsh.  But the fact is it’s not as if I have never asked for advice.  I have!  There is no parenting manual.  Well ok, there are book shelves full of them but save your money there. I’m not against going to someone who has more experience, or a similar experience to get an opinion.  It takes a village right? And I’m pretty sure that village has babies in beds and babies in cribs.

 

 

 

This article has 17 comments

  1. I co-slept with my 4 kids and the oldest is now 13 and a perfectly normal preteen! 

  2. We had our son in a bassinet for the first 5 months and then in a crib for the next 10. Those 10 months were so difficult because he had no interest in sleeping in his crib. I was tired of being tired and I couldn't listen to his cries anymore. We decided to start co-sleeping at 15 months and he's still in our bed at 3. He's a snuggle bug and I love our co-sleeping arrangement. We'll work on his big bog room when he's ready but right now we're all enjoying these snuggles while he still wants to hand them out.

  3. AMEN! I could have written this! Although mine might have a bunch of swear words thrown in there haha!

  4. Co-sleeping wasn't for our family (although our youngest has slept in our bed more than our first had) but I won't tell anyone else that they should or shouldn't do it. You do what is BEST for YOUR family. And I hate parenting manuals. I threw out the book "What to Expect in the First Year" because I was tired of it telling me what I was doing was wrong. And I am a librarian. It is difficult for me to throw out books. LOL!
    My recent post The Busy Family Back-To-School Toolkit for the HP Photosmart 7520 Printer #HPCanada #HP #Printables

  5. My daughter is almost six and we are just now making the transition to her sleeping in her own bed. She slept in her crib as an infant and I recall a full year she was sleeping in her toddler bed. But my husband traveled for work almost the entire week since she was born so somehow she just started sleeping in my bed when he was away and that felt okay. Then she started sleeping in our bed permanently. We've gone back and forth trying to get her sleeping in her own room but now that she's older she misses sleeping next to us. To be completely honest, the only reason I've felt badly about having her in my bed is because of everyone telling me she needs to be sleeping on her own. Fingers crossed this will be the year but if not I'm okay with that too.
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  6. I hear "I know you don't want it but just let me tell you…" all.the.time.

    Not about co-sleeping. We would never do that. It's wrong and crazy.

    In my case, it's about my husband and mine conscious decision regarding the education of our kids. I have yet to blog about it. And might never because people can't seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

    And like you, harsh or not, I'm not interested in what they have to say.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    My recent post Death Should Come with a Manual

  7. Right on! I have started a movement that focuses on empowering mothers to be confident in making their own choices! If we allow “expert” opinions to drive how we feel, we will go insane. And if I am ignorant of the “right” thing to do. Let me be! The right thing to me is what works for my kids! Great post! 

  8. Exactly! We have coslept with our 3 since day 1. We have a super bed, a king and a queen, and all 5 of us sleep in it.  Don't care about anyone else's opinions. 

    However, you mention that you tried sleep training – so that means that at one point, you did succumb to terrible advice, no way someone's instincts would say "sleep train your baby".

    I'm with the other commenters too, I am big enough (and my husband) to do what we think is right for our kids. Never you mind my business people 😉 

  9. We have coslept with all four of our kids. It is probably the best thing we have done as parent’s.  We also had the $2000 nursery, never intending to keep our babes with us. Our crib has been slept in a handful of times and I just don’t care at thos point. We transitioned the two oldest kids out of our bed this year and than our dog died. We now have a twin mattress in our bedroom for the oldest 2 to sleep on because they feel safe with us. I would to change our arrangements for anything in the world. To be able to do a quick glance and see all my babies and know they are safe is just how I want it

  10. It is strange thing – experience in parenting… It takes whole life to see any results, and then – school, friends etc. has very big influence. So I doubt that co-sleeping is such a big issue and there can be any "pro advice" on that. "My son is a cry-baby! It must be cause we co-slept!" – and not because he lives a stressfull life with divorced parents, for example.

  11. Awesome and good one. Keep going dear.

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