Our children sleep in their own cribs and beds a soon as they were born. For the first 8 months, their crib stayed in our rooms (in parents’ room). Once they started standing up and cruising, and became more alert to sounds around them, we figured out that their sleep is interrupted when we sleep in the same room. We did “separate room readiness test” and noticed they slept without interruption in their own crib in their own rooms. When my daughter was about 2 years old, upon their own requests, (Siblings share a bed) we we allowed them to sleep together in my son’s bed. When my daughter was three years old, we bought a bunk bed and they have been sharing the same room since then. (Start of a new era: Moving into new bunk beds)
We did not start out with a strict rule of “no co-sleeping” but rather the sleep setup evolved that way based on our and their personalities and given accommodation conditions at the time. The most important thing for our family was that everyone got long and quality sleep without interruption. We started having them sleep in their own beds which we placed in our room and then moved them to their own room.
We have thought about whether we should co-sleep or if we should sleep in their room so that they can sleep better. But this did not work for us. Here are some reasons why:
- I cannot sleep without a comforter. I need my comforter or at least a thick blanket in winter and even in summer to be able to fall asleep; I need to feel its weight on me. My children are used to sleeping without one.
- I tried sleeping with my babies after nursing, once with each. In both cases, I woke up to find them under the comforter, even though I thought they wouldn’t move during their sleep. That split second until I pull up the blanket and see them breathing, was longer than a decade. Never have I allowed myself to fall asleep with them in our bed ever again. I nursed them sitting up and put them back in their beds.
- When my son was about 1,5-2 years old, when he wanted to sleep with us. We obliged and went to bed together at 7:00 pm with him. He got so excited; played games, moved around, tossed and turned zillion times. At one point, I didn’t even care about him falling asleep but I wanted to sleep myself and he did not let me. We tried few more times and I gave up when he stuck his toe in my nose.
- Let’s say you begin co-sleeping with your first baby and you continue until (s)he’s a toddler. What do you do when a new baby arrives? My daughter was born when my first son was 2,5. I had hard enough time to potty train him at 3,5. I would have hell of a time to transition him from a family bed to an individual bed.
- If you are co-sleeping with your child, and have another baby or multiples, how do you arrange the sleeping area? What do the older children do when their siblings cry for food 2-3 times a night? What if you have an active sleeper in the bed?
Eventually, sleeping in our own beds worked well for all of us. My son questioned why he was sleeping alone while I and my husband “co-slept”. Then he and his sister got to co-sleep for a while.
We weren’t rigid during this process. From time to time, especially when they were sick, we laid down with them during bedtime, giving them lot of hugs so that they could heal faster. It never turned into a habit.
If they ask for it, my husband and/or I lay down with our kids, give him big hugs and lots of kisses, tell them bedtime stories. Funny enough, bedtime is the only time my son lets us hug and kiss him as much as we want. Then we get up and leave them to sleep. Sometimes when we are extremely tired, we fall asleep with them. This process can become a very long ceremony if one of our children asks you to lay with them and then the other one insists as well. We solved this issue by telling them we will lay down with them for 2 minutes each, then they will sleep on their own. I like it when they are worn out and ready to sleep, quickly lying down with them. But if they are not ready to sleep, oh boy, stories and games requests go on and on and on….
The reason why I wrote this post is due to the rising popularity of “attachment parenting”. It seems like the only precondition to be “attached parent” is to co-sleep with your kids. Does this make me, a parent who prefers not to co-sleep with my children, a “detached” parent? I even found questioning myself, as a mother and tried to co-sleep but it didn’t work for me. During the day, I give my kids lots of hugs, kisses, individual attention. I nurse them. I play with them, enjoy them. When bedtime comes, everyone goes to their own quarters. No crying, no fussing, no frustration. We just sleep peacefully but separately as a family.
My bottom line when it comes to sleeping is, wherever and however your kids and you get a good,safe, peaceful and long night’s sleep is the best place for them to sleep. Because there is nothing better and happier than a well-rested, good-slept mom and child. If the parents are having issues to find a middle way to make sure everyone sleeps well, try different ways until you find a solutions that suits the entire family.
If you need more with your babies’ or children’s sleep, visit my posts tagged under “Baby sleep”.
Please share your reasons why you and your children happily in your own beds below.