Friday, June 29, 2012

Co-Sleeping Controversy.

Alice behind bars. June 2012.

There is a dirty little word in the world of ways to parent.  In my three short months of being a mom I've noticed that this concept is very hush hush and taboo and very few will admit to doing this type of parenting.  Not many will admit to it even though families have been doing it for years.  Hundreds of years, really.  But I'll admit it.  I'll admit that we do this because it works for us.

I'll admit that we co-sleep with Alice.

I understand that co-sleeping is controversial as the American Academy of Pediatrics does not support it.  And they don't support it for very good reasons.  It can be dangerous if certain precautions are not taken.  But the brush that paints co-sleeping as a wrong and irresponsible type of parenting is very broad.  And it doesn't apply to everyone.

To be clear, we don't co-sleep 100% of the night.  Alice always starts the night in her crib.  Between 8 and 8:30PM, Alice has her last meal of the day and then goes to sleep in her crib (which is currently in our room).  We dream feed her around 10PM and then she sleeps until about 4AM (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) at which point I bring her into our bed so that I can nurse her while lying down and then I am still able to get some rest.  And, on most days, we are up between 6AM and 7AM, which means Alice only spends a few hours sleeping with us.

Honestly, co-sleeping saved my sanity in those early newborn weeks.  Getting up every hour and a half to feed Alice was really taking its toll on my mental health due to sleep deprivation.  As soon as I learned to nurse Alice while lying down, I was able to meet her needs while also taking care of my need for more than just two hours of continuous sleep.

And, in just a few weeks, Alice will be graduating into her own little room just a few steps away from ours.  Maybe we will continue to occasionally co-sleep.  Maybe we won't.  But, whatever we decide, we will continue to do what works for us.  And hopefully we won't feel shamed in our decision.

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping?  The reason I bring this up is that in my Mommy class yesterday (we signed up for another... more on that in a later post), a fellow new mom was talking about her baby's sleep habits and she reluctantly brought up the fact that she co-sleeps with her baby similar to how we do with Alice.  And she got so embarrassed and ashamed to admit that she does it.  Her reluctance to admit something that was working for her little family got me thinking.  We have become a society driven by fear.  Sometimes that fear is good and needed and sometimes that fear is a little off base.  And I think co-sleeping is the perfect example of this.       


  1. Oh my goshhhhhh! Alice is beautiful! I logged into my Google Reader for the first time in months to catch up and OH MY WORD! I don't have any thoughts on co-sleeping (yet) but I do have thoughts on your daughter: SHE IS GORGEOUS!

  2. We coslept for the first three months and then we moved him to his own room but did what you are describing (morning cosleeping) for another couple of months. Honestly I think all if the concerns are laughable. Even my family would ask if we were certain we wouldn't smother him but once you've slept with your baby you know that there is no way in the planet that could happen.

    We probably would have done it longer except that our kid really was a light sleeper and did better in his own space. Whatever works! We also still do classes... I never thought we'd keep them up so long because they're pricey but now it's more for Wyatt than me and he loves hus buddies.

  3. Lulu sleeps in her crib in our room. She lasted a week in her own room because winter set in & it got too cold. After she wakes in the morning, any time between 5 & 6:30, she has a nappy change & a feed & then she sleeps in with us. She can sleep up to two more hours in our bed, longer if we stay sleeping with her. It works & like you said, more than anything else, you have to do what works for you.

    I think in our town we almost have the opposite, you feel a bit of shame if you aren't co sleeping & carrying your baby on you everywhere. The 'earth mothers'/attachment parents rule. Sometimes I do feel a bit embarrassed because Lulu can sleep on her own & she can go to sleep without us rocking her. But it's so silly to think that way when eventually we're going to want her to be independent.

    It's hard to be confident in our parenting skills because it's our first baby but we need to stand by our methods that work. Every baby is different. There's no right or wrong way, just what works for you & your baby.

  4. Ahh I have a very similar post coming up! I support co sleeping %100. It is what has worked for my first son and now my second. Like you, it's not the entire night...and some nights he sleeps with us longer than others but it's a sanity saver for sure. I am also breastfeeding and it just works!

  5. I bed-shared with all three of my boys! Each one stayed in the bed a little longer... my first, 3 months, my second, 6 months, my third, 9 months! We did the research and took the precautions, and never had any problems. The only reason we had to move the 9-month-old to his own crib was that he wanted to play in the middle of the night when he would wake up and almost crawl off the (very low to the floor) bed!

    Do what works for you, what feels right. Don't worry about what everyone else has to say! Each kid is different, just like each parent and family is different!

  6. Ditto to the comments from these wonderful mothers. It is NOT up to society to make these decisions. Other than for health and safety reasons. But if you are cautious and are aware... of you and your baby, you should be fine. I did it with you, especially at the very early morning feeding around 4-6am. I was usually exhausted and bringing you into the bed was not a big deal. It kept you quiet, fed and happy and you(we)would sleep for another 2+ hrs.

    It is not a law. It is what works for you. Please don't feel guilty. xoxo

    PS: Love her big eyes. Absolutely beautiful.


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