Co-Sleeping with Baby or Beyond

I’ve never considered co-sleeping and it’s all for purely selfish reasons.  It’s bad enough I have to share my space and blankets with FringeMan.  I am a self-proclaimed bed hog and FringeMan will be more than willing to verify that fact.

When I brought my firstborn home from the hospital, I had his crib positioned in my room where I could be sure to hear every whimper and stir.  That lasted for approximately two days.  FringeMan’s snoring kept waking him and I couldn’t sleep because I heard every last whimper and breath he took.  For the sake of my sanity and our family’s health, I quickly moved the crib to his own bedroom. 

I wish I could say he immediately became a good sleeper, but that would be as big a lie as saying I’m a five foot eleven super model.  FringeBoy didn’t once sleep through the night until he was well over one year old.  Maybe it was bad parenting, maybe it was an uncomfortable mattress, or maybe it was just that he was an irritable baby who enjoyed driving his mother crazy.  My money is on that last option.

Anyway, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I brought either of my children to bed with me.  When they were in my bed, I could not sleep a wink.  I need to be comfortable to sleep and that requires space, pretzel like contortions and fluffy pillows.  Nestling a baby in the six inch gutter between Fringeman’s back and myself allowed for none of those comfortable options.

My babies slept in their cribs.

I recently slept with my daughter while staying in a hotel.  She’s a worse bed hog than I am and she’s half my size.  In the wee hours of the morn, I was awakened when her body flopped on top of my chest with a thud.  All the wind was knocked from my lungs and as I gasped, I inhaled a mouth full of hair.  It was 3 am and I was fully awake and watching the clock.  My back was to her as I hugged the edge of the bed.  I couldn’t believe her audacity when she poked me and asked me to move over.

MOVE OVER!  I’d be on the floor if I scooted 1/2 an inch.  Couldn’t do it when they were babies and I still can’t.  Co-sleeping doesn’t work for me.

I know many women who practiced co-sleeping or bringing baby to bed with them.  They loved the closeness during infancy and it made 2 am feedings a cinch; however, many of these same parents have an extremely difficult time kicking baby out of their bed.

Snuggling gets old when your newborn is now six years-old and requires half the bed.  What about several children, mom, dad, and the dog all in the same bed?  How does anyone sleep?

I don’t think they do.  Not well.  Not from my second hand experience.  I know too many parents who suffer from fatigue due to a bed full of big babies.

It is my humblest opinion that everyone, except mom and dad, should be kicked out of the master bedroom, including the cat and dog.  Then flip a deadbolt as quickly as possible, sink into your newly bought feather-bed, and snuggle with your spouse.  I think the guilt will fade by morning and you’ll be able to make it past noon without 6 pots of coffee.

What do you guys think? 

What’s your experience been with or without co-sleeping?

I didn’t even mention the possible health risks for baby.  The jury is out on whether there is an increased risk for SIDS when babies are in parent’s beds.  That’s a whole other topic.

I promised a give-away, so let’s get right to it.  I was supposed to read and write a review for this book; however, I’ve been busy and haven’t gotten around to reading.  I’ll let you read it and tell us what you think. 

The book is Mojo Mom, Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family, written by Amy Tiemann, Ph.D.  It has been said that through this book, the author “helps thousands of women regain their creative surge that brings their sense of self and their dreams back into focus.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  www.mojomom.com

Please let me know in your comment if you’d like to be included in the drawing for this book give-away.  The drawing will take place Wednesday night at 10pm Eastern Standard Time.  You must enter before that time in order to be included.  Winners will be announced Thursday.

Can’t wait to hear your words of wisdom on co-sleeping!

For another interesting parenting post, read Feeding Baby.

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35 thoughts on “Co-Sleeping with Baby or Beyond

  1. Pingback: Potty Talk | the domestic fringe

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  4. Merryheart

    I’m going to be brave and tell you we had a family bed. My daughter slept with us from the moment she was born until she asked for her own room.

    I slept like a baby from the start. If she was hungry I just rolled over and nursed her. I learned to change her diaper without waking her, right in the bed.

    My husband and I had no trouble with this. It was such a blessing to be able to sleep and not worry or have to get up at 2 am and go to another room!

    The problem most people have with this ancient and natural technique is that they don’t fully commit to it. They want the cute little double or full size bed. Naturally that doesn’t work. The successful family bed practitioners I knew put mattresses on the floor and added as needed.

    Family beds arranged appropriately are comfortable and promote sound sleep. Reports indicate stress hormone levels are lower in mothers and babies who co-sleep. The babies’ physiology (temperature, heart, breathing) is more stable. The children don’t get squashed– SIDS was far more common among those who listened to the old recommendations of TPTB prior to 1992 and laid their babies on their stomachs or in another room. If the baby had any distress, I knew immediately. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend laying the baby next to a drunk! If you face this problem, put the baby on your other side.

    My daughter is fully bonded with us, yet quite independent. This is typical of children who slept with their parents. Family beds work!

    Blessings,
    Merryheart@Free’n’Well

    Reply
  5. Mindy

    My sister-in-law allowed my nephew to sleep with her into his teens. He would come to visit and wake me up in the middle of the night, begging to sleep on the floor next to me. Not a good thing. He now smokes marijuana, is a high school drop out and hates his mother. Hmmm…not that that caused it, but it may have been a contributing factor. ugh. And thanks for telling everyone to say Happy Birthday to David! Sweet! ~Mindy

    Reply
  6. Kara-Noel

    We kicked out babies to the curb (crib!) right after we were home from the hospital. We were scared to roll over on them.
    We also have a “thing” for our marriage bed being just for us… whatever that means… LOL.
    We have brought Eli into our bed twice because his asthma was so bad and we wanted to watch his breathing.
    Did we sleep?
    NOPE!

    Reply
  7. pilar stark

    My girls all slept with me when they were nursing, but I do have to say that was not the plan. They started the night in the little clibs right there next to my bed, I was too scare (especially with the first one) to let her sleep in her own room. But after the first feeding I would lay her down next to me so she could nurse and I could remain in a comfortable position. Of course I felt sleep and so did them. As soon as they were all off the nursing during the night (the youngest one was the one that enjoyed that the longest -6 months-) they slept in their own rooms. We taught them to sleep through the night, and I was a better mom after all that sleeping 🙂 ( I am really cranky if I don´t sleep).
    My husband feels very strong about our bed being just for him and I, but I do have to say that I had to sleep with them for vacations or whatever and I just can´t sleep. They move too much. And I guess they also like their own beds because never ask to sleep with us.

    Reply
  8. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

    I’m looking forward to trying out co-sleeping with our baby. The only co-sleeping experiences I’ve had involved my nieces, who co-slept when they were younger and when I was watching them, and I loved it! I’m sure it helps that neither Donald nor I are bed hogs; we fit on a full size with plenty of extra space. So we’re hoping to give it a go, but you know? If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, NO GUILT ATTACHED.

    Please enter me for the book! It sounds interesting!

    Reply
  9. Nina in Portugal

    Maybe the reason I have 5 kids is because none of them EVER slept with me….?

    But then again, I’m happily married BECAUSE none of them ever slept with me….! 😉

    Hmmm…it’s a toss up….

    Seriously….. I followed the procedures in Babywise and got excellent results. All 5 kids slept through the night before 12 weeks of age….consistently.

    Reply
  10. Tori

    Totally agree! I don’t at all think it’s healthy for any of the family members. We had the little ones close to the bed for a few weeks and then off they went to fend for themselves!
    With ya on this one!

    Reply
  11. Jenay

    I do not believe in Co sleeping either. But I will tell you there have been many a night when the only way to get the babes to sleep is to get them in our room, sometimes that means in bed with us. Other times its on the floor on a pallet. My youngest son will just come up stairs and there is always a pallet on the floor next to my bed. To let him sleep there away from bad dreams and yucky tummies. I can keep an eye on him and get alittle shut eye too. But then too our house is set up weird. Our bedroom is upstairs and their room is downstairs. So we have to make exceptions

    Reply
  12. SYDNEY

    Oh FringeGal, Brad and ANGIE do it with their six kids and their good looks all in one bed… at least in the mornings, especially on Sunday!

    Reply
  13. PJ Hornberger

    Nooooo, nobody in my bed. No more. My husband is the worst, he kicks, snorts, hogs the covers, and takes the entire bed. Been a long time since I slept with a kid… absolutely no sleep then. I’ve slept with many a puppy, kitty, they’re not so bad… for awhile. Being sleep deprived is not fun. I refuse to do it any longer. I read that that’s why they think teenagers have so many wrecks, no sleep.
    No book for me, but thanks. Have a great day… and get some sleep. xo PJ

    Reply
  14. Cathy

    We didn’t let our kids sleep with us either. We just never let it start. I have slept with them both on vacation and I certainly never rest well. Since hubby & I can’t sleep in a double bed together I usually sleep with one of the girls on vacation and the other sleeps on the floor. On our last Disney trip, I took a blow up mattress and slept on it and got the best sleep I’ve gotten on a Disney trip with kids yet!

    Reply
  15. Erin

    We didn’t co-sleep, we co-waked. I was awake on the couch for one year with each baby. Well, I did sleep in bed one night after our first, which is how we ended up with our second. D’oh! But yes, co-inhabited couch. There was a little snoozing but I felt safer on the couch, less likely to smush, and my husband got sleep so he could work.

    Reply
  16. Amy

    I would love to be entered for the book! Thanks! We are not co-sleepers in ANY way. I just can’t do it. I’m not comfortable. The second my baby is done nursing, it’s back to the crib. When they come to us with a nightmare, we console them, then take them back to bed. Not really sure how people can share their bed. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I guess whatever works, right? If that was the only way I could get my child to sleep, I’m sure we’d be sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Shannan

    I’m surprised that there aren’t any co-sleepers commenting here! I thought it was supposed to be fairly common… We have a 4 year old and a nearly-3 year old and have never done the co-sleeping thing. We also did the Babywise method and it worked amazingly well for us. We have definitely napped together and get plenty of snuggle time, etc… but our kids learned to be happy and content in their own beds, which is a wonderful thing! My bro and sis-in-law are desperately trying to get their 6 and 4 year olds out of their bedroom and it’s really taking a toll on all of them! Thanks for the post and enter me in that drawing, please!

    Reply
  18. thedomesticfringe Post author

    Go wish David a Happy Birthday! He deserves birthday wishes for being the only male brave enough to comment regularly.

    -FringeGirl

    Reply
  19. Debbie York

    I read this earlier and I thought about it a lot before posting a comment. I’m old school. My children didn’t sleep with us as babies. Now I’m not going to say never because if they were sick, scared from a nightmare or storm, then they did. If Cat Daddy was working out of town, they loved getting to sleep with me…it was just easier. But on a regular basis…NO!
    There is a certain intimacy between husband and wife that goes on at night (no, not S-E-X) but the time where you talk about the day, kids, each other, etc. Kind of hard to do with kids in the bed. Obviously it didn’t traumatize my children. In fact, my son made the comment the other day that hearing us whisper in the dark made him feel secure. It also gave C.D. and I a place for us. When you are busy being parents finding a private place isn’t all that easy. You have to find it where you can or the marriage can get lost in the child raising.
    I’m certainly not an expert on this subject, but I think the fact we’ve managed to stay married 36 yrs. and not be on the 10:00 news says we might have done at least that right.
    Debbie

    Reply
  20. Dani Joy

    The whole co-sleeping thing would not have been healthy for us as I had a baby a year.. but then again maybe it would have solved that. LOL
    I followed Babywise! It worked great for us as all three of my boys slept through the night at 8-9wks. It was for survival. but now they are grown and some of my friends are having babies I am aching to hold a sleeping baby. I think sometimes that I didn´t hold them enough, calm them enough.
    But the family bed as the Sears family calls it is a no go with this family. In fact I wanted to burn their book on “Christian Parenting”. Do not recomend it. It may work for others but was not our approach. Christian Christ centered, not baby centered parenting was our goal.
    Deep stuff!

    Reply
  21. Janna Qualman

    When they were babies, I’d only nap with them in my bed. And now that they’re getting bigger (3 and 6), they may sneak into our bed if they’re having a rough night… and we typically let them stay. Neither my husband nor I sleep particularly well, but it’s important for our daughters to know they always have a place they can come to for comfort, if they’re sick or having a bad dream: right between Mommy and Daddy.

    There’s a line, of course. If it were to become habit (and we’ve tottered near that before), we’d reiterate the importance and special idea of their own bed and space, and help shift them back to their own mattresses.

    Great topic! And may as well throw me into the drawing, too. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Blond Duck

    I refuse to let our dogs sleep in our bed b/c of what you’ve described. My husband is the only person I can tolerate–probably b/c I sleep like a rock and he doesn’t snore. But whenever I had to sleep with my mom or sister on trips, I couldn’t sleep at all. And I’m too scared I’d roll over on a child–I almost crushed my in-law’s Chihuahua!

    Reply
  23. Lois Lane II

    No babies for us yet, but we do have a dog, and she’s out of necessity. 😉 Sometimes it gets cold!!! (But, and this may be a little fyi, and if so, I am sorry, we do frequently kick her out for…ahem, maritals. Sorry, dog in bed during that time just doesn’t fly.)

    Enter me, please! My BFF is pregnant, and I know she’d enjoy the book!

    Reply
  24. Rachel

    I never co-sleeped. I’m like you, I need my space. Plus I didn’t want to start any kind of habit that I knew would be difficult to break later in life.

    I like what David said: Mama needs to be rested in order to be her best for the rest of the house!

    Reply
  25. David

    You get 16 hours of every day to be mom. That 8 hours (if you’re lucky) is needed for rest…. unless someone throws up in the middle of the night or something like that. (Let’s face it, you’re on call 24/7.) It’s better for the whole family if mom is rested.

    Reply
  26. Domestically Challenged

    I never did with our first, but our second slept with us until he was 5 months old. It was more about survival than anything. I went back to work, and NEEDED SLEEP!!
    I think it up to the family to see what works for them. Me? I love the idea that my children feel comfortable snuggling in with me. I think of all the children out there who don’t have that safe, warm, secure feeling.
    Doesn’t mean I don’t wish they’d move over though. Bed hogs.

    Reply
  27. Cher

    Co-sleeping is a very reliable form of birth control, used throughout the centuries in all nations. I didn’t use it, mind you, but I know people that did/do.

    My mind wanders to the sleeping arrangements of big families. I know a grown child with seven sibling who were all raised in a two bedroom home. One bedroom was parents only. The other one for whoever went to bed first or whoever was sick. The remainder kids slept in any space available. A little too Grapes of Wrathy for me!

    No book for me. I done raised my dern kids!

    The Texas Woman

    Reply
  28. JanMary, N Ireland

    I am with you 100% on this.

    When I read that you planned to blog on this topic I wondered what side of the fence/bed you would be on!

    Will be interesting to read the range of opinions and “each to their own” as the saying goes – which is ifne my be as long as you aren’t in MY BED 🙂

    Reply
  29. robinaltman

    I vote no co-sleeping! Unless you’re breast feeding in the spare room and fall asleep. And luckily don’t roll over and squish your newborn. Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you. . .

    Reply
  30. caprik

    “as I gasped, I inhaled a mouth full of hair. ” LOL!!!

    Not a fan of the co-sleeping. I never thought my kids needed to be at my side every moment of the day or night.
    They need to learn how to go to sleep on their own and put themselves back to sleep. It’s a good skill to have, one they will actually use their whole lives!

    I am not saying don’t bring them in after a bad dream or something, but every night? A bad habit to start.
    Not to be offensive or anything, but maybe some parents start this to meet some need of theirs. Babies will sleep anywhere, it doesn’t need to be in their parents bed.

    I’m with you. I NEED a good night sleep or I am a crabby Mama!

    Reply
  31. Hat Chick

    I totally agree with you. I don’t think it’s healthy for the child, the sleep-deprived mom or the marriage. The bassinet was next to my bed for the first 3 weeks, then each peep was off to the crib.

    I also don’t allow my peeps to watch TV to fall asleep. I don’t think that’s healthy either.

    Reply

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