Warm hug and sunny smile, first thing in the morning. Snuggling in close as we settle down for bed and breathing in the special toddler-smelling hair. Waking up in the middle of the night for a drink of water only to stop and stare at the sweet soul who lies fast asleep next to me, looking perfectly angelic. Ah, the pure joys of co-sleeping.
I’ve been co-sleeping with my daughter since she was 4 months old and I’ve loved it. The family bed is as special and sacred to us as the family dinner table. Besides the “pure joy” reasons above, there have been many other advantages to snuggling in with her.
- It was always super easy to feed and soothe her in the middle of the night when she was a baby. I never had to get out of a warm bed and so, was able to manage my sleep better.
- Whenever she was running a fever or a cold, I could always reach out and touch her to make sure that the fever was not getting too high or that she wasn’t getting too cold.
- Managing bedtime was easier since she knew that I would be around if she needed me in the middle of the night, and so would settle down faster. She’d also adapt to changes in her bedtime routines and rituals quickly.
- I noticed that as a baby she slept better when we were together and so, it made sense for us to sleep together.
- Finally, the main reason I shifted her to the bed with me was because she would keep getting her tiny hands and feet stuck between the bars of the crib and I was terrified that she would hurt herself (Blame first-time mom fears!). In other words, I slept better too when I knew that she was safe and soundly asleep next to me.
I know that the jury’s out on whether co-sleeping is safe, whether the risk of SIDS is higher or lower and whether co-sleeping inhibits a child’s independence. When my daughter was a baby and I was a new mom, I did tons of reading and couldn’t really find conclusive evidence on anything. If I’d read an article that co-sleeping increased the risk of suffocating an infant, I’d also read another that a family bed increased a child’s feeling of security.
So, I did what I thought was best – followed my “mommy” heart and I’m glad I did. My daughter (***proud mom bragging***) is extremely independent, loves to explore and discover, has slept safely and soundly since babyhood and is blissfully happy throughout the day (except when Tantrum Tank decides to visit!)
Your turn! Do you co-sleep or not? Have a family bed? I’d love to hear you in either case. Do share!
Photo Credit: Karin Dalziel