Co-sleeping, or more accurately, bed-sharing seems to be the rage right now among parents who choose an attachment style of parenting. I happen to be one of those granola-eating, hippie-thinking, attachment parents and yet, I do not share a bed with either of my children. My decision to not have my babies sleeping snuggled up next to me happened gradually—organically if you will—and is based on my experience as a parent.
With my first daughter, Emmaline, I had her sleeping in our bed to make breastfeeding on-demand easier for the first week of her life. It seemed like a brilliant solution to night-wakings and I expected to get more sleep with her by my side versus putting her in a bassinet at the foot of the bed (the only place it would fit in our small bedroom). I was so wrong. My little girl wiggled around so much, she took up most of the bed! I’d wake up to find her feet in my armpit or her hair tickling my stomach! There didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for Emmaline’s movement in her sleep but I knew she couldn’t sleep in our bed if she was able to move around like that! We moved her to the bassinet, swaddled her, and got eight-hour stretches of sleep from the time she was about a month old. No regrets.
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With my youngest daughter, Annabelle, I didn’t even want to try co-sleeping! After our experience with Emma, I assumed it wouldn’t work and, to be honest, I get really hot in my sleep and have a difficult enough time with my husband in bed at times! I did not want another hot body snuggled up next to me, no matter how much I love her! Of course, she had a different plan and refused to sleep in the bassinet. Heck, she even refused to sleep in our bed unless her head was nuzzled up against my breast!
This time, it wasn’t necessarily my daughter’s safety I was worried about, but my own sanity and comfort. I couldn’t sleep with her face pressed against me. I was terrified I’d smother her so I simply didn’t sleep. This lasted for a couple of days, after which I’d let her fall asleep next to me and then transferred her to her own space, again at the foot of our bed. Now, at three months old, she will sleep anywhere from three to five hours at a time during the night and she’s even fallen asleep in her bassinet albeit with plenty of soothing from us!
As an Attachment Parent, I really thought I’d want to bed-share but I now know it’s just not the right choice for my family. We all sleep better when we do it in separate beds. Instead, we indulge in a morning snuggle in our master bed, which is now much more special because it’s not the norm.