To Co-Sleep, Perchance to Co-Dream…

So my secret is out… I co-sleep with my two year old daughter. AND. I. LOVE. IT.

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We don’t start each night this way… I put her to bed in the room she shares with her brother. She has a big girl bed and she is happy to be tucked in and drift off in there. But, sometime around midnight, I hear little shuffling feet in the hall and a tiny voice whispering, “Mama shnuggle?”

Um, OKAY! How could I say no?

It’s funny… I never thought I would be the parent that I am in some ways. I guess we all say that at one point or another, and I’m okay with it. But I was never someone who planned to share a bed with my kids. In fact, I planned to put them in their cribs from day one. hahahahahahaha… yah I know, right? As it turns out, each of my three babies spent the first four or five months sleeping cozily in bed with me, right on my chest.

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You see, I didn’t realize it at the time when I had my first, but I have suffered from anxiety since becoming a mom, as well as Postpartum Depression, and I think that having my babies close to me was crucial. From the moment they were born, they were searching for my skin. Literally, they were reaching their hands over the blankets to connect with me, and my desire to nurture them and keep them close was incredibly overwhelming.

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So, for the first months that’s exactly what I did. I held them, I slept with them, I nursed them and just basically smothered them with love!

Around the four month mark both Taya and then Callum were ready to move into their cribs, and I was absolutely fine with that. I think that my style of parenting has been more of a “baby led” approach, so when they showed signs of wanting to sleep on their own I was more than happy to oblige. They took to their own rooms like ducks to water and have been wonderful, solid sleepers ever since.

And then there’s my little Ella.  LOL… my sweet, affectionate little monkey girl. Ella turned two in February and still wants to touch me every moment of every day. Sometimes it’s agonizingly frustrating – like when I’m trying to blog cook dinner or PEE, but more often than not I’m just as eager to give her the hugs and cuddles she craves.

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Maybe it’s because she’s the baby… my last baby. But I’m letting her set the pace in some ways and it’s what works for us. In many ways she’s very independent; she plays for hours on her own and refuses any help when it comes to eating or taking the stairs. She’s happy and loving and so very bright… she just also happens to be very attached to her mama, and I think that’s pretty normal.

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To be honest? I sleep better with her curled up against me. I did switch her over to her crib at around five months, even though I got the sense she wasn’t ready for it. But, it had worked for her older siblings so I gave it a go. She would go down like a dream, but was waking anywhere from three to ten times a night, no joke. Then she would be up for the day at around 5am.

“Let’s play!”

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It was pretty rough, and with my husband being our sole income it was killing him to be working on so little sleep. (I would get up with her every time, don’t get me wrong… but when there’s a baby crying, everyone hears it!) So when she’s in bed with me, I actually SLEEP, and I sleep well. I’m not half awake and waiting for her to cry as I always was before. I don’t need a monitor, and I know she’s safe and sound. We are both happier, and we both sleep better.

So our next move was to switch her to a big girl bed. She loved snuggling in Cal’s bed and we thought maybe that would help. So right around the time she turned two we went for it. She adjusted extremely well and really does love it, but she was still waking up. The difference now is that she can actually get OUT and come find me. Which she does. Every night.

So that’s how we reverted back to the co-sleeping. She crawls in every night and sleeps like a log, usually not waking again until between 7 and 7:30am! So yah – I’ll take it! And seriously… I wake up to this fuzzy little head each day, and it’s the best:

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I really thought that I would be a mom who let her kids “cry it out”. I never thought I’d be the one posting quotes on Facebook about attachment parenting! But alas, here I am. I think that motherhood – much like labour and delivery – is something best entered into with an open mind. Going into it with plans written in stone is just not gonna’ work. There ARE certain styles of parenting that I wanted to incorporate, and I have stuck to many of them. I am adamant about manners, as well as how my children behave in public and how they treat their elders. When they enter a home or any function, they say hello to the adults around them before they run off to play. These things are important to me because they are life skills that my kids can carry with them forever.

But I know that Ella won’t be sleeping in my bed when she’s 20, so it’s cool.

It’s just what works for us, and that’s what’s important. Everyone is happy and rested, and the only issue is that poor daddy has some nights on the couch thanks to an overwhelming amount of arms and legs flailing around in the bed. But it’s temporary, and knowing that my baby girl feels safe, secure and loved next to her mommy is just so important to me. I gave my other two kids what they needed until they were ready to sleep on their own, and I will do the same for Ella.

When she was first born, someone posted a quote on a mom page I belong to, and it really struck a chord with me…

mama

That’s how I feel. I need to go to my baby. I want her to know that when she cries, I will be there.

And now I will sign off, because going through all of these photos has made my uterus cry and that is NOT a road I want to go down again!
Have a wonderful weekend snuggling YOUR babies!
MB

Comments

  1. says

    My youngest is a terrible sleeper – he just turned two in March and up until that point, he woke every 2 hours at night. On good nights. Some nights he would cry out every 20 minutes. Even co-sleeping didn’t ‘fix’ him. I’m glad that it works for you and Ella.
    I co-slept with #1 until, like your’s, he showed me he was ready to be in his own bed and even then, we shared a room. I 100% felt my baby needed me nearby. You do what feels right, what works for your family.

  2. says

    Clicked over to your blog from GOMI where I’ve been enjoying the YHL back and forth. :) This is a nice post and rather refreshing. It’s nice to hear someone embracing what works for them instead of getting caught up in what you are or aren’t supposed to do. I went through my fair share of New Mom Analysis Paralysis and shed a few tears over not being “allowed” to do what felt right. It’s such a relief when you finally give yourself permission to do what feels right and what works for your baby. Great quote at the end too.

    • says

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate your comment. That’s exactly what lead to my PPD, feeling like I had to do things everyone else’s way, and ignore my instincts.
      Now I know better. : )

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