The Co-Sleeping Conundrum

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Once upon an infant time, I laid my baby down to sleep in her crib. I would walk backwards out the room, holding my breath and feeling closer to victory with each moonwalked step to her bedroom door. The exact nano second my foot crossed the threshold into the hallway, the screams started. These weren’t cranky whimpers or agitated screams, but blood curdling ones that would wake neighbors 3 doors down.

I had no idea what tired was until I was up every couple of hours with a baby that didn’t want to sleep. She was fed, bathed, diaper was changed, white noise machine on, lights dimmed…what was I missing? What was I not remembering from the countless hours of research I did? Could I possibly have missed a post from an experienced mom in a forum about sleeping troubles?!

We lucked out with a Fisher Price Rock N Play that she slept in for the first few months, but even then, she just wanted to be closer to me. She was diagnosed with acid reflux which explained the agitation at all hours and at this point, I did the unthinkable; I let her sleep next to me. Of course I took the necessary precautions to not have too much bedding or pillows. She had her designated space on the bed and I had mine. Hence was our sleeping relationship for the next 4 years. I was so embarrassed to answer people when they asked if she slept in her own bed yet. “No, no she didn’t” I would say as I looked down at the floor like a scolded puppy. Was I encouraging co-dependent behavior? Was I coddling her too much?

A truly great friend of mine put my mind at ease when she said, “As long as she’s not sleeping with you when she’s in college…” That put so many things in perspective. They are little but for so long. I am useless without sleep.  If it’s working for us for right now, then why not,,,,right? My brother and his wife sleep trained their son and it worked for them. They were both working a few months after their son was born. They let him cry it out and he has since stuck to a set bedtime every night. That worked for them. Did they damage their son for their own benefit? Is he emotionally scarred for life? I’m not an accredited research scientist to say, but I am a mom with an observant opinion that can confirm they are happier parents since they implemented that schedule, as I am a happier mom with piece of mind allowing my daughter to sleep with me.

One regular day, something extraordinary happened. At the ripe age of 4 years old, Aria climbed into her abandoned bed and told me she wants to sleep there now. She still sometimes finds her way into my bed from scary dreams, tummy aches, or runny noses, but she sleeps in her own bed for the most part. So my best advice to you is do what’s best FOR YOU. Listen to your motherly instinct, use that sixth sense and whatever decision you make, be proud of it! You’re a supermom and superheroes make the best decision for the greater good of all mankind (or in this case, for the greater good of exhausted parents and cranky children). On that note, sleep tight J