The Truth about Cosleeping

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**The American Academy of Pediatris does not recommend co-sleeping, and, because we’re a mom’s blog, you probably shouldn’t make decisions like these based on something we tell you worked for us. If you’re curious and want more information, here is an article about what the AAP does recommend: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-safe-sleep-recommendations-to-protect-against-sids.aspx. Or, you know, just go ask your pediatrician about it.

I’ve always been the kind of sleeper who really, really needs the entire bed – no matter how big it is. I steal the covers. I need all the pillows. I enjoy my space.

That is, until I had kids. 

GAME.

OVER.

My bed is h-u-g-e, but I confess that I only use about a foot of it, because I cosleep with a heat seeking missile, AKA my child. {Sometimes more than one child, who am I kidding here}. No matter where I am in the bed, she steamrolls me to the outer edge – just close enough to potentially fall off. You know that saying “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room?” I’m living that every single night.

It’s comical, really. I can sneak to the other side of the bed when she’s sleeping, and BOOM, within 5 minutes, she has shimmied over to me once again. In all honesty, I don’t mind too much. There’s something sweet about seeing that angelic sleeping toddler face or feeling that tiny hand flop on my back. 

That’s not to say I won’t be excited to have my bed back again… BUT this is a season, y’all. It will end, just as it did with my other children. So far, no one has coslept until college.

Yet.

Memphis Moms Blog girl cosleeping on mom's bed

It all started with the birth of my son. Like any Type A person, I had a fabulous nursery situation ready for him months in advance, but parenthood didn’t quite reflect the What to Expect books (or any of the other parenting books I read, for that matter). Our precious newborn was super colicky. No one could tell me the magic solution, and my husband and I were MISERABLE. The only thing that calmed him down was sleeping right next to me.

And so it began.

I got more sleep. Breastfeeding worked better. It just made sense for us.

When baby #2 came around, Big Brother was sleeping well in his Big Boy Room (yes, he transitioned just fine), and we coslept with our precious new baby. It was the same equation: Breastfeeding + Mama Comfort =  SLEEP. I did a ton of babywearing, so she naturally felt better right next to me. I felt more at ease, too.

Memphis Moms Blog baby wearing

As my babies grew, they were totally A-OK sleeping in Big Kid beds. Sometimes, it was more comforting to sleep with me – for instance, if they had a nightmare or Dad was traveling or they were sick. Other times, they preferred independently sleeping. Our approach was never to push them in to their own beds – we let that be their choice. After all, as adults, we don’t like to be forced into a situation until we are ready. We provided that same respect to our kids with this decision (and it worked).

How’s kid #3, you ask? She is still tucked in close next to me every night. Frankly, I think it is twofold: 1) one-on-one time with parents is rare for her and 2) SNUGGLES. Sometimes, another kid will crawl into our bed and fall asleep. Whatevs.

Am I worried that she will never leave our bed? Nope. I’ll take all the snuggles that I can, because one day, I’ll wish I had more. One day, it will just be my husband and me – and this king sized bed will feel very big. 

And very empty.

Sigh.

The decision to cosleep is a very personal one not only for you, but also for your spouse. It isn’t for everyone, and it might not work as a long term solution. I get that, but remember that cosleeping does not mean that your child cannot be an independent sleeper. I got that comment ALL. THE. DANG. TIME. and as a first time mom, it freaked me out.

It does not mean that you are spoiling your child.

It means that you’re making a decision that works for you – for now. 

If you’re feeling iffy about the decision to cosleep, or if you’re on the receiving end of criticism from friends or family, educate yourself and do what is best for your family. By all means, if you are cosleeping with a baby, take appropriate precautions to ensure safety. Talk with your pediatrician if you need more information on cosleeping options; it’s not a “one size fits all” deal.

Bottom line: It’s perfectly OK to embrace it and equally OK to feel like it’s just not for you. We each do this mom thing differently – the best that we can – and it will look completely different for each of us.

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Jeanie
Jeanie is a perfectly imperfect mama, transplanted to Cordova fresh out of graduate school. She and her husband, Matt, had no intent on making Memphis “home” – but ten years later, they’re still here (and love it!). They have three saucy gingers, along with three “fur babies”. Between homeschooling and chairing graduate Psychology departments online, life is never boring in the Whinghter house. It’s no surprise that Jeanie fancies coffee, but she also loves bargain shopping and embarrassing her children with her questionable singing/dancing skills. She’s had more #PinterestFails that she can count and has perfected the art of giving a good pep talk (watch out, puberty!). Motherhood has slowly transformed her into the “uncool” Mom she thought she’d never be, yet she’s never felt cooler or more content with her life.