Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Accidental Co-Sleepers.

We are co-sleepers. It's not something we set out to be, but along the way of doing what feels right we became a family that co-sleeps. I imagine it wouldn't be ideal for every parent or every child, but it's right for us.

Here's what I love about co-sleeping...
  • She sleeps. She typically cries once around midnight, but once she feels our hand on her chest she'll quickly fall back asleep.
  • I sleep. Having her next to me, feeling her breathe in and out is comforting to me. 
  • My days end with her in my arms and my mornings begin with her sweet face looking at me saying "Hi". There are not enough of those moments in the world for me to ever want to miss out on one.
Here's what I don't love about co-sleeping.
  • Two adults, one child, and two dogs on a bed can be a bit much.
  • The judgment. I'd love to have an honest conversation with another mom about co-sleeping v. crib sleeping without it turning into me defending our decision. What works for one family might not work for another. 
As the title calls out, we never intended to be co-sleepers. We've had some panicky moments about whether we're doing the right thing. My sweet, happy, healthy baby is telling me we're doing a-okay, but it still goes against my expectations. Our top concerns have been safety and development.

Safety: There's lots of information out there, but I found this post from Dr. Sears to be the best. (I also appreciate the stance that co-sleeping v. crib sleeping is just another decision not a right or wrong.) We used a bassinet in bed until Hen was six months. At that point we started laying her on her back in bed. We didn't and don't swaddle her.

Development: Hen's doctor told us early on that our job was to love her and make her feel safe. For me co-sleeping helps me do that each minute I'm with her. My fear that she'd be less independent isn't playing out. She gets excited to go to school and even naps on a mat! She's affectionate and will say "No" at her whim. It doesn't seem to be holding her back and there's research to back that up.

Whether you decide to co-sleep or not, hopefully this gives you another perspective.

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