After hearing that exciting news of a confirmed pregnancy, most of us hit the books and websites to figure out what and how we will do everything when our littles are born. Along with the copious books and dr. google giving information and tips, we have our family and friends to chime in their advice as well. All we hear during pregnancy is “how do you plan to do this, or that?” or “where are you giving birth?,” “which pediatrician will you choose?,” the list goes on and on, and it can be very overwhelming for first time mom and dads.
I for one, maybe stuck to two of the things I thought for sure I was going to do before I had my daughter, who is now two. Everything we think, or plan, to do when pregnant can go out the window in a split second, and I chose to go with what I felt was the right thing, because who truly knows what is and isn’t the right thing.
The sleeping situation became a very confusing topic for my husband and I. When my daughter was born she slept in a cradle next to our bed for about five months. We were constantly bringing her in the bed and out of the bed and trying the crib as well. I thought for sure that co-sleeping wasn’t the right thing for us because of fear and how small she was. When my husband began traveling more and more, I starting bringing my daughter in bed with me. It really helped for awhile, while breastfeeding and changing in the middle of the night. She and I grew very accustomed to our way of life. I must say, I am also fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my daughter so our sleep schedule wasn’t interfered by my having to go to work. But sadly she has never been a good or sound sleeper, she constantly wakes in the middle of night and maybe I spoiled her in that regard to the co-sleeping. To this day she still doesn’t sleep through the night.
Now that my daughter is getting older (over two) and no longer breastfeeding, I debate if she even needs to be in our bed anymore. It has given us many challenges (i.e. intimacy, her waking in the night because she’s thirsty, or needs a new diaper). We are expecting our second little girl in January 2017, so if we just move our daughter into her bed would she feel abandoned or replaced? Will the new baby sleep in our bed? How can I sleep train without letting them cry it out? These are questions that constantly go through my head. I haven’t even mentioned the criticism we get from family members about our “sleeping arrangements;” they have never been supportive for what seems to work for our family right now.
I am truly envious of the moms who have gotten their babies in some way or another to sleep on their own in their own spaces. I hear stories from moms who put their toddler in their room say goodnight and leave the room and the child goes to sleep without any problem, all by themselves and doesn’t wake up every few hours. I love co-sleeping but also wish my daughter wasn’t so dependent on us for sleep. I have many friends who say co-sleeping has been amazing for the their families, and I wonder if they face any challenges I have. I also have friends who can’t sleep in the same room as their littles because no one sleeps!
I know sleeping arrangements are a difficult choice for many families and just one of the constant things we are judged on (as if there isn’t enough mom-shaming everywhere we turn) and I just want new moms to remember to go with their gut and what they feel to be right. Don’t co sleep just because your friends do and it works amazing for them, and don’t let your baby cry it out just because your aunts and uncles tell you its for the best. DO whats right for you and your family, and trust me, you will know.
These are just some of the challenges I’ve faced with co-sleeping, but at the end of the day I still love being close to my daughter and knowing that she’s safely snuggled up right next to me, regardless of the lack of sleep I may endure that night. Co-sleeping is not for everyone, and it definitely has its pros and cons, but every family should have that choice and should be proud of their decisions. I may have, and still do, face many challenges while co-sleeping but whose to say it wouldn’t be the best choice for someone else.