Don’t you love the way your little ones look when they are sleeping? I sure do. The calm sweetness radiating from them while they are asleep. And I love the way it feels when she’s right there, next to me. The whole night.
I admit, I never thought I would become such a fan of co-sleeping. I never even really thought about it, before she came along. Of course, I knew I would let my children come into our bed when they would want to. I know I (and my siblings) used to go into my parent’s bed when I was little and had bad dreams or wanted to cuddle. That’s also why I came up with the idea of building our own bed that would be biiig- going from one wall to the other, so there would be enough room for children in there. But I never thought of having my baby there with me all the time. It just didn’t really occur to me. I guess I never even really thought about it. It’s such a common thing here in the west, that the baby is supposed to have its own bed, that it just didn’t come up in my head before that it could be otherwise. So we even had a crib prepared for Liv at home. It should have come into our room. Somewhere. Not that there’s much room left in our bedroom since the bed takes up most of the bedroom. But of course she should have been there in our room. In her crib. We just never got to put it together. :-)
It all started yesterday, two years ago.
But let’s go from the beginning.
After two days of labour, she finally came to see the world at 23:19 two days and two years ago. I was so exhausted by the time she was born, the doctor even had to ask me if I wanted to open my eyes, to see my girl. She definitely looked at me, with her big blue eyes. They left her with me for two hours while I was still in the birthing room, then they took her away for the night, so I could get some sleep. I was glad, to be honest. I really was tired. A few hours later, at about 6 in the morning, they brought her back to my room. I wanted to cuddle with her, have her in my arms, so I took her to my bed. And there it was. It just happened. She stayed there ever since. The baby bed in the hospital was right next to my bed and was the barrier so she wouldn’t fall down. But I put her in there only if I had to go away for a while. Otherwise she was in my bed with me all the time, even during the nights.
When we came back home, she went straight into our bed with me. I couldn’t think of her being in another bed. Though, admittedly, this tiny creature seemed a bit more lost in our big bed. But it was great. It is great. I converted to co-sleeping ever since. Though, it was only after we got home that I even heard the term “co-sleeping” for the first time and found out that there’s quite a discussion going on about it in the world.
Of course, everybody has to find their own ways that suit them and their family. This worked for us. For me definitely. It helped me (and helps me still) be more rested, since I didn’t have to get up to feed Liv during nights. In fact, I pretty much slept through most of her night-feedings.
It helped me be more calm about her. Less worried about SIDS and her stopping breathing and such. Whenever I would wake up in the night and feel worried, I could touch her, see and feel that she’s alright.
Also I definitely think that if something would have happened, I probably would have woken up soon after. It still happens that I wake up in the night moments before Liv even cries or asks for milk. (Yes, in case you wonder, she’s 2 and still breastfeeds, even during nights.)
So we got through the first few months without having to use breath-monitors that peep even when the baby is breathing (that was my experience the 2 times I tried to use it before throwing it away).
I don’t really want to get technical and go into all the details and advantages of co-sleeping here. Other people have gone written about probably every aspect there is to say about it, and have done it much better than I ever would. There are, for example, wonderful and very interesting studies you can read up on the topics, like from anthropologist James McKenna.
All I want to do in this post is share my experience. Why? Because I was watching my child sleep during the day today and took another photo of her in our bed and it made me reflect how it came to be that she’s there. That’s basically all there is to this post. :-)
I heard con-arguments against co-sleeping, that there’s the risk of crushing your child. I always wondered about that one. Personally, I think it’s a stupid argument (to use nice words here). Unless you’re drinking or on drugs, I don’t think a mother’s instinct would let you. Even in sleep, you are pretty much very much aware of the little creature beside you.
Also, since our bed is big enough, Liv always had her “spot” in it. Basically it’s as if she had her own bed, only right next to me and I can scoot and be right next to her and vice versa. Ok, now we don’t have it so differentiated any more as it used to be in the beginning. She’s just there, next to me. Or on me, haha, like when she sleeps with her feet (or head or other parts of her body) put up on me.
I guess she will be in our bed as long as it suits us all. I guess sooner or later she probably will ask herself to go into her own bed or something like that. Until then… I’ll enjoy her company, her smiles in the morning, her cuddles, the fact that she still wants me to be around.
I have to enjoy it as long as she lets me, right?