Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Co-sleeping...it ain't for everyone!

Hayden as a wee little man!
(Definitely an alternative to co-sleeping!)
In the blogosperic world we live in today, it's easy to find a chat room, message board or blog telling you all about how to raise happy healthy humans. My advice (not that anyone has asked) is to do your own thing. You were raised by someone...you are guaranteed to have picked something up from it. The hard part is deciphering the good from the bad and going from there. I bring up Co-sleeping because it's something foreign to me. I don't do this. I never have. I can count on one hand the number of times my son has ever been in the bed with me to sleep - and he was sick all three times. Now, that's not talking about the very young infancy age when he was in the same room right next to the bed and might as well have been in it with me. Those teenie babies need to be near you...heck, they've been inside you for nine months. You can't expect them to let go immediately. But, then your second one will come along - like my little princess - and letting go is exactly what they'll do. From the day she came home from the hospital, she slept in her own bed...for eight hours or more each night. I'm not making that up. She was independent from the moment my water broke. I struggle with issues like this, as we all do. I feel guilty sometimes when my kids (one or both at he same time) come all the way down the 17 stairs in the middle of the night for whatever reason (bad dream, wet bed or daddy's loud snoring) and I march them right back up to get in their own bed. I feel very guilty. I want so badly to throw them in the bed with me and cuddle next to them and hear their little hearts beating. But, the independent/determined side of me wins almost every time. I want them to be independent. I want them to be strong. I want them to be self-sufficient. I expect too much from them, I fear. Now, don't get me wrong. It's not like I can't go back to sleep once they're tucked safely back to sleep. I'm out once I'm back in the bed. It's afterwards...the next morning. I think to myself, "Would it have been so bad to let them crash for just one evening?" "What's it going to hurt to let them fight over who sleeps next to me...so close I can smell their lotion?" Nothing, that's what. It wouldn't hurt one thing. I can speak from both sides of this, I think. I was a co-sleeper with my mom for a long time. I was probably 10 or older before I started taking ownership of my own bed. Different circumstances, however. It was just she and I. No one else to consider, really. If I examine how it all affected me, I must say it was minimal. I am a very independent person...not because my mom didn't let me sleep in her bed, but because of the many other qualities, morals and values that she instilled in me. What it all boils down to, I think, is that there are different choices for different folks. For those that choose to co-sleep with one or more of their kids, they will most likely have to deal with separation issues later in life. For me - one that chooses not to - I'll have to deal with the troubling issue of "maybe if I had let them crash with me, they'd be closer to me." I'm curious about your opinions on this...don't take it as controversial. I'm just interested to know. There's certainly no worry of a right or wrong opinion here. Tell me your thoughts!

8 comments:

Jennifer said...

I wish I could be as strong as you! I LOVE my babies sleeping in the bed with me though. I say babies... the middle one is 11 ;-)
It is REALLY hard to get them out of bed with you once it is started. But I am mostly to blame.If I come in from a long day and go to take a nap I usually hollar for my baby (who is 8) to come lay down with me. I realize that they are getting older and there will come a day when its kinda creepy to lay down with Mom or they just get too old. My hubby kids with me that he doesn't know why he got me a 3 bedroom house. We only needed a 1!! LOL I say give in at least once in a while. You may love it and then again who am I to talk? My kids and their wives will be taking naps with me one day I'm sure. WOW!! That didn't sound good.

Patrick said...

Well said, however, you should not deny yourself the joy of the occasional mutual snooze. It's a wonderful feeling to have them peaceful and asleep in your protection.

KristinRanae said...

Well, by Kamryn's choice, she has never slept with us. I even try to get her to snuggle with me sometimes but NO WAY! Since about 4months old she wanted to sleep in her own room, in her own bed, and with the door shut! It took me a while to figure that out and once I did....peaceful nights of sleep for everyone!! But, I do agree that every child and parent is different so I don't agree or disagree on the matter:)

martinstone said...

you are raising strong, well behaved children, stop worrying!

lauren said...

Maya and I co-sleep. It started mostly out of convenience, because since she's breastfed its just so much easier that way! The first few months, knowing nothing about babies going into this whole "motherhood" thing, i had the idea that all babies slept in there cribs, end of story. But as anyone who has breastfed knows, those middle-of-the-night feedings are slow-going, and i'd spend most of the night on the couch, bleary-eyed and exausted watching tv, or falling asleep on the couch with her on her boppy, and waking up with a horrible crick in my back. I was a zombie at work.

Finally i let go of the whole "making her sleep in her own bed" thing and discovered the JOYs of co-sleeping!

When she wakes up in the middle of the night? I just unclip my nursing tank top, roll over and cuddle up. She eats, I go right back to sleep. I LOVE IT.

And now its just so nice and cuddly... i can't imagine doing anything else!

Fran said...

I hate to say that I am guilty of co-sleeping and there are many more negatives than positives to this....It has been a hard habit to break and when speaking to my mother about it...she lectures me that I shouldn't push so hard to get him out of the bed because I don't want turn him into a mass murderer. I think my mother is being a little over the top however I did create this so for now we are stuck with it.

Jenn said...

Wow! I'm glad to see so many that are comfortable with their decisions. Whether you choose to or not, I say be happy with your decision...'cause in the end, that's all that's going to matter anyway! Thanksf for all the comments!

mickeynme4 said...

I think you said that quite well. You have two wonderful children and it shows that you care and love them dearly. Well done, Jenn, keep it up!