There’s an article in the New York Times about co-sleeping, which is what they call it when your baby sleeps in your bed, next to you. This is what we are doing these days, even though we have a lovely and confusingly-named “co-sleeper” that is like a little crib attached to our bed. I posted a picture of it before:

The thing about the dedicated co-sleeper is that we started calling it the “Baby Wake-Up Box” when we noticed that, after a midnight feeding, he was vastly more likely to fall asleep when placed in his daddy’s arms than in the co-sleeper. He likes cuddling with us; who can blame him? So we pretty much gave in and brought him into bed with us. Now he sleeps between us, where with one well-aimed flailing motion he can punch us both in the nose at the same time. It’s fine actually, I like it. I like feeling his warm little body curled up against mine, and hearing the breathy little sounds he makes in sleep. I don’t feel that there’s any danger of rolling over on top of him. I’m very aware of him even when I’m asleep.

Actually Robin doesn’t like being out of physical contact with us in general, when he’s awake or when he’s asleep. I think the thought process goes like this: “No Mommy you cannot put me down, tigers might get me! Oh no my mommy has left my eyesight! Maybe I am lost! Maybe I am lost in the middle of the dark dark woods with tigers circling around me! I must cry very very loudly so that my mommy can find me again!” So I do hold him most of the day, or wear him around in a sling, which he also likes.

I’ve drifted off the topic of co-sleeping. I dunno, people have big arguments about this but I don’t see what’s to argue about. Some people do it and some people don’t. Presumably everybody just picks the sleeping arrangements that work best for their family, right? There is nothing here to argue about. It’s exactly like the so-called “mommy wars,” which are also awful, because there is not one right answer and everybody should just do what suits them best. I mean, duh.

Anyway, I liked the article, if only for the Doritos dream at the beginning. “It was such a good dream, Mom!”

8 Responses to “Co-Sleeping”

  • Wendy Says:

    I always found that argument about rolling onto the baby to be pretty far-fetched. Maybe you and I are odd, but I can tell you that I would have fallen on the floor before I rolled onto W.

  • shannon Says:

    Yeah, I think what the article says is right — it’s only an issue if you’re medicated or something. You aren’t going to suffocate your baby as part of normal sleep.

  • Madeline Says:

    Great article. Nearly everyone I know has practiced cosleeping. We never did it at all–Ibby has spent just one night in bed with us, when we were traveling and she was sick–but that was just our choice, not based on any philosophical objection to cosleeping. She slept in a bassinette in our room till she was around 3 months, then in a crib in the next room. Worked great for us–but then she was a world champion good sleeper, for the most part.

    The only drawback I’ve seen with cosleeping is that some friends of mine have had a lot of trouble weaning their toddler or older child from it, when the parents were very ready and eager to have their bed back. But that’s no argument against cosleeping, just a factor to consider. I suspect it’s no different from weaning a child from anything else–nursing, night waking, bottle, sippy cup, pacifier, whatever. There are developmental windows for weaning–opportunities that, if you recognize them, you can take advantage of. You don’t get just one chance, but several. Thus it was easy to wean Ibby from nursing at 20 months, for developmental reasons, but it might have been terribly hard at 18 months or 24 months.

    Haven’t found that developmental window for nighttime pacifier weaning yet, but I think it’s getting close…

  • shannon Says:

    Yeah, the whole question of what’ll happen when we want our room back remains open…I guess we’ll see!

  • Madeline Says:

    I should add that others of our friends did not have much trouble at all transitioning their child from cosleeping.

    There’s this whole crazy American idea that everyone should be independent, self-sufficient, and separate–even newborn babies. Babies should nurse on a strict schedule (4 to 5 times a day, claimed my baby books, when Ibby was doing 8 or 12), should sleep alone in their cribs, should NEVER be nursed to sleep (yeah, right), and shouldn’t be TOO attached to their parents.

    When we were still in the hospital after Ibby was born, an older nurse saw Hop holding her and said, “Are you going to hold that baby all the time?” (or “24-7,” or something like that). He replied that he figured he’d hold her as much as possible. The nurse replied in a sing-song tone, “You’ll be sorry!”

  • shannon Says:

    Wow. Now I feel really lucky that our hospital was pretty strongly pushing attachment parenting and on-demand nursing. They gave us a lot of literature about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact especially.

    It just boggles me why a nurse would want to interfere with a bonding moment between parent and newborn!

  • Madeline Says:

    Yeah, well, I should also add that this particular nurse happened to be the most evil (and incompetent) one I’ve ever encountered in my life. After a string of negative experiences with her (everything from extreme IV-insertion incompetence to dropping metal instruments next to Ibby’s head 15 minutes after her birth), I actually had my OB put a note in my chart stating that I was not to be seen by her in the future. I was hoping she’d retire before my next birth, but no such luck.

    All the other nurses at our hospital were great, and although no one was particularly advocating attachment parenting, they were very supportive of breastfeeding, and otherwise progressive and helpful.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would want to discourage a parent from bonding with their baby, either.

  • A Boy’s Life » Blog Archive » Two More Book Reviews Says:

    […] have written about co-sleeping before, but I skimmed over that part: how very sweet it is to fall asleep with a baby cuddled […]

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