There are a bevy of hot-button issues out there that tend to get parents in a tizzy, and cosleeping is one of them. Every article written about the topic discusses the pros or cons, and they're all usually met with heated debates and staunch positions. And as a mother of two, I also have a strong opinion . . .
DON'T DO IT!
Now, before you get all hot and bothered, let me tell you that I know every family is different and things that don't work for some might work for others. But from my own personal experience, I try to warn people against what I went through — no, what I'm still going through. I have two children, and I did the whole cosleeping thing with number one. Cut to her now being 9 years old and I'm STILL doing it, which is one of the main reasons I'm so against it.
I felt like I had to default to cosleeping again because it was the only thing that allowed anyone in my house to sleep. I was desperate.
As a first-time mum, I was very "by the book." I coslept, tried the cry-it-out method, posted the obligatory monthly pics on social media, and read every book about what to expect about every phase of my little one's life. So when I talk about being against cosleeping, it's coming from my own bank of knowledge and not some advice book.
I believe in baby snuggles and picking them up when they cry and spoiling them with love and hugs and kisses. With my first, I coslept almost from the second she came home. Mostly because I couldn't stand to be apart from her, but also because I was exhausted and breastfeeding, cranky and delusional, and just wanted sleep. Every time she fussed, I would lay her down next to me, and it was almost as if the minute she felt my skin, she fell into a peaceful sleep, which meant that I did, too. What I didn't count on was the fact that it would be such a hard habit to break. At 4-5 months, when the pediatrician told me she could self-soothe, I enlisted the cry-it-out process, and it was torture. I felt like I had to default to cosleeping again because it was the only thing that allowed anyone in my house to sleep. I was desperate.
Now, she still can't fall asleep without me lying with her. And it doesn't end there. Even if I can slither out of the bed with ninja-like finesse and do the army crawl back to my own bedroom, the minute she notices my absence, she's standing at my bedside asking me to come back. It's a cycle I can't break, and trust me, I've tried. I've bribed her with toys, a television, money (don't act like you don't bribe), but she doesn't care. She just wants Mummy. I keep waiting for her to grow out of it and telling myself, "This will be the year."
I'm still waiting.
I recently added another little girl to our brood. I promised to do the whole sleeping thing differently. I enlisted a "no babies in our bed" rule, and we are still going strong 10 months later. She sleeps in her crib every night, and when we go through teething phases, growth spurts, or just nights where she loses her sh*t and can't be consoled, I will pull her out as a last resort. But she stays in her room, where I rock her or lie on the floor with her atop a pile of blankets, until she falls asleep and I can get her back in the crib.
We still snuggle a lot, sometimes even in our bed. But there is no cosleeping there or anywhere with her, and I cannot tell you what a difference it makes.
I keep waiting for her to grow out of it and telling myself, "This will be the year." I'm still waiting.
Children take over your life and home. Their toys are spread around every square inch of the floor. Our refrigerators are filled with their preferred food and snacks. Their social calendars — packed with Mummy and Me and play dates and pediatrician appointments — literally run our lives. And I'm OK with that, because I am a mum first. However, I am a strong believer that we need to nurture our adult relationships too. It's important to me and my husband that WE have time together after the kids are in bed. Time without kids crawling all over us, making us watch Doc McStuffins marathons, and demanding all of our attention. For us, and I'm sure many other couples, the only time to accomplish that is at night after bedtime. If we cosleep, that sliver of time is gone.
We had to draw some boundary lines, and our bedroom made that list. It's OUR space. And while our kids are welcome to run in, jump on the bed, attack us with hugs and kisses, and even stay to watch cartoons, the buck stops there. Having lived on both sides of the cosleeping debate, I can say with 100 percent certainty that while cosleeping seems like the easier option in the beginning, it's an incredibly hard habit to break. I have no regrets about my decision the second time around. My second child is the happiest baby ever and is not affected by our anti-cosleeping position. And I have high hopes that my older one will kick the habit before she gets her driver's license.