Thursday, September 09, 2010

Co-Sleeping: Why I Love It

Telling everyone I was expecting Little Olive was absolutely thrilling. But after the exciting "Congratulations" came pouring in, then did the teases. "Enjoy the peace and quiet now" or "Get your sleep while you can". I'm not going to lie: I love my sleep. The longer, the better. The later the time when I have to get up, the happier I'll be. I knew having a baby would change my sleeping habits, but I wanted to minimize this as much as possible. I think God took pity on us...because I say we got pretty lucky.

When my daughter was born, there was no question about where she would sleep. The very night of her birth, she came right into the bed with us. Knowing she was right beside us should she fuss or need anything gave my husband and me such peace of mind. But there is definite controversy and concerns about sharing the bed with your baby. Time and time again, I hear people saying, "It's dangerous to sleep with your baby" or "Crib is safest" or "To prevent SIDS, do not sleep with your child." (For that specific concern, I'd like to share with you a great article about that topic: ).

There are many ways to safely co-sleep with your baby, and it's important for everyone to be aware of these necessary steps. I'm not going into them here because they are listed in the above article. I am, however, going to focus on why I love sharing the bed with my baby.

As I've said before, I nurse on demand - I have from the very beginning and continue to do so as my baby is almost 10 months old. Having her in the bed made that possible 24/7. For the first month of her new life, Little Olive was mostly nocturnal, and the lack of sleep was rough. But once she hit 1 month, she got on a great rhythm and slept "through the night". And especially after mastering the laying down technique for nursing, things were smooth sailing!

The most awesome thing is that because I am right beside her, Little Olive has never had to fully wake up when she needs to nurse. She hardly ever cries to tell me what she needs. I first hear/feel her movement, and then she makes a couple whimpering sounds as she nuzzles up against me. I roll over, pop her on, get my arm comfy, and doze back off. As we became more comfortable with latching on, sometimes I wouldn't have to open my eyes. And most mornings I would wake up and feel as though I hadn't even been disrupted.

Another amazing thing is that our sleep cycles coincide with each other's. Sometimes I will wake up and wonder why. Several seconds go by and Little Olive begins to stir for me. It's really beautiful.

I have this book on my night stand and go through it occasionally to refresh my memory on great tips for mothers, fathers, and their families. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing not only are my ways supported by a great, well-known, and respected doctor, but they are also backed up by scientific evidence, common sense, and many other moms who are following their heart and pursuing a natural, peaceful way to parent - like me.

On the other side of things, there have been a couple issues which arose from co-sleeping. Sometimes she wakes up at ungodly hours and since mommy and daddy are right there, thinks it's time to play! Since beginning to crawl, she has (yes, I'm going to admit it) fallen off the bed. And not only has she has claimed the bed after falling asleep for the night, but has also made it very clear she's in no hurry to have siblings. :P

But it's perfectly okay. Our lives are forever changed since having her. Adjustments and accommodations will be made her entire life. She's a great sleeper, and it's one thing to be thankful for.


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