October 29, 2014

FIAO 9.1 - The Great Debate - Co-Sleeping! (aka the first of many things I've said that I am now taking back)

I will admit there were a lot of things that, before becoming a parent, I was "NEVER going to do" once I became one. I didn't judge parents for a lot of things (notice I didn't say I didn't judge for anything) but there were certain things that I just knew I would never do once I had kids.

Or so I thought.

Since my tiny humans are still very small I haven't had experience with a lot of things I said I'd never do. There are a few that I'm sure will come back to bite me in the butt. Like my opinion that you shouldn't let a child eat whatever they want just because they're picky. I still think some people take this to such extremes - like allowing your child to survive on strawberry milk, chicken nuggets and pasta. Come on, how the hell are they even growing on that? But I can already feel that this judgement will come back to haunt me. My girls will probably only eat cereal and cheese and I will be eating my words.

I also never understood co-sleeping. Not only was I against the "family bed" but I thought people who let their kids come in in the middle of the night were asking for trouble as well. I couldn't understand why you would want your kids in your bed. Beds are small enough as it is with two people. Kids are noisy sleepers. They kick and move and disrupt your sleep. Not to mention the fear that something could happen. I know this because the little girl I nannied for used to come in and sleep with me when her mom was out of town. I eventually had to stop her as I was not getting any more sleep after she came in. She was such a deep sleeper I worried I would roll over on to her or not even know she was there and cover her with the covers or something. Plus she rolled a lot and despite her petite size she could definitely make that bed shake!  She slept with her mom when she was home still so she was ok with not coming in to mine (plus as much as I loved them I think it's different when they're not your own kids or relatives).

So having this experience under my belt, as well as my own experience of only being allowed in my parents' bed when I was sick or had a nightmare (and even then only until they put a mattress under their bed that we could pull out and sleep on), I knew I would never co-sleep. I wasn't interested in having my kids in my bed until they're 6 or 7, I like my space, I don't want to worry. Especially when they were babies, how dangerous!

Welllllp. I am eating those words. My babies have been in my bed almost every night since they came home. They don't start out there. They slept next to me in bassinets and rock and plays until 5 weeks, then they moved to their cribs. We still put them down in their cribs around 11 where they stay until about 5 or 6. It started out of sheer desperation for sleep. I would bring them into bed with us if they wake up too early or so unhappy they won't go back down easily in the cribs. I had no idea how amazing it would feel to have them right there, so close to me. I love to snuggle them and just feel that peace without the distractions of the day around us. I love feeling my baby's breath on my face and her fingers wrapped around mine while Dad snuggles the other one.

I still worry about all my concerns about co-sleeping. I worry something terrible will happen so my sleep isn't that great with them there. I worry that they will be crawling into our bed for years. I hate that my family is constantly reminding me of these things and shaming me for my choice. My mom constantly reminds me of a woman she knows who smothered her baby when she rolled over on him in her sleep. I have read the horror stories of blankets being pulled up over baby's head or Dad not realizing baby was there and rolling on her. These fears were one huge reason I vowed I would never do it. But I have to say that I love it and I am confident in our choice. We do it safely, moving our pillows almost completely off the bed and laying on our sides with our arms above their heads so that we can't really roll. The ugly truth is that with twins it is so hard to feel sure that they're both getting enough love and attention. But at least for now, for a couple hours every day, they have our complete undivided attention and snuggles. I truly never thought I would co-sleep but I am so glad we have decided to. And to be honest, my worry about them coming in at all hours of the night for years doesn't really matter anymore either. At least not for now. I will worry about that if it becomes a problem but I don't foresee that happening. For now I'm just enjoying the time with my baby girls who won't be babies for very long.

Do you co-sleep? Why or why not?


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