That word will either put a fond smile on your face or have you running for the hills.
For me, personally, co-sleeping was one of the best things I did as a new mother. Because let’s face it: being a new mom is no joke.
Between the sheer exhaustion, pain, lack of sleep, midnight (or all night) feedings, diaper changes, dealing with extended family and friends, your own personal life and relationships…it ALL takes a toll on your body.
Add a 100% dependent new baby, and well, you’ve got your plate full, mama.
Benefits of Co-Sleeping
In the first couple of months, I realized that my son loved to fall asleep with me nearby. I’d try to put him in his crib after he fell asleep but he would always, and I mean ALWAYS wake up screaming.
As soon as I’d pick him up and put him down on the bed beside me, he’d just turn towards me, and fall back asleep.
I was amazed.
I tried to test it and put him back in his crib, but he always knew and would wake up.
My new baby was telling me what he wanted and I listened.
I cannot tell you how peaceful our nights were. We rarely had issues at night and he was a pretty deep sleeper.
Breastfeeding at night when he was at arms reach was a huge blessing for me. It meant no late-night trips to the kitchen to get him a warm bottle of milk, or even getting out of bed! My husband and I were well-rested and we had a happy baby.
The decision of co-sleeping came naturally to me (and is also part of my culture). After a bit of research, I came to know that it’s not widely practiced in the western world. However, that isn’t to say that it’s without benefits.
Recent studies and research have shown that co-sleeping with your baby and even toddler is very beneficial to their emotional development and stability. However, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed to insure proper safety.
Both my sons have co-slept with me until they were in elementary school. My younger one started sleeping in his own bed, in his own room when he was 7.
Yes, it takes a lot of time and patience, but I feel that he needed time to transition. It took a good few months of talking and explaining to them. The method that worked for me was laying down with them until they fell asleep.
My older son took to sleeping on his own very quickly. He loved having his own bed, and his own room and space. My younger son was a bit more clingy and took a few months (and lots of nightly visits) to let go. But I feel that when he was ready, he was ready to be a big boy and sleep on his own.
Now, there are nights when I’m in the room with them, and my youngest son says, “Mama, you can go to sleep in your own room now. I’m a big boy, and I can fall asleep on my own.”
THAT is the best part. He needed me to help him relax to sleep for the first 7 years of his life, and that was fine for me. Now, they are both at the age where they are more independent.
To all those parents who find it overwhelming and daunting, I only have to say this: Enjoy the time with your children while you can (and while they let you). Life is short, and kids grow up way too fast. Soak up the time.
Have you co-slept with your kids when they were younger? Or do you wish you had or had not? Drop your comments and experiences below!
Note: Co-sleeping may not be for everyone. Choose the sleep solutions for your child based on their needs and your parenting philosophy. These experiences are that of the author sharing her journey.
Sumble Khan is a freelance health and science writer with a Bachelor in Biology. She is the mother of 2 beautiful and highly spirited boys and has almost 10 years of sahm experience.
Enjoy your time at home!