A few years ago, a friend jokingly suggested we move out of our house and into a condominium because my husband and I were co-sleeping with our two kids in the master bedroom, and the other two bedrooms were lying vacant. One of our early investments was a king size bed—I never had a doubt in my mind that my babies would be anywhere but within arms’ reach at bedtime.
When my daughter was born, we put her cradle right next to our bed and it made nighttime feedings and diaper changes a breeze. As a first-time mom, I’d wake up a few times in the night to make sure she was breathing, that she didn’t accidentally wrap herself in her blanket, and that the world’s most precious human didn’t disappear into thin air (yes, mom hormones and lack of sleep can make you a tad unreasonable). As an older baby, my daughter mostly slept between my husband and I, and we couldn’t think of a safer place for her to feel secure and loved. While I saw other moms discuss pretty nurseries and invest in a ton of furniture, we kept it simple, and sufficient. I wasn’t judging anyone’s choices, but ours was always to co-sleep. It made getting romantic a bit difficult but hey, babies sleep a lot so we got plenty of time then. Mostly though, we’d talk and doze off from the sheer exhaustion of looking after a little person.
A couple years later, I was pregnant with my son and we transitioned her into a toddler bed, placing it right next to ours. I couldn’t think of a better way to co-sleep. The baby would now sleep between my husband and I, while our three-year-old would be in her own little bed and I loved it.
On most days.
Some nights, I wanted to just escape and not be surrounded by tinies who depended on me for survival and comfort. Other nights, one or the other would cry, shriek or throw a tantrum, waking up the other. For nearly a year, I don’t think my husband and I got a full night’s uninterrupted sleep. He would move into another room in the middle of the night if he was expecting a busy work day. But I was stuck. I read about cry-it-out methods and dreamed of babies drifting to sleep on their own. Invariably though, when bedtime rolled around, I’d go back to my routine and the cuddles and warmth of their breath would convince me that co-sleeping was as much for me as it was for them. Bedtime stories, hugs and heart-to-heart chats that weren’t rushed or fraught with the impatience of leaving a room.
Soon enough, my daughter was six and asked for a room of her own. We gladly gave her a bedroom to make her own and she loves it. She reads for a while and falls asleep without much assistance. On some nights, though, a little someone will crawl into the bed with us to snuggle, and we drift off to co-sleep without as much as a murmur.