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Accidental Cosleeper

By MadelinePetersen |

Before I had Tate, I have to be honest, I thought cosleeping was weird and I thought the people who did it were weird. Unfortunately my frame of reference was Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in Away We Go.

It wasn’t very long after we brought Tate home that our experience with cosleeping began. There were nights that the only way I could possibly get a decent nights sleep was to lay with the baby beside me.

This is my first time admitting in public that we cosleep. And it turns out I am not alone.

According to this article, most American families participate in cosleeping at least some of the time, and many of them aren’t talking about it.

Cosleeping is actually more common in the U.S. than most people believe. The typical American home has a room that contains a crib for the baby, and parents report that the baby sleeps in the crib. Yet when researchers ask specific questions about who sleeps where, it turns out that the majority of mothers sleep with their young children at least some of most nights. Parents present themselves as having babies who sleep alone, following the societal norm of the baby in the baby’s room and the couple in the master bedroom, but that is not an accurate representation of what is really happening.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta collects data that provide information on all means of prenatal and well-baby stressors. Through this, we know that cosleeping is not unusual for American families at all. Roughly 68% of babies enjoyed cosleeping at least some of the time. Further analyses of the data show us that about 26% of infants coslept “always” or “almost always.” Combining them with the babies who cosleep “sometimes,” it appears that 44% of US babies from 2-9 months old are cosleeping in an adult bed at any given time.

Our standard procedure is to put Tate in the cradle in our room when we first lay him down. After Tate wakes up to eat the first time in the night, I nurse him laying down in the bed and we sleep in the same bed until morning. This routine evolved naturally and is definitely what works best for us.

So, I have to ask, how many of you are cosleepers? And I am even more interested in how many of you cosleep but are apprehensive about telling people about it.

Image: flickr | Cascadian Farms

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About MadelinePetersen

madelinepetersen

MadelinePetersen

Madeline blogs and tweets about budget-friendly clothes, modest apparel, sales, her obsession with pop culture, and her pudgy little baby, Tate, on her personal blog, Uber Chic for Cheap. A former Babble contributor, she currently resides in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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25 thoughts on “Accidental Cosleeper

  1. tagi says:

    I wanted to cosleep but at the beginning I was scared that I roll over the little one. And I barely moved during the night and I had big pain in my hips because I didn’t move. So I moved the little one back to his crib. Now he is three month I’m not scared anymore to roll over him so we started co-sleeping.
    I also put him into his crib at the evening and move him into our bed for the first feeding where he stays for the rest of the night. and I love it :-)

  2. Anna says:

    I, like you, never thought we would co-sleep. However, having a baby of your own definitely changes things! In the first couple months the only way we could get our daughter to sleep, was to co-sleep. The moment we tried to transfer her to her crib or bassinet she was wide awake again. We ended up co-sleeping full time for the first 2 months, then we would bring in her bed part way through the night for a couple months after that. Now, at 10.5 months she sleeps in her own crib, but I do sometimes miss the early cuddly days.

  3. Alyssa says:

    I was totally against cosleeping until I had my son! Especially with nursing, it just became easier for us. I always felt much more refreshed when he slept with me instead of getting up, out of the bed, every few hours. I hesitated to tell people and always felt judged when I did. We are all so afraid of SIDS that we don’t want anyone to know but I think it ended up saving my sanity! At 15 months, he now sleeps from 7-5 in his bed and then 5-7am we nurse and sleep together. I love waking up to his smiling face :)

  4. chelsey says:

    we cosleep. elliot is 9 weeks old and it’s happened since we first brought him home. it was just obvious that he wanted to be near me and we all slept longer and better that way. we do the same thing, the first stretch is done in his crib and the rest of the night in our bed.

  5. Holly says:

    I cosleep! we have been known to have both of our kids in the bed with us still! We dont mind it and eventhough they can sleep just fine in their own beds we sometimes ask them to sleep with us just to get some cuddles in!

  6. Sara says:

    I actually am the opposite. I really wanted to co-sleep and think it’s great. We co-slept for the first month, but none of us slept very well. Baby is very warm and sweaty, and would always be pressed against me. This kept ME from sleeping well. Baby also eats noisily and my husband was worried about rolling on him, so HE didn’t sleep well. The baby would wake whenever we rolled over or got in or out of bed, so in the end it just didn’t work for any of us. I definitely miss seeing his little face when I wake up, and it’s harder to nurse when I have to go to another room, but that’s just the way it has to be. *cry*
    He sleeps with me sometimes for naps, though.

  7. Kate says:

    Accidental cosleeper, here. Babe outgrew his cradle and slept with me (hubby and I were sleeping separately so he could get enough rest for work) until we got the crib set up a month later. By that time, he was completely used to cosleeping and would have nothing to do with the crib. I worked at getting him to sleep on his own but I was getting no sleep, so we just stuck with cosleeping. Sure, hubby and I get no alone time, but we sure sleep well. We only slept separately for a month or two.. now we all share the master bed. I’m very open about cosleeping, though. I don’t care too much what other people say, because it works for our family.

  8. SJ says:

    My husband and I swore we’d never do it. But here we are 5 months later, with our little one in bed with us. First it was an excuse because he had to sleep at incline due to his reflux, and it made me feel better to keep an eye on him. We both keep talking about how he needs to transition out of our bed, but not sure when that’s gonna happen. We tell people that he sleeps in our room, but I think people just assume he sleeps in his crib. We don’t necessarily clarify either though. Not sure why.

  9. Julie says:

    I swore I wouldn’t co-sleep with my first, but then he wouldn’t sleep ANYWHERE except on me. Then I had some crazy rule in my head that said I wouldn’t do it past 2 months because I thought it would “spoil” him. I continued to co-sleep for naps only until he was 2 years old. If I would have just let him stay in my bed, I wouldn’t have been so exhausted and needed to nap with him the first place LOL With my second I didn’t have any dumb ideas in my head, and we’ve been co-sleeping since the hospital. I’m starting to introduce him to his own bed now that he’s almost 9 months in the hopes that he’ll at least start the night there, though I don’t mind pulling him in with us once he wakes up in the middle of the night. With my first I didn’t like to admit to co-sleeping at all. Now I know it’s the norm, and have never been ashamed of it.

  10. Maude says:

    Accidental co-sleeper i am! A nurse at the hospital showed me how to breastfeed in bed, and i loved it, so we started co-sleeping even thought i was against it before my daughter was born. She’s 2 months old now and we still co-sleep, and i always feel the need to justify it to people, especially to my mom who never breastfed… and keeps telling me she should sleep in her own bed soon.

  11. Meredith says:

    I have my babies in bed with me from the day we get home from the hospital. They start the night in a baby swing, but after that first feeding they rarely make it back to the swing. My kids all seem to outgrow it (meaning they start not sleeping well with me) at about 6 months. I can’t imagine not doing it.

  12. Heather says:

    I hate co-sleeping, but I do it. I don’t sleep well with my kids in my bedroom, even, (they all talk and grunt so much in their sleep) but when they’re just not settling, even a half sleep is better than nothing for me. I’ll sometimes hang out on the couch with them, or sleep on the floor with them, or sleep in their twin beds with them when they have nightmares or whatever. I try to keep them out of my bed, because of how disruptive it is for hubby, too, (at least if one of us sleeps, someone can be awake for the kids that weren’t a problem during the night, and the other can sleep in) but especially when they’re nursing, it’s very convenient to feed them while I sleep. But, I usually wake up stiff from trying to be careful of them, and put them back in their bed before morning.

  13. Nadine says:

    10.5 months and still cosleeping. Started out in an arms reach for first part of the night and halfway thru came to bed with me to nurse and never left. I love it and can’t imagine her sleeping in a crib all by herself.

  14. Jay says:

    We do exactly what you do. My son is 12 months old, it works for us! And I tell everyone who asks.

  15. Megan G says:

    Though we read up on it, my husband and I weren’t determined to co-sleep. At about two months, when my daughter Scout started only waking once to feed, I would jut feed her while lying down in bed and kept her there afterwards. She seems to sleep heaviest when she’s beside me and it is the best feeling in the world having her in bed with us in the morning!

  16. Whitney McQuarry says:

    I didnt co-sleep with my daughter (9 years ago) and I had NO intention of starting with my son. But 7 months later, my son is still in my bed, where I plan to keep him. With breastfeeding its just easier to keep him in bed with me. plus, I LOVE waking up in the morning to that smiley, giggly baby….The way I see it, He is my baby, I make the rules and if someone doesnt like it, its their problem.

  17. Desiree Gaige says:

    proud co sleeper, although i have been putting her to sleep in her crib for awhile and if she sleep through the night GREAT! if not oh well i’ll pick her up and get her if she wakes up in the middle of the night and take her to bed with me, other nights thats how it starts and stays all night, it works for her, it depends on the night and how she is feeling too, if she is ok and not teething or sick she’ll sleep the entire night in her crib, if she is in pain or sick she wants snuggles which is fine too

  18. Jessi Ridgeway says:

    My daughter Jaydin was in the NICU for her first month. But when we were aloud to take her home the only way me and my daughter would sleep was with her on my chest. And we slept on the couch. So needless to say my husband got really lonely at night in our bed by hisself so both me and Jaydin had to wein ourselves to sleep in our own beds. But I still catch myself at nap time during the day driftig of with her on my chest. So I dont know if it truely is a bad thing or if it just is from the seperation in the first month.

  19. Dawn says:

    We co sleep part time :) Our little guy goes down in the crib at night and starts flipping around anywhere between 3-5am and I change him and he comes into bed with me for about another 1-3 hours depending on the time. I love waking up to his beautiful face :)

  20. Tammy says:

    We co-slept from day 1. We had a bassinet and we placed Emily in it until night feeding #1 (about 2 hours after we put her in the bassinet) and I lay down with her to nurse and we would fall asleep. We co slept like that for 4 months, then moved her to the crib. Now, at 7 months, the only time we cosleep is if she’s having a hard night. She has fluid in her ears and some nights she just won’t calm down unless she is pressed against my chest, so I cuddle her in bed with me until she’s calm, then we sleep until my husband carries her to her crib. We also do cuddle/sleep in time in the mornings….or rather, Daddy does cuz Mommy’s up getting ready to go to work and Daddy’s able to lay down with her for a few minutes.

  21. Anna says:

    Sadly it seems to just be a stigma in US to co-sleep. My son has been co-sleeping with us since he was born and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My US friends sometime look at me like I have gone insane. However, my friends and relatives abroad don’t blink an eye and they find the custom of separating from a little helpless person after they have been a part of you for 9 months unheard of. Besides I LOVE that my now 8 month old finds it cute to blow a raspberry on my tummy to wake me up in the morning! We both have a big giggle and the day starts on a sunny note!

  22. Michelle says:

    He goes down in his crib, but I either bring him down for a feeding if I am awake, or my husband does if I’m asleep (usually around 1) and he sleeps the rest of the night with us. We keep setting arbitrary limits to move him to only his crib (he’s 4 mos old now), but we never do. Eventually he’ll sleep on his own. Probably.

  23. Jame says:

    We did what a lot of parents do, it seems-the Squidgelet would begin the night in his arms reach co-sleeper, but when he was young & I was still nursing, it was just so much easier to let him sleep next to me for the rest of the night after his first night feeding, rather than risk waking him up just to move him the three inches back into his co-sleeper. Now he’s 6 months & thrashes & wiggles way too much for me (wonder where he gets it?) he sleeps in his co-sleeper every night through. Though lately with the teething & his baby nightmares, he sometimes sleeps with me to start with…plus it’s my second favorite time of day, having an exhausted baby fall asleep on me :) Makes it all worth it lately.

  24. JoVanka says:

    My son is approaching 11 months now and we have been co-sleeping since he came home. There was a bassinet in our room and I started putting him in there after nursing him in the evening, but with him waking during the night, I would sometimes fall asleep with him on the boppy in our bed. Thus the co-sleeping began. Hubby is fine with it except for the fact I drove him crazy the entire pregnancy trying to find the perfect crib and our son barely sees it. :-) To night is actually the very first evening I put him in the crib. We will see how this goes. I think co-sleeping is fine, if your careful. These moments pass by so quickly that we need to cherish every moment with them. Nothing is better than waking up to his smiling face each morning.

  25. lauren says:

    we do exactly as you describe – we put our 10 week old down in the bassinet for the first part of the night but usually after the first feeding he is in bed with us. honestly i love it – i love holding him and smelling him and knowing he is safe. i am a compulsive breathing-checker (“is he breathing? is he breathing?”) and this way i can just keep my hand on his side all night long. i also love waking up to his sweet face. no plan to stop anytime soon!

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