Saved By a Shared Bed: How I Found the Courage to Co-SleepDevan McGuinness
When I start to think about the real idea that we may be adding another member to our family, I get flooded with a whole lot of excitement. Anticipating the amazing pregnancy stage where I get to feel the baby kick, the excitement of labor and then meeting a new love for the first time, are always in my mind fueling my baby fever. I also find myself daydreaming about what life will be like when the baby arrives — getting to know another human as intimately as a mom knows her child — and it makes me so happy.
One particular aspect that I am looking forward to is the journey my husband and I get to take to form a strong and close bond with a new person. Now that I have been doing this parenting thing for over 6 years, I have much more confidence, trusting my own instincts rather than worry about what ‘experts’ and ‘fear mongers’ may say. One way we will bond with our future newborn is by co-sleeping. We’ve done it with our older children and we’ll do it again.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I spent a lot of time worrying about the nursery, getting the right crib, and having the perfect room for my child. It wasn’t until he was born, fussy and always hungry, that I dabbled with sharing a bed with my newborn. My husband had only heard the horror stories of moms and dads rolling onto their child in their sleep, so he was not comfortable with our arrangement. And I, too, spent a lot of time half-awake when I could have been sleeping because of the same fears. Needless to say, we didn’t co-sleep much with our older children and opted for room sharing instead.
It wasn’t until our third child was born that I really started to feel the confidence in Motherhood and trusting my instincts more. I had two young children at home (only 2 and 3 years old then) and a newborn that demanded a lot of attention. There was no way I could keep the pace I had when the other two were young and survive half-asleep all the time from getting in and out of bed with the baby. So I stopped listening to my fear and started to listen to my instincts and began co-sleeping. Perhaps thanks to my newfound conviction, my husband also found comfort in co-sleeping, especially if it meant he didn’t have to get up and leave the room to tend to the crying baby.
To our happy surprise, we slept soundly. The baby cried less when sharing our bed, and when she did wake up, up all I had to do was roll over and she would latch — we could lay and breastfeed and fall back to sleep. We got to know each other as we cuddled, skin-to-skin. I learned more about her personality much quicker than I had my older children. I felt attached to her, in a good way and the bond we developed grew fast and strong. I was able to nurse on demand, get sleep, and be available for my older children during the day. I loved it and it’s also how I survived raising three kids under age 3.
Three years later we still co-sleep. My daughter no longer falls asleep in my bed but will crawl in on nights she needs some extra cuddles or isn’t feeling well. The bond her and her Daddy have is strong, which I believe is also thanks to co-sleeping, and I was even able to breastfeed longer which was important to me. Despite what naysayers believe, co-sleeping was one of the greatest gifts I was able to give to my newborn and I look forward to doing it again.
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