Co-Sleeping With Toddlers: Trusting Momma InstinctsBeth Anne Ballance
It’s 8 PM and I tuck my three-year-old into his little toddler bed. We read books and say prayers and I tuck blankets around him, making sure his lovies are in their correct places. He grins and throws his arms around my neck and my husband and I both give him a kiss, an “I love you,” and we walk out the door together. His door stays open and the hall light is on to scare off the monsters. Together, my husband and I walk back to our room and we get ready for bed and connect at the end of the day. By 10 pm, we are asleep and recharging for the new day ahead.
It’s 2 AM and our bed dips as our son crawls in between us. I wake as he wiggles under the covers and scoots to me, looking for warmth and comfort. His little hands wrap around my arm and he breathes me in and my heart rate slows. It feels like home again and we both fall asleep.
It’s 6 AM and my husband’s alarm goes off. He rises and goes downstairs with the toddler in his arms because they do their “coffee time” with milk and breakfast while I snooze a little longer. I could join them, but it’s their time together and I don’t want to disturb. Most days I don’t even wake to the alarm – there’s no chaos or screaming or doors opening.
Before I was a mother, I swore I would never cosleep or bedshare with my children. I wondered how couples could connect (ahem) at the end of the day with a child between them. I wondered how the family could rest peacefully. But then the nightmares and terrors of toddlerhood arrived, along with a fear of summer thunderstorms. Our son would rush in, begging to be comforted and at 3 AM, we were in no shape to send him back to his room. Oh, we tried at first – and it led to sleepless nights and frustration for all. Instead, it was easier and more comforting for him to crawl between us, feeling safe as I rubbed his back. Daycare sicknesses came into play and I found that the only way I rested when he was ill was to put him on a pallet beside my bed. I could watch his fever, respond to coughing, lay a hand on his back when he whimpered.
My presence gave him comfort and his presence gave me peace as a mother and oh, how we have slept so much better since accepting those facts.
We still put him to bed in his own room and he falls asleep on his own. But we know that in the morning, his little blonde head will be resting on a pillow between us. And something about waking up as a family simply makes my entire day seem brighter. I don’t worry about him still begging to sleep with us when he’s a teenager – I know this will fade in a few years. I know he’ll be going to bed at late hours and I’ll have to shake him awake for school, so for now I cherish the quiet moments in the middle of the night when the only thing my son wants is the nearness of his mother.
It’s still surprising to me, but I’m a bed-sharing toddler momma and I’m proud of it.