Confessions of a Co-Sleeper

Written by New York Family on . Posted in Family.


I never intended to bring my daughter into bed with me, but I’m glad I did

BY

It’s 7am and someone lifts off my sleep mask and plants a kiss on the tip of my nose. I open my eyes to find the most beautiful set of blue eyes staring back at me. Mommeeee! Mommy up? That’s how I’m awakened by nearly every morning and I’ve never had a better wakeup call in my entire life.

In a culture where sharing a bed with the family dog is often more accepted than sharing a bed with your baby, I never intended to bring Little Peep into bed with me. It happened because it was the only way both of us could get quality sleep, and after 19 months (and counting) we still enjoy our nighttime snuggles and lazy mornings in bed.  

In the early days, Little Peep spent the night in a bassinet beside me. But for some reason, she always seemed too far away. I obsessed over whether or not she was breathing and would constantly wake up to make sure her chest was moving up and down with each breath. I tried sleeping with my arm hanging into the bassinet just so I could touch her, but that was both uncomfortable and painful. (I kicked myself for not registering for the Arm’s Reach , by the way).

After a few weeks, Little Peep started to make it clear that she wanted no part of the bassinet for an extended amount of time. She would awaken moments after I drifted off to sleep. One night she woke so often that I slept with one leg hanging off the bed just so it would be less of a chore for me to get up and soothe her back to sleep. That was the night I decided to bring her into bed with me.

The next morning I called my local La Leche Leader for her thoughts on how to get my daughter back into the bassinet. After all, babies are supposed to sleep in their cribs, right? I will never forget her initial matter-of-fact response: “We’re mammals. Mammal babies sleep with their mothers.”

At first, this was difficult to accept. Everything I read about infant sleep revolved around cribs, mobiles, soothing machines, sleep positioners, extra firm mattresses, etc.

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