Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...of a Family Bed

Long before Otto was even a twinkle in my eye, I thought I knew an awful lot about babies and kids and how I would do things when I was a parent. I was a live-in nanny and pre-school teacher during college and I was the queenie -bee of kiddos. Even during my pregnancy, I was sure that my philosophies on child-rearing were pretty stable. (I know, I know. I can hear you chuckling...Laugh it up.) Still, I "knew" that I was pro-breastfeeding, pro-gentle discipline, pro-attachment parenting and I still hold to those.

I also "knew," however, that co-sleeping just would not be for us. There was no way I could give up my space! The Husband would never stand for it! What about our sex life? Ridiculous!! If a kid gets in your bed he will never want to leave! I'm not sure why my stubborn ol' head was so set against this idea, but there it was. I was moronically sure that after the first few weeks of having Otto in our room, we would move him to a crib in his own room and that would be that. Case closed.

Fast forward to the present. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), Otto sleeps with us every night. He starts out in his co-sleeper and then when he wakes up to eat (usually around 2am) I gently pull him in bed with me and we both drift off again as he nurses. In the beginning, I told myself, "we're just doing this until he's not a newborn anymore." But with every passing night, I am sold more and more on the idea of sharing sleep with our son. Indefinitely.

And do you know what? I love it. I love not having to haul myself out of bed like a crazed zombie to fetch him from another room. I love that he never cries- just a few little "Mama, I'm hungry" grunts and vocalizations and he gets what he needs. I love waking up to his soft, milky breath on my skin and his chubby little hand gently clinging to my shirt. I love that I don't have to wonder "is the baby ok?" in the middle of the night- he is! And he's right there next to me, breathing in and out to prove it.

I also love that the more research I do on the subject, the more I am sold on its benefits both for Otto and for us. Especially since we both have to work during the day, sharing sleep is a wonderful way to reconnect and stay close. All snuggled up in bed. Together, as a family.

The worries of my pre-baby self have all but evaporated. Right now, I want my kid "in my space". Besides, there is plenty of room in our bed for the three of us. The Husband is just as taken with the experience as I am- I think he feels connected to his son and to me in a very intimate way because we all share our sleep. And as for the sex thing? (Well, this is somewhat theoretical at this point, if you know what I mean) There are plenty of other rooms in the house. And Otto takes his daytime naps (at least those not taken in the sling or mei tai) in his crib, which frees up the adult bed for an hour or so.

I'm a big girl and can totally admit when I am wrong (just don't tell The Husband). And I was wrong about co-sleeping. For us, for me, it totally rocks.

1 comment:

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh, I am sitting here with a big ol' grin on my face. Not because I am laughing at you; no, it's because I could have written the same thing nearly word for word. The only difference being I didn't know a thing about AP and coming from a Babywise/Baby Whisperer mentality, I was just sure D would be ruined, our marriage would be ruined, and pretty much our whole lives would be ruined by co-sleeping. *rolls eyes*

For all the same reasons, I HEART CO-SLEEPING. And we do it kind of part-time, too, like ya'll do. AJ starts in her bassinet in our room and then moves into our bed around 2.

Enjoy your baby cuddles and snuggles!!