Co-sleeping can be a controversial topic for parents to discuss. If you’ve ever considered it, I’m here to share my brief experience with it. Hopefully, it gives some insight if you’re on the fence about what’s best for you and your family.
I want to start by saying I absolutely LOVED co-sleeping with my baby. Let me back track to the beginning though. My daughter got all the sleep she needed in the first 72 hours of her life while we were in the hospital. Once we got home and up until she was about a year old, my daughter had suffered from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). She was never a good napper nor did she want to sleep at night, I swear I tried everything.
Okay, back to when she was born and…
On top of not wanting to miss a single second of anything going on, my daughter also had a pretty strong startle reflex BUT also didn’t want to be swaddled. Great combination, right? I had read everywhere and always heard how dangerous it can be for a newborn to sleep on their stomach and that “back is best.” The only way I could get my daughter to sleep was for her to sleep on her stomach laying on my chest. She was finally sleeping for a few hours before waking up to eat. Her father and I took turns not sleeping to monitor her while she was on the other’s chest to make the situation as safe as possible. This went on for probably 3-4 weeks (remember she’s 2 ½ now, the newborn stage is fuzzy at this point since I was in survival mode). At around 2-3months old, we finally had her on some what of a normal sleep schedule. Once we got used to it, though, she regressed. We were back to her fighting sleep. I got to a point where I got so desperate that when she woke up, I would scoop her out of her bassinet and bring her into bed with me. She instantly fell back asleep and would sleep for most of the night until she woke up ready to eat. One week later she was probably laughing at me, saying, “Sucker!” I was hooked. I admit I definitely took the easy way out and went with the ‘quick fix’ but everyone was in a better mood because we were finally getting sleep. I let this go on for a solid month or two before finally saying, “Alright, I’m enjoying this way too much. Before I know it, she’ll be 4 and still sleeping in bed with me and that DOES NOT work for me.” *By the way, I am NOT judging if your child is 4 years old and sleeping in bed with you. I just knew that was not going to work for me and my family.*
When my daughter was closer to 6 months old, her father and I decided to try our version of sleep training. I thought she was ready for trying to cry it out. I basically had to chain her father to his chair and set a timer until he was able to go in and comfort her. He endured beautifully though, knowing it was best for us at that time. It surprisingly did not take long for her to get the hang of it and fall asleep on her own. Since then, she has sleep regressed at every milestone they tell you babies will regress. Now that she’s a little older, she still occasionally fights a nap, but she sleeps through the night every single night, just about 11-12hours a night *KNOCK ON WOOD*
Remember, this is just my experience and how I felt about co-sleeping. For more information on safe and healthy sleeping habits for infants, toddlers, and young children, please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at AAP.org.