This morning, this infographic came across my dashboard, and it immediately sent me back to our first few months with Isla. Isla slept in the bed with us off and on until she was 4 months old. She would often start the night off in her own crib, since it was easier for us to get ready for bed if she was in her own room and because we thought it was important to establish that nighttime routine. Usually, though, I’d pull her into bed for her first nursing session after we went to sleep, and she’d stay there until morning.
I loved her little fuzzy head curled up against me and the ease of breastfeeding. I loved waking up to her sweet face.
At 4 months, though, I’d been back at work for a month and was starting to have performance issues related to sleep deprivation. I knew that although I enjoyed co-sleeping, I didn’t sleep very well with her in the bed, and I’d also noticed that on nights when we co-slept, she tended to wake up a lot more frequently. (I discovered this by using the sleep logs from No Cry Sleep Solution.)
We started making more concerted efforts to put her down in her crib, where she seemed to be just as happy. We never experienced any problems with anxiety. Once she started rolling over, that completely ended our co-sleeping adventures. As soon as she’d wake up, she’d roll, which would wake Kellen and I both up, and because we were both awake, it turned into automatic playtime. Plus, there are the safety concerns of her rolling off the bed.
I’ve tried pulling her into bed with us a couple of times more recently when she was having trouble figuring out it was time to sleep, but the reaction is always the same: Oh, we’re in bed?! PLAYTIME! Plus, the fact that she can climb right over us and over the edge of the bed before we can even register what’s going on continues to be a safety issue.
While I miss co-sleeping and getting to snuggle with Isla (who pretty much never snuggles), I don’t really think that in the long-term it was a great idea for us. I didn’t sleep well. Isla didn’t sleep well. And once Isla started moving, I felt very strongly that it was no longer safe for us to do. Plus, Isla loves her crib. We watch her at night on the video monitor, and she rolls all over the place and as long as she has her monkey, she’s pretty content. We still get up to feed her a couple of times, but it’s a quick feed and back to sleep almost always.
I think co-sleeping can be a wonderful thing to do, and I strongly encourage parents, especially if you are breastfeeding, to try it. Follow safe co-sleeping guidelines, and as long as it works for you and your kid(s)–and that is different from family to family and from child to child–go for it. Separate sleeping can be just as great, though, especially if you or your child is a light sleeper or if your kid is a go-go-goer, so it’s all up to you. Either way, be safe and do whatever helps your family get the most sleep.