My name is Krista, and I'm a co-sleeping mama . . .
or, I was a co-sleeping mama.
When our children were infants, they slept with us. With Zoe, I tried to be a "good" mom and teach her how to sleep in the crib, but it never made sense to me. She was upset; I was upset, and no one was getting any sleep. I fretted over all the magazine articles and parenting books which emphatically stated that co-sleeping was dangerous and bad for a child's development, but in my heart, I knew they could not be entirely correct. Then I found Dr. Sear's, who was a proponent of co-sleeping and attachment parenting techniques like baby wearing, and finally, the world made sense once again. I had the authority I needed to back my decision up, and I didn't look back. With the boys, we never even set up a crib. Each of our children slept with us for the first three years of their life, or until the next baby came along, and then they moved onto their own bed. One of my fondest memories of co-sleeping is when Avery came home from the hospital. Avery's birth was very traumatic for our family because he had suffered a stroke within twenty-four hours of his birth. We really did not know what was going to happen to our boy, and we were all pretty shaken up. Being keenly aware of how vulnerable I was feeling at the time, Mr. Level-Headed rearranged the bedroom with our bed and the kids' futon in it so we could all sleep together. Avery and I took the futon because it was lower to the ground, the mattress was less puffy, and it had been peed and puked on like a gazillion times, and Derrick and the kids got the big bed. Being surrounded by my snoring loved ones, helped me to heal and regain the hope I needed that all would be well. I loved sleeping in that room, and I loved my husband even more for being so thoughtful.
Oh, and if you don't already know, Avery is 100% okay! His stroke had no lasting effects upon him. He is our miracle baby!
Anyhoo, so you maybe wondering why I brought all this up. Well, I have two reasons. The first reason is that co-sleeping has once again become a hot topic. As I opened the Globe and Mail the other day, I noticed an article written by one of the nation's top psychologists who declared that co-sleeping destroys marriages. Ummm . . . okay? And of course, her "findings" rekindled the grand debate within all the mom circles and now everyone feels like they have to defend their position on sleeping styles, like where your baby sleeps is some fundamental indicator of how good a mother you are. Come on! Leave the moms alone! Trust me, we beat ourselves up enough and don't need the "experts" to take a kick at the can as well. So, here's my advice for all you moms out there. Know yourself. Know your baby. Know your husband. As long as the three of you are happy, then stick with whatever works. For us, lazy parents who love their sleep, co-sleeping worked. All of my kids can sleep on their own now, and they are intelligent, confident individuals. But, I also know just as many parents who sleep-trained their wee ones and their kids are happy, well-adjusted kids with great, big brains. Families are different; therefore, doesn't it make sense that we will all have different styles that work for us?
The second reason I brought this up is because Mr. Level Headed was away the other night, and I hate sleeping alone. So, after I tucked the boys in, I asked Zoe if she would sleep with me. I love how this does not weird her out even though she is thirteen, and she gleefully grabbed her book and hopped into bed with me. Since Scouty sleeps wherever Zoe sleeps, he hopped in as well. It was so cozy!
Then, sometime in the middle of the night, Avery crawled in, which is out of character for him unless he has a bad dream. Now there were four of us in the bed. With a kid on each side of me and the dog at my feet, it was not the most comfortable sleep I have ever had, but I loved every minute of it just like I did when they were babies. Feeling the warmth of their wee bodies beside me and looking upon their peaceful, sleeping faces before I closed my own eyes, was heavenly and I am so thankful I did not let the "experts" deny me of this experience. Someday, when my kids are grown, they will sleep in beds far away and with their own families (Don't burst my bubble, here. They will only be sleeping with their families!), but I will drift off to sleep with fond memories of my own nuzzling newborns, worn-out toddlers, and the occasional teenager snoring softly in our family bed. Bliss!
This was the photo I took when we woke up. How precious is that?