What Nobody Tells You About Co-Sleeping – My Experience And What I Would Do Differently Next Time
Co-sleeping – it’s a blessing and a curse.
Right now I’m listening to my 3 year old scream out to me from our bedroom. She wants me to hold her while she sleeps, and after 3 years of comforting and holding her at night, I can’t do it anymore.
I need my life back….I need my sleep back. And I NEED my bed back!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret co-sleeping
We started co-sleeping when my daughter was a newborn. You can read more about our story and the complications we had as new parents here. But to cut a long story short, she had growth problems and needed constant feeding. On top of that, I was feeling very anxious and having trouble sleeping.
Our midwife was an amazing advocate for natural parenting, and she suggested that we think about safely co-sleeping.
Prior to this, although I had wanted to co-sleep, I was under the impression that co-sleeping was bad and put children at a higher risk for SIDS. But after reading the guidelines for safe co-sleeping, and doing some of my own research we decided to give it a go.
We immediately felt the benefits. We were all sleeping better! Our daughter stopped her constant wriggling and crying, and knowing that she was there in my arms allowed me to fall asleep easier and more quickly.
Those first few months of co-sleeping left us with very sore arms! I don’t know what other people’s experiences with co-sleeping are, but for us we didn’t move all night! It was like a subconscious mechanism that prevented us from rolling around in our sleep. Which was great, but it definitely left us stiff the next day.
However, the benefits outweighed the stiffness and we continued co-sleeping.
Our First Attempt At Getting Our Bed Back
By the time she was almost one, we decided it was time. She was old enough to sleep in her own crib.
We personally didn’t feel comfortable using the cry it out method, but I had heard that controlled crying worked well so I thought we should give it a go.
I started with nap time. I would put her in her crib and leave for 1 minute. After a minute I would come in and comfort her without picking her up until she settled. Then I would come back after 2 minutes and repeat the process until she fell asleep.
I know that some people might not agree with ‘controlled crying’, but I personally felt that this was ok for my daughter and that she was old enough to give it a go.
Well, it worked! After a few days, she started to fall straight asleep at nap time! And so we started putting her in her crib at bedtime too. The only problem was that she would always end up in our bed in the middle of the night.
I guess part of it was laziness on our part…
If I didn’t bring her in, I would wake up with her next to me without even realizing that my husband had brought her in!
I guess part of it was laziness on our part, we wanted our sleep and in the middle of the night it’s really difficult to make the decision to stick to the plan! And part of it was selfishness – we liked having that closeness with her.
She came down with a bad cold that winter. And after a few nights of sleeping in our bed again, we were back to square one.
A change of plan
So time went on, as it tends to do. And before we knew it we had a 2 year old sleeping in our bed. We really enjoyed co-sleeping, but she was getting older and we really wanted our bed back and some space to ourselves!
By this point my husband found out that he got a job overseas. We had no money (we were both students) so we moved in with our – wonderful and amazing – friends, so that we could save some funds.
This was only a temporary arrangement and I knew that we were going to be making an even bigger move a few months later. So we were soft on her. All the comforts that we would’ve taken away at the age of two, we let slide because of the changes going on in our life.
One of those comforts was co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping with a toddler
Maybe we should’ve been harder on her and got her out of our bed sooner. She’s just turned three now and she’s still in our bed. But I don’t regret it.
We’ve been living in America for six months now and I know that she needed that security. Despite all the changes and instability going on in our lives, she’s always had us at night to give her the comfort that she needs.
But it’s time! I know I’ve said it before but I’m saying it again now!
I NEED to get this kid out of my bed! I’m tired of getting kicked in the back, of getting pushed to the side of the bed. I’m tired of having broken sleep and I want more time with my husband.
What I would do differently next time
Despite all the restless nights, kicks in the back and accidental head butts, I really have enjoyed the bonding that co-sleeping has allowed us. I would definitely do it again if we have another one!
I would even consider investing in a co-sleeping bassinet so that we have more room.
The main thing I would do differently next time is to get them out a little sooner! A 3 year old is proving difficult to sleep with and I feel that it’s definitely time to get some of our own space back.
What’s your experience with co-sleeping? Did you try it? Would you do things differently next time?
Let me know in the comments!