Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This week’s Friendly Debate with the Danielles is yet another topic I couldn’t pass up: co-sleeping.  I was sold on the idea of co-sleeping from the first moment I learned of it.  Sleeping with your child in your bed, or at least within arm’s reach, seems to be the most natural or instinctive way to approach sleep.  It’s how people in traditional cultures throughout the world handle sleep with babies and young children and it is, no doubt, how our ancestors did it as well.  I won’t go into the benefits of co-sleeping because the Danielles did it so well themselves, but I will say that the benefits to both baby and mother (dad too!) are considerable.  The risks are minimal, as long as it is done safely.

4 days old in bed with daddy
My husband was not completely convinced about co-sleeping so we bought a Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper to use as a bassinet next to our bed.  However, after the first two nights of putting her in the sleeper and having to constantly get out of bed to pick her up, nurse her, then put her back in, it was my husband’s idea to just keep her in the bed with us.  The difference was remarkable.  We slept much better, she slept much better, and I could nurse without either of us having to fully wake up.  

This worked great for us for about two months.  At six weeks, Lucia started sleeping through the night, so the need to have her in the bed to nurse her during the night disappeared.  At about eight weeks she became a very noisy sleeper, grunting and whimpering and cooing all night long.  She slept through it all, but my husband and I were up almost the entire night.  After a few nights of this, we put her to sleep in her crib.  She slept the whole night through and it seems that she slept better also because she was much quieter and fidgeted less (we keep the monitor on very high).  Last night was the first night she woke up crying during the night (because she broke out of her swaddle).  My husband got her and brought her back to our bed where and I nursed her and she remained for the rest of the night.  

stretching in her crib after I unswaddled her
We are doing what works for us and will continue to do so only as long as it works.  Maybe she’ll make her way back into our bed all night at some time, perhaps when she starts teething.  I’m sure we’ll keep her in our bed when she is sick.  And we’ll always bring her into our bed if she wakes up needing to nurse.  But at this moment, we are no longer co-sleeping.  I imagined Lucia would be in our bed many more months and, the truth is, I miss having her with us.  The first night she was in her crib, I barely slept out of both concern at how she would do on her own and apprehension that my little girl is already starting to lose her dependence on me.

For any parents considering co-sleeping, I highly recommend it.  If you are concerned about safety, I can tell you that neither my husband nor I ever felt Lucia was in any danger or that we were at risk of rolling on her.  I was very aware of where I was in relationship to be baby, even while sleeping.  But if co-sleeping doesn’t work for you, be willing to try different arrangements until you find something that does.  Even though we weren’t sure about co-sleeping before she was born, we still imagined that our baby would be in the same room at least three or four months.  At two months, she’s in her own nursery in a crib.  Parenthood is about flexibility and finding out what works for not only your family, but for each unique child within it. 

Did you co-sleep with your child?  How did sleep arrangements change between each baby in your family?  How did you first learn about co-sleeping?    

Suggested topic for next week's debate: Finding Out Baby's Gender While Pregnant

See my response to other Friendly Debates with the Danielles topics:
Birth Control for Teens
Children Attending Births


  1. We co-sleep.  Theodore sleeps in a pack'n'play directly next to our bed, and a few times a week he ends up in bed with us, too.  Jon and I are both big movers when we sleep, and even though we're aware of him when he's in bed with us, we don't sleep as well.  But, I do love waking up with my baby in my bed! :) Theodore was sleeping through the night up until about  a month and a half ago, and we were getting ready to move him to his own room, but he's no longer sleeping through the night.  And, to be honest?  I don't really think I'm ready to have him so far away all night... Haha :)

  2. Hi Mandi. Great, minds think alike! How funny we both posted on co-sleeping today. I highly recommend co-sleeping too:)

  3. My sister was just talking about someone she knew who did this. I know my mom said she put us in our crib from the beginning. I can see pros/cons. I know my mom and dad were both overweight and snored very loudly and my moms reaction is also fear of rolling/squashing the baby. I'll have to go read the Danielle's post.

  4. I've always liked the idea of the co-sleeper thing that attaches to your bed but is really only 3 sided (the side of your bed being the 4th side), but like you said, who knows what we'd actually use when the time comes. I love that she is already sleeping through the night; that must be so nice as far as energy during the day! 


  5. Parenthood is about flexibility and finding out what works for not only your family, but for each unique child within it.


  6. This was a great post!  I just want to affirm how much I loved this sentence: "Parenthood is about flexibility and finding out what works for not only your family, but for each unique child within it." 

  7. Yeah, I'm not sure if she'll continue to sleep through the night or not, but for now, we are taking advantage of the extra sleep!

  8. We've done the family bad from the beginning. After I read research from the Notre Dame Mother-baby sleep lab it gave me the confidence to follow my intuition against all the medical advice against it.


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