KIOS: Parenting, Part 4: Cosleeping/Sleep-sharing

This post is part of my series, “Kickin’ It Old Skool: Why and How We Are Old-Fashioned” or KIOS for short.  If you’re new to the series, please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  I’m keeping a table of contents to this series here so you can see what I’ve already written about and what more there is to come. 

We don’t have a nursery.

We don’t have a crib.

We don’t even have a Pack N’ Play.

Yes, Ellie sleeps in our room and our bed.

We love it. 

(I probably could leave it there.  But here’s a little more about that in case you want to know more.  I’ll also write more about this when I write about nighttime parenting and breastfeeding.)

I think sleeping with our kids is a more common phenomenon than most people will admit.  I often have whispered conversations with people that go something like, “Oh, you sleep with your kids?  So do we!” and then you look around to see if anyone overheard!

Nik and I planned to cosleep with Ellie from the beginning. (Actually, before we were married, we bought a king-sized bed on the recommendation of family members who also sleep with their kids, intending to cosleep with our own children if we were blessed to have any).

Before Ellie was born, we bought an inexpensive crib that we set up next to our bed in a cosleeper kind of arrangment.  (We’ve since given that crib away.)  That was great for about 4 months but eventually, it just made more sense to move the crib out of our room and move the bed to the wall.  Then, last summer, when Ellie started crawling, we put our mattress on the floor, against the wall, and it’s been there ever since!

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision to invite Ellie into our bed.  As a cosleeping nursing mom, I get far more sleep than I would if Ellie slept in a different room than I did.  We love having her with us right away in the morning too.

My only problem with cosleeping has been that my body is quite frequently sore and achy if I’m not careful how I’m sleeping.  I naturally just hold my body a bit stiffer than I would if I didn’t have a baby next to me.  I think my back muscles are much stronger now than they were before I had Ellie.  I’ve had to learn how to nurse lying down and that takes a different set of muscles than just lying in bed.  Other than that, no complaints!

Some think that it’s weird to have your kid sleep in bed with you.  The truth is that for most of the world, it’s weird to have your kid sleep somewhere other than with you.  Babies sleeping in a room apart from their parents is a very modern concept, which is why it’s old-fashioned for us to sleep with Ellie!

And don’t worry, she won’t be sleeping with us when she goes off to college!

Questions? Thoughts?  I have some more practical tips we’ve learned that make cosleeping easier that I’ll share in another post one of these days.

***********************

I know many people have concerns about the safety of cosleeping.  Just like there are safe and unsafe ways for your baby to sleep in a crib, there are also safe and unsafe ways to cosleep.   Here is a good list of guidelines for safe cosleeping.

This site has lots of good information about co-sleeping also.

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7 Responses to KIOS: Parenting, Part 4: Cosleeping/Sleep-sharing

  1. Indeeds says:

    So I just wanted to say I have very much been enjoying this KIOS series! I keep meaning to comment and then forgetting. But I really love how you purposeful and intentional you guys are about everything you do – the way you act on your convictions is most admirable.

    A question about co-sleeping. Obviously, like you say, Ellie won’t be sharing a bed with you forever. How/when do you “wean” a child off of co-sleeping? I know with nursing, it’s baby-led, and eventually a child will stop wanting to nurse. With co-sleeping, is it the same way – do you anticipate she will eventually express a desire to sleep on her own? Just curious

    • Laura says:

      Sorry I forgot to reply to you Emily! First, thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

      About “weaning” for cosleeping – I would say you’re correct – we’re just going to wait until she’s ready – whatever that means. (Honestly, we just don’t really know how/when it’s going to happen, which is why I I didn’t write about that!) From my friends/family members who cosleep with their kids, I know that every kid is really different – i.e. some want to move out fairly quickly into a big kid bed and others have to be moved along at some point. I think it often helps if there is a bigger sibling to share a bed with when he/she leaves the parents’ bed but we don’t have that with Ellie! I couldn’t find this quote anywhere on the web so I didn’t put it in this post but someone told me once that there’s a Finnish proverb which says that a kid is ready to move out of his parents’ bed when he’s ready to move into his girlfriend’s bed! 🙂 Hence my joke above about Ellie not sleeping with us until college!

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