Despite fear-mongering by a lot of groups that benefit financially from crib sales, or news articles that claim co-sleeping includes a drunk jerk who passes out on the couch with an infant on his lap counts, co-sleeping has proven to be incredibly safe, important to breastfeeding success, lowers the rate of SIDS, helps regulate baby's heartrate and breathing and so on.
In short, co-sleeping totally rocks for babies.
However, there is a dark side to co-sleeping. Dun dun dun. Everyone talks about dangers to the baby, but rarely do people talk about the dangers to co-sleeping moms.
Imagine this -- you've nursed your little one to sleep, and you've drifted off peacefully as well. Suddenly, *BAM!* PAIN! Oh no, pain! Your sweet little angel has woken up, and decided since you weren't paying attention, they'd smack you in the face. My daughter thought that was how you were supposed to wake people up. Sigh!
Other moms experiences vary from wince-worthy to downright hilarious. Dawn Papple of 'Everything Birth' explains her experience with rude awakenings:
Around 2AM, I awoke to discover that my face was all wet. As I tried to figure out why, still half asleep, you can imagine my horror as I see my baby daughter, Ayla, wide awake and smiling, pull her index finger out of her nose and then proceed to wipe her boogers on my face.
It seems that babies think sleeping parents are prime for torture. While the co-sleeping mom wakes up when baby starts moving around, a little arm can easy reach over without alerting you, as my husband has learned the hard way since my daughter finds it fun to reach over and pinch his arms or stick her finger in his nose, if she can reach him without rolling away from me.
It seems that both from my personal experiences, experiences of friends, and comments on Dawn Papple's post, co-sleeping moms are suffering left and right at the hands of babies everywhere. Aside from slaps and boogers, there seem to be some common acts of mom-abuse:
- Many the mother reports their child peeing the bed ... but when you co-sleep, that means you suddenly realize you're feeling warm and hot, too. In one mother's case, the baby climbed on top of her and then peed.
- Lots of reports of puke -- on the bed, in the hair, and worst of all, even on the face.
- Punches, kicks, and headbutts to the face, causing bruises and black eyes. Even bleeding noses aren't unheard of, especially when kids reach the toddler years.
- If you're a dad, wearing a cup to bed sounds tempting, according to some!
- When babies want to nurse, they want it NOW, and will slap, claw, and try to rip at your clothes to get it. Yikes!
- Babies love cuddling with Mommy -- but it becomes a problem when they crawl onto you and roll over on your face, leaving you scrambling to move them without waking them so you can resume breathing.
- "Ooh, pretty hair!" *YANK* I don't know what it is about hair, but babies love to get their fingers through it, grab on, and pull.
Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE co-sleeping and encourage everyone to try it, especially breastfeeding moms (it makes it so much easier at night). Even co-sleepers still provide lots of benefits, and room-sharing for the first six months shows a major decrease in SIDS. Once you look past the bruises and smacks, there's also the amazing sleep smiles, sleep-talking (Rowan made a happy "bark" sound sometimes), the cuddles, the bonding, security for the child, and of course, all the health and safety benefits.
What has your co-sleeper done to you, good or bad?
Image via mrjorgen/Flickr