When I was pregnant with my first daughter, now 9, I bought a co-sleeper. I knew enough that my newborn probably wouldn't sleep well in her crib in the other room, and I was too nervous to have her in my own bed.
But when I discovered she didn't really enjoy sleeping, I found myself pulling her into my own bed, popping her on my boob, and trying to catch some much-needed zzzzzs.
At first it worked. Or at least so I thought. It wasn't until my fourth baby who I decided needed to sleep in her own bed so we could all be happier that I wondered why I hadn't kicked them all out of my bed sooner.
I'm all for snuggling and cuddling with my children. And there have been many times that my kids have ended up in my bed (and still do, actually) whether it's due to illness or a bad dream or just needing the safety and security of a parent next to them.
But there's a big difference between a one-off cuddle fest and a nightly reservation in the middle of my bed. With their feet on my head or my stomach.
And that's on a good night.
I realize there are tons of arguments for and against co-sleeping, but I have yet to see one that just puts it plainly:
When you co-sleep, there is no actual sleeping. For anyone. Even the baby. And that sucks. For everyone.
Sure, the safety issue is important, but there are plenty of products to ensure your baby is safe in your bed. And there's the argument that it interferes with the relationship with your husband or partner, which has some validity depending on the regularity of the little one in your bed.
But all this crap about how it's awesome for the kid's psyche and he/she will feel more connected and secure. Well, that's great, but I'm pretty sure any issue a child has with separation anxiety or the other myriad symptoms kids can display at a later age will have little or nothing to do with whether they co-slept with their parents.
Can you pick the kids out on the playground that were co-sleepers? Probably not.
However, it DOES affect your ability to parent your kids when you're not getting enough sleep or you're not getting enough sex. Okay, maybe not so much the last part but we adult humans need our space too. It actually makes me much more pleasant and agreeable when I'm able to have a little time to myself in a horizontal position.
I only discovered this when my fourth baby refused to nurse in bed with me and fall asleep. She actually insisted on being fed and moved back to her bed.
And suddenly, I saw the light. Or really, the inside of my eyelids. It was magical. Brilliant, actually.
If you think you're giving your child a head start or an advantage by co-sleeping, you might want to rethink your decision. There are so many other ways that you can give them a great beginning than losing your own sleep so they can sort of get some of their own.
What do you think about co-sleeping?
Image via Sundaykofax/Flickr