If anyone asked me if I would still be co-sleeping with my babies by the time they reached 3, I'd say no. I realize my twins are technically no longer babies at 3, but there are ways they still are. My son actually prefers his crib. Yes, I said crib -- 3-year-old in crib. He never climbs out, and sleeps really well. Why mess with a good thing? Also a good thing: My daughter co-sleeping with me and my husband.
It works for us. More specifically it works for our daughter who just doesn't like sleeping alone. My mom tells me I didn't like sleeping alone either when I was a kid. My dad used to work nights and I remember crawling into bed with her on and off up until I was 12. That may sound horrifying to some, but for me it was comforting.
My daughter never really had to sleep alone -- she was in my womb with her brother, they both slept in the same co-sleeper next to our bed for the first six months, and after a short stint in her own crib, Pippi often ended up back in our bed. At first my husband and I disagreed on co-sleeping -- he wanted the kids in their cribs. But he came around. It's precious to wake up in the morning and see them cuddling.
More from The Stir: 9 Safe Co-Sleeping Tips to Help You Stay Out of the News
We did try to end co-sleeping. When we first moved from a small Brooklyn apartment to a house with real bedrooms, we got the kids twin-sized beds and set up both of their rooms with everything they loved thinking this was it! My son, often clingy during the day, loves to sleep alone. Though if you count the blanket he's had since birth, select cars, and the Spider Man doll that must accompany him in the crib, he really isn't "alone." But not my daughter.
At first, Pippi took a liking to her big girl bed along with the cute firefly bedding we bought her and like magic, we thought it was the end. She slept the whole night through in her own room for the first week. Then it was a few nights a week; and now we're back to every night in the family bed.
Instead of trying to get her to stay in her room, we just upgraded to a king size bed so we can all sleep more comfortably. If you share a bed with your kids, you know how they turn gymnastic in their sleep. And in case you're wondering, my husband and I don't rely on our bed to be intimate. Co-sleeping doesn't have to kill your sex life.
Am I holding her back from learning to be more independent? I don't think so. She's only this age once. And even if she's sleeping in our bed on and off until she's 12, she's still only a kid once. I want to cherish every moment of that ... even the sleeping ones. There will be that day when she's moving out, getting her own apartment outside my womb (and bed), and her brother will one day no longer be sleeping in a crib. Hopefully.
I'm not kicking her out because I remember how I felt at 12 and wanting to sleep with my mom. It was comfort. It was security. I felt safe. No boogie man was going to get me with my mom around. Unreasonable? Maybe. It's just how I felt. Sleeping alone in my bed was cold, lonely, and scary. And that was me at 12. Pippi is 3. A baby. Okay a toddler, but still my baby. We went from a tiny house to one with halls and stairs. That's a big change. And frankly, I love having her next to me. It's comfort.
Do you co-sleep with your toddler? How does it work for you?
Image via Michele Zipp