The sleeping controversy

Did you know that both Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy slept in the bed with their parents as infants?

They really didn’t. I just made that up. And trust me, I actually looked into their childhood sleeping habits (my husband officially thinks I’m nuts because I like to read about notorious serial killers’ mothers to know what not to do when it comes to child-rearing). Anyway, the way some people react when they find out your baby sleeps in your bed, you would think that such an act truly does create future deviants.

You can guess where this is headed…I’ll admit it: my son has not spent one night in his crib. Was I a diehard proponent of cosleeping before I had my baby? Not really. I thought it was nice to have your baby near you at night. We even bought a cosleeper to attach to our bed, thinking it would be easier on me as far as breastfeeding in the middle of the night. But then nothing went the way we planned. We couldn’t attach the cosleeper on my side because it would be harder for me since I had such a difficult time getting up because of the pain from my section. I quit breastfeeding after nearly two weeks anyway. So up until the other night, Brandon slept on his Boppy Newborn Lounger on our bed. We positioned it between us, kind of further down by our knees. If he would fuss a lot, I would often hold him and sleep with him in the crook of my arm or on my chest. This was working out great for everyone involved until I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and saw he had completely turned sideways on his lounger and the upper half of his body was hanging off it on David’s legs. My heart stopped when I woke up to this–he looked like a little ragdoll. I don’t know how he slept through that because he looked so uncomfortable. Thank god he was okay. He spent the rest of the night in my arms as I stayed wide awake, imagining all of the horrible things that could have happened if I hadn’t discovered him when I did.

So we decided to use the cosleeper. We had tried to put it against the bed not too long ago but it wouldn’t sit flush with the bed so we abandoned that idea. Last night we set it up as a freestanding bassinet in our bedroom. We got ready for bed and put him in it and he seemed quite happy. David and I stood over him in the dark and I cried. The baby eventually fell asleep. Of course I was completely awake in our bed, missing him like crazy. Just as I was about to finally drift off, he made some little fussing noises, nothing huge. But I immediately went to the bassinet and picked him up, brought him back to our bed and cuddled with him. And that is where he remained until this morning.

I know so many people are critical of this. And to them I say, mind your baby, not mine. Brandon is nine weeks old. He has no concept of being “spoiled” yet. He is not clever enough yet at this stage to realize he is sleeping in our bed every night. And he is certainly not old enough to be damaged emotionally in any way by sleeping with his parents in their bed. If he’s still sleeping with us when he leaves for college, now that’s a problem. But for now, I am going to enjoy cuddling with my newborn all night because it’s what I want to do and I’m not hurting anyone. He sleeps better on his side or tummy anyway, pressed up against me with my arms around him, than he does flat on his back in the bassinet.

So I’m not saying this is right for everyone. I am saying while he is this little, I just want him to sleep well at night. And if that means it’s next to me on most nights, then that is fine. Whatever works. And I am fairly certain this will not screw him up for life. So to my critics, as long as we all love our babies, who cares where they sleep?

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May 23, 2011. Uncategorized.

5 Comments

  1. Tim Allen replied:

    Babies are like little homeless people. You’ll be amazed at the places/positions they can sleep in.

  2. Crista replied:

    AMEN! You sleep with that baby as long as you and/or he want to. It won’t hurt a (or his) soul.

  3. Lynn replied:

    Ahhh, people. So judgmental. FWIW, even if the co-sleeper had been a success, you would still have critics telling you he needs to be in his own room. That’s what they told me. I ignored them. Why would I want to stub my toe or trip or hell even just walk around in the middle of the night when I could just lean over and grab her when she cries? She’s now two, and only sleeps in her room about half the time. I don’t care. This has been true of many children, but I don’t know a single person who still sleeps with mommy and daddy. Give them the finger and move on.

  4. Angie replied:

    All five of mine slept in our bed until they could verbally say get me the hell outta here…..none are serial killers (yet) and none display any abnormal attachment to me. AS a matter of fact they all spend half their lives trying to get away from me!!! (keep in mind, that’s what teenagers do)…..Oh, and they also can fall asleep all by themselves. I also, after much research, never let any of them “cry it out”….just wasn’t for me. However, I have friends who have had success with the method. Do what you feel is best for Brandon and for you. Ignore those people who think they know best for your kid.

  5. Christi replied:

    The only place our son would sleep for the first 8 weeks of his life was in his car seat. I remember sobbing in the doctor’s office because he wouldn’t sleep (he was less than a week old) and the only rest I got was when he was in his car seat. Do you know what the doctor said? So let him sleep in his car seat . . . it was so nice to hear the doctor say that. That worked great until I woke up (in a similar panic to yours) to find him upside down in his car seat and that put an end to that.

    Turns out the kid had GERD and was only comfortable upright; he HATED to be on his back. He was a horrible sleeper and we got a lot of opinions and two really stuck out for me – my grandmother and my friend who was a nurse – and they both said to put him on his stomach. We did that starting around 9 or 10 weeks and that kid has been an amazing sleeper ever since!

    Do what feels right for you and don’t worry about what others say; you know what is best for that boy.

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