Initially, we didn’t want to co-sleep
I was very opposed to co-sleeping with my baby. Our bed was ours. We got a crib and a bassinet and it was very important for us to have our own separate spaces. Turns out I was wrong.
Benefits of co-sleeping (for my family)
- Warmth: Like most low-income families, we live in a small, old, poorly-insulated rental house. It gets down to forty degrees at night, no matter how much we crank up the thermostat (and this isn’t even the coldest cheap rental I’ve lived in…) Our baby just got too cold in her own bed.
- Sleep: I sleep better if she is next to me. When I wake up worried I don’t need to get up to see if she is still breathing. I feel her fevers. I nurse her back to sleep without even rolling over. Co-sleeping means that both my husband and I spend all night in bed. Neither of us has to get up and go anywhere.
- Bonding: Eight-weeks postpartum I returned to work. I am lucky, this is more maternity leave than many American mothers get. We are the only industrialized nation with no government-mandated maternity leave. But I still desperately missed my baby. Because I didn’t get to see her all day, I needed to snuggle her all night.
- Literally getting kicked in the face.
- It’s dangerous. I was terrified that we would smother her. I slept with my face right next to hers so I could feel her breathing, and I was too scared to move.
- “How do co-sleeping couples you know… do it?” I know you’re curious, so I’ll just go ahead and say: rarely, and on the couch. There’s an advantage to this though, it keeps things exciting. We have to be creative.
For us, it’s all worth it
Regardless lack of privacy, even despite the night I woke up with a nose-bleed after she kicked me, it is all worth it. If we lived in a warmer home, if I were a stay-at-home-mom, it might be different. But for our circumstances, a crowded bed is perfect.