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Friday, 17 February 2012

On co-sleeping

Another post I've translated from German. While I say we are not  co-sleeping, we actually co-sleep but we do not bed-share.

I don't mind if children share a bed with their parents. Some families do it and everybody is happy: the children are happy because they are in bed with their parents and feel safe. The parents love it because they enjoy the physical presence of their children. This is perfectly fine!

When I was pregnant with K, I wanted her to sleep in her own bed. All the books said it was safer and better for the child. But then she was born, and cried more than I had expected. Of course, I put her in her own bed to sleep, but I didn't get any sleep. And so I took her to my bed for the first few nights. This helped a lot. At some point, the crying became less and less, and I put her back to her bed after every feeding. This worked fine. She slept well, and I recovered.

Although K. slept in her own bed, she woke up in the night for feedings till we decided to stop by mutual consent at 14 months. She then slept so well that I was excited. And then I got pregnant, we moved to another apartment, and this is when we got the idea that she should have her own room. This worked well, she didn't seem to care where she was sleeping. Shortly after J's birth K. cried a lot, and we put her bed into our room. That was fine as well. 

We did the same thing with J: the first nights she slept with me, and then in her own bed.  She also slept well, and seems to be a happy, content baby. She is still sleeping in our room. For us, this proved to be a good compromise: we have our bed to ourselves but the children are close-by in case they need us. 

But I couldn't share a bed with my children. First, children, in spite of their small size- or maybe because of it- have  a great need for space. A king's bed should be big enough to make place for two adults and two children, right? Wrong. Somehow the bed seems to be made of little legs, and feet, and arms, and heads. And the poor adults have no space left in their own bed.And I need my sleep. And I can forget my sleep when my children share my bed. 

But there is another reason for not bed-sharing. I've found that to me, their presence is a  great source of enjoyment. And the enjoyment is such that I wouldn't be able to sleep. I would be happy that K. wants to cuddle with me, and marvel at how warm and soft she is. I would think of all the new things she has learned to say or do. I would stare into J's  little face and couldn't help but wonder at how a human being can be so absolutely perfect. I would count her toes and fingers and marvel at the simple fact that there are 10 of each. I would look at her nose and think that such a nose, it should be forbidden due to its overwhelming cuteness. Those ears, they can hear everything, and those little eyes, they see. I would admire all of this but I would not sleep. 

And my need for sleep is not compatible with having children. That is a fact.

Update: for a while K. wouldn't fall asleep anywhere but in our bed. For a while, we let her, but it was pretty hard. So, right now, we're back to sharing a room, but not a bed. Seems to work for us. 

What works for you? Do your children share your bed? Do they have their own rooms? Where do they sleep?

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