Co-sleeping

Mayim Bialik (who played Blossom in the 80’s sitcom of that same name) recently blogged about co-sleeping, or more accurately, bed-sharing. I think it’s great that a famous Hollywood personality is such a vocal “crunchy” mom who can inspire many other women. But I don’t think she left any room for opposing views, and I found one of her main arguments to be faulty. Namely, she posed the question, “You don’t sleep alone, so why should your kids?”

I didn’t “officially” co-sleep with Spence after 3 months. I recall several nights of kicking back in the recliner in his room so that he could sleep on my chest, but those were nights of sickness or teething discomfort. Saphira, on the other hand, has been bed-sharing with me for most of her life. However, it’s been just the two of us, as opposed to Mayim’s family bed set up. We’d never survive in a family bed. John’s snoring often wakes me up when I’m next door in Saphira’s room. I can’t imagine the kids sleeping with that noise nightly. Then again, I snore too. Maybe I shouldn’t call the kettle black…

Anyway, back to my story. At first the bed-sharing was out of necessity. With my c-section complications, my mobility was severely limited, so bed-sharing helped us both get more rest. Even as she grew, I felt that not having to get up to nurse let me get more sleep so that I could deal with a toddler and infant the next day.

Nevertheless, as Saphira turned 9 months old, I realized that she was still waking to nurse 4-6 times, and often more. The constant waking was wearing on me and I knew we had to change the situation before I had a complete exhaustion break down. With John’s help, we transitioned her to her crib at bedtime.  We quickly realized that if she cried before 2 am, she’d soothe herself back to sleep within 10 minutes. But if she woke any time after 2, I would nurse her. I tried to put her back in the crib a few times, but once she nursed, she didn’t want to let Mama go. So we’d c0-sleep until morning. After a few days, though, the sleeping time extended so that she was waking at 4 or 5 am. She was sleeping through the night!!  I was ecstatic!

That bliss was very short-lived. Saphira started teething, and she wanted to comfort nurse to ease the pain. Then she became severely congested and even developed croup. A trip to the doctor resulted in a special nebulizer treatment and a double dose of steroids. The congestion was much better by that afternoon, but when I gave her a dose of steroids the next morning, she couldn’t nap. She was exhausted but simply could not fall asleep. We ended the steroids right then and there, turning to steam baths and the humidifier to help keep the virus away. We succeeded, but the sleep time in the crib has diminished. Saphira wakes around midnight and then nurses off and on until morning. I’m back to being sleep-deprived and have even begun having 1/2 caffeinated coffee at home in the mornings. (And I have tried letting her cry it out at midnight, but she’s still congested so it’s not working.)

I know this is a phase and it will pass, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It just seems that bed-sharing doesn’t work for us at this age. If Saphira’s in her crib, she’ll sleep, but if I’m right next to her she constantly wakes to nurse. And that’s why I think every family has to do what’s best for them.

Secondly, I completely disagree with her comment about adults not sleeping alone. I agree that we want to create a safe, loving environment for our kids. But I absolutely do not want to foster the constant need for a sleeping companion. Do you really want your teenage college student to shack up with the first guy/girl on the street just because s/he doesn’t want to sleep alone? I’m not anti-bed-sharing, and I don’t believe bed-sharing children will grow up to be dependent on bed companions, but I think a better argument could have been presented.

On the positive side, Ms. Bailik was unquestionably right about how wonderful it is to wake up with your child. Saphira almost always wakes up in a good mood, which makes it difficult for even the most fatigued mom to be grumpy. There is no better way to start the day than to hear her coos and giggles right next to me. And I love when Spence runs in to give me a hug in the morning, although the chances of him waking in a good mood are only 50/50. LOL

Overall, I think Ms. Bailik has it right. She’s a bit extreme, but it’s good to have a celebrity show the crunchy/natural side of parenting as opposed to the many stars whose nannies spend more time with the kids than the parents. As long as moms know they have to adopt the extreme to what works best for their families, I think the blog is definitely worth following. And I don’t think she’s “weird” — which she believes many folks find her. To read her full blog, visit http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/03/07/6212018-mayim-bialik-why-we-let-our-children-sleep-in-our-bed#comments

As for the photos in this post, Saphira is very orally-fixated. Absolutely EVERYTHING goes into her mouth. We really have to be more diligent about vacuuming daily, as she tries to pick up every piece of lint, rocks or dirt she spies. The photos are just some shots of her on the kitchen floor where she attempted to master her crawling skills while I made dinner last week.

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One thought on “Co-sleeping

  1. Co-sleeping, even in the rocker, never worked for us because I couldn’t sleep. I have enough trouble sleeping by myself let alone with Shelby! But I think it’s great when it works for other people. You’re right — something different works for everyone. Thank goodness for that!

    We’ve always put Shelby in her car seat to sleep (in the house, of course!) when she’s really congested. That way her nasal passage drains and she doesn’t get as clogged and can actually sleep. She still fits in the bucket (ours goes up to 32 pounds); it has been a godsend that way!

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