Co-Sleeping

A Terrifying Experience

On Christmas Eve last year, I had a terrifying experience with Isaiah. We’d been asleep for a while when my phone went off. I’d accidentally forgotten to silence it and was anything but pleased to be wakened in the middle of the night. It was a friend saying “merry Christmas” so apparently it was some time after midnight. I didn’t check, I just wanted to go back to sleep.

Before I could fall asleep again, Isaiah made a funny noise and stopped breathing. After waiting a few seconds, figuring he’d start again (it’s normal for babies–and adults–to stop breathing for brief periods when they sleep), I decided that I needed to wake him. It took some effort to get him to wake up and start breathing again. It was so terrifying! I’m very certain that if I hadn’t had him in bed with me that night, he would have died. I honestly don’t think he would have wakened on his own.

February 21, 2011

Asleep in my bed, attached to a breathing monitor

This experience changed some of my thoughts on co-sleeping. I’d been doing it mostly because it allowed me to sleep more. Not that more sleep is a bad reason, it just isn’t the only reason by any means. After that night, I realized that there are things co-sleeping does that putting a baby in a crib in another room can’t. It allowed me to be aware of a problem immediately and act to fix it. Had Isaiah been in another room, I probably wouldn’t have even known that he’d stopped breathing until morning.

Now, even if Isaiah had started breathing again on his own, not breathing for longer periods during the night is an issue that needed to be addressed. Because he was with me, I was aware of it and was able to talk to the doctor about it immediately. The doctor was concerned, too, and immediately got a breathing monitor delivered to my house for Isaiah to use when he slept.

February 8, 2011

Running around in his monitor cords

Isaiah wore the monitor for several months. At first, he set off the breathing alarm frequently. As he got older, the alarm went off less. By the time we got in to see the specialist, his nighttime breathing was “within normal ranges.” I had trouble relaxing the first while without the monitor, but his breathing has been fine since. This experience has, however, solidified my belief that co-sleeping is best for me and my babies.

Categories: Attachment Parenting, Co-Sleeping | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Co-Sleep

When Isaiah was born, the thought of co-sleeping had never even crossed my mind. I mean, why would they make cribs if babies should be sleeping with their mamas? Besides, my doctor made it very clear that it was dangerous to sleep with my baby. I figured since every baby in my family for who knows how many generations had slept in a bassinet by their parents’ bed, then a crib, that’s what mine would do, too.

I have a cousin who’d just outgrown her crib when I got pregnant, so my aunt and uncle sent the crib to me. Having something that big and expensive gifted to me was a huge blessing! My dad set it up for me in the room that was soon to become the nursery. I had so much fun choosing the perfect crib set for it. A woman from my grandmother’s Bible study gave me a pack’n’play so that Isaiah would have somewhere to sleep when he visited his Great Gram (with me, of course). A couple weeks before he was due, I set that up in my room, right next to my bed, so Isaiah would have a place to sleep close to me.

Then, Isaiah was born. The first while, I stuck to putting him in the pack’n’play’s bassinet, only to have him wake crying minutes later. I wasn’t sleeping at all. My mom started getting up at an insanely early hour to take over walking him between nursings so that I could get at least some sleep. With in a week, we’d mastered nursing while lying down, so I could bring him to my bed and not have to be completely awake to feed him. I fell asleep while he was nursing a couple times and realized just how much easier my life had become. Suddenly, I was sleeping again! I did some research and found that co-sleeping is actually a fairly well accepted practice. It was especially appealing to me, considering how much more sleep I was able to get!

January 26, 2011

Sound asleep on my bed

Isaiah co-slept with me all night until about thirteen or fourteen months. At that point, the same cousin who outgrew the crib, outgrew a toddler bed and it was sent to me. I put the bed up in Isaiah’s nursery and started putting him in it to sleep. He lies in his bed to nurse, then sleeps there for the first part of the night. At first, he only stayed for about half an hour, but that was ok. It was more about letting him adjust to the idea. Now, some nights, he sleeps as much as five or six hours in his own bed. Whenever he wakes up, he comes to my room and snuggles down in my bed to nurse and sleep with me.

I’ll be a little sad when Isaiah starts sleeping through the night consistently because it means we won’t have our middle of the night cuddles anymore. I’ll still encourage him to come to my bed for some snuggling when he first wakes up in the morning. My bed will be available for a long time if he ever needs me, whether it’s because he’s sick or he had a bad dream. Letting him sleep in my bed is one way I can help him feel secure and show that I’m always there for him.

Categories: Attachment Parenting, Co-Sleeping | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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