Have you seen that statistic about how much sleep a parent will lose during the first year of a baby’s life? Prepare yourself–it’s 44 days. That’s more than six weeks of no sleep, chalked up to nighttime feedings, nighttime crying and general insomnia from worrying. That is terrifying. And in our case, totally untrue. Whew.
It has to be a combination of factors (or she’s just the most perfect baby ever!), but I’m certain that co-sleeping plays a big part. It’s awesome. Here’s why we’re team co-sleep:
- Nighttime feeding is a breeze
At 10 weeks, our baby girl nurses anywhere from one to three times during the night. She’s usually out by 9 or 9:30 p.m. and up every morning right before 7. Somewhere during those 10 hours, she wants to eat at least once. Luckily, she’s right there with me, and I wake up when she starts making little sounds and trying to eat her own fists. I can’t think of one instance when she started screaming to be fed. As an aside: What a miserable experience for a baby and for the parent dragging herself (or himself) out of bed. No wonder you’re losing sleep!
We’ve perfected the nursing side-by-side technique, so she eats and boom, we’re both back to sleep. No bright lights, no activity or excitement to make her think it’s playtime. Just like that, we’ve drastically reduced the amount of sleep we lose due to feeding and/or crying. Moving on.
- I never wonder, “Was that the baby?”
Putting a baby to sleep all by his or her lonesome while I’m off somewhere else sleeping myself just makes me anxious. When my babies were brand new, I woke up all the time just to check that everyone was still breathing. But I never had to go far. We bump the crib right up to the bed with the side off—my clever husband rigs up something to get everything perfectly aligned, with no ominous gaps where she might get trapped–so I sleep right alongside the baby. She’s in her space,d and there’s no risk of suffocation from the pillows or duvet on our bed. When she moves around or makes any noise, I know it. And apparently, that’s how we’ve eliminated insomnia from straining to hear the baby or worrying about whether she’s breathing. Everyone wins.
- It’s one big snuggle fest
She’s so cute and cuddly; it’s lovely to snuggle up with her! And then I can slide back over to my spot and sprawl comfortably. She’s still close enough that I can reach over and touch her, but I’m not sacrificing her safety or my favorite sleeping position. Everyone wins again.
To the people thinking some variation of, “You’re never going to get her out of your bed,” don’t you worry. Our 7 and 5-year-olds sleep happily in their own beds, and they have for years. Even our 3-year-old, who still makes his way into our bed very early most mornings, starts just fine in his own bed. So for us, it’s team co-sleep for the win.