Like many other parenting decisions, co-sleeping is a controversial issue. Everyone has an opinion. There are those who offer scientific proof on the benefits of co-sleeping, and those who speak passionately about the risks. From advertisements depicting an infant in a bed with a butcher knife to articles that discuss the powerful bond generated between a parent and a child sharing the same bed, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of the issue.
I slept in my mom’s bed until I was about 10-years-old, but my husband and I both agreed we would not have Ev in our bed. The primary reason was that we were scared one of us would smother him in our sleep. And that alone was reason enough for us. Although if I were being completely honest, there is a piece of me that didn’t want to share my bed with one more living creature as it’s already filled with a husband and two dogs.
When we first brought Ev home from the hospital, keeping him out of our bed was really hard. He lost weight right after being born, as most infants do, but he was not gaining it back as fast as the pediatrician wanted so I was instructed to feed him every two hours. As most new parents may remember, that’s every two hours from the start of the feeding, so it felt like I was literally feeding him around the clock. Plus, as a new mom, I was paranoid and I wanted us to be sleeping in the same room. I kicked into survival mode and found a few solutions worked. One night, Ev slept in his infant seat because he slept well in it and I needed sleep (he slept for 4 hours, which was a record at that time). One night I slept upright with Ev in my arms, which was a last resort, but I had to do it. And for several nights, I slept on the floor in Ev’s room while he slept in his crib. Ev got into a sleep routine quickly and began sleeping through the night at 9 weeks and then falling asleep on his own at 6 months. Things got a lot easier.
Until now. Ev is going through some separation anxiety, I think. At bed time although he isn’t fighting on us on going to sleep, he really doesn’t want us to leave the room. The past few nights we have just stood outside his room where he can see us and he falls right to sleep. If he wakes in the night, same thing, he needs to see us. We have both found it easier just to lay on his floor and fall back asleep in there, which brings up the issue of co-sleeping again. It has me questioning if we made the right decision to keep him out of our bed. All of this would be a whole lot easier if we just brought him in our bed with us.
What is easy isn’t always right. I don’t want to start an unhealthy habit just out of convenience and so far, Ev sleeping in his own bed has been working. I’m not going to say that I’ll never let Ev sleep with us, because I’ve learned “never” is an awfully bold word for a parent to use. But I will say that we will do what it takes to keep connected with Ev and help him feel safe and secure at bedtime.