Our Co-Sleeping Story
While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time setting up Scarlett's nursery and making sure everything was absolutely perfect for when she arrived. We got her crib set up and I spent more time than I care to admit picking out a completely unnecessary bedding set. I had this idea in my mind where every night I would rock her to sleep, carefully place her in her crib, and then tip toe out of her room. I soon came to realize that life with a newborn is nothing like how I imagined it to be.
The first night we brought her home, we realized that there was no putting her to sleep unless it was next to us. I remember saying to Chris, "how are we going to get her to sleep in her own bed?" he calmly responded, "hun, she is a week old. Stop worrying about it". That was when I clued into the fact that my vision of what having a new baby would be like was completely false. What I didn't realize, was that sleeping with Scarlett next to me was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to me. Reality was far better than what I imagined it to be.
I was soon faced with an issue all mothers experience. Judgement. Every time I told someone we were co-sleeping they'd give me this look and act as if this arrangement was a problem. I can't even tell you the amount of times I've heard, "if you don't start her out in her crib early, than she'll never be able to move to her own bed and never be able to learn independence". Every time I heard this, I would question myself and think I was doing it wrong. After about 6 months I stopped feeling bad about it and I stopped listening to the people who tried to tell me I shouldn't co-sleep. It was what was right for us at the time and we loved every minute of it.
When Scarlett started rolling we would put her to sleep in her crib at the beginning of the night. After 1-2 hours, she would wake up, we would go and get her, and then pile into bed all three of us. At her one year check-up, the nurse told me it would be best if I stopped breastfeeding Scarlett at nighttime to prevent tooth decay. This made me nervous because she was waking up every 2 hours of the night to nurse but I was willing to try it out. Having her next time me suddenly became stressful to her because she just wanted to nurse. After about 2 weeks of zero sleep everything changed. I would rock Scarlett to sleep and place her in her crib. However, this time she would not wake up after a couple hours. When she would wake up in the middle of the night I would bring her into bed with me but she would only toss and turn in frustration so I would bring her back to her crib where she would fall asleep instantly. Our beautiful time of co-sleeping had inadvertantly come to an end.
Now, since I have not breastfed her at night for a while, she will sleep anywhere. In her crib, on the couch, in my arms, anywhere. I don't even need to rock her to sleep anymore. At 8pm every day, I place her in her crib and walk away and she falls asleep within 5 minutes. This makes me happy knowing that all of the people who had such negative things to say about our sleep situation were wrong. Looking back at it all, I am upset that I let it get to me at all. People are so opinionated when it come to other people's children. My advise is to not let it get to you and to follow your instinct because in the end only you know what is best for your baby.
This is a photo Chris took of us when we woke up one morning. I hated it at the time but now I love it. It is such a real moment and brings me back to when we would all wake up next to each other.