I used to dread when other parents would ask me how Miles was sleeping. It seems like the ‘go to’ questions for parents to commiserate over. But in my case all my friends had kids who slept 12 hour straight through the night and then took two -2 hour naps during the day. And for us, we were lucky if we got a total of 12 hours per day including two very short naps. And that was after fighting Miles to go to sleep every single day! Even my mom (who has raised 4 children and helped raise 8 grandchildren) was surprised by how little sleep this child needed. From day one he just never wanted to miss out on a thing!
We had many friends (not to mention books and Google) who recommend that we let Miles “Cry It Out”. And I wasn’t exactly against it, but every time I tried I just didn’t have the guts to go through with it. I know, I know — this little baby has me wrapped around his finger. Honestly, it was just easier to give in and let him fall asleep in my arms.
And after he was finally asleep he would stay in his crib until around 1 or 2 in the morning. Then I would feed him in our bed and just let him sleep the rest of the night with us. I knew once we started down this road it would be impossible to stop, but one look at this face when I woke up in the morning and I didn’t want to stop!
The system we had worked perfectly for us. Miles slept half the night in his crib and then half the night with us. On nights with Nick and Izzy over it was just easier to have Miles sleep with us all night. And when Tony was working every other week in GA, Miles didn’t see his crib all week. Miles loved it, we loved it, it was a win-win!
But not everyone was on board. We had plenty of friends who had very strong (and very bad) opinions about co-sleeping. And maybe it is a bad idea – for some kids. But the one thing I’ve learned being a mom is that every child is different! Miles is very easy going in some ways, but when it came to bedtime he just didn’t want to be alone. So I had a choice — I could fight him on it (and make us all miserable) or I could give in and we could all get a good nights sleep.
So, to this day, we lay down with Miles in his bed until he falls asleep. And then around 1 or 2 AM he wakes up and wants to get in bed with us. Every once in a while he just goes to bed with us. And sometimes we pull him out of his bed when we are ready for sleep so he doesn’t wake us up at 1 AM. It’s what works for our family… and we absolutely love it! I love waking up and seeing his smiling face first thing in the morning. I love waking up in the middle of the night and feeling his breath and knowing that he’s okay. And I absolutely love when he falls asleep hugging my neck.
Of course, there are some draw backs – some nights he refuses to go to sleep in his own bed, he will only go to sleep with us. And some mornings we wake up to find that Miles has made the perfect “H is for Hell” position between us.
But I would say the biggest draw back is that I feel like we have to keep it a secret. The other day I went to lunch with a friend who’s son is about 7 months. I asked her how her son was sleeping and she said “Great!” and then mumbled half under her breath that her son sleeps with them. I was SO relieved that I wasn’t alone!! I almost screamed “we co-sleep too! And we LOVE it!” I could see the relief on her face and her shoulders relax. She said that most people give her flack for it so she doesn’t like to talk about it.
As a mom, the last thing I want to do is judge other parents for doing something different than me. I am going to do what’s best for my son and I want to respect other moms for doing what works for them.
And after talking about it more I have found that some of my other friends let their kids sleep with them, or used to let their kids sleep with them. All of my sisters tell me that they really miss when their kids used to sleep with them, so I should enjoy it while I can.
And I plan on doing just that — enjoying every cuddly second!