Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Here's a question: Have any of you tried co-sleeping, or do you currently co-sleep with your little one? I know it can be a controversial issue, but I'm interested in hearing real opinions from people who have actually tried it. Or if you've decided against it, what are your reasons? My mom co-slept with me during my first two years and it's something I must admit I've been interested in, but I keep hearing the disapproving tone of The American Academy of Pediatrics in my head. On the other hand, I know there are many cultures where co-sleeping is just what you do, and I've also heard that it's wonderful for night time feedings. So what are your thoughts?


  1. I personally don't have any children, but one of my best friends had a son in July. They co-sleep, but with boundaries.

    I think she chose it for feeding convenience (plus, they have a king-sized bed, so they're not lacking in space). When he wakes up in the middle of the night, she doesn't speak, turn on a light, or do anything that might stimulate him in any way. She just takes care of what needs to be done silently and in the dark. He's had a consistent sleep schedule set for a long while now and rarely deviates from it. He also sleeps in his crib during the day.

    I have another friend who co-sleeps, but mostly because her baby is always getting up. From what I can tell, she talks to her, turns on lights, etc. Her daughter is almost a year and a half old and doesn't sleep through the night, and she's always wanting to get up and play at all hours. This friend even got rid of her daughter's crib because they never used it.

    I don't know if their methods are actually contributing to their children's sleep schedules (I think it's commonly known that kids kind of do what they want at times :-D), but it's kind of hard to deny the correlations.

    I see no problems with co-sleeping, as long as it's beneficial to both the parents and the child. If either (or both) are being disrupted, then it's probably not a good idea. But then again, I'm not a mother :-)

    Do what feels right, and if you co-sleep, just try not to smoosh the kid! :-)

  2. ok you didn't ask me, since i don't do it YET. but we totally plan on co sleeping. in a manner similar to how kat described her first friend, i expect. though we won't know for sure until it happens, right?

    there is a lot of research and literature out there about how to do it safely (start with dr sears?) (fuck the American Academy of Pediatrics. imo. they also write against home and water births.) AND the extensive benefits.

    i just can't imagine getting out of bed to feed for the first few months. it seems insane, when you are waking every couple of hours.

    i dunno. just seems right, to us.

  3. Two of our close friends co-sleep with their baby - she's now a month short of a year old and they're still doing it. They've really found it to be brilliant for them - and they are the least tired parents I've ever met, which must be partly down to this. Last time we stayed with them, our friend stayed in bed until midday, dozing with baby and waking up for the occasional feed - I love the idea that you could essentially still have a lie in at weekends this way!
    They don't have a cot at all, and they also don't have a buggy/pram - they just have a moby wrap, and if she wants to go to sleep then she sleeps in that (attached to mum/dad). She was seriously the happiest baby I've ever met, and she was able to sleep even when we talking rather animatedly after a bit of wine. Obviously it's not for everyone, but we were really interested to see people do it this way....

  4. can i just please say AMEN to the women that wrote?! none of them have children yet all seem to have at least considered the benefits co-sleeping and other attachment parenting methods. why don't i have advocates like you in my non-blog life?

    we're expecting in july and do plan to try co-sleeping for the first year. our second bedroom is in our basement and it just doesn't make sense to wake up at all hours of the night to stumble down there and feed--esp when the baby can hopefully sleep just as well (or better) with us. if it saves us sleep then i'm all for it. of course--and we actually just talked about this last night--if the baby is not having it and seems to do better in a cradle or crib then we will roll with that. no sense in forcing something just for the principle.

  5. i might have told you this all already...don't remember.
    with finn, we had a one bedroom and the crib was in the room. she refused to sleep in the bed with us. considered it playtime. also, bryan is too sound of a sleeper. he napped with her once and almost rolled over on her but i moved her. he didn't even wake up. it scared the crap out of him.
    this time around, we're getting a co-sleeper bed since we'll have to keep the baby in the room with us so that he/she doesn't wake finn up all night. so this way, the baby sort of sleeps in the same bed - it's like an extension attached to my side of the bed and he/she will be there for as long as necessary. that's the plan, anyway. if finn taught me anything, it's that my best laid plans didn't mean a whole lot when it came to the real thing.

  6. We got a co-sleeper cot as our bed was small but in the end we couldn't because our daughter had severe reflux and had to be held upright all night for the first four months and from then on has slept in a sloped cot. I was really sad we missed out on the experience, however I wouldn't hesitate to try next time round.

    Most of the statistics around co-sleeping group accidental co-sleeping and falling asleep with babies on sofas/chairs into the co-sleeping category. If you just look at the statistics for planned safe co-sleeping there are in fact slightly less risk than in cot in terms of Sids. This was a good statement about a study:

  7. Before the kid was born I was against co-sleeping. He was in bed with us a lot in the very beginning during the day but as soon as I started to doze I would dream that I lost him in the covers and wake up freaked out and looking for him even when he wasn't there. It wasn't good for me. I needed sleep just as much as he did and was cheating myself out of it by worrying about him. I do think I missed out on something though, like the convenience of whipping the boob out and falling back to sleep and of just having the beautiful baby to stare at and snuggle with. Next time we'll get a co-sleeper, either some kind of box like a friend of mine had that you put the baby in, in the bed or a bassinet style next to the bed. Whatever you do just remember how important you are and not to beat yourself up if things don't go as planned.

  8. As others have said there are different ways of doing it. You may love it, you may not. For us, it didn't really work in the conventional sense. My partner was interested but I needed some space that wasn't about the baby; I was not good at feeding lying down or half-asleep (nor was our son for that matter); and his every noise and movement would keep me up. There was also no space in our bedroom for a crib and so from day 3, he happily slept in his own room. By about 6 months when he was mostly sleeping through, I would bring him into our bed for an early morning feed and family doze, by then we were better at the feeding lying down thing. Fast forward 18 months and we co-sleep more now. We always cuddled or rocked or fed him to sleep as it seemed to be something he needed and we loved doing but when he hit 14kgs at 10 months (a huge child) and 15kgs by 16months with added willfulness, we could no longer cuddle him to sleep. Instead we replaced his crib with a large mattress on the floor Montessori style. Now one of us lies with him as he falls asleep. Sometimes we fall asleep too and stay there the night, but as he is used to sleeping on his own, he does not get worried if he wakes and we are not there. It has also been good for travelling and camping as we are all more used to sharing a bed so we no longer have to take a travel cot (definitely not the best night sleep, but easy). This has been a happy compromise for us that developed naturally as we addressed each of our changing needs. And I guess that would be my only advice.

  9. I agree with what's been said already-- very sensible readers you have! We co-slept, and my story is that at eight months, my daughter's sleep started getting worse and worse, instead of better. She was waking up to eat every two hours, then every hour and a half, then every hour... Not a sustainable trajectory! We transferred her to her own room, and after a fussy couple of nights, she settled right down to long stretches of sleep. She still woke up once to eat for a while, but then dropped that feeding too. Now two and a half, she's been an excellent sleeper ever since. The bottom line for all this baby stuff is to pay attention to your baby! Every baby's different, every family's different, and none of the books are right about everything.

  10. I really like the look of these: and

    I don't have children, yet, but can easily imagine using something similar.

  11. my friend used her 'pack n play' as her son's bed next to theirs pretty much the first 6 months. close enough to be an arm's length away in the middle of the night. it worked great since they had a queen and her husband is a big guy and wakes up early in the am.

    i was reared in a drawer my first couple of months of life. yep, a drawer. my mom padded it with towels and blankets and had this next to her bed. spending big $$ on a bassinet you only use for a short time is kind of re-dick.

    as others have said, do what works for you. and it might change with time....
    good luck!

  12. thanks for all the feedback, guys. i guess i was just concerned with the "dangers" of co-sleeping, but i also know that we live in a culture of fear, which ultimately does us more harm than good. i know in the end, it will be our baby who decides whether co-sleeping or sleeping in a crib works best for our family. they already come into this world with their own little personalities, and that's what i really love about them. we live in a 1-bedroom and the crib will be in our room, so i'm hoping that sharing a room alone won't hinder his/her sleeping patterns. joe and i both pretty much started sleeping through the night as soon as we were born, and my mom says that co-sleeping never encouraged me to wake up through the night. however, that was also during a time when it was not encouraged to wake your baby up every 2-3 hours for feedings during those first few weeks. i know it's supposed to help with milk production, but i'm still not sure how i feel about that one either. i guess only time will tell with how this all works out. if my pregnancy is any indication, actually having the baby is going to be nothing like i expected.

    @krista i think we did discuss bryan being a heavy sleeper. joe is more of a reckless sleeper and it's not unusual for me to wake up to a leg across my stomach, and elbow in my eye, or being pushed off the bed. we've pushed our bed against the wall and i was thinking the baby could sleep between me and the wall. between me and joe would be way too much of a hazard. ;)

  13. Fuck the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    They are completely archaic, in my opinion.

    Had we just had one baby (just) we'd have tried co-sleeping from the start as it really appealed to us and I don't buy that it's any more dangerous than bubbies sleeping alone (done safely). With two babies there just wasn't enough room without buying a whole other bed to stick on the side of ours though so we tried from the beginning to put them in their cot every night. Then I started sleeping in the spare room and Nye was in charge of nights and he would take them into the bed in the middle of the night if they wouldn't settle in the cot. With Ella that was very occasionally but with Amelia it was soon every night, and he just stopped trying to get her to go to sleep in the cot in the first place as she cried so much, so she co-slept almost entirely. Then this week when we were in London there wasn't room to do that so we put her on the floor beside the bed and she slept there just fine, so now we're trying to wean her onto full nights in the cot so that there's room for me in the bed again and she's been there for the last two nights. It hasn't been as hard a habit to break as I was led to believe.

    I'm really glad that we did it like this, if we'd been belligerent about her not co-sleeping neither of us would have had any sleep at all over the last three months. I'm a *big* believer in doing what you need to to keep sane over the first three months and fuck what other people say you 'should' or 'need' to do. Not going nuts should be the key aim for new mothers, if you ask me.

    If having two babies has taught me anything it's that all babies are different and have personalities and needs of their own and what you decide to do with them has less impact than you might think. With everything we've started off treating E&A the same but they need different things and they've shown us that as we've gone along.

    As for the feeding thing, feeding lying down never worked for me (while I was still breastfeeing N fed them expressed milk in the night), but not having to get out of bed is a BIG psychological boost in the middle of the night.

    Now I take them both into bed with me in the morning when I get up and N goes to sleep and we nap through the morning together, it's heavenly. Whatever you decide, don't be scared of falling asleep with the baby sometimes, it's completely natural and utterly delicious and I would have hated to miss out on it.

  14. we put the crib in our room and our daughter has slept happily in her crib from day 1. we do similar things to what everyone has lights on, talking, etc during night feedings and morning in-bed nursing/dozing/cuddling.

    a good friend co-slept with her daughter for the first 4 months and had the hardest time getting her to transfer to the crib. that and she and her husband slept horribly during those months. babies are really loud when they sleep!

    i had a really hard time side-lying nursing in the beginning because my breasts were just too engorged for her little mouth. now that she's a bit older (3 months) and i'm not so engorged, morning side-lying nursing is really sweet.

    as for not having to get out of bed in the middle of the night (per above comment), it's absolutely true. my lovely husband gets her up, changes the diaper and brings her to me to nurse. that way he's involved in the night feedings, too.

    ust go with what feels right for all of you. it may change during the course of several months...

  15. co-sleeping is my #1 favorite thing about parenting. <3 We've done it from the beginning and still do it part time now, I wouldn't change it for anything. :)

  16. celia, saw this and thought of you and your co-sleeping question!

  17. I have a 3 1/2 month old, Ezra, and we co-sleep every night. We start him off in the co-sleeper (Arm's Reach, which was handed down to us) next to our bed for the night while we're still awake and puttering around downstairs. When he wakes up for his first feeding I take him into our bed using just a small nightlight (spoka from ikea) so I can change him and latch him on. I love sleeping with him for the convenience but also for the closeness. My husband loves it, too, as he gets to see Ezra in the morning before he leaves for work. We put him to sleep in his crib across the hall one night about a month ago and I missed him so much that we brought him into our bed before we even fell asleep. It's my favorite!

  18. celia. we have the COOLEST readers.

    not a single comment freaking out that we all might be terrible moms and future moms.


    {knock on wood}

  19. I don't co-sleep nor will I with my second, due next month. Basically it's a habit I don't want to have to break in the future :) I tried really hard, with everything, do just do things how I always want them done, so I didn't have to change it up or break the habit. So, I'm probably just lazy! I would also sleep horribly if I had a baby in bed with me.

    Good luck with what you decide to do! I have friends that did it, and loved it. They just had a tricky time with the transition to the crib.

  20. Celia & Jamie -

    You guys have the coolest readers because you have the coolest blog! As someone who is planning to have kids pretty soon, it is SO REFRESHING to read a blog that's not riddled with product placements and obsessive-compulsive psychosis. You guys are so mellow and realistic (even if you're not in real life :-D).

    And Cara -
    I've been reading P&P for AGES, and I can't tell you how much I love how fucking honest you are. I show almost every post you publish to my husband, because it's so wonderful to see someone NOT saying, "Motherhood is all butterflies and my babies poop rainbows!"

    So, THANK YOU, to ALL of you!

    OK I'm done now :-)

  21. yeah, you guys are all ridiculously awesome.


  22. Has anyone mentioned this website yet?

    Dr. McKenna is the leading authority on safe shared sleep.

    And if you want to meet people who do cosleeping in real life, check out your local La Leche League meeting :)

  23. I have no experience in this whatsoever but I read this post and immediately thought of Rummey Bears. Seems another commenter beat me to it though!

    Snippets of Anna's experiences:
    "Mostly I'm confident about our parenting. Co-sleeping. Baby wearing. Demand breastfeeding which entails being fed to sleep and cuddled into that boobie all night long. But when I now see she cannot sleep without being attached to me I wonder whether I should have read a book or two..."

    "Thankfully we're co-sleeping, but until I go to bed an lay next to her she will stir every half hour or so."

    "Co-sleeping ensures that she sleeps through the night (albeit attached to my breast). It also means that until I go to bed she will stir every so often. Some nights are worse than others, but the evening sees me intermittently on human-dummy duty"

    Just search the blog for co-sleeping to see all the references.

  24. Hello! This is my first time visit here. I have been reading about co-sleeping on Anna Rummey's blog and I have to admit that it never even crossed my mind to co-sleep with my baby. Maybe because I do not personally know anyone who does it or has does it. I don't feel there is a right or wrong and I feel it is up to everyone to decide on their parenting. Now that I have heard about it more (via blogs) I know that it is not something I would personnaly want to do. Mainly, because I feel that as a couple with a young baby, we already have a lot less intimate moments than before and co-sleeping would not help in that area. However, our little boy did co-sleep in our room with us for 7 months and we were all really happy with the experience. People used to tell us that it was a bad habit for our little one but the day we decided it was time for him to sleep in his own room, he slept all night like a little angel. No tears, no nothing. He didn't even care. So in the end, I feel you have to do what you feel confortable with.

    Kisses from a Parisian mama xx

  25. I am half Korean and at least when I was a kid, sleeping in the same room as your family in Korea wasn't that unusual. My brother and I both slept in our parents room for a very long time since we were babies. I guess as a child I didn't see anything wrong with this... I loved being able to sleep beside my parents whenever I wanted to, especially when I got scared. I felt safe. I never thought it was "weird" until other people started to say so. Personally, I never thought it was a bad thing for me, but I guess looking back I can see how dependent I was on my parents being near by to fall asleep or stay asleep as a kid. Then again, my brother never ever had an issue with sleeping on his own.

    Now that I am a new parent myself I think I can see how this could be an issue for the parents. I mean, do we really want our kid in the room all the time? What if we want a little privacy? Hehe, but that's really my only concern. As far as making that transition from our room to their own, I just expect that's all apart of life.

    Anyway, as a kid who co-slept with her parents, I would say it's fine for the first year when your kid still has time to learn to sleep in their own room. Beyond that it might be hard on the kid to find comfort in their own environment, alone. And as a parent, I feel that it's really up to you :) Yes, by the time you decide to place your child in their own room it might be difficult, but that transition is part of deciding to co-sleep. In time, they'll learn to be content on their own and everyone will be happy.

    I hope that helps.

    All the best!

  26. Both my parents and my husband's parents co-slept, but I was worried when I was pregnant because of all the negativity and fear put out about it. Then one day a stumbled upon a blog from England and started perusing other blogs and realized that in most of Europe co-sleeping is the norm. No special beds or anything, just plop the baby in there with you. It turns out they have less instances of SIDS as well, or so the implication. This made me feel a little better.

    Then I started reading about the cases where babies had died because of co-sleeping, i.e. they got smothered. The vast majority of the cases (if not all) were due to someone in the bed (though most involve the couch) being drunk, on prescription medications, or being very overweight. These made me feel much better.

    I still thought my daughter would sleep in her crib by the bed, but that turned out not to be the case. She slept in the bed between my husband and I until a few months ago when we got her a toddler's bed to put next to our bed. Now, almost two, she crawls in with us between about 2-4 am. I didn't have the sleepless nights that other parents speak of and my daughter is very happy and adventurous. I've had many comments that people think she is that way because we make her feel so safe and loved, and I know co-sleeping helps with that.

  27. YES, to Dr. Mckenna's site, and a big YES to LLL! If you have time, please consider attending a LLL meeting before you have the baby, you'll find lots of support from moms who have nursed and co-slept.