Thursday, May 13, 2010

Co-sleeping and marriage

I have been asked to write a post about co-sleeping/attachment parenting and how it can work and still keep your marriage the priority.

I found attachment parenting as I am sure many people do, just because it was what came naturally to me. Gary and I never intended to ever have a baby in bed with us..after all, that was dangerous and why would you want to have anyone else in the bed?? Well, when Isabella was a few weeks old, I pulled her into bed to nurse and woke up a few hours later feeling so rested! She was happy, I was rested/happy, and in turn Gary was happy. Happy wife = happy husband. I decided that even though I shouldn't let her sleep with me, I needed sleep so I could function and not be so emotionally out of whack. From that moment on, Bella always started out in a bed of her own and upon waking a few hours later, I would bring her into bed with us and just nurse her whenever she woke up. It worked very well for us and when she was 19 months old, I night-weaned her and she stayed in her own bed all night from then on.

I liked the situation we had of her starting out seeping on her gave us a few hours to ourselves for *anything* we might want to do before she woke up. So what I'm saying is that co-sleeping has not had a negative impact on our love life. ;-)

With Leo, I remembered how well I slept once I started letting Bella sleep with us and just nursing whenever she needed it throughout the night so I did the same thing with him from the day he was born. For the first 2 months, he actually just went to bed at the same time as us and started out in our bed and stayed there all night...and slept through the night(sigh of relief!)

When we moved to Texas, we started putting him in a bassinet/crib when he went to bed just as we did with Bella and that is where we still are. About a month ago, I finally started putting him in his room instead of on a mattress next to our bed. The plus of this is that we can actually talk/read/whatever in our room without fear of waking him up. It is just further for this lazy mother to walk when he wakes up at 1am! haha. Eventually, I will try the same things I did with Bella to night-wean him and hopefully he will be sleeping through the night by the holidays!!!

As for other aspects of "Attachment Parenting" and how it is possible to do this without messing with your relationship, I have found it quite easy. I think it depends on your spouse and how "on board" they are with this style of parenting. We tried to have Bella "cry it out" when she was about 5 months old and it was torture for both of us. I think we lasted 15 minutes. Never again. With baby -wearing, Gary loves that he never had to haul around a heavy carseat with Leo in it!

I think most husbands just go along with whatever their wife thinks as far as child-rearing. It helps to have some reasons why you might be going along with something less mainstream if that concerns him. I have read aloud from books to Gary as well as shared my personal feelings of why I wanted to do/not do something. I have explained that I trust my God-given instincts and feel confident in following them in my parenting.
Here is a great article on co-sleeping for more thoughts.


Mary said...

We co-slept with our kids for some of the same reasons. I am not a very happy person without my sleep as a mom or otherwise. My husband, Jess, actually enjoyed sleeping with our girls. Belive it or not but I had some convincing to do when I felt our oldest needed to go to her own room and bed. But he works long hours so that night time cuddling was some of the only time he got with them at the time. My second girl was less of a co-sleeper. It never caused problems for us in any way. (ie alone time together) There is always time for things that are a priority or allot the time for.
I think there is a happy middle. Having them in your bed too long causes problems and other battles later, with the child. My oldest was and is very attached. She is getting better but she perfers to not sleep alone.

Emily said...

Thanks Sarah! Great comments, and I totally agree. We've had kids in our bed since our first was about 9 months, and obviously it has not cause issues with our love life, because we now have 5 kids under 5. :)

We do encourage our kids to move to their own room around 15-18 months, but still allow them back in our bed if they need (but I don't go get them... they have to come to me).

Becca said...

Thanks, Sarah! (And Mary and Emily, too.) I don't feel bad now that I haven't done much co-sleeping with 18-month-old Adam, because, (a), Adam strongly prefers his crib, (b), my husband dislikes having our kids in our bed, and, (c), I sleep a lot worse with either of my boys in our bed. We do let James (age 3 1/2 years) come sleep with us sometimes when he needs us, but neither Jon nor I sleep very well when he does. Adam sometimes will fall asleep in our bed with me after nursing in the night, but he ends up moving around a lot so within a few hours I'll move him back to his crib where he sleeps as content as can be. Adam is definitely happily attached to me, so I don't think his sleeping in his own crib (in his own room, since about 4 months), has hurt any in that department. Still, I might try a little more of the co-sleeping with baby #3 to see how that goes.

But now I have another question: how did you night-ween Bella? I know you don't go for the whole "cry it out" (I don't either), so how did you do it? Adam still wakes 1-3 times a night, and only nursing will convince him to go back to sleep.