Tell me about your experiences with co-sleeping and the family bed


#1

Hi All,
I would like to hear some stories related to co-sleeping. We’ve gone back and forth between co-sleeping and having her next to our bed. We started out co-sleeping, then when she was diagnosed with reflux we had to have her propped up to sleep until she was about 6 months or so. As she gets older it seems like she spends more and more time on our bed, often waking early in the night just to come into our bed. We briefly tried to transition to a crib a while ago, but gave that up. It doesn’t seem like much, but at 3am when you’re dead tired, I barely want to walk around the bed to put her in the pack n play, let alone down the hall to her room.

So what are your experiences with co-sleeping? Do you love it? Did you find the transition out of the family bed an easy or difficult one?

Steph


#2

Hello, I am brand-new to Catholic Forums but not new to being a mother…so I would like to offer my opinion here.

Co-sleeping was not at all a problem for me until I had more than one child. (I am guessing that you have one small child from your post although I could be making an assumption). I hope you can see where I am going with this. Co-sleeping with one child could work okay, but if you are blessed with a larger family it would be nearly impossible! It might be easier to transition your child slowly to their own bed now, rather then wait until a new sibling comes along!

My son slept in our bed on and off when he was young. Crying and waking up just made it easier to leave him with us. When he was almost two his sister was born and it made things a challenge. Luckily by then he was pretty good about staying in his crib with the door cracked so it wasn’t so hard…but I imagine it would have been very hard to “kick” him out of our bed when the new baby came!

It was hard, emotionally for me but we made it through. Hope this helps.


#3

I think it is natural to want to have an ill baby in bed or next to your bed through the night. As my children grew up, thunder and lightening would bring them to our bed. They were welcomed, then when the storm was over, back to bed. Children sleep better in thier own bed and certainly parents sleep better and deserve the privacy of thier own bed without children. The “family bed” is a fad that should go away. Put your child to bed after a story, prayers, hugs and kisses. The child gets up? Put her back in her bed. It may take a few nights, and you might have to put up with some crying, but soon it will stop and you all get a good nights sleep. Have a “special” time, like Saturday morning when the family can gather on mom and dad’s bed just for fun.

Love and peace
Mom of 5


#4

We use the family bed and it’s not that big of a deal for us as a family with 5 children (we obviously find plenty of private mom and dad time! LOL) . We do what works for our family to maximize the amount of sleep we all get. If you or your dh is uncomfortable with the family bed, then encourage your dd to sleep in her own crib. This will probably take some work on your part, but it needn’t be traumatic for anyone. I, for one, am glad the that family bed/co sleeping is more acceptable today. I think many people have done it through the years and just never talked about it. It’s also very common in other cultures and societies, I often wonder what’s wrong with our country to expect such ‘independence’ and ‘self reliance’ from infants and toddlers. :rolleyes:

Anyway, you and your dh have to decide what’s best for your current and future family. There’s no one right answer for every family and sleep arrangements often change through the course of raising children (at least in our house!). God bless,
Jennifer


#5

Joey slept in a pack-n-play in our room for the first nine months. Then we moved into our house and put him in his own room. The transition was very smooth, and my husband and I loved having our room to ourselves. We could talk at night and not have to whisper, we could turn on the bright light if we needed to! :slight_smile:

For as long he’s been alive, we would always put him to bed in his own bed, or try to. Then, in the middle of the night when he’d wake up, I’d bring him to bed with us, and he’d nurse while we all slept for about an hour. Then I could place him back in his crib. Sometimes I would sit up with him and nurse him, but only if I was awake and felt like praying, or if I was uncomfortable with him in the bed. This continued until he was about 14-15 months old or so.

As he got older, especially from 12 months onward, he became so restless in our bed. It was such a hassle to get him to lie down just right and latch on properly. I’d find myself spending long stretches of the sleeping hours just wrestling him! He’d kick and hit my husband and myself. He’s still nursing a little bit, and on the odd night that he does wake up crying, I nurse him on the side of my bed for a few minutes before putting him back in his own bed. He is such an active sleeper, I can’t imagine sharing a bed with him anymore :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

Wow, do all 5 children, mom, and dad sleep in the same bed? And if so, how does the private mom/dad time work?


#7

So I guess you used the cry-it-out method with your children. We are not going to do that here. Parents and babies have slept together either in bed with momma and daddy or in the same room for centuries all over the globe. I don’t think it’s a fad, and honestly, my daughter sleeps better in bed with us. Not every family is the same, and I don’t expect the same arrangement to work for everyone.

Maybe I’m guilty of just doing what’s easiest. I get more sleep when we all sleep together because I barely have to wake up to nurse, and I never have to touch a cold floor and walk a baby back to her bed. Of course, once it gets to be about 6am she gets restless and rolls around a lot, so she usually goes to the pack n play next to the bed. :stuck_out_tongue:

My dh enjoys her being in the bed too. I do wonder how we’ll find time and space for fun stuff :cool: with a toddler in the bed. But obviously, people do it.


#8

I do wonder if we’re confusing her by allowing her to stay in our bed all night some nights, but other nights putting her back to bed after she nurses. I wonder if we just need to choose one and stick with it.


#9

My children are all grown now. What is left of the family bed is the bed, KING size. Yes we had all our children at one time or another sleep with us. In fact, sleep with us was one of the first things my daughter said. This was not every night. It was a special time for them. It was a sad time when they stopped asking. We sometimes had three at a time but that was rare. We did by the king bed to accomadate those rare times when we had more than one. They all stopped coming by the age of ten. Those times are preciouse memories. I would not try to tell someone else if it was right or wrong. I think each family has to decide. I resent those who say it is wrong just as much as I recent those who say it is the only way.


#10

Some nights it’s one child and mom and dad. Some nights daddy works late (in our garage where he can pace and write and do daddy things lol) and several children end up in bed with mom and dad sleeps in the guest room when he comes in. Some nights mom and dad have the bed all to themselves. If one or two are sick, one of us take them to the guest room so as to not disturb everyone else. If someone has a bad dream we’ll snuggle them in their own bed back to sleep and return to our bed. We have rotating beds! LOL and it works for us. We find plenty of time and opportunity to be alone when needed :wink: We don’t find it a problem in our home and our children aren’t overly dependent on us in other aspects of life. They often don’t like to sleep alone at night–do you? :wink:

Jennifer


#11

I doubt that she’ll be confused by it. When you put her into her bed does she stay asleep for awhile or wake right up? If she’s not waking right up then I don’t think it’s a problem. However, if your goal is to get her to sleep in her own crib every night, then you do need to be consistant. But, if you don’t care if she sleep shares, then don’t worry about it. :slight_smile:

Jennifer


#12

That’s the way I look at it. When she’s older and doesn’t want mom to hug her in public, or she’s driving away in her very own car for the first time, I will have all those precious memories of all of us snuggled in bed together. :love:

We can’t decide when we want to try and transition her. I know if I were to get pregnant I would start. I want her to be used to sleeping in her room long before a new baby comes. I guess I’ll just keep having her start out in the pack n’ play at the beginning of each night. Usually she sleeps in there for several hours before coming to bed with us.


#13

Jack was in and out of out bed alot during his first year of life. At the beginning, it was mostly in. :slight_smile: I don’t sleep well with others (it took me a long time to get used to sleeping with my husband), so I moved him around alot. Sometimes in our bed, sometimes in the pack and play. Until he was 6 months, he rarely slept in his crib (a few naps). By 9 months, I was tired and hoped to get him to sleep alone and for more than 2-3 hours at a time, so I started putting him down in his crib. We tried cry it out twice, but I couldn’t do it.

Two books I like are “The No Cry Sleep Solution” and “Good Night, Sleep Tight”. The former has lots of ideas, mostly for babies, and includes ideas for getting more sleep while co-sleeping. The latter is a method, really, to help get baby to learn to fall asleep on their own. Jack fussed a little during the first couple of nights that we did this, but never really cried, and by 12 months he could fall asleep easily if I put him in his crib and sat in the rocking chair. He would then sleep for 6-8 hours. Sometimes I would feed him in his room at that point, other times I would bring him to our bed. I had to set a time that I would not let him into our bed to get him to sleep that well consistently, otherwise, he would just cry earlier and earlier until I gave in. :slight_smile:

I have a good friend who swears by the family bed . . . in fact, she just gave a newspaper interview for a small paper about it. Her daughter is Jack’s age (2) and they are expecting #2 any day. Sleeping all together works for them. That’s the most important thing. Nothing changed at our house until I was exhausted and needed change. Change for the sake of change is silly, IMHO. Just my 2 cents.

MJ


#14

My baby started out in my bed with me. He was a colicky newborn and did not sleep well anywhere but my arms. He really was exceptional in this need. I’ve taken care of hundreds of children and I know how to soothe a baby to sleep and place the baby in a crib with ease, but my own son did not care for this at all. So my intent was to stay with the family bed as long as baby needed that. I liked having him with me, because it made me feel like he was safe.

Around the six month mark he began to fidget and move during the night, and to nurse about every 45 minutes to 2 hours. He was cranky and exhausted during the day. I was so tired myself, people commented with worry about my “black eyes”, thinking I’d been punched in the face! :eek:

Finally he stopped going to sleep directly after nursing. As he also resisted all other comforting measures commonly used to help babies go to sleep, there was no way he could sleep in my bed any longer. He also protested and cried in his crib, so I spent a couple months going back and forth, sometimes trying “cry it out”, sometimes sleeping him in his carseat, and sometimes exhausting myself with fruitless efforts to coax this unique baby to sleep.

Then I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I implemented the suggestions (yes, he cried a lot) and within days I had a perfectly happy and well-rested child. And he is still secure and firmly attached to his mother, despite what all the doomsayers from the Dr. Sears fan club had said to me. This book takes a balanced approach to childhood sleep problems and cites extensive research backing up the author’s ideas on the subject.

If my son had enjoyed and thrived with co-sleeping, it would have indeed been a joy to continue doing so. But for him, co-sleeping was bad for his health. He has been much happier since we stopped.

So that’s our story. I hope it will give some food for thought to certain folks who appear to look down on others for not ascribing 100% to attachment parenting. My personal parenting philosophy is that each child is an individual and you should lovingly do what proves best for that child. I really recommend this book, but I know you’ll figure out whatever your sweet girl needs. :slight_smile:


#15

I’m too lazy to read this long of a thread at this un-Godly hour, so sorry if its been asked, but I was wondering, isn’t there a little risk with co-sleeping with a little baby? Opera was on in my house ( I was ***NOT ***watching it myself, only vaguely listening :slight_smile: ) and there was a segment of one mother who killed her son because she smothered him by rolling over him while they were asleep. Isn’t this a risk?


#16

Life is a risk. Let me ask you this, do babies die laying alone in their cribs? Yes, so with precautions you can make sleeping in a family bed as safe as a crib.

Here are ways to safely co sleep that reduces risk:
iparenting.com/sears/columns/co-sleep.htm
<<-Always put babies younger than 6 months to sleep on their backs and not their tummies.
-Don’t sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or any substance that could diminish your awareness of your baby.
-Don’t sleep with baby on soft surfaces, such as beanbags, waterbeds and couches.
-Avoid crevices between mattress and wall or mattress and side rail.
-Avoid side rails, head-boards and foot-boards that have slats that could entrap baby’s head.
-Avoid putting your bed near curtains or blinds that have dangling strings that could strangle baby.
-Only one baby in bed at a time, please. >>

Here’s someone besides Dr. Sears
pantley.com/elizabeth/content/excerpts/cosleepingchecklist.htm

Again, co sleeping isn’t for every family! Do what works for your family!

God bless,
Jennifer


#17

Canadianlife ~ studies have also shown that babies are less at risk to die from SIDS when co-sleeping, because the constant motion of the parents and the regulated breathing of the mother helps keep the babies’ systems “in check.”

Momof5 ~ it’s hardly a fad, as Steph stated. :wink:

Steph ~ we coslept with both. Our dd was WONDERFUL to sleep with. We had our queen bed pushed up against the wall on my side and stuffed body pillows down between the wall and the mattress till all was tight and firm and closed up. She slept next to the wall, with me beside her and dh beside me. It didn’t work for her to sleep between us because dh was at that time crazy to sleep with (elbows in my eye, knee to my gut, etc.! :slight_smile: ) He’s better now. :smiley:

Yes, the memories we have of her waking up with us are priceless - her hair all frazzled and a big mess, crawling across our tummies to make sure we got up too…

By the time she hit about 14 months, she was a nightmare to sleep with - doing the same things her daddy would do - punching, kicking, lying sideways, so we booted her. I think she was glad to leave at that time. She transitioned to a pack and play beside our bed for a few months and then to a toddler bed in our bedroom. She just left our bedroom about 5 months ago and I completely miss having her in ours - waking up and seeing her sleeping all curled up in her toddler bed at the foot of our bed. Ah! Every now and then I want her back! :slight_smile:

Now, ds is a different story. He prefers to sleep alone. And he sleeps much better that way. There were nights when dh and I got no sleep, nor did ds, because he would wake up 6, 7 times a night, and want to nurse but try to nurse twisting and crawling and sitting up pulling me every which way. We had to put an end to that, because dh was waking up exhausted and cranky every am. So ds went to his mini-crib (a crib but pack-n-play size) in our room, and he would wake up crying but we would get up and rub his back and pat his bottom till he wound down to sleep again, and within 2 days he started sleeping through the night on his own.

He does wake up at about 5:30/6 and want to get in bed with us, so that’s when he gets to.

My sister used to razz me right and left about having the kids sleep with us. She was completely rude about it - rolling eyes, sighing, and saying we were going to raise spoiled brats. Well, her new baby is 6 weeks old and has ***yet ***to see the inside of his own crib! :rolleyes:


#18

Hands down, best advice.

We’ve had the majority of our 5 children in our bed for years & years. LOVED the little warm bundles sleeping next to me. Never once rolled over on top of anyone. It worked fine for us and they do eventually want to be in their own rooms. I will always cherish those memories.

This time around w/ baby #5, dh & I decided we wanted the bed back for just us. It seems like so much of our lives is all about the kids… we wanted the evenings to be only about us. Fortunatly, this baby (because she is just so perfect!) LOVES her crib. So it’s all good.

:slight_smile: CM


#19

In my family, the youngest baby would co-sleep until weened. By then the next baby was on the way anyways… :wink:

The interesting twist to the 2yo not sleeping with mom and dad anymore was that he/she went off to sleep with a sibling per the buddy system.

Unless one of the kids displayed a desire for independence (which one or two did, and they enjoyed sleeping in their own little toddler bed) then the little kid ended up sleeping with me.

After a couple more years, the little kid moved to a separate bed in the same room (bunk bed). A couple more years and the kid moved into their own room or section of a room with their own bed.

I think it’s a good developmental track that can go as slow or fast as the individual needs to.

Right now I share a bunk bed with my little sis who just turned 5. My other sister is sleeping on the other bunk bed at age 7 and next year will move to another bedroom for more independence.

I can’t imagine not being so close and comfortable with my siblings. There is definitely a bond that comes with sleeping with others at night, be they best friends at sleepovers or little siblings who need an extra cuddle against the bogeyman to stay asleep.

Now that I think about it, I sleep better myself, lol.


#20

Oh, also, that whole fear of killing the baby thing is one of my pet peeves.

Unless you get stoned and drunk at night, or perhaps have a sleeping disorder and take medication, it is beyond me how anyone can roll onto a baby and kill them.

Are these people afraid to kill their spouse as well?

I think this fear stems more from a feeling that babies are fragile and would just lie there squished as they die.

Maybe those who are afraid of this should try sleeping with a little one. Reminds me of a joke:

A new mommy, after a long, sleepless night of crying and feeding, asked her mother (who was staying at the house to help out), “Mom, when will I ever sleep through the night again?”

The older mom looked up and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, honey, I didn’t hear you. I was thinking about last night. Are you feeling all right? You were coughing an awful lot.”

:smiley:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.