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You never planned to co-sleep your baby. When you were pregnant with your first child, you swore up and down that you would never co-sleep with your baby, no matter what. Your child will be sleeping in their bassinet in our room for the first six months and after that, you would start sleep training so that they can sleep through the night in their crib in their nursery. But after the newborn stage, you realized how silly you once were. You couldn't take any more nights of sitting up to nurse, only for the baby to wake up as soon as she's placed in the crib. Co-sleeping made you saner and much less sleep deprived.
The biggest misconception that you have heard is that co-sleeping is dedicated to “crunchy moms” who exclusively use cloth diapers, make homemade baby food, baby-wear, and home school when that could not be further from the case. You wish that you had the effort to do all of those, but you're just a normal sleep deprived mom who wanted some extra sleep at night. (And even if you're a crunchy mom, all the power to you!) Co-sleeping is popular all around the world and has been since the beginning of time. And it has been quite the journey for you and your little family.
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Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, but it also requires a lot of patience and support. You expected it to happen naturally, however, in the beginning, it was very hard to get the baby to latch on. However, breastfeeding while in side-lying position in bed can make it easier for your baby to latch on. Even if your breasts are engorged (and they will be), the baby can instantly grab on and suckle. Also, since they can drink to their heart's content throughout the night, it will be easier for them to gain back the weight that they lost after coming home from the hospital.
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So you did not get much leverage out of your bassinet in the first six months of your child's life. So now it is time to place the baby in the crib to sleep while you and your husband sleep in your bed. Right? Wrong! Don't you know that babies hate their cribs? With a passion! All you have to do is put them in there, and they cry on command. How come? First of all, it is not nearly as warm as the big bed. Second of all, it is not nearly as comfy. Third of all, Mommy and Daddy do not sleep in there. And don't even think about putting them in their crib after they start walking. They will find a way to climb out!
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When you were pregnant with your first child, you heard of the Ferber method, better known as the Cry-It-Out method of sleep training. Theoretically, it seemed easy enough. Your baby will adjust for a few days, cry a bit until they got used to sleeping through the night in their crib and eventually their toddler bed. However, you never knew how sleep deprived you would become from the first days of waking up constantly from your baby cries. Also, you never knew how emotionally hard it would be. These are not normal cries. Your baby is screaming from the top of their lungs because they are in the crib alone and Mommy is nowhere in sight. You begin to feel bad for your distressed baby, so back in the bed with Mommy they go. They will be ready to sleep in their bed on their own when they're older.
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You decided that even though sleeping training didn't work out, all hope isn't gone. One of your friends recommended getting a co-sleeper because her child was able to sleep through the night in one. She told you that a co-sleeper provides the benefits of co-sleeping while allowing you and your husband to get your bed back. You bought a co-sleeper attachment that very day. However, your baby was not amused. She knew that the co-sleeper was nothing more than a crib that is closer to Mom and Dad. The co-sleeper proved to be useless, unless, of course, you wanted to get some sleep in it.
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Even though your baby did not sleep in their crib, you were determined to get them to sleep in their own bed once they became a toddler. You bought a bed with their favorite cartoon character as soon as they were old enough to start climbing out of their crib. Your toddler loved their bed- but only for sitting down and playing with their toys. Chasing your toddler around when they run out of their bed during their supposed bedtime was a new challenge. When you became completely burned out, you started to embrace your toddler's midnight visits after all.
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When you remember co-sleeping with your child as a baby, you have fond memories of your baby curled up in between Mom and Dad or nursing throughout the night. Co-sleeping with toddlers or small children is a whole different ballgame. Even though they are very small in size, toddlers manage to take up more space than Mom and Dad combined! Get used to sleeping with a foot in your face or a little finger up your nose. You will miss those days when you get your kid to sleep in their own room, without coming into your bed later that night.
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Do you remember complaining about your husband moving consistency in their sleep in your childless days (of course we were always perfect sleepers!)? Looking back on those times, you realize how lucky you were back then. Nobody moves more in their sleep than a kid! They can literary go from sleeping in the middle of Mom and Dad to sleeping at the top of the bed, the bottom of the bed, or even on someone else! How do they do it? And even more importantly, how are they comfortable sleeping this way? They never sleep this comfortably in their own bed!
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Earlier in your co-sleeping journey, you used to think that the best way for you, your husband, and your child to get more space in bed is to buy a bigger bed. After all, it is the most logical thing to do after sleeping on the edge of the bed for weeks straight. Unfortunately, that plan didn't seem to work as well as you planned. The only one who seemed to get more space in the bed is your kid, who took full advantage by stretching out their arms and legs like an octopus while you and your husband continued to sleep at the edge of the bed. Well, at least you tried. You decided to get used to sleeping on the edge instead.
After sleeping on the edge of the bed for too long, you had another idea. You decided to purchase some king-sized bed rails for each side of the bed. After all, your kid has two rails on their bed to help prevent them from falling out, even though they never sleep there through the night. First of all, your kids are safer in the family bed. Second of all, you are finally able to sleep without your arm or leg hanging off the bed. Even if you have to get used to sleeping with your face pressed to mesh.
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During your childless days, there was nothing worse than waking up to your husband's insanely loud snoring (of course, you did not make a peep in your sleep!). Now that you are co-sleeping, you have woken up countless times in the middle of the night to your baby screaming at the top of their lungs, only to go back to sleep minutes after (and interrupt your sleep). Of course, your husband slept through everything. You thought everything would get easier when they got older, but of course, that was short lived when they started waking you up in the middle of the night to drink juice.
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Mothers and their children are not the only ones who benefit from co-sleeping. When fathers begin to sleep with their baby from very young, they can practice skin to skin, which forms a bond between the father and his baby. As the child grows older, feeling bonded to both parents in the family bed is beneficial to their emotional development. Also, isn't it nice to see your children and their father sleeping in the same exact position in bed together? That is when they are not both taking up almost the entire bed together.
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Prior to having children, you and your husband were able to have sex multiple times a week. That all changed after you had children and your marital bed became a family bed. Since they claimed your bed, you can't even plan sex around their bedtimes since they are here to stay! Not to mention, by the time your rambunctious kids fell asleep, you and your husband didn't have the energy to do anything else but fall asleep with them. To rekindle the flame in your marriage, you decided to enforce bedtimes-in their own bed. However, that didn't stop one of them from knocking on your door in the middle of the night after having a nightmare. Having sex outside of the bedroom transformed your sex life. And quickies, lots of quickies!
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When you become a mother, you develop a sixth sense that is sort of like a new mom superpower. You always keep one eye and ear open, even if prior to having your child you could have slept through an earthquake. When they get old enough to move and roll in their sleep, you always keep your arm around them so that they don't move too far. You also humbly take your space at the end of the bed so that they can't go anywhere close to there. At least it's better than the days you were waking up constantly to check on them in their crib.
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You do not know how protective your children are of you and your husband until you begin to co-sleep. Even though they may take up much more space than they should or kick you in their sleep, their baby hugs make it more than worth it. Feeling their little arms around you in their sleep turns you into a ball of mush. There is no closer feeling than co-sleeping with your kids, after all, it is six to eight hours (ideally) of cuddling with your little ones. Those are the moments that make you want your kid to stay small, soft, and squishy forever.
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There is nothing cuter than watching a sleeping baby in general, but it's even cuter to see them in your bed. Maybe it's because they are so small lying on such a big bed with their head on your pillow and their chubby legs covered by a fluffy blanket. There is nothing more precious than when they stretch their chunky arms above their head. They are at their peak comfort, nothing like how they look when they are in their crib. Their cuteness is one of the reasons why you do not get enough sleep during the night since you're guilty of watching them in their sleep when you should be going to sleep yourself. In fact, half of the pictures saved on your phone are of your baby sleeping in your bed. Just in case they start suddenly sleeping in their crib.
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Punching in their sleep? That same innocent baby that you were watching while they were knocked out just a few hours ago? You would never believe that someone so cute could be such a rough sleeper if you didn't share a bed with them. It's not that bad at first. It starts with a few light punches when your baby is about six months or so. But that is only the training period. When your child gets to around toddler age, you and your husband get used to being punched, kicked, pushed, and sat on while you are sleeping. By the time your kid is around three years old, a kick to the neck feels like a mild graze.
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In case you didn't know, babies have super sharp fingernails. They literally feel like ten miniature razors. When you are a breastfeeding mom, you really understand how painful these miniature razors can be. When they scratch your breast while you are sleep nursing, you wake up to the pain of a thousand suns. And not to mention, baby mittens only go up to six months! And they always fall off the baby's hand at the worst time. That's why you must clip your baby's fingernails as they sleep. It is the hardest thing ever, but at least they wouldn't move if they are sleeping. Then you're good to go until they grow back two days later.
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When you were expecting another baby, you knew that it meant that there would be another addition to the family bed. You didn't know how their sleeping patterns would be solely based on their kicks from inside the belly. However, you might be in for a surprise. If your first child was a great sleeper, your second might turn out to be the opposite! And if your previous child is a wild sleeper, your second might surprise you as well! No matter what happens, this addition to the family bed always means one thing- less room for Mom and Dad!
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No matter how great your new baby sleeps, it's always an adjustment. Starting over the newborn stage means that Mom and Dad are back to being sleep deprived. It also means that your first born will be exposed to your newborn's middle of the night cries. And since your new baby sleeps throughout the day as well, they wake up fresh as a daisy while everyone else is exhausted from the night before. Let's just say that nap time with your toddler and your newborn became much more common on the family bed. It's the only thing that gets you through the day.
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If you owned a pet before you had your first child, you may already be used to your pet snuggling up in your bed with you and your husband. When your child started co-sleeping, you were concerned that your pet would become a bit territorial. However, that could not be further from the case. Your pet and your babies are the best of friends, and seeing them cuddle together in bed is the icing on the cake. In fact, as a pet owner, your camera is also full of pictures of your fur and human babies snuggling. Now if only you and your husband can get some more room on the bed every once in a while.
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When will your child be willing to sleep in their own bed throughout the night? It didn't happen when they were a baby or a toddler, but they were still so small and helpless then and they needed the comfort. You couldn't possibly make them sleep on their own. But when your child is school age and still coming in your bed in the middle of the night, you started to get a bit concerned. Is this normal? Are they too dependent on you and their dad for their age? You begin to wonder if they should start sleeping on their own now. You brought up your concerns to your mother, only to hear that you were also sleeping in your mom's bed when you were your child's age. And you started sleeping in your own bed eventually.
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Even though babies cannot talk, they can express their preference to sleep near their parents. Babies have a keen sense of smell. They can recognize their mother's scent from birth. They can also instantly smell the difference between mom or dad's arms and the fresh linen in their crib. And when they wake up in their crib instead of between their mom and dad, chaos ensues. Co-sleeping does not only help Mom and Dad get a better night sleep. It helps the baby to sleep longer through the night as well. It also helps them to bond with the people who they love most.
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When you told some of your family and friends about your decision to co-sleep, you were met with some backlash. What if the baby falls off the bed? The baby is never close enough the edge of the bed to fall. What if you roll over the baby? The mothers who roll over their baby who are reported by the news were intoxicated when they slept with their babies. And as your child gets a bit older, they ask, isn't your child too old to be sleeping in the same bed as you? However, it is not up to any of them to determine what you do with your children.
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In most species of mammals, animals sleep next to their babies to protect them from danger. In other cultures, humans also sleep next to their babies. Humans are expected to ignore their biological response and sleep away from their children. While spouses are expected to sleep next to each other, children are expected to sleep in a bed in a completely separate room from their parents. Meanwhile, the baby is screaming in their crib because they do not feel protected by their parents. Sleeping next to your children has been compared to your child sleeping next to a knife (and wrongfully so). Society continues to normalize animals sleeping next to their young but demonize humans for doing the same thing.
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Even though co-sleeping has its qualms, it is one of the best parenting decisions that you have ever made. You get more sleep in the night, your kids get more sleep in the night, and you get to bond with your babies. There is nothing better than feeling their breathing patterns and their heartbeat and knowing that they are safe in your arms. And looking at how cute and squishy they look when they are sleeping in your bed. You decide to embrace it as long as you could. You'll miss these days when your child is off to college.