bed-sharing with baby
I've been wanting to share a little insight on the topic of bed-sharing since Jasper was born and why we decided to share a bed with him.
The day we brought Jasper home we put him in a little bed next to ours at bedtime. Twenty minutes later, he was awake and crying. We put him back to sleep in his bed, only to wake up again and again. We tried the same thing the following night; but by the middle of that night, I was so exhausted I gave in and pulled Jasper into bed with us. I have always known of SIDS, and the dangers of sleeping in "unsafe" environments, so the next morning Grafton and I knew that we needed to have a discussion about it and be on the same page. I didn't want to wake up constantly throughout the night and be so tired that I accidentally fall asleep with him while sitting on the couch.
We have a crib in Jasper's own room, and he occasionally sleeps in there during his naps (even though he doesn't sleep as long as he does in his swing or our arms) but I wasn't ready for him to be all alone at night, and neither was he. The first night we slept with him, he only woke up twice to eat and he went right back to sleep.
When Grafton and I were talking about it, I figured it best that Jasper sleep on the outside on my side rather than in-between us. Grafton is a pretty heavy sleeper, and even if I wake him up in the middle of the night to change Jasper's diaper he's pretty delirious at first-so I make sure he's really awake before he even takes Jasper out of bed.
It's pretty incredible how hyperaware I am when we are sleeping; I know exactly where Jasper is, I find myself waking up if I feel like he's being really still. When he wakes up to eat I just roll him enough to latch on and usually fall right back to sleep.
Another reason why I was okay with having him sleep with us was the emotional aspect. For 9 months, our little Jasper was close to my heartbeat. It's the inborn need for a baby to be touched and held and cuddled. And for me as his mama, I want him to feel safe and not alone at night. I love snuggling with Japer at night, and it's been so rad to watch him grow: he used to just cry at night when he was hungry, now he'll kick up my belly and scoot up to my face to say "FEED ME MOM" and in the morning I get to cuddle with a happy and smiling baby who talks right back to me. Sure, some people might see that as silly-but that's their opinion. I have had several people tell me how we are spoiling Jasper and he won't learn to sleep on is own. <insert a passive aggressive smile and a nod here>. Yeah, OKAY...I'm spoiling my two month old baby by caring for him. Aren't babies supposed to be dependent on adults for a while?
Whatever you think of bed-sharing, that's okay, it's your opinion. But we shouldn't be telling one another how to raise our children. Advice is always welcome when asked for, but honestly, I've mostly found the comments made on our decision somewhat insulting. Grafton and I didn't just make an ignorant decision about this. It's a serious decision and we went through all of the variables of bed-sharing or not. For our family, we decided that Jasper sleeping with us was best. I have found many encouraging articles on SAFE bed-sharing or co-sleeping from organizations such as UNICEF and the Lullaby Trust. We don't use drugs and we don't smoke, we don't use sleep aids, and if I have a drink it's usually just one with dinner. I also tuck the blanket that's on me between my legs so they are never on Jasper.
I think the biggest part of our decision was knowing that we are safely sleeping with Jasper, and we are happy with our choice.