It's time for a BIG confession that only a few people know about our family: we've been cosleeping since the day Luna was born. And I don't just mean sleeping in the same room. I mean sleeping in the same bed.
We did it against doctor's recommendations.
We did it against all our friend's and family's dire warnings.
We did it despite the million reasons why we shouldn't.
And guess what?
Cosleeping was the BEST decision we could have made for our family.*
I'll admit - it wasn't part of our original plan. In fact, before Luna was born I couldn't fathom why some parents would disregard all the current information on cosleeping. It's dangerous. It's against the rules! And I'm one of those people that really likes rules.
But the moment Luna came into the world everything changed. Up until then she had always been snuggled safe and warm in my belly. And now she was out in this big world and I couldn't bear the thought of her being alone. Her little cries felt heartbreaking that first night. So I picked her up, nestled her into my arms, and we drifted to sleep together for the very first time.
Since then, we've slept together as a family every night for almost 14 months. Pregnant Lacey would have been SHOCKED, ha! But over time I've come to realize that there are so many things I never understood about cosleeping/bedsharing. So whether you're thinking about trying it, you're totally against it, or you're just the slightest bit curious what it's really like, these confessions are for just for you :)
#1 - IT WAS TERRIFYING AT FIRST
During pregnancy, you receive so much negative information about cosleeping. You're told over and over all the things that can go wrong. And that information is out there because it happened to someone. Many someones. There are people in the world whose baby might still be alive if they didn't share a bed. In most of those cases, though, there were other risk factors involved (alcohol, drugs, or obesity to name a few). But when you're new to motherhood and super sleep-deprived, the fear over those things is crippling. I woke up screaming almost every night in the first week or two from vivid nightmares that all ended with me holding Luna's limp body in my arms.
For the most part, those fears faded away after a few months. Or maybe they just changed over time. In the beginning, I was afraid I would smother Lu on accident. As she grew, I was worried she would roll off the bed. And these days I worry about what it will be like when we finally do transition her into her own space. But I think that's just part of motherhood. Once you become a parent, you're pretty much guaranteed to worry about something every single day for the rest of your life.
#2 - IT FEELS NATURAL
Despite all my fears, it felt so right to share a bed with Luna. She slept better and longer in my arms than anywhere else. And I slept better, too, knowing she was safe with me. It was also just really hard for me to imagine leaving her alone in a crib. I think I'm extra sensitive about this because I struggle with feeling lonely sometimes. We spend so much of our lives alone in the world and all I want is to protect Luna from that feeling for as along as possible.
#3 - YOU MIGHT FEEL PRESSURED TO STOP
This was probably the hardest part about cosleeping for me in the early months. During that time, I was getting so much pressure from every direction to stop what I was doing. I heard it from family members. I read it in books. I heard it from the super judgy nurse at the doctor's office. And I heard it from all those incredible women who have never been mothers but know what's best.
Now that Luna is a little older, I'm a lot less sensitive about the subject. If someone wants to share their opinion, I'll always hear them out. But if they ask me to justify our decision, I just say it's what works best for our family and leave it at that.
#4 - IT MAKES SLEEP TRAINING HARD
When Luna was around four months, the pressure really started to get to me and I decided it was time to crib train. I read a whole book on the Ferber Method before starting. It's supposed to be a gentler method of sleep training but the process was TRAUMATIZING for me. And I mean that literally. My chest still hurts thinking about it and it's almost impossible for me to talk about. It was one of the worst nights in my entire life and the reason we'll be hiring a sleep consultant when we do finally make the switch.
#5 - A LOT OF OTHER MOMS DO IT TOO
This isn't really a confession but it is one of the magical things about motherhood. We all have these shared experiences that connect us in ways that you could never explain to someone who hasn't been through it. And even though we don't all cosleep, the ones who do feel this extra sense of solidarity. We sigh in relief when we realize that we're not the only ones. And even the ones who don't cosleep can usually relate to the feeling that we're all doing at least a few things "wrong".
#6 - IT FEELS CONFINING AT TIMES
Every now and then, it would be nice if we could drop Lu off with a friend or family member for the night. But it's almost impossible to do when your baby is used to cosleeping. It's one of the many reasons we'll eventually need to transition her into her own space (although I'm trying not to think about it)!
#7 - IT'S ADDICTING AFTER A WHILE
Regardless of the hard parts of cosleeping, it's the best feeling when I climb into bed at night and Lu rolls over to wrap her arms around me. I love her smell and her little heartbeat against my skin. And I love how she seems so comfortable and at peace. I know when she's with me that she feels really, truly safe and it's the best feeling I could possibly describe. And if I could go back in do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing.