Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Co-sleeping with the Already Independently SleepingToddler

Last night, as I checked in on my little man around 10 pm to turn off his nighttime tunes and humidifier, I realized he was still awake in his little bed.  I went over to rub his back in hopes that he would relax enough to close his sleepy eyes, but instead he grabbed my arm and hugged it tightly close to him, turned over with my arm in tow and tried to get into sleep position.  It broke my heart.

I've always felt it is so completely unnatural for our babies to go to sleep alone in a room each night.

My son co-slept with my husband and I for the first year of his life.  I always knew we would do this, as the benefits of co-sleeping are substantial for nurturing the growth of our babies.  But co-sleeping for us, and unlike what many parents will profess, left us so entirely sleep deprived.  I could never get relaxed enough to sleep well.  With every peep and movement Park made, my husband and I were very aware and alert.  I'm sure a lot of our sleep deprivation had to do with being first time parents.  Well, that and the fact I was a human pacifier for a year.  But we pushed through, knowing that sleeping with Park, while he was so little and needed us, was our only option.

By the time Park was a year old, I had physically had enough.  I couldn't go any longer with the sleepless nights and felt Park was old enough to be in his own bed.  I truly, 100% felt that I wasn't the capable mother I so longed to be because of the mental and physical exhaustion.  So we moved him into his own bedroom.  We were happy to see it wasn't much of a challenge to make the change.   And we were all getting rest again.

Now he is 2 and a half, he goes to nap time and bedtime perfectly...he actually climbs into his bed each and every day with a smile on his face.  He sleeps soundly through the night and over the last few months, has been sleeping in later and later everyday...something we only dreamed would happen because for the first 2 years of his life, he always awoke around 5:30 am (yuck!).  So although Park is sleeping well and has long ago accepted his own bed as comfort enough, I realized I have yet to.

Every night I lay him down to sleep, and rub his back and tell him I love him and sweet dreams, I feel an enormous amount of guilt.  I personally hate to go to sleep alone in our bed and in our bedroom, so I can't imagine how my little guy feels going to bed all alone in a room while his parents are in other parts of the house.  I can see why my little guy comes into our bedroom the minute he wakes up in the morning only to climb in between my husband and I to snuggle and go back to sleep for another hour or two.  I would!

Last night, Park came into our room very early...he brought his puppy stuffed animal in with him, climbed into our bed and slept soundly until eight this morning.  EIGHT!  That's officially the latest he has ever slept in.  When he woke up, he rolled over, kissed me good morning and rubbed my head.  I know many of you are probably thinking that I'm beginning a "bad habit" by letting him back into our room.  But the thing is, I enjoy my son sleeping with us.  I want him to know he is always welcome with us, that he can trust us and feel secure by us.  And now that we don't nurse anymore, and now that he is a big enough boy that we don't need to worry about his every move, I can sleep soundly too.  I feel that because of this new connection, or rather old one reappearing, I feel even closer to my baby boy.

Coincidentally, since Park started coming into our bed in the early mornings he has been a happier child.  He is getting more hours of sleep each night, something that I always knew he really needed to have.  He has made remarkable progress with his speaking, communicating and growing as an individual.  He has been eating better and has more energy during our days.  I can't help but think to myself that maybe he was not ready to move into his own room at a year old...while at the same time I can't feel I made a mistake moving him because I positively needed him to sleep in another bed.  I was alarmingly exhausted at all times.  And a sleep deprived mother is not a good mother, in my eyes.

And so we have a family bed again. 

Happily Yours Truly,

Mommy Bridget


  1. Love this!! And your pregnancy pics are beautiful - enjoy your last trimester and have a Merry Christmas!!
    Jane Link

  2. Thank you Jane, I'm glad you do!
    Merry Christmas to you and your cute family...

  3. I have struggled with the same feelings -- especially with Sophia. She is 6.5 yrs old now and still co-sleeps with us sometimes...and like you I don't mind and neither does kent (most of the time) as she is so yummy to cuddle with! Ella on the other hand will only sleep in her bed -- her bed is her bed and no other bed will do!