I co-sleep, and not just with my husband. We also sleep with little Miss Willow. I’ve tried to put her in her own bed. Honestly! I’ve tried. Willow possesses a dog’s penchant for smelling all the things, because if I’m even 6 inches away from her…. she sets out to find me. If she doesn’t find me within that six inch window…. screaming commences! So, in order for us to get any semblance of sleep, she sleeps snuggled up to me, every nap, and every night.
For this co-sleeping habit that we have created, we have seen a number of side-eyes. For example, the pediatrician has been asking us where Willow sleeps since week one. I give her the same answer every time…… in our bed. At first, I was able to ward off the side-eye with the “she sleeps in a ‘co-sleeper’ in our bed” affirmation. This seemed to quell the fears of the doctor, at least until the 6 month check up, at which point, the doctor informed me that Willow may be “too big” for the co-sleeper. Ha! I had successfully fooled the doctor! Willow slept in the co-sleeper about 5% of the time! Lying to professionals about my parenting skills and being successful at it…. ✔️! At the 9 month check up, that is were the side-eye came in, as well as the soft lecture disguised as a genuine concern for my sleep speech…. “you would get more sleep if Willow slept alone in her crib.” Followed by, “you really should lay her down ‘alone’ and pat her back to sleep so she learns how to fall asleep without you”……. yup, I screwing my kid up for sure! Hopefully at the 12 month check up, the pediatrician won’t alert child protective services on us for the continued habitual co-sleeping we are doing. Wait until she hears that we don’t do CIO (cry it out)!
It isn’t that I am following a particular style of parenting. I’m just following my instincts and the instincts of Willow. Willow and I are simpatico. We live and breathe each other. I know her needs and wants, probably better than she does. And because I get her, she feels safest with me. She looks to me every time she does something new for reassurance. When she is scared, tired, hungry, or just needs snuggles, she seeks me out, and I am right there to give her what she needs. So why would it be any different when she sleeps? I know that some experts say that co-sleeping breeds bad habits. But is it really a bad habit to want closeness when you sleep? Why are we so inclined to push little souls away from us when they are too little to understand that we will still hear them and tend to their needs (even though they are left all alone)…. yet we retreat to our bed with our spouses? I don’t know, it just seems backwards to me.
So co-sleeping it is! For us anyway. It is what seems to work for us…. it is our jam. At some point in time, Willow won’t be reaching for me at every step, she won’t look to me for reassurance, she won’t seek out my scent….. so for now, and for the near future, I will be where she needs me to be, right next to her within smelling distance.