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From m: I haven't posted on this forum, but I do lurk quite often. I really enjoy the line of thought around here and find myself more of an AP style of parent than I expected myself to be. My son is 6 weeks old and I love every minute of time that I spend with him. I admire you all for so confidently traveling down the path that is often less taken. I find my biggest worry is that my loved ones won't agree with my choices. People love to give their advice, as we all know and often this advice is counter to what I believe. How do you tactfully deal with this?
So on to my original question . . . I'm currently co-sleeping with my son and LOVE it. People say that we'll be sorry. So what is it that we, as a family, will be sorry about? If we like it and we are happy about it, is there something I'm not seeing?
From SusanH: I don't regret it at all and can't imagine my feelings will change. I think the reason most people say that is that they assume you will want the child to move out of the bed before he/she is ready, causing a lot of trauma to everyone involved. The idea that you would be happy to have your baby sleep with you for several years if needed doesn't cross most people's minds!
From Raine: When my oldest was born (8 years ago, SIGH), we got lots of warnings (mostly from dh's side of the family) about what a bad habit that was to get into. Our second (now 5) also slept with us. I'm still waiting for those "long-term sleep problems" everyone warned us about. Both transitioned to their own beds when they chose to and it worked out for all of us.
When we got unwanted input from our relatives, we just listened politely and assured them that we were happy with the way we were doing things. Now, three confident, happy, intelligent, loving kids later, no one bothers us about our choices.
From dominic'smom: We are quickly approaching the one-year mark and Dominic has co-slept with us since he was three weeks old. It just didn't occur to me before then. I would NEVER change the fact that we co-sleep. I have to admit that the other night when it was 3:30 am and he was going strong and I was pulling my hair out I was wishing that he liked his crib to sleep in occasionally. I just took him in the shower and let him "gecko" around for a while. It changed my whole attitude and it tired him out. We went right to sleep after that.
I, too, have had a hard time with people's comments about the way we have chosen to raise our children. It has gotten better with time because of the way that I answer their inquiries and advice. I am no longer a new mom and I am more comfy with my parenting style. I can laugh off the comments about how I hold him all the time and how I'm *gasp* breastfeeding him at 11 months. The family bed issue is also one that causes people to fret about our sleeping issues and parenting style. I just remind them of all the times they have commented on how laid back, happy, "well-behaved" and content he is. I just say with a smile "I must be doing something right huh?" Those are the things that have worked with us.
PS: My DH was not always so open to all the AP principles - but the other night he came full circle. When it was 2:00 am and I was having a hard time dealing with a baby that kept kicking me for sheer joy - he reminded me that this is a choice that we have made to have him sleep with us. One bad night or one bad week is not going to change the joy I feel when I wake up in the morning and see you two cuddled up with me. God I love that man. I knew he'd be a good Daddy!
From AmyMG: My son does sleep in his crib for the first half of the night, and then if he wakes up, he comes in with us. I admit that I'd like him to sleep all night in his crib more often. He's in our bed at least two out of three nights, and there are just nights that I'd like more bed space. Of course, there are also nights I wished DH wasn't in bed either so I could have the whole king size bed to stretch out in.
But no, I do not regret bringing him to bed with us. It is not a bad habit that I will need to break someday. When my son is ready, he will sleep all night by himself. Until then, there are enough tears in a toddler's life without adding to them by making him CIO in order to sleep alone. JMO.
Why does the world think this is such a bad thing? I have found if you admit to other parents that you co-sleep, they'll fess up to co-sleeping too.
From Ursula: My mom says she and my dad NEVER told anyone that they co-slept with me and my sisters, but my sister heard all the time how she would regret it. Well, she never did. Her boys are 11 and 16 and co-sleeping was only ever a positive thing for them.
The only problem she ever had was the sadness she felt when each boy decided on his own that he wanted to sleep in his own bed. She encouraged and allowed that, but it was a little sad for her anyway.
From Andrea: I don't see or feel any negatives to our co-sleeping. DD will be 2 in April and we still love having her around. Lately she has shown some interest in sleeping in her room. Some nights she starts out there. And after a couple of hours I am laying in bed, wide awake, wondering why she hasn't come to join us yet, hoping she's okay, etc. It's just so nice to have her beside me where I can just look over at her peacefully sleeping and doze back off myself. So no, I don't regret it, and can't picture regretting it.
From Les: I've never had any problems with my kids sleeping with us. My son was almost 8 when he began sleeping in his bed. He is very well adjusted and very close to both of us. If it gives them a little more security or stability, I say go for it. Besides, my husband loves to lie in bed and talk to my sons. It is a real bonding time and a very secure feeling for my kiddos.
From wenzday: I think as along as mommy AND daddy are okay with it then NOBODY will regret it! I slept with my son for about 11 months until he just couldn't sleep anymore. We moved and he got his own room so I tried it out and he has been sleeping wonderfully through the night ever since. I am SO glad we co-slept when we could and I will with my next too!!! My son is very very sick right now and he needs momma so last night he slept with me and daddy was on the couch! It seems way too crowded with all of us. Alex takes up much more room than an adult! Looks like tonight will be a repeat.
From Gayesy: My DH and I never actually intended to co-sleep with Thomas (we had nothing against the idea - just hadn't even CONSIDERED it). We kind of fell into it out of necessity at the start, but boy are we glad we did! NO regrets here! We are so happy with our sleeping arrangement. With any future children we are blessed with, there is no question: they will sleep with us from the word go.
As for criticisms - well, if you are happy with your choices then it really doesn't matter what someone else says. No one can MAKE you change what you are doing. It would be nice to have everyone's approval all of the time, but really we don't actually NEED it. We do what we believe is right and whether friends or relatives are happy with it or not really is their issue, not ours!
From Cath: My children are now 6 and 4 and we have co-slept with both of them and still do off and on. They both made an easy transition to their own beds when the time was right for them and now they know that they can just wander into our room in the middle of the night and just hop in bed with us. Usually we don't even wake up and will just find a child in our bed in the morning. It's a LOT easier than us having to get up to go into their room. I can't think of anything about co-sleeping that I regret. We certainly didn't have any trouble getting them used to sleeping in their own beds and they are both well-adjusted and sociable little people.
From Shelley Cates: It didn't make sense to me to put my baby in a room all by herself when my husband and I had each other all night long. That was 18 years ago and we're now expecting #6. The first three are all within one year of each other and expressed interest in having their own "place" around the time they started school. We put them all in one room for a while and let them decide when they were ready to move on from there. We now have one away at college, and two boys in high school, happy to have their own rooms and two toddlers age 3 and 2 in our room. We have a twin bed that they share shoved up against our Queen. I am happy to report that my children are happy and healthy and productive members of society. So, I guess my answer is no, we never regretted it.
From mom2jazzygirl: What I regret is that dd #1 WON'T co-sleep. I tried everything I knew to try with her and she never would. At 2, she still will not sleep with us. Know what, getting her to sleep anywhere but her bed is a nightmare. I WISH she would co-sleep. That is my regret, not co-sleeping with ds.
From Cath: Oh actually there *IS* one thing that I regret - That's if one of the boys wets the bed when they are in OUR bed.
From FlyingFingers: Katie was in our room until this past summer when she turned 4 -- not in our bed as no one could sleep, as she is such a wiggle worm -- but on the floor in our room (her choice). When she moved to her room in July, she wouldn't sleep in her bed, she preferred the floor. Now, at the seasoned age of 4.5, she's decided she likes to sleep on her mattress, which is on the floor. I have no regrets at all about co-sleeping with her. I also have no regrets about her choosing to sleep in her own room. It was time for her to move on, and she decided that on her own.
From abuddi: There's nothing like waking up in the morning with your baby sleeping peacefully right beside you. Sometimes I could lie there half the morning just watching her sleep. My dd also starts out in her crib, but ends up with me, and I have no regrets, especially when she is sick. I could never dream of her being all by herself in a room with a cold or something.
From ange: We're partial co-sleepers. The only time I "regret" it is when I wake up for the fifth time in 1 hour with a foot up my nose and a hand pinching my ankle! But it's worth it if you ask me.
From Kel: We co-sleep with our 22 month old and 7 month old and love it! I will never regret a moment I have spent with my children in the way that is just so right for us!
From Bettie: NEVER! No regrets here. One of the little things that I can hold on to just a little longer before they don't need me so much anymore. I love it and am planning on doing it with my new little one soon!
From Robina: On good nights, Michael starts out in his crib and ends up with us (after about an hour or two). On bad nights he goes straight to bed with us. I don't exactly regret co-sleeping, but I confess to being a reluctant co-sleeper. Michael is very hard to put to bed and on the really bad nights he just won't let go of me. Makes quality time with DH kind of difficult. I confess I will be glad when Michael sleeps more in his own room (although it's hard for me to go to sleep now without him next to me!!)
From ilmok: HI! I have slept with all three of my children. I don't regret it at all. I love sleeping with my baby and actually he is 17 months old!
From mom2nat??: I regret the month of sleepless nights WITH Natalie (6-7 months old) co-sleeping with us only to discover she slept better in her own room/own bed because her daddy's obnoxious snoring kept her awake. I guess she had just decided to protest his snoring by not sleeping through it!! I should have kicked DH out of the room! But she is one of the few that has slept better in her own space. I have found peace in her independence on the matter - but I used to wish she needed *me* more than she needed her *own* space. Does that make sense? But it goes to show that you just have to do what is best for your family and your baby. It seems that you have found that co-sleeping and following more of an AP frame of mind is best.
From Flatfork: I would tell your friends when they say you're going to regret it, "No, I'm quite satisfied with my decision." OR, "it works for us; I wouldn't have it any other way." I used to feel so weird when I would have to defend myself to "others" for my lifestyle. But since I became a mother I just do not let anyone get to me like I used to. I am confident in my parenting style and am not afraid to let it be known. I sort of turn the tables . . . "Are you kidding? Who in their right mind would even consider NOT nursing, or co-sleeping"?