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I Chose Sleeping With My Baby Over Sleeping With My Husband

Surprise: It made me a better wife and mom.

You’d think that sleeping — being a natural, human function necessary for survival and all — would be the easiest thing in the world. (As an adult, it certainly feels that way!) But falling and staying asleep is a skill that did not come easily to my children. My first two kids were horrible sleepers, each waking every two to three hours, leaving us all chronically exhausted. Between the two of them, I was hardly sleeping at night and barely functioning during the day. So when I got pregnant with my third, all I knew was that I couldn’t go through that again. It occurred to me that I’d always handled my kids’ sleep the same way with the same results; this time around, I needed to do something radically different.

Enter co-sleeping. I’d heard of it, but I never expected to do it — it seemed like it was just delaying the inevitable process of teaching a child to sleep on their own and, in some cases, could even be dangerous for the baby. I decided to make it an experiment. I’d try it with my new baby and if it helped, great, if it didn’t, we’d try something else. It’s not like my sleep could get any worse at that point!

When Linnea was born, I co-slept with her from day one. At first, I made her a little “sleep nest” in the middle of the bed my husband and I slept in. But while my husband was very supportive of my experiment, he did worry that because he sleeps so deeply, he wouldn’t be aware of her and might hurt her accidentally. So we decided we would put a mattress on the floor in the nursery and I would sleep in there with her every night. I immediately ditched the nest (she didn’t seem to like it anyhow) and slept with her snuggled up to me. For safety’s sake, we used a firm mattress with one pillow and no blankets; I just wore warm enough clothing to sleep that I didn’t need anything else.

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