Since the day Gio was born (& for the first year of life) he slept within arm’s reach of me at night. When he was tiny, he was in a pack & play next to the bed. When he got older, he ended up just sleeping in bed with me. It was so convenient to nurse & I loved the closeness it brought. We both slept so much better snuggled up to each other & if he did wake up, he’d go right back to sleep.
On the other hand, bedtime for him pretty much meant it was bedtime for me as well… it’s not like we have bars surrounding our bed to keep him from rolling off or escaping, haha. I got tired of not having “me” time to relax & recharge but I also knew he hated his crib & it broke my heart to hear him cry in there by himself, so I kept putting it off.
In the beginning, I was embarrassed to tell people we co-slept because I had gotten a few lectures along the way about “why co-sleeping is bad” & I hated trying to explain myself or even feeling like I had to in the first place. & honestly, having experience as a daycare teacher I never thought I would ever have these kinds of sleep struggles because I was “experienced with kids.” <—HAHAHA.
I finally gave in & made myself at least try crib-training for a week. To my surprise, in just 3 days he was napping in his crib for longer than he’d ever napped before. You can read the full story on how I crib-trained him & all the crazy ways I’d try to get him to fall asleep. #firsttimemomproblems #noob
So napping in his crib was going great, but he’d wake up constantly at night & I didn’t know what to do. In the beginning I went through so many thoughts & feelings “Ok, he’s doing great for just starting… It’s probably fine if I bring him in bed with me when he wakes up & then when he get’s really used to sleeping in his crib he’ll sleep longer… & eventually just sleep all night in there. But then what if I’m just delaying that by bringing him into bed with me? Maybe that will confuse him? Should I just let him cry? I DON’T KNOW!” etc. etc. ETC.
The first few nights I brought him back to bed with me. Then I tried leaving him in there one night to see what would happen. He cried for 10 minutes & went back to sleep. Well, that was easy…
An hour later he woke up again but would not go back to sleep. I let him cry & cry until I finally gave in.
Where We Are Today
Right now, I feel blessed to get the best of both sleep situations. He takes 2 great naps & goes to bed at 7pm in his crib. He never fails to wake up at 10:30pm but 9 times out of 10 he falls right back asleep within a few minutes, if that. He wakes up again between 3:30 & 4:30am (although recently he’s been waking up at midnight, too… Not sure why…) at which point I bring him into bed with us. I’m no longer breastfeeding him, so sometimes I’ll offer him milk in a sippy but usually he doesn’t want it. I’m convinced he just wants to be close to us. So I let him be.
**UPDATE: Gio now goes to bed at 7pm & sleeps all night until 6:30 or 7am. I miss his snuggles!**
It’s hard to state general but still accurate pros/cons because circumstances have changed over time, which means some of these pros/cons are no longer valid for me & therefore can’t be applied to my current situation. For example, I am no longer breastfeeding, & Gio isn’t waking as frequently at night, even in his crib. So these are just my personal “overall” thoughts in how things went for us. Which, keep in mind, may or may not coincide with your situation.
Pros of co-sleeping: I slept much more soundly when Gio was close. Convenient for breastfeeding. More bonding & snuggling. No crying. Less night wakings.
Cons of co-sleeping: Sometimes I’d wake him when I moved. “Prisoner” in my own bed lol. I was the only one that could get him to sleep (by nursing). Affects love life, ahem. I would have never had to crib-train since he would have slept in his crib from the beginning.
Pros of crib-training: I can go to the bathroom without waking him up! More “me” time to recharge & be more productive (or be absolutely lazy) = sanity. More time with hubby. Gio isn’t dependent on me to go to sleep. He’s used to sleeping in his own bed. Takes longer naps during the day.
Cons of crib-training: I don’t sleep as soundly, I wake up to check on him. No snuggles/closeness. Gio wakes up constantly.
& I’m just going to tell you guys honestly, I thought twice about making this post public. I put myself out there & share my stories in hopes that it will help & encourage you but I always fear of judgement. I guess it’s part of my insecurity as a mom. I can think of only a handful of people who were supportive from the beginning, telling me, “do what works best for your family, everyone is different,” & for that I am thankful. So I just wanted to pass on that support & encouragement to other mamas who might need to hear it. No matter what your sleep situation is, I understand. There was a point in time where Gio would only fall asleep if I pushed him in the stroller! We’re all just trying to do our best. So keep calm & mother on (:
Love you all, thanks for stopping by!