Extended Co-Sleeping

by Dagmar Bleasdale on September 13, 2009

L sleeping 2

Since we moved, I have been sleeping in Landon’s new big-boy twin bed with him. And Daddy is sleeping on the couch. Our new bedroom needed to be painted, so we don’t have our bed set up yet. I think that is going to finally happen tomorrow, since I finished painting the trim today.

Honestly, I don’t mind — this arrangement gives me an excuse to continue to sleep next to my little boy, which I love. I have no space to move around, but lying next to that precious little boy makes up for that. I love it when he rolls over and his feet land on my legs. I love it when I feel his little toes wiggle. I love it when he talks nonsensical stuff in his sleep. I love it when he asks for ba ba in the early morning and we falls asleep again together for a few more hours after he nurses.

He is only this little for a few more moments, and I am enjoying every last minute of it.

I guess I am not only an extended breastfeeding advocate — I am also an extended co-sleeping advocate. Landon has always slept well and in turn I have always gotten good sleep since he was little because he is breastfed on demand and we sleep next to each other. I never have to get up in the middle of the night to make a bottle or get up to fetch him from a crib. I didn’t intend to co-sleep with him for this long — I also didn’t think I would breastfeed this long — yet here we are. It works for us, so why not?

The few times I tried to get L to sleep in his crib — he does have one — ended with both of us in tears and getting less sleep and being miserable, and it didn’t make sense to me to pursue this craziness since we slept beautifully before. The crib he has cried in for five hours is now stored in Grandma’s attic. We won’t ever use it again. For now, I plan to nurse L to sleep and then go into our bed, where I am sure L will find me when he needs me and join us, or I’ll just sleep the rest of the night in his bed.

What is your experience, do you or did you co-sleep with your child? For how long? Would you do it again?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha November 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM

My daughter is 4.5 and still sleeping with me. There’s so much that you miss when you don’t sleep with your kid. You know when they’ve had a good night’s sleep and when they’ve had nightmares. You can still cuddle. It’s great! I plan to let her sleep with me until she’s ready to sleep in her own bed. The only part I don’t like is the bed hogging. :)

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Dagmar Bleasdale November 12, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Hi Martha, I’m glad co-sleeping is working out for you!

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Jennifer October 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

My son is just over a year old. My father bought him a crib before he was born. I explained that I had a small cradle in my room I intended to put him in. You know how fathers are… he bought the crib anyway. I originally planned to move my son to his room at around 6 months. Most of the time, he would sleep in the cradle til I went to bed, then when he woke to nurse, we would fall asleep in mine. Eventually he outgrew the cradle. I moved his playpen in at that point. My family seems to think it is unusual that I still want to share my bed and/or room with him. His room seems so far away (the far opposite end of the house) I just don’t like the idea of being so far away from him in case something happened. I believe each mother has the right to do what she feels is best for her child, as long as she is not harming that child. I face some judgement for it, but I believe we both sleep better this way. At this point, I am glad the crib converts to a toddler bed because that is probably the only way it will get used at all. I don’t know when I will move him to his room. We are one of only a few cultures who don’t keep children in our beds and rooms. It just feels natural to me. As his mother, my job is to protect him and make him feel safe. Regardless what others may think, I believe that is exactly what I am doing.

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Dagmar Bleasdale October 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

That is exactly what you are doing, and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting him close to you :) I also would have never considered putting my son more than a few feet away from me. I slept like a baby next to my baby and still love to fall asleep in his bed once in a while, or if he comes to visit our bed for the last few hours.

As long as the sleeping arrangement is safe, parents should do what works best for them. Just because some family members and friend did this differently doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.

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Lynda May 16, 2010 at 10:59 PM

We shared the bed with both our babies until they were around 10.5 months and I will most definitely co-sleep with any future children also. We probably would have shared a bed for much longer, but both of my children started sleeping restlessly around that time. The baby and I both started sleeping like CRAP throughout the night. (Actually, with my second baby, I was sleeping like crap after the first few months after being forced to sleep only on my left side for the past three years due to pregnancy and continued co-sleeping, but I kept co-sleeping anyway.) The kids started sleeping a lot better through the night once they were moved to their own space in our room.

My oldest (2.5yo) is now getting to the point where he might enjoy co-sleeping again. He has a toddler bed and I’d like to get him a twin sized bed so I can snuggle in with him at night.

I mentioned this on another blog that pointed me to this entry, but I think “extended co-sleeping” is a strange phrase. When I think of breastfeeding, I know it must come to an end eventually, at the very latest when the milk teeth fall out and the child no longer has the ability to latch. The term “extended breastfeeding” makes a lot of sense to me since it helps differentiate those who breastfeed past the minimum recommended age. It also has a clear medical benefit for every child (as long as they’re not allergic to mom’s milk, which is rare).

Co-sleeping never has to come to an end if it’s working for everyone involved and will not medically benefit all children, nor should all parents try to attempt this if they cannot meet the criteria to safely co-sleep. So I don’t know, putting “extended” in front of it just seems out of place to me, even though I’m completely supportive of co-sleeping through any age.
.-= Lynda´s last blog ..Bow Wow Luau [135/365] =-.

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