Last week, one of my beautiful and very close friends, Stephanie from Football Food and Motherhood, wrote an article. It was all about why she choose to be a co-sleeping parent, go ahead read it and come back!
Steph has always done this, Max sleeps with her when they come to stay at my house, and I think it’s adorable. Her and I raise our tiny humans with many of the same beliefs, and that is the great thing. We swap stories, and share our journeys together with these crazy kiddos.
I called her the other day to tell I was going to write another article like hers, but from the perspective of moms who choose not to co-sleep.
First let me say, before I open a massive can of worms, THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG IN MY EYES. I never want moms to feel as if I wrote this to chastise you for co-sleeping. But, there are millions of moms out there who have chosen the path I have in raising their kids, and wanted you to have the perspective of a mom who feels what you are going through.
We choose to not co-sleep for reasons that worked for our family and our beliefs.
I adore moms who can cuddle up to their kiddos in bed and wake up with their little stinky cute faces in the front of them, but some reason, it was just not for me.
Cuddling and showing love to my child is all day, everyday. Co-sleeping is just not a part of that cuddling. Here are some reasons below, let me know if you relate.
Our lifestyle didn’t make for a good co-sleeping environment.
I know that sounds selfish when I say it, but how it is meant is simple. I am a work-at-home-mom, and in order to get my work done (that clients are actually paying me for) I can’t do it all, nor do I want to, when she is home with me all day, I want to be present in the moment with her. So, I have to do it at night after she goes to bed. Our routines are different. Dave goes to bed early, and he certainly doesn’t want to sleep with her all by himself, so that is one reason why it would never work for us. I am usually up till about 3am, every night, crazy right?
Our bassinet/pack n play worked perfectly fine for us the first 3 months.
Getting her into a solid routine was a priority for us.
The two words I had repeated and repeated to me before she entered the world were, BEDTIME ROUTINE. Apparently I didn’t know how those two words would save us, and help her adjust to life. So, from the minute she turned 6 weeks old, the routine started. BATH, BOTTLE, BOOK, BED. Then we added teeth brushing in there at some point as well. Now, with these simple steps, and FAITHFULLY sticking to them, I mean, get home by 6:45 every night, to get her in bed by 7:30-8 faithful, she was getting into her bedtime routine by the time she was 6 weeks old.
Now, we have too much fun before bedtime! We read a ton of books, take lots of selfies together, and of course, do our ABC’s!
If you can stick to a routine that fits your family, and truly stick to it for a while, it will work. There are so many positives that we have found, I could write a book about them!
Time for us to connect after bedtime.
That routine thing really started to work! She was sleeping by 7:30-8, waking up around 5 or 6am for a feeding, and then headed back to bed till about 8am. You know what that gave us as parents? Time for each other. Time to catch up on the day, talk about things, and the best part, have a little bit of independence at night. Could I run to the grocery store, ALL BY MYSELF at 11pm if I wanted to, yep! Oh, and a great way to catch up on work, or your DVR box that has probably been filled for weeks, and even that pile of laundry that has been bugging you all day!
In saying all of that, I really believe it has helped out our relationship as well. We get to connect and feel re-energized for the next day. happy parents=happy kiddos, right?
We believed in crying it out.
There, I have said it, crying it out, worked for us.
At 3 months, we moved her into her crib from her bassinet, which was in our room. I balled my eyes out that night. I slept in her room on the floor the first night or two, and if she started to cry, and she did, I was right there.
This transition though was a little tougher on her, and us. I didn’t like not having her right next to my bed, knowing that I could watch her little chest go up and down to make sure she was breathing.Plus, I was scared for her to be in that big old room, in that big bed all by her tiny self.
The first few nights were rough. The routine was easy, but getting her to sleep was tough.
Here is what we did: We let her cry it out, for 10 mins- no longer than that. We would go into her room at that 10 mins, pick her up, pat her back, tell her that we were there, and she was ok, and lay her back down.
We did that routine for 2 nights straight. After those 2 nights she was finally sleeping a full 12 to 14 hours.
With the occasional times of being sick, growth spurts, or teething, she has been a sound sleeper for us. And at those times, we usually let her fall asleep with us, and then I put her back to bed later.
So my friends, these are some of the reasons why I choose not to be a co-sleeping mama.
This choice was not a simple choice for us, but it is the choice that helped make our family dynamic better.
I always say that you need time as a mom for yourself, you have too. I know that we all will miss these times when they are older, but you will also miss the times that you didn’t contribute to your own happiness at the same time. For some, sleeping with your kiddos is all the happiness you need, and I praise you for that.
For me, I still need that little extra space on my pillow to be useful to anyone the next day 🙂
Now only if I could get the dog out of the bed, we would be set.
MUCH LOVE MY FRIENDS AND MAMAS! I SUPPORT YOU IN EVERY DECISION YOU MAKE!
Author: Nicole Mildren
Nicole Mildren is the author of Champagne To Crayons, first time mom, and celebrates motherhood in the best way she knows how; by remembering she is just not a mom. Owning her own business, and Marketing Director of the Pittsburgh MomCon helps her stay sane in the world of motherhood.