Before our son was born, we hadn’t really talked about the sleeping arrangements to be after he showed up. The unspoken assumption seemed to be that he would sleep in a crib and everything would be in its right place. That is, until he decided to make his grand entrance into this world 4 weeks early and he spent 3 weeks sleeping alone in the NICU. By the time we got to take him home, it just felt right to be as close to him as possible for as much of the day as possible. So when we went to bed he, naturally, went with us.
It’s been just over 18 months since the three of us slept in bed for the first time and all paranoia aside, it’s really been quite special. After he lets us know he’s ready for bed (he has a couple signs he uses to signal the end is near) we sing the clean up song, then the brush your teeth song and get him changed. Then at least one of us retreat with him to our bedroom to read books and wrestle. Within 5 minutes you know if it’s a legit claim of tiredness and or if everyone should get up and go back to the party.
Here are what I consider to be the pros and the cons of having our little sleep in the big bed:
+ Cuddling, lots of it!
Our little one needs to be touching both of us to go to sleep. He’s typically the small spoon but he isn’t scared to sprawl out and make things interesting. We’re a family that embraces PDA and sleeping with us gives him plenty of practice.
+ Extra sleep for me.
We don’t spend any time walking the halls or staring at baby monitors in the middle of the night. That works out to extra sleep for me but because the little man still likes his boob juice, mom has had to sacrifice sleep, and her body, during the long teething nights. That said, she does get to stay in bed and the rocking chair in the nursery has become a great storage device.
+ Waking up to the sound of smiles.
My mood swings mean that some mornings regardless of which physical side of the bed I wake up on, it’s the wrong one. The best natural cure I’ve found is the squeaks and pokes of a smiling babe. There’s usually a grunt, a small finger prod and when I open my eyes I’m greeted with a smile that says, “Papi! I thought you’d never wake up”.
– No pillow talk.
With so much going on in our lives, I miss being able to lay in bed at the end of the day and vent, talk, scheme, etc. Now we split our time whispering about how beautiful he is and silently making our last internet rounds. We’re going to need that time back eventually to update our family plans, debate education options and craft unified answers for the most difficult kid questions.
– Less booty dancing.
There are few things less romantic than having to try and schedule time to mess around. There’s nothing less exciting than feeling frisky, flipping over and coming face to face with your son’s head buried in your wife’s breasts. Our little dude takes it a step further, raising his arm from under the covers to show off his most favorite sign, the one that announces “Sorry pops, I’m having milk.” Yea, I get it dude, you win again.
– Someone hogs the bed.
Our little prince takes up most of the king bed. I can’t explain how or even why, but sometimes I feel like my spot is on the couch. It’s amazing how much space such a small person can take up. We sleep in a king sized bed and I typically have claim to a sleeping bags size of real estate.
When all is said and done, I wouldn’t do it any different. Well, I wouldn’t have spent so much time refinishing a crib that wasn’t going to get used but I feel closer to my little knowing he’s always an arm’s reach away and he relies on us to get a good night’s sleep.
I’m no expert and I absolutely acknowledge and respect the crib versus co-sleeping debates. In all things parenting, we do our research and talk to our support system and use that to make a decision for what feels most natural to us. I would encourage all parents to balance what feels right versus what society says is right.