To co-sleep or not to co-sleep, that is the question
November 14, 2012 4:58 PM Subscribe
Please describe your co-sleeping experiences
posted by forza to Human Relations (47 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have a just-turned-4-week old son and we're still trying to figure out this sleeping thing. When he was born all of the midwives and doctors strongly encouraged us against co-sleeping, saying it increased the chance of SIDS. This converged nicely with our goal of doing what we could to train him to be a good self-soother and sleep through the night as early as reasonably possible. He was a reasonably good sleeper at the beginning and we've been putting him in a crib since then.
Problem is, as he's gotten older it's been increasingly difficult to get him to go down and stay down, particularly after the middle of the night feeds (he is exclusively breastfed, if it matters). What once involved just getting him to drowsiness on me and plopping him in the crib now involves nearly an hour of standing near the crib, reassuring him that I'm there, swaddling him within an inch of his life, etc, etc. This has led to much less sleep for me, and frustration for all of us.
A few days ago he got a cold and was much more fussy than normal, so that none of the normal tricks worked. After a hideous day or two I finally said "To hell with it" and took him to bed with me at night (I am currently sleeping on a mattress in his room). It was really lovely -- what I have instinctually been wanting to do for a while, and clearly set well with him because he immediately slept through and aside from a few very easy midnight nursings, both of us got better sleep than we've had for a month. We co-slept last night too, with similar great results.
So now I'm strongly considering just going with co-sleeping. But my partner and I have some questions and concerns, and googling doesn't help much. All I find is fairly strong dogmatic rhetoric on either side of the equation. What would really be helpful is just hearing about people's actual experiences or getting some actual numbers. Specifically:
1. What is the actual SIDS risk either way? Especially if you take the recommended precautions (e.g., firm mattress, no duvet, don't get drunk, etc). I can find stuff about the precautions but no actual numbers about the SIDS risk either when they are taken, or when they aren't, or how it compares to crib sleeping.
1a. People who have co-slept, if you took any non-standard precautions that you think helped, what were they? If you didn't bother with some of them and it was fine, what were they?
2. Our biggest worry with co-sleeping, aside from SIDS, is that we'll end up with a kid who can't sleep unless one of us is there sleeping with him. In an ideal world I'd co-sleep with him till he's 3 to 6 months, but at the point where he can sleep through the night without nursing, it would be great if that sleeping occurred in his crib and I could go back to the bed I share with my partner. Is this at all realistic? Most of the co-sleepers I've heard about go until the kid is 1 or 2 years old which is a lot later than we would like. If you succeeded in accomplishing our goal, please let us know how! If you tried and failed to accomplish this, that is useful information too (as well as why you think it failed).
2a. Relatedly, we would like him to still be able to go down for naps without us laying down with him. I've already noticed that he's harder to get to stay down since I've started co-sleeping (we get him to sleep on one of us and then try to put him down by himself, but usually he wakes up again at that point). But it's hard to know what to make of a few days. Still, it's worrisome. Did you find that co-sleeping night affected napping during the day? Any tricks to prevent this difficulty?
3. Are we massively over thinking this and it doesn't really matter what you do at 4 weeks?
Mostly, I'm just looking for people's actual experiences, both good and bad, with co-sleeping. I am not interested in a debate about the abstract merits of either. I just want to have a sense of what we'd be getting into if we decided to co-sleep. Thanks!