Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why Co-Sleeping Has Always Been the Right Choice for My Family

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Every night I think about how lucky I am to be able to watch all four of my children fall asleep. I think of how lucky I am to be able to touch all of them at the same time and know that they are peaceful, safe and warm. I remember each of their births and how I promised each one that I would always be there for them; how I promised that I would give my love freely and generously. And I think of how good it is for them to fall asleep every night comforted by the warmth and proximity of the person who loves them the most in this world.

Then last night I thought of all the mothers whose hearts must long for a simple moment like watching their children fall asleep.

  • I thought of the mother whose child lays in Sick Kids Hospital, hooked up to monitors and tubes, and how she would love to have him at home in her bed where she could hold him all night long.
  • I thought of the mother at Auschwitz, not knowing if her children were alive, not able to comfort or protect them.
  • I thought of the desolate mother with AIDS, herself alone in a bed, unable to care for her children.
  • I thought of my own mother, who buried one of her three daughters, and then kept me in her bed well past my 4th birthday, where she could hold me and know that I was safe all night.

I was struck by enormity of the privilege I hold just to be able to watch and touch my children as they drift off to sleep. It just doesn't matter where my children sleep, as long as they are sleeping where they want to sleep. Occasionally they drag out sleeping bags and line them up on the floor at bedtime.  Occasionally someone falls asleep on the couch.  Occasionally they fall asleep in carseats.  All that matters is that they feel safe and loved and happy.  Wherever they fall asleep, they know that they will wake up all together in bed with ME.  It is a surety that they all take for granted.

There are no awards for how early a child sleeps alone all night. When I am old and frail none of my children will say "Mom, thanks for making me sleep alone when I was a baby, or I might never have learned how to sleep!!" If I win the Sleep Trophy it will be because none of my children has ever cried herself to sleep.

One day they will each sleep alone.  And probably the days of crying themselves to sleep will come: boyfriends will break up with them, a loved one will die, they won't get the job they lusted after, a friend will tell them a lie.

But for as long as I can, I will make bedtime a happy event of togetherness and connection.  It is my privilege to do so.
******* Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival
Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.
A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!


  1. I love this. It's beautiful. I too hope to create happy memories of sleep. What a lovely, close-knit family you must have.

  2. Wow! Love the co-sleeping pic! I co-slept with my parents until I was 7 years old. Turns out fine and no accidents whatsoever.

    ~ Jenny ( )

  3. Patti, I always love your posts about co-sleeping! You are so insightful about what a gift it is to be able to watch our children fall safely and peacefully asleep snuggled next to their mom. Even when I am tired from a long day, I try to remember what a special, and temporary, time childhood is and how blessed I am to be able to enjoy it with them-- day and night!

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  4. That's beautiful, I love it. I totally agree with you - it is a privilege. I even think that I sleep better when my little boy decides that he wants to sleep in our bed at night. Kids eventually grow up and go out on their own. I'm in no hurry to rush him by forcing him to sleep alone.

    Also, I love that photo. What a great family bed.

  5. beautiful!! made me tear up!
    By far my favorite line was:
    "There are no awards for how early a child sleeps alone all night. When I am old and frail none of my children will say "Mom, thanks for making me sleep alone when I was a baby, or I might never have learned how to sleep!!"

    So true that is! Often younger moms tsk me fo cosleeping but older mamas, that are now grandmamas, applaud me for it and confess they wish they had done so as well instead of giving in to societal pressures to put baby in a crib.

  6. What a sweet picture!

    You are absolutely right - it is a privilege!

  7. "But for as long as I can, I will make bedtime a happy event of togetherness and connection."

    Oh so true - I love the connection and peace we experience as a family through cosleeping. Wonderful post!

  8. I LOVE THIS!! I too hope to one day be able to say that none of my children have ever cried themselves to sleep. You've encouraged me because I've often wondered if I'd be able to do it with more than one child. Of course, it's easy to not let my one child cry himself to sleep, but when there are several children, will it be possible? Thanks for giving me hope!

  9. Yeah! Brilliant point about the sleep trophies! I'm going to use that one when people talk to me annoyingly! ;)

  10. Beautiful post~so exactly true! What a beautiful way to fulfill that heartfelt birth promise to always be there for our kidlets. I really loved this post! =)

  11. My partner and I Mavel at the attachment that our children have to sleep. They ask to go to bed, they beg. And they are so peaceful, sleeping. as I watch them I reflect on our day together. I can not imagine spending that extra time with them. All the cuddles and kisses and love that we share during the night. It adds up to more than 3000 hours a year!

  12. Ieant to say that I can not imagine spending that extra time with them

  13. Sheesh. I'll just give up. You know what I mean...

  14. I love cosleeping and have done it with all of my children. I could not imagine having them anywhere but near me.

  15. I love this post omg! It almost brought me to tears... My parents used to always let us sleep with them and I never remember seeing a crib growing up, so that answers whether my parents coslept I guess! It such a beautiful thing and I'm glad you as well as my family get to treasure these special years of babyhood/toddlerhood/childhood. It's so amazing right?

  16. This is insanity! Bring you to tears? Beautiful thing? You guys all need to go to a therapist. Parents who sleep only with their spouse are proven to have better marriages -- Better sleep and lots of sex! Kids who learn to sleep on their own and learn to calm themselves to sleep are stronger and have healthier mental, and emotional health. You all need to stop making excuses for bad behavior. You are doing your children and your spouses a huge disservice. Check the studies, read all the books on how to raise a healthy child, and talk to a therapist.

    1. If the exception proves the rule, then I'd like to state for the record that my Partner-Guy and I are happily unmarried and we have tons of sex. TONS. Like, so much that you'd be embarrassed by it. Just thought you'd want to know.