first off, before I say anything, let me say this: DO YOU. whatever works for you, mama. please don’t let any book, online article, other mother, parent, mother-in-law, or Instagrammer influence you. do what works best for YOU and your family, always. we’re all mamas just trying to survive through this motherhood journey. I’m simply sharing my thoughts and my experiences with my baby. that’s it. take it for what it’s worth. hopefully, some can relate.
when I became a mother, I became a mother at a time when I was ready to accept that my life would never be the same. in fact, I didn’t want it to be this same. I wanted to start a family, I wanted a baby to enter our lives. I was ready for my life to change. I was ready for my life to get better. I didn’t expect to have my same life, just with a baby in the room. I was prepared for my life to change dramatically.
throughout the motherhood process, you receive a LOT of advice. a crazy amount of advice, in fact. of course, because I share my life with the world, I receive more advice than the average person. without a doubt, the most common piece of advice I’m given is about sleep training.
whenever I post something on Instagram about Luca not sleeping well, my direct message Inbox is FLOODED with sleep training suggestions. everyone wants to share their advice on how to get Luca to sleep alone in his crib for 12 hours. one of the most common questions I’m asked is, “did you ever sleep train Luca?” or, more specifically, “did you ever let Luca cry it out?”
I share these moments, because I want to show every aspect of motherhood – the precious, adorable moments and the trying moments (like your infant refusing sleep.)
when asked about sleep training, people are offended when I say, “no, I’ll never let him cry it out.” I don’t know if people are projecting their own insecurity on me, BUT it’s a very sensitive topic. well, there are a lot of sensitive topics regarding motherhood, from feeding your baby to sleep to nursing.
after receiving many unsavory messages about my reluctance to sleep train, I knew I had to write this post.
so, let me back up. let me share Luca’s sleep journey. at about 5 weeks, he started sleeping in his crib. my mother was staying with us and she put the baby in his crib in the middle of the night and he slept so well. when she left, we never took him out of the crib (why?!) then, around 9 weeks, he started sleeping from 7/8pm to 8am. it was MAGICAL. we felt like we were the most blessed parents in the world. so, we never needed “sleep training.”
at about 6 months, he started teething and that ALL changed. he started waking up 2-3 times per night for a couple months. it was BAD. I would nurse him in the middle of the night just to pacify him. we were exhausted. by 8.5-9 months, he was done with teething but he was waking up in the middle of the night (around 1am) and just refused to go back to sleep unless he was literally lying with me. I couldn’t even cradle him to sleep – he’d fall asleep and immediately wake up when I put him down.
so what’s a mom to do that’s trying to survive and get some sleep? I brought him to our bed and he slept next to us. the second I brought him into the bed, he fell asleep instantly and slept another 6 hours straight. I woke up so well rested and next to my beautiful baby boy. I was in heaven.
and it continued. we’re still doing that today. around 1am, he wakes up, we take him into bed, I spoon him, and he falls asleep within 1-2 minutes. and we sleep until 6:30/7am. so he ends up sleeping 11-12 hours.
there is literally nothing better than waking up to your little baby cuddled up to you. the way he smells. the precious, serene look on his face, knowing he’s safe next to you. it’s literally intoxicating. sometimes, I wake up and just stare at him for 15 minutes. just feeling so blessed and grateful.
but then, when I tell someone about this, I’m told, “you’re starting such a bad habit!” or my least favorite, “babies need to be sleep trained, it’s better for them and you!”
better for the baby and me? the baby is thriving. he feels comforted by his mommy. he doesn’t need to cry out anxiously. mommy and daddy are well rested. and we’re so in love – we feel closer than ever to our baby boy. we may need to wake up at 1am, but we’re awake for a total of 5 minutes – the equivalent of a quick pee break! so, to say the LEAST, this is better for them and us.
ALSO, sharing your sleep space with the baby apparently helps his or her senses develop. babies need to learn to respond to the sensory signals of others, including smells, movements, sounds, touches and heat. so, co-sleeping helps there! putting a baby in a quiet, dark room doesn’t help that.
I’ll never let him cry it out, because, based on the research I’ve done, I don’t feel comfortable with it. and, there’s no reason to, for us. to my first point, I never expected my life to be the same. I never expected to be able to sleep next to husband uninterrupted for the first few years. I didn’t want to. I wanted a little sweet baby to be in our bed. I yearned for it. gosh, he smells so innocent and sweet and full of love. nothing makes me happier than waking up next to him.
so, no, I won’t feel bad for co-sleeping, because guess what – it’s better for Mommy and baby. we’re well rested and more in love than ever, thanks to Luca. and no, I don’t want to let my baby cry it out – there’s no reason to. he can find a happy, loving, safe space right in between Mommy and Daddy whenever he wants it, because we’ll welcome him there, always. I feel even more bonded with Luca now.
what makes me sad is that this won’t last forever. he’ll reach an age when he doesn’t want to even give us a hug (#teenagers!) so for now, I’m going to embrace EVERY 1am wakeup, because it means I get to hold my baby boy, kiss him, breath in his sweet scent, and make him feel loved and safe. I would hate to look back on the first couple years of his life and think, “I wish I had held him more.” I couldn’t possibly hold him more, haha!
long story short, don’t feel bad about co-sleeping, if you’re getting pressure about it from the outside world. the outside world doesn’t know what it feels like to wake up with your little baby nestled next to you. you and I do, though.