Yes, nowadays I sleep with my two boys, and I do mean my sons. Now, how do I end up sleeping with them rather than my husband at nights? Bed-sharing with children can sometimes be such a taboo topic, and this is the topic I am going to tackle today.
Before I had children, I wholesomely disagree with letting children sleep in our room. And then I had Josiah who changed my life. Josiah slept well in a crib given to us by my pastor for only 6 months. I was nursing him then, and getting up 3-4 times a night from my bed to his crib, nursing him, and then putting him back to his crib again, was just taking a toll on my back. It was way too tiring. Yet I still believed I should not put him to sleep with me because that was just not what everyone advised. So I continued on until one day, at 6 months old, Josiah would kick and scream every time I put him back to his crib. Worn out, I just laid him next to me and nursed him to sleep, and he happily slept. When he awoke at nights, I just turn to my side and nursed him back to sleep. In those first few months, nursing while lying down was also hard for me. I only really learned how to do it right quite late into motherhood.
When Josiah was eventually weaned, we put another bed next to ours so that he knows he gets his own bed. We made sure the mattresses thickness was appropriate. Josiah is so bonded to me that even without nursing, he needed to have me near to him at nights. He would wake up and reach out to me, put his hands around me for some reassurance and then roll off to sleep again. At 4 years now, he is still like that. In the mornings when he awoke, I am the first person he needed to see. I am writing this so Josiah knows how much he needed me when he is young, because when he is grown, he probably won’t want me to even hold my hand anymore haha.
When Jordan came along, I tried the crib thing again for the first month as he was too small to be nursed lying down, plus he needed to be burped so I could not sleep through while he nursed away. At about a month old, I started putting Jordan on our bed, with Josiah on the other queen bed, that means all four of us was sleeping in the master room. It was a bit of a havoc for a while as Jordan would go to bed earlier, and then when Josiah came in later, he would make a whole bunch of noise and that would wake Jordan up, and then I’d have to attend to Jordan, and Josiah would get all jealous etc. Seriously, that first 3 months had a lot of stress and lots of crying going on.
To avoid all that, I decided to put Jordan into the other room by himself and I would sneak off at nights when he cried. Unfortunately, that did not work so well either, as after I sneaked off to be by Jordan’s side, sometimes Josiah would awaken in the middle of the night and started crying and looking for me. So the crying went on again and nobody got any rest and sleep. So, again I had to change our sleeping arrangement. This time, I decided Jordan and Josiah and me will sleep in the other room. So we put two super single beds on the floor with another third single bed, and totally covered up the whole room, and Jordan would go to bed earlier, and then Josiah would come in later. By that time, Josiah learned how to whisper and be quiet when he entered the room, and because I was with him and not going anywhere at night, he was a happy boy again. His relationship with Jordan totally improved and he no longer resented Jordan for taking me away from him. John gets all the sleep he wants, and I got all the sleep I want. Everyone gets a good night’s rest. The reason I decided to put the two boys in another room was also to get them ready for when Jordan will be weaned later, and the both of them will consider this other room as THEIR room and not our room and bed as their bed. So, Jordan would be used to it from beginning.
Why did I say this was a taboo topic? The reason is, in our culture, bed sharing is kind of shunned. People always expect parents to train their children to sleep on their own in their own rooms as young as possible. This is supposed to make them independent humans. Most parents, including myself, don’t really dare to share that my kids still need me to sleep with them, lest we get some unsolicited advice. This is probably the first time I am telling people by writing this down. I am writing this for all the parents out there who are still sleeping with their toddlers and pre-schoolers to let them know that they are not alone. It is quite common and it is quite a good practice in fact. Many researches by Dr Sears and Dr James McKenna showed that bed-sharing not only reduces SIDS, but also helped babies grow better, healthier and happier. For me, it’s really just for my convenience and rest, but it is good to know that I am not exactly harming my kids and slowing down their growth just by letting them grow out of sleeping with me on their own and not having to do sleep training with them.