I can’t co-sleep. I tried with my first born child and I tried when my newborn was excessively colicky. I sincerely gave it my best effort and I grossly failed.
Does that make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. But with all the hype, books and media surrounding attachment parenting I was beginning to feel like a bit of a failure.
Each time I brought my babies home from the hospital they went into a bassinet in my room. I would try to doze off while breastfeeding in bed but I would abruptly wake within seconds, terrified that I had harmed or crushed my baby. By six weeks of age my babies went into their own crib in their own room. I sincerely tried but I couldn’t sleep with a baby in my room! I woke at every stir, at every movement and with every coo. Co-sleeping advocates would say that this is what builds a secure bond between baby and parent because it is making the parent more attentive and sensitive to the infant’s needs. I say I was already sleep-deprived, so do I need even less sleep?
I feel I’m a better parent when I’m well rested. I don’t have less of a bond with my children. Rather, I feel I have more energy to play and interact with them because I have had a decent night’s sleep. These meaningful interactions are just as integral to building a trusting and loving relationship.
For those that do co-sleep, good for you. However, I must urge you to be cautious when advocating your sleep arrangements. Every family is unique and no parent should be shamed because they are doing something different. As long as we love our children and are attentive to them, that’s all that should matter.