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I Can’t Co-Sleep

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.

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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10 thoughts on “I Can’t Co-Sleep

  • Claire

    I could never co-sleep either for the exact same reasons as you. It made me a better Mom to NOT co-sleep. My kids and I have a fabulous bond and they are still quite attached to me. They’re also great sleepers at night. It just depends on the person and what works for them!

  • saspell

    Meh, don’t worry about those parenting techniques, they seem to change every few months. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it always works. I’ve heard about a few “natural” techniques recently such as baby potty training, co-sleeping, and self-led weaning (nursing well into toddlerhood). While these are touted as being very “natural” they are pretty unrealistic for a lot Moms. While co-sleeping might work well for some people it doesn’t mean you have failed in any way if it’s not right for you. A well rested Mommy is the best Mommy! We never co-slept either. Adele is the noisest sleeper!

  • Johane Levesque

    I’m glad that you are getting your sleep. I was a mom who did the family bed thing so that I could be better rested… and the baby led weaning… and the don’t let the baby cry it out bit… While I’m a big advocate of these things, I’m a bigger advocate of being the best mom that you can be to better meet the baby’s needs. If that means sleeping in separate rooms for a good night’s sleep, go for it! ;)

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t co-sleep with any of my children. I would lay awake worrying about rolling over on the baby.

    My DH had a friend years ago who co-slept with her baby and accidentally rolled over and the baby smothered. I couldn’t live with the guilt if something did happen like that.

  • Jennifer

    We tried to put our newborn in a travel crib in our room and he never took to it. So I went out and bought a little co-sleeper bed that goes between my pillow and my husband. The two side panels are strong plastic so we didn’t have to worry about rolling over onto him. By week 4 he was sleeping 6 hours straight. I was able to sleep so much better since I knew he was right next to me. Its not for everyone. As long as we give our children love and we do what we can that is all there is. We can no longer be selfish and think of our needs but that of our children first. And as long as they sleep…. Who cares!!!

  • Carolyn

    Me too!! I tried co-sleeping and having my daughter in our room but I got HORRIBLE sleep during that time (she was a grunter…and I woke up all night long). At about 3 months I told my husband “get this baby out of our room” and I was much happier (and better rested) for it!

  • CanadianMama

    Sleep, more specifically me getting sleep is the glue that holds our whole family together! Both my boys were in their own room early too for that exact reason. I’m a RSW and I personally don’t think that co-sleeping teaches a child how to self-soothe. BUT, I think it’s what works best for everyone!

  • Kiasa

    Amen! At one point I actually thought, “Who can sleep with their baby?!” I have never been able to sleep with my kids in my bed, ever. And I’m a horrible mom when I don’t sleep. So the kids stay in their own beds. But since there are 5 of us in a 1 bedroom apartment we are definitely co-sleeping out of necessity right now.