There’s an interesting discussion on co-sleeping happening over at Blue Milk’s place — spurred on by her question: when and how does co-sleeping end. When I saw her post I thought, “oh good! Now I can find out how things are going to be from here on in!” I couldn’t wait to read all of the positive comments on how wonderful co-sleeping is and what amazing benefits there are to it.
I’m still a little shocked at how many people are commenting with stories of their 8 and 9 year olds still co-sleeping and having difficulties getting back to sleep by themselves. *blank stare*
We part-time co-sleep. Due to space constraints in the apartment, Eryn’s crib is in our room. But she’s really only in there for half the night. When she wakes and I nurse her back to sleep, I’m usually too lazy tired to put her back. And it is quite lovely and nice to have a baby to snuggle up next to. Even when she farts in my face or forces Hubby out with her amazing talent to utilize every inch of our queen-sized bed.
I have to admit that I felt a little cheated when I read the experiences of the co-sleeping commenters. From what I’ve always understood about attachment parenting and co-sleeping is that it produces well-adjusted, self-confident children who feel safe in their sleep space after years of being night parented. “They won’t be nursing or sleeping with you when they go to college” is a popular joke I’ve heard thrown around. But the prospect of sharing my bed with Eryn for the next 9 years scares me. And I haven’t quite figured out what to do if a second baby came along.
We have a long way to go before that happens, and I wasn’t planning on getting her into her own room any time soon, since we just don’t have one for her. I didn’t even want to mention this post to the Hubby, fearing that he’d want to put her on a sleep training system ASAP to make sure that by the time she’s 9 she’ll be self-soothing to sleep.
But before I completely freaked out, I remembered my own childhood sleeping hang-ups. I was apparently an easy baby and a great sleeper. I was kicked out of my parents’ room at the age of 2 months and it’s claimed that I slept through the night.
Which really means I cried it out and consoled myself by sucking my thumb. Which I continued to suck until I was 9. Once I stopped sucking my thumb, I replaced it with listening to the radio. I had to listen to the radio for over an hour every night until I was so exhausted that I fell asleep. When the radio wasn’t available, I would tell myself stories, get lost in my imagination or cry myself to sleep.
For inspiration, I would either imagine my dead bird or grandfather. Sometimes I’d imagine horrible things happening to my parents and get so worked up that I’d start screaming for them to come assure me that they were okay. I think I may have been 18 when I stopped doing that. I listened to the radio to sleep until the age of 26.
I replaced my radio after moving from University back home and finding my favourite stuffed bear. I stopped sleeping with the bear after I got married. And now after taking care of Eryn all day and blogging when I should be sleeping, I’m usually so exhausted that I’m completely out by the time my head hits the pillow.
Now, I’m not saying that my parents just left me to figure things out for myself. I was allowed into their bed when I had nightmares, and for years my mom and I co-slept when my dad worked nights. But I definitely had several crutches to get myself to sleep.
From my own experiences growing up and Eryn’s night-time routine I don’t yet have an answer as to which is better: co-sleeping or a sleep training program. But I bet every person had a sleep crutch growing up, irrespective of how their parents put them to bed. Don’t get me wrong, I love co-sleeping, and I really do think that it’s benefiting Eryn. I know that we all get more sleep when she’s teething or cranky. She also sleeps longer and is a really happy baby. While part of that is her own personality, I’d like to think that it’s also due to how we’re raising her.
Do you remember how you’d put yourself to sleep?