Chance of a LifetimeJan 23, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
I, too, was of the mind that co-sleeping would somehow be harmful or even dangerous to my newborn. If it weren't for my husband's typical reliance on his beautifully sensitive intuition, I never would have had this once in a lifetime experience.
We were already sold on breastfeeding -- I and my siblings were nursed as infants, and my sister was very successful in bf'ing her 3 children. I believe that as a result, breastfeeding came naturally to me. When we arrived home with our precious, long-sought-after (we had been through infertility and miscarriage) bundle, I chose to sleep when the baby slept, which inadvertently turned into co-sleeping -- it just made so much sense combined with nursing.
My husband inquired as to how long we should expect to continue sleeping with our son in the bed, and my first response was "oh, only a couple of months at the most!". I had only casually heard of "the family bed" and had really not done my own investigating. However, as a student of child development from the old (15 years ago) school, I was wary of (I can't believe this now) over-attachment by my child. I thought it was of crucial importance that he develop an independent sense of self.
Fortunately for me and my family, my husband is no scientist. He relies on his finely tuned intuition for direction. With that, he merely commented that, in his opinion, our son seemed so small and would still at two months of age. He simply couldn't imagine him in a separate room... I agreed to take it slow and see what passed.
Almost nine months later, my wonderfully healthy son has never slept a night apart from us. He has napped in the crib that we were (fortunately) given by my sister, and more recently on a floor pallet in his room. Frequently, I will nurse him to nap during the day in our bed (I am grateful to have the luxury of working at home). But nights are always reserved for us -- to snuggle, cuddle, and just listen to him breathe. Frequent are the nights when my husband and I lie quietly looking and listening to him, in awe at our creation.
Independence? My son, for good or bad, is appearing to be as precocious as his father and I were as children. He is just this side of walking now, has never met a stranger, and absolutely loves rooms crowded with people. He thrives on attention, yet also enjoys the quieter times at home with me. I couldn't ask for more, and I have no fear that, in time and probably too soon, he will be inquiring about sleeping on his own in his own domain. And I will feel perfectly validated in our decision to have shared such beautiful time together that can never be repeated.
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