When my firstborn arrived into this serene and peaceful household, my entire world was transformed into a warzone and funfare at the same time. He became the focus of my attention throughout the entire day and I live to make sure he is alright. I made sure his food contained just the right amount of nutrients, helped stimulated him with playtime, read to him, slept with him.
You see, offering cuddles and hugs is not the usual reward or privilege we got when me and my siblings were kids. Infact, it was quite unheard of. Sure, we had the usual dosages of "Good girl" and a hug but me and my parents never hugged as much as I hug with my kid. We can even go into a hug-athon when we want to. Hugging, kissing, hugging, kissing, hugging....etc.
Sleeping with my child came naturally to me and my husband. It felt so good to hold his hand or drape a careless arm over his tummy while we slumber. It's so comfortable and proves to be a suitable and close-to-perfect setting for us.
Sure, I was warned about not being able to make him sleep in his own bed later on and stuffs but my need to sleep with my child supercedes those warning. I didn't mind getting kicked in the face once too many times in the night. I didn't mind getting jumped on in the morning.
Now, the problem is not my son. It's me. My son can sleep perfectly fine without me. It's me who can't sleep without him beside me! I know, I am so terrible at this. I need to feel that he is near me in order to even have a short shut-eye.
Now who's dependent on whom?
I tried placing him on our bed, lulling him to sleep and then moving him onto the crib before I sleep. Didn't work cause NOW I CAN'T sleep. I'd make a very calculated guess that my husband feels the same way about the sleeping arrangement although I would say he feels a little less committed to the approach. He sure could sleep when he needed to. But of course, I have been the one who had to consistently put the child to bed and I have gotten accustomed to the feeling of that little body and those tiny fingers intertwined with mine.
A little basics here for sleeping with a baby nearby.
If you don't like it, stop it. Try getting your baby to sleep on his own as soon as you possibly can. If you're unlike me, it's best to make sure you can get as much rest as possible. Sleeping in another room or in another bed is as possible as sleeping WITH baby. Besides, there's been many reports about sleeping with baby in bed, which includes the possibility of snuffling baby or rolling over the slumbering tot while the adults are in deep sleep.
If you're sleeping with baby in the middle (that means between you and your partner), try moving baby to the other side of the bed. That means, to one side. The bed would have to be leaning against a wall or something concrete in order to prevent baby from falling off the bed. This sleeping arrangement could help you and your partner bond better, especially when you need an adult cuddle in the middle of the night, instead of a baby one.
If you like sleeping with your child, then you might have to endure some unwanted advice from others who have already helped their toddlers to sleep alone in their own beds. Every set of parents have different expectations and standards of raising their children and your friend/relative is not any different. Their advices are probably made in good will and they think what they're doing is the absolute right thing. Never squabble with your friends/relatives about issues like this one. The best way is to smile and react as little as possible by saying things like, "He's thriving and we love the arrangement now. Thanks anyway".
I have once heard this saying which goes like this, "Once you give birth to a child, you will henceforth spend the rest of your life seperating yourself from him". That is so so so so true. I couldn't agree more with that. You see, I can't sleep alone (without my child) because I don't want to seperate myself from him. He gives me security and I know he is safe sleeping with me. I am a breath away from saving him in "life threatening" situations. I want to know that he's so close I can breathe his scent. I can't seperate myself from him. I know I will have to someday.
The most important thing for me to do, is to slowly ease myself out of this habit and this need. For one, I am being selfish when I choose an arrangement which fits me best. I need to follow my child's lead if he appears to WANT or is READY to sleep on his own.
Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and writer who is working out of her home in Selangor, Malaysia. She lives in PJ with her husband, Peter and 2 sons, Joshua and Jared. Marsha is the author of "Raising little magicians", "No Products to Sell" and other books. For more information on Marsha, visit http://www.marshamaung.com and to find out mroe about her books, visit http://www.lulu.com/marshamaung.