Co-Sleeping and the Battle to Take Back My Bedroom

Ten years ago I swore I would never let my kids sleep in my bed.

Nine and a half years ago I welcomed into my bed a crying, screaming, non-nursing ball of baby who refused to sleep in his crib.

The same, but different.

And so it began. We tried everything! That baby would just not sleep by himself. And at 8 weeks postpartum I went back to work, and sleep became something that was necessary to function (and to be a nice human being) so the co-sleeping began.

Four years later and it was still happening. There would be nights where he would sleep in his crib or toddler bed. And we would praise and rejoice and reward. But those nights were few and far between.

Then, I became pregnant with baby number two. And the struggle began to get the first boy to sleep in his own bed. We got a new bed, we got new sheets and HOORAY! you’re a big boy and your mama needs lots of sleep because she’s growing a baby. The nights he crept in were fewer and farther between and again I said loud and proud…this next baby WILL NOT sleep in my bed.

And then, he didn’t. The new baby came and from day 1 at home he slept in his crib or bassinet like a good baby is supposed to. And after bout after bout with ear infections, he still only would sleep in his bed. I would try to get him to snuggle with me on the crying nights when I just wanted ALL THE SLEEP but he wanted to be rocked and not to sleep. Vacations were the best (read: worst) when he would only want to sleep in his own bed, which was at home and not in a hotel with us.

After about 3 years in a crib my hooligan sweet boy moved to a big boy bed. That became the catalyst of co-sleeping. Once again we were fighting with limbs that didn’t belong to an adult and drool stains that shouldn’t be there. The battle flag had been raised and the line has been drawn. I wanted my bedroom back.

That little one’s bedroom has been converted to a shared bedroom with his brother and most nights the pitter patter of little feet doesn’t start until long past the proper bedtime for a 5 year old. But in reality, this one just doesn’t want to sleep. At all. I will find him awake at all hours of the night and he wakes up before he is woken up. Most mornings start with the running of feet to greet me in the bathroom with a cherub face saying, “I had a good night’s sleep!”

But on those nights when the boys are doing as they’re told and snuggling in nice and tight together, I think to myself…I sure do miss those nights when the bed was too small and there were too many bodies in it.


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