A Sleep Story

Sleep. Glorious sleep.

We just did our cry-it-out talk in our Bradley class on Saturday. We do encourage our students to co-sleep with their infants, for at least nine months after their sweet pea’s Birth-Day, based on Ashley Montagu’s theory of “nine months in, nine months out” as the completion of the human gestation cycle (read more HERE). We offer several reasons why it’s important to consider other sleep strategies besides Cry-It-Out (CIO). You can check out our VLOG and blog tomorrow on SPB for more on that 😉

One of our students who is an avid reader pointed out that she had read that it is best to put infants in their own room between 6-9 months, or else the transition to separate sleeping quarters may be more difficult.  My only response to that is that each family needs to choose what is right for their situation.

Ha. Ha. Inside I am laughing as I said that. Our own family is a perfect example of waiting too long. And…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I like being able to hear our children sleep, and I don’t want electric monitors interfering with the re-charging their body is doing every night.
  • The quality of their breathing helps me assess who is well and who is on the brink of an illness. If I hear them snoring or sniffling in their sleep, I can adjust their diets and take more care with their dressing to try and head off any illness. (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I am aware!)
  • I sleep better knowing that my children are not likely to be kidnapped out of their rooms in the middle of the night. The Elizabeth Smart story ruined me for ever wanting to have our children sleep alone.
  • It makes my husband and I creative to keep our intimate life alive and well…and as I will occasionally point out in our classes, our co-sleeping arrangement did not serve very well for birth control.  We do not engage in our intimacy when our children are around…so I will leave other options to your own imagination.

Are these great reasons for continuing to co-sleep with all of our children? Maybe not for you, however, they work for our family.  Our bedroom is large and we have a king bed, two oversized chairs, a recliner, and a toddler bed in our room. In addition, sometimes the children like to make their own nest on the floor – we are open to any kind of arrangement that lets everyone sleep comfortably.

I will close with saying that all of our children have their own “regular” beds in rooms that are separate from ours. During the day, those beds are used for naps.  Every once in a while, they want to sleep there overnight and we honor that as part of their exploration of growth and independence.

Otter wants me to sleep with her when she wants to be in her own bed at night, and that’s okay with me, too. I have never understood why adults, who like to sleep together and are supposedly “emotionally mature” adults, expect emotionally immature children to be okay sleeping alone. It makes sense to me that our children crave our company during waking or sleeping hours, until their confidence grows and they are ready to strike out on their own.

I won’t lie – I enjoy the occasional nap when I have the bed all to myself, and I’m not struggling to find a pillow or a blanket that I can  use just for me. However, snuggling a sweet child who is going to spend the majority of their life away from me is a “memory treasure” to store for the days when we are empty nesters and our children are off building lives of their own.