I’m going to catch so much hell for this. I’m just waiting for all the mommy groups to grab their pitchforks and torches.
But just hold on a sec.
I’m a cuddler, nurturer, breastfeeding parent like anybody. Okay, my kids are 9 and 12- I do NOT still breastfeed them. We need to specify this nowadays since you can breastfeed children until they go to college.
If you’ve read my blog these last months, you know I dote on my children. Love them, shape them, keep it real for them. They are great kids. But having them sleep in my bed is just a no-no.
I need my space. I need to have my ‘self ‘ to myself. And I think there comes a time when children need to learn how to soothe themselves, and be happy with being alone. Not lonely. Just alone in their beds.
I can see the family bed working for newborns. When you have one child. Not several. Then everyone decides your bed is a free for all. Maybe this idea originated in some Third World country. But I’m guessing that if those little cramped dwellings in Third World cultures had bedrooms and mattresses in every room- they’d be sleeping separately too.
When my children were really itty bitty newborns, co-sleeping would work sometimes. In fact, we did it with Emma often since I had such a hard time breast feeding that this was how I got any sleep. Once she would nod off while latched on, I would nod off too. But as she grew older she needed more and more cuddling to sleep and it wasn’t until she was 5 did we get her to sleep through the night without her coming to our bed, or us going to her bed.
And if letting her sleep in our bed from the start would’ve helped, then I suppose we would’ve continued this, but a fist in the face, or a foot in the nuts, isn’t a way to get a good night sleep. What child sleeps without flailing? Both of mine flail like windmills. I’ve been punched in the mouth before. I’ve been awoken by gasps and grunts from the husband as he’s had a heel sharp to the crotch. Or a knee in the gut. Let me tell you- I have skinny children. They have sharp elbows and knees. All bony and shit. It hurts. This is no way to sleep folks!
And then there’s the contortion efforts to maintain them asleep, if you should wake up to go pee. Or when you’re stuck between your husband and the child and both are squishing you, or it’s summer and it’s so freaking hot you can’t breathe and you just want your
S P A C E!!!!!
Am I making myself clear? The pictures of family bed families, all comfortably spooning each other is a complete fairy tale. If anyone who sleeps in their family bed and loves it, I’m happy to hear that for you. I am in no way saying people shouldn’t have their children sleep in their bed. But for heavens sake people- do you see the monster you are creating if you even open that Pandora’s box?? They will NEVER LEAVE. NEVER.
Do you and your spouse want some alone time? Do you want some nookie time? How’s that working with your toddler between you?
Hey- the dog is always nearby when we are doing the marital relations. But honestly, she hangs her head in shame and walks over to her doggy bed in the closet until we are finished. You can’t do that with a kid!!
Making parents feel bad for using cribs, strollers and baby swings isn’t cool. I could only Baby Bjorn and sling my kids so much. Owen was born during May and was 3 weeks old during a June heat wave. You think I want that sack of ham strapped to me when it’s 95 degrees out and I’m sweating postpartum buckets? NO!
When I was postpartum with Emma, I needed to do 6 weeks of physical therapy because I kinked my neck carrying her all the time as well as the positions I was breast feeding created tension in parts of my body that hadn’t been used before. Obviously I started bad habits or posture or just using muscles that hadn’t been used before. Also I was on bed rest for 10 weeks before she was born, so I had very little muscle strength when she was born after atrophying on the couch for 3 months.
I love snuggling my kids. The idea of being cuddled in their beds together falling asleep with them is idyllic. But it’s the ‘idea’ not the reality that is idyllic. We snuggle lots. I rub their backs when I tuck them in. We are physically affectionate in lots of hugs, holds, back rubs, hair stroking. All that good stuff.
I hear of many folks that have slept with their children as babies and are trying to get their children to sleep in their own beds because they aren’t babies anymore! This is the disconnect. So much emphasis is placed on sleeping as a family when they are little, but what happens when you need to get your 4 year old to sleep in his own bed? Or when my friend says their 10 year old still can’t sleep alone in his bed? Once in awhile one of my children will crawl in to bed with us from a nightmare. This is okay. But even they will say, I didn’t sleep well last night, I hope I stay in my bed tonight. HA! They GET IT!
We don’t have to be pressured under Mayim Bialik’s parenting philosophies. Remember- she wore a flowered hat and overalls for many years during the 90s. Just because she does it, doesn’t mean you need to also.
If you think I let my kids cry it out, well, I didn’t. But I learned my mistakes from the firstborn and changed them with the second kid. Ha! Don’t we all! I would put him down in his crib when I saw the sleep signals. I would swaddle him all snuggly so he felt secure. He slept for hours on his own in his crib. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. He would still wake up for a 4 am nurse session. And then I realized that this was detrimental to me and wasn’t working anymore. I resented the sleep lost. I didn’t like the feeling anymore of breastfeeding. So one night I just cuddled him instead of nursing him and put him back in the crib. He went right back to sleep. It was just a habit to wake up. He didn’t need to eat. He didn’t need to be held. He needed to sleep really. I broke his habit, and we were all better off.
And now my boy is such a mama’s boy. So I don’t think I scarred him for deciding to stop breastfeeding before the age of 2. Our children will love us and be loving people regardless of how long they are nursed or if they’ve slept in cribs and beds by themselves. My kids love going to bed at night. They think their beds are cozy and safe and their own place for dream land.
Okay, so there’s my rant on the Family Bed. Just remember, it’s MY OPINION. I’m not writing child-rearing books here. I just don’t get it. If it works for you. Great. If it doesn’t- here’s a cup of coffee, you look a little tired.