June 28th, 2007

Your Turn: Multiple Co-Sleeping

A Reader Writes:
My youngest is 17 months and sleeping with us. We are all happy with this arrangement but we are due to have another baby in 3 months and I would like to hear about people’s experiences with co-sleeping with two babies. Is it possible? Is it lunacy? She is no longer breastfed but still wakes with teething and I can see that happening for quite a while. Also, since she has stopped feeding, she goes down for a sleep with a bottle and a cuddle from me if necessary. I lie down next to her and she relaxes and goes to sleep. I love this time and part of me hates to lose it. But am I being unrealistic? The other part of me thinks “get her used to going to sleep in the crib by herself so it’s not so traumatic when the baby comes.”

We have never officially called it co-sleeping with two babies, but we surely have had multiple children in our bed at night. Sometimes it’s nice and sometimes it’s … really, really not. They key is figuring out and doing what works best for your family regardless of what the books, the mothers-in-law, the friends, and other “experts” might tell you. You probably won’t know exactly how you will like multiple co-sleeping until it happens.

For now, I think the key words you have used are “I love this time.” If you love your current sleep arrangements you should not feel pressured change them in anticipation of the new baby’s arrival. Every baby, every toddler, every mother, and every father is unique. They all have different needs and different preferences. I would suggest you keep an open mind and remain flexible about your family’s sleep arrangements as you head into the coming months. You might all co-sleep and love it. Or you (or Dad) might find your sleep is too disturbed and you need to find ways to encourage the toddler to sleep on her own. Be open to doing whatever works best for your family – even if it’s not what you envisioned as “ideal” all those years ago before you had children – and it will work out best for your family.

53 comments to Your Turn: Multiple Co-Sleeping

  • PM

    Kate,

    Everyone here is offering their different experiences and I think you were too sensitive and defensive to take her comments as a slur. She is obviously sees a painful situation and the decisions that have made it worse.

    I have co-slept with my kids and I did not think it was a slur, rather just a different perspective.

    It is true we do have to protect our marriage bed. But as some of you have said you get creative. With co-sleeping we have to be otherwise the lack of intimacy in our marriage can take its toll.

  • Concerned

    Thank you so very much "PM" for coming to my defense, I never meant or would I ever comment on something & make it sound like a slur. Danielle simply asked our opinions & I shared what is hurting me for public view. Our son slept with us from time to time & I loved the cuddle time. When he got a little bigger like 4-5 I remember fondly him pretending our bed spread was a sleeping bag & would roll up in it at the foot of the bed on the floor & pretended we were camping. I am 61 years old & I have many life experiences. I am totally blessed with a wonderful relationship with all of our 5 children, even more blessed with my closeness with our "children-in-laws".
    My wonderful husband of 42 years & I are still best friends & make each day the most we can while we are here. We still share a bed & intimacy together. I have many serious health issues & since he is retired we offer to take any grand child for sleepover & I sleep with them in a guest room that we have all fixed up for the kids. They love it & tease that Nana snores but they still want to sleep with me, even a 12 year old grand daughter. The boys sleep with Papa & say he steals the covers.
    Honestly in no way did I generalise like you said twice, I simply was giving one opinion of one situation. I have read & re-read my comment & sadly through the typed word & not spoken face to face it is taken out of context & feeling of how it was meant. There was no "Newsflash" as you assumed that they had a troubled marriage before the baby. They had lost 3 babies after being married 7 years & trying to have a child. I understood her fear of loosing another but only was concerned that she was & still is seriously overly concerned & I worry about her mental health. Our second son is a Jesuit Priest & he has spoken to his brother & sister in law about this in a loving counseling fashion. PLEASE know again it was ONLY an opinion & it was a private thing I debated to share then with the end results of your assumptions I am now extremely sorry I ever shared. You are only 26 years old & may feel like you know quite a bit but please remember when you are a grand mother you will be able to see things entirely different from all you have experienced.
    I do not think Danielle wanted all of this to be the focus when she asked for mere opinions on the subject & I will just chalk this up to yet another life experience & take away from it that how other people read things into a comment that was not truly there.
    God Bless you ! Sincerely !

  • Goodness me, ladies! I think we’ve exhausted this topic and then some. We should all take note: it is easy for written communications, where you cannot hear a person’s tone or see a person’s facial expression, to be misunderstood. This can lead to hurt and/or offense where none was intended, and I think that’s exactly what happened here — in both directions.

    Anyway, I think that’s enough public discussion on this subject, so I’ll be closing comments. Please take any further thoughts to email.