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Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and Coping


What can we learn from parents around the world  and how they raise their children?

I recently heard about Christine Gross-Loh’s new book, Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us

And I was intrigued.  It’s a fantastic read for parents, educators, and anyone interested in American parenting today.  Gross-Loh addresses many of the tough questions of parenting:  Where should kids sleep?  What should they eat?  How do we raise our children to be happy, successful, and kind?

Deb of Urban Moo Cow, Sarah of Left Brain Buddha, and I will be writing about our own experiences with these topics as parents, as well as our reactions to the book.  Make sure to check out Deb’s and Sarah’s first posts about co-sleeping!
We’ll tackle many provocative topics raised by the book.  We invite you to join us in the coming weeks.  Contact any of us — or comment on a post — and tell us if you’re interested in linking up with us for any (or all) of the upcoming blog posts.  We’re calling it a “blog carnival” because blog carnivals are collections of blog posts, written by different bloggers, all focused on the same topic.
Here are the questions we’ll be exploring in the Parenting Carnival:
  • What should we teach our kids about eating and food?
  • Is too much self-esteem harmful to kids?
  • Do American kids have too much academic pressure? Or not enough?
  • How do we raise kids with good character?
  • How do we raise independent kids and foster their self-control?
We’ll also be giving away a copy of Parenting Without Borders, signed by the author Christine Gross-Loh!  Enter the giveaway by commenting on any of our Carnival posts during the next two weeks.  We’ll announce the winner by July 15th!
Let’s read and talk about how culture shapes our parenting.  Join us!  

Here’s my story of co-sleeping and coping.  For me, this was the only chapter of the book in which I found myself not sure whether I should be nodding my head or going back to the research journals.  

“You shouldn’t sleep with the baby in your bed.”DSC_0408

The pediatrician looked at us sternly to emphasize his point.  My son was a week old, and we were five minutes into our first office visit.  My son and I had come home the night before from a week’s stay in the hospital after a difficult emergency c-section delivery.

First days: please stop crying and sleep...
First days: please stop crying and sleep…

The doctor did not seem impressed by our dramatic, desperate story of the night before.  We thought it must be the new parent nightmare story to top all new parent horror stories, unparalleled in the history of first nights home from the hospital.  The baby had cried all night long.  No pauses, until finally passing out at around 4 a.m. in our bed, sandwiched next to us, at which time our cat came out of its hiding spot, furious after our weeklong absence and the presence of a new and loud baby intruder, and began to yowl from 3 a.m. to sunrise.  The doctor listened to our story and yawned.  I could see he might be holding back an eye roll.

Our cat learns to tolerate our son.
Our cat learns to tolerate our son.

That night the bassinet next to our bed was unused.  Before my son was born, I had not given much thought to where he would sleep.  It seemed like a no brainer.  Co-sleeping, I had read, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, was not a safe option.  It was best for babies to sleep as close as possible to their mothers, but not in the same bed.  So we put a co-sleeper with fresh new sheets to the side of our bed, and another bassinet in the living room of our Cambridge apartment, ready for his daytime napping.

My son seemed to have other ideas.  When placed in the co-sleeper, no longer in a parent’s arms, he screamed like a possessed demon and would not stop.  (We wondered what had happened to the baby who had slept fitfully during his entire hospital stay in the plastic hospital bassinet.)

Boston Terrier breastfeeding pillow coping techniques
Boston Terrier breastfeeding pillow coping techniques

This first night story foreshadowed many months of sleep deprivation by every member of the family. (Even our poor dog, fed up by the constant all day and night screaming and neglect, tried to run away on a few occasions and once even tried to follow a prospective new owner home.  You could see the disappointment and resignation in her sad Boston Terrier eyes when she was returned to us.)  All prior plans about schedules and sleep were thrown out the window.  We would do anything to get him to sleep (and to stop crying), and that included co-sleeping.

We were one of the parents that Christine Gross-Loh in the book calls “reactive co-sleepers”; we slept with the baby inconsistently in an adult bed as a last ditch, desperate attempt to solving our sleep crisis.  Most nights, I would end up “sleeping” — I’m using this term loosely, since it basically involved me waking every few minutes, paranoid that I would crush the baby somehow — with our son in the guest bedroom from  3 or 4 a.m. to morning wake up time.

First days
First days

In other cultures, where bedsharing is the norm, they don’t have such an ambivalent, anxious attitude about sleeping with their children, from the newborn stage to later childhood.  They are “intentional” co-sleepers, and Gross-Loh argues that this intentionality and buying into this practice as a cultural norm makes all the difference.

We ended up “sleep training” — yes, the infamous “cry it out” with the help of a sleep consultant — when my son was five months old or so and we had moved from Boston to Buffalo.  It changed our lives.  We had our evenings back to eat dinner together as a couple.  We could read and talk in bed together.  We stopped fighting constantly about who would or was able to get up with the baby, why the baby wasn’t sleeping, which of us was more tired and why.  My son still is not a great sleeper, even as a toddler, but we were able to become functional human beings again who could rely on getting more than a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I’m not a medical professional.  I don’t know who is more “right” — co-sleeping advocates or my pediatrician and the medical community  — about whether bedsharing is more or less safe for young babies than other options.  As my blogging friend and dear mentor Alice Callahan of the Science of Mom — as well as my favorite and most trusted writer on infant sleep — states, co-sleeping (including its safety) is an issue “with so much complexity — wrinkles and folds of factors like breastfeeding, bonding, instinct, culture, and just plain reality.”

From my reading on this issue, I don’t think that I would be comfortable stating — as Gross-Loh does — that “co-sleeping is safe.”  To put it mildly, there are mixed results of studies that try to tease apart the relationship between co-sleeping, SIDS, and baby safety in general.

And we cannot wish away our American attitudes about sleep and the role that sleep plays in the rest of our lives just because other cultures might believe that babies should sleep next to their parents.  For better or worse, we are living American lives.  We work long hours.  We sometimes have an unhealthy and overwhelming relationship to digital media.  We don’t have paid maternity leave.  Families generally live away from their extended families.  We don’t live in communal households.  We don’t generally live in close neighborhood networks in which parents provide many kinds of help and support.  We don’t have flexible schedules.  We don’t have subsidized, easily affordable, and flexible day care.  We don’t — like the French — have visiting nurses who help us during the postpartum period.  American families often feel like they live on isolated islands, trying to survive financially and emotionally from day to day.  And all of these factors impact our attitudes and habits relating to sleep.

After two years of sleep issues with my son and after reading this chapter, here’s what I wish:

  • Let’s declare an “end” to the sleep wars.  They’re so unhelpful.  Co-sleeping is good for some families.  But for many others, it’s not.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on new mom websites and seen extremely hostile comments from other mothers responding to sleep-deprived new moms wanting to learn about other moms’ experiences with sleep training.
  • Let’s recognize that babies are not going to be harmed by sleep training.  There is no evidence for this.  You may have opinions on whether you would like your baby to be taught self-soothing skills in certain ways.  Unless you were asked specifically to share them to a sleep-deprived new mom, keep them to yourself.
  • Let’s help new parents deal with the realities of their lives.  For American parents, this means that there are endless economic, social, cultural, and psychological reasons why sleep matters in a culturally specific way.  As I’ve discussed before, new parents don’t need more stuff, for the most part.  Instead of another onesie or blanket, give a new mom a few hours of babysitting so she can nap.  Offer to help fold the laundry for an afternoon.  Walk the baby around the neighborhood for an hour.  Make dinner for new parents and then listen to them and offer non-judgmental support.
  • Let’s recognize the connection between sleep loss and maternal mental health.  Sleep deprivation can be a leading factor in causing some women to develop symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety, as it was for me.  Uninterrupted blocks of sleep can make the difference between psychological adjustment and a serious mental health problem.

The way that babies sleep in the United States is not a cultural universal.  This is true.  Babies in other cultures sleep differently.  But given the realities of my very American life and my very American personality and view of the world, I would not consider co-sleeping.  In fact, I would do the opposite:  I would teach my son self-soothing skills much earlier and more consistently.  And maybe that is a “typically American” solution.  But I’m okay with that.

Did you co-sleep?  When did you start?  Were you “intentional” or “reactive” co-sleepers?  What sorts of guidance did you get from your pediatrician?

Now check out the other Parenting Carnival bloggers:  

Read Deb from Urban Moo Cow: “Where Should Your Baby Sleep?

And Sarah from Left Brain Buddha: “Parenting… Without Sleep!









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  1. Mary Kathryn says:

    I just want to shout “YES!” to so many parts of your sleeping story — esp. the parts about how American families are, and how much help we really need. It’s useless to say, “We need to be more French!” (or African, or Chinese) We aren’t. We’re American. We have Big Sleep Issues.

    As for the larger blog carnival thing — great idea! The five questions being considered are LARGE. I think honestly … those questions will be answered quite differently by different parents, depending on their worldview — or philosophy, if you prefer that term. (BTW, perhaps the most important thing is for the child’s parents to have the SAME worldview! haha!) I mean, since I’m a fairly conservative Christian woman, married to a man of the same stripe, our answers to those questions about a child’s character, his relationship to education, his self-image and self-control — all of those will be deeply influenced (even dictated) by our theology. Or our view of “God, the Universe, and Everything” as they say. It’s useless for me to tell other parents how they should stand on those large questions, if they don’t have my worldview. However, it’s very interesting to discern how various parents’ worldviews cause their answers to those questions to shift. I do think consistency — having parenting that is in line with a single philosophy/worldview — is very helpful to the family, and stabilizing to the children as they grow up. I look forward to your carnival 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Mary Kathryn! You’re so right that our parenting decisions are often made on the basis of our worldview or philosophical orientation. It’s especially important for parents to be on the same page in their values and world view. What I think is interesting about baby sleep is that while this is still true, the beliefs that parents hold about where they think babies should sleep — close to their parents, in their own space, etc. — frequently get thrown out the window in the face of desperation!
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  2. Yes yes yes! So interesting to read that we posted very similar stories. Sleep training was something I had to do for my mental health. I also asked for a truce in the sleep wars ~ let’s support all parents in making informed decisions.

    I also like how you wrote about how co-sleeping and other practices may not fit into our American lives… We can’t just take one thing from another culture and expect it to work here. Culture is an integrated, dynamic, complex whole.

    And I agree about providing more support for parents. Postpartum doulas. Longer maternity leaves. Affordable daycare. Maybe we need to conclude this with An American Parenting Manifesto!

    Great post!
    Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…Parenting without … Sleep!My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Sarah. I think that so much of the “choices” that parents make — especially during those first difficult months — are so strongly influenced by the amount of support they have. Sleep can be such a hard thing and impact so much of their life and your coping abilities. And it drives me crazy when I see so much judgment from other parents about this topic!
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  3. Great post, Jessica. I love sleep stories. I love it when good, caring parents stand up and say where they struggled and what they did and didn’t do and what worked for them and after all of that, we can still just that they’re still good, caring parents with awesome kids:) I hate the sleep wars, too, so I think your final suggestions are perfect. I’ll be reading your blog carnival – what a great idea!
    Alice Callahan recently posted…I’m Still Here.My Profile

  4. We were reactive co-sleepers with my son. There was just NO OTHER WAY for any of us to get any rest. Once we brought him into our bed, he slept well and we could finally sleep, too. I lied to our pediatrician about it because I KNEW the lecture I would get. It was the only sane thing we could do for our family and frankly it was great. We eventually undertook a sleep training effort when he was one. It took awhile and I did it gradually, but it worked. It was what was right for us.

    When my daughter came along I feared she’d be the same way. NOPE. She hated being touched when she slept. She wanted her own space. Go figure. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…How Many Weight Watchers Points Are In A Gallon Of Chunky Monkey?My Profile

  5. Lizzie says:

    We devolved into reactive co-sleepers. It was a long, hard devolution.

    Our daughter would not sleep. She would only fall asleep while nursing, and would only stay asleep if I could move her from breast to bassinet without waking her. The bigger she got, the harder it got. When she was 4 months old, my husband and I got slammed with the stomach flu and I just didn’t have the strength. I ended up in a side-lying nursing position. Terrified she’d suffocate, I removed all the blankets, made a Preggle pillow barrier on one side of the bed, and refused to move from my side position. It was December, freezing, and I was getting <2hrs of sleep a night. We did that for a month. We started sleep training – pediatrician's orders – on New Year's day. Ferber method. Best thing we've ever done as parents. She sleeps like a champ now. Naps, too. We are as close to sane as parents can be.

    We never intended to co-sleep. We had her nursery ready to go from day one. My mom suggested the bassinet as a last minute purchase. I file our experience under, "Doing what it takes to make it work."

    • Jessica says:

      Half of what happened during the first year I file under “doing what it took to survive”! My son had the same issues with waking up when I put him down in the bassinet. That’s how the early morning co-sleeping started for me too. I think what also helped — in addition to the sleep training — was when he was old enough to roll onto his tummy and sleep. Of course I had a few days of paranoia about that — risk of SIDS — but it was impossible to stop him and he slept much better than on his back.
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  6. Rachel says:

    Great post!

    I just heard about “Parenting without Borders” and was immediately interested…but I have to admit I was annoyed when I saw a chapter on co-sleeping. “Great, another person who is going to tell me co-sleeping is best based on what happens in cultures and societies that are radically different from my own.” I decided that from now on when I hear a discussion on cross-cultural sleep advice, I want information about how people in that society(bed types, length of sleep, how they wake up, etc). And I want to know what infant mortality rates are in that society. And as a sociologist, I don’t understand why I wasn’t more critical of the parenting advice I read up until now…probably because I was afraid of hurting my baby.

    Also, it is probably good for us to remember that books like these pick and choose which habits of which cultures to praise. Those high performing Finish school children slept by themselves (mostly) as infants.

  7. Becky says:

    I agree with so much of this post. One thing I was surprised to come across a couple years ago, though, really made me question the whole “co-sleeping works in other cultures” thing. This study found that infants and toddlers of predominately Asian countries were more likely to bedshare and roomshare, but that their parents were also more likely to report sleep disturbances. http://www.tau.ac.il/~sadeh/clinic/Mindell%202010%20cross-cultural%20infant%20sleep.pdf

    Just because cosleeping is the cultural norm doesn’t mean that it is without pitfalls, even in these countries.

  8. Meghan says:

    I have never had any desire to co-sleep. I do not like being touched when I sleep and quite literally cannot sleep if anyone is touching me. My husband does not care for this quirk of mine. At the birth center I use that pass out this flyer about the benefits of co-sleeping for breastfeeding and it has this text box with a quote from Dr. Sears. Since I think he is a quack, that flyer has been round-filed both times. I am one of those people who, people are quick to state, had an easy baby. He started sleeping through the night on his own around three months or so and we never had any breastfeeding issues. I’m about to give birth to my second child and I again have no plans to co-sleep. I don’t believe in the safety of co-sleeping (I know there are adjustments you can make, but I am not willing to make them), and after hearing about the experiences of my friends, REALLY don’t want to find out for myself. They still swear by it, but I think it sounds terrible.

  9. Nicole Dash says:

    With my first I was a reactive co-sleeper, but with the rest I actually made the choice to co-sleep prior to their births. For me it felt right and allowed me to sleep better. Nursing for me was easier laying down and I would get into a sleep pattern that matched each of my baby’s. And even though I was waking throughout the night, I didn’t feel exhausted because I hardly stirred. Once my kids reached about four/five months then I slowly weaned them from my bed and was not afraid to let them cry it out as needed. I think you are right, we need to stop comparing our choices and experiences to other cultures or other mothers. We have to define our own norms. I have never bought into one theory for sleeping, feeding, discipline, etc. I always try to do what feels right for me. More women should stop worrying about the “wars” and just be true to their own feelings and comfort level.
    Nicole Dash recently posted…Find Peace in Light of the MoonMy Profile

  10. Amanda Bruce says:

    Loved this. I, also, think the “mommy wars” about sleeping should stop – but, this doesn’t stop me from being a cheerleader of sleep training. Which I did, when my daughter was 4 months, and today she sleeps like a champ. I think it’s like – know yourself if you’re going to cosleep. I did it a few times with mine – and I knew it was ok because I am the lightest sleeper on the planet. Did I let my boyfriend do it? No way. He practically dies when he sleeps. Great post!
    Amanda Bruce recently posted…Dear Media: Stop Trying to Kill My Sisters.My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Yes, my husband was not into the idea of co-sleeping at all. His fears mainly stemmed from the fact that he knew friends whose grade school kids still slept in their bed. He didn’t want to start that precedent, no matter how desperate we were. Me, on the other hand, I would’ve done ANYTHING to sleep a few more hours. I’m a much lighter sleeper than he is too!
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  11. Rachel says:

    We still co-sleep with our two year old. She started sleeping through the night at 17 months. The sleep deprivation was very hard, but I would do it all over again. What I would NOT do the next time is listen to the sleep “experts” online, who said that my daughter would have “life long” sleep issues, because we were not “training” her how to sleep through the night without our assistance (called “sleep associations”). I did not need to question our decision not to sleep train on top of feeling so sleep deprived. What I really needed was some encouragement, like you said. And, BTW, my daughter is now an excellent sleeper and napper. Further proof that it was unnecessary for me to question my decision.

    • Jessica says:

      It’s really an individual thing. My son was the king of “sleep associations.” If he fell asleep in a certain way — being rocked to sleep, held in your arms, sitting in a chair — he would want the EXACT same conditions repeated every time he stirred at all during the night. Otherwise, he would wake up completely and it would take ages and ages for him to fall asleep again. Kids are different; some kids can nurse to sleep and it doesn’t matter. Some kids can fall asleep with their parents. Others develop sleep associations that prevent a good night’s rest for anybody.
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  12. Excellent post, Jessica! You always wow me with how you’re able to combine such heartfelt relatable personal details with a really thought-provoking, well-researched article. I love the suggestions you made at the end – you’re so right that “sleep wars” are completely unproductive.

    I never really did the “cry-it-out” thing and ended up co-sleeping during the day for many of my son’s naps. At night, I allowed him to fall asleep on my lap and then eased him into his own bed. It worked for us and when he was about one year, he pretty much weaned himself and began going down without a fuss. Now, he’s almost four and is a really great sleeper (knocking on wood). Thanks for this. Truly great.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…To all the me’s I’ve loved before…My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Kristi! I certainly did the “co-sleeping” thing during the day during naps, for several months. Even once my son would sleep on his own in his crib during the night, he still wouldn’t sleep on his own during naps. We did a whole other round of separate sleep training later on — or, rather, I did, because my husband was at work — for naps. In some ways I wish my son had been the type to fall asleep together with me and then sleep on his own in his crib… sort of the best of both worlds. But he would wake up again, and again, and again, and want to be rocked and walked around to get back to sleep many times during the night. Not sustainable at 2 a.m., then 3 a.m., then 4 a.m.
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  13. Ha! We even had the same link to the AAP! So funny. And I can definitely relate to your poor dog wanting to run away. Mine has never truly recovered. 🙁

    I really liked your point about accepting that we don’t live those other places. I’ve been thinking about what I want to write for the food post, and it has something to do with that.
    Deb @ Urban Moo Cow recently posted…Where Should Your Baby Sleep?My Profile

  14. Sarah Almond says:

    We set out trying to discourage the cosleeping from the start, not because we didn’t like the idea but because we didn’t want the kids in bed with us when they were older. My son never slept with us. My daughter ended up in bed with me in the middle of the night as an infant because I was too exhausted to fight her anymore. Luckily when she was finally in her own room she got over it!

    People who cosleep happily with their children-more power to them. I’m too light of a sleeper-it would have never worked for me!
    Sarah Almond recently posted…Twisted Mixtape Tuesday Bathtub Time Machine: The 80s, This List Goes To 11My Profile

  15. Anna says:

    We haven’t yet gotten to find out what’ll work for us, since the baby’s due next month, but I’m a restless sleeper normally, and pregnancy has restricted my ability to move around while sleeping, which has, in turn, affected how well I sleep. So co-sleeping with the baby in the bed doesn’t sound like a good option. I’d be too worried about squashing her. We’re sticking the crib right next to the bed instead. It’s interesting reading different people’s reactions to co-sleeping, though. Here in Canada, we get the recommendation to keep the baby in the same room, but not in the same bed, but I keep running across bloggers who’ve given it a try and are wildly enthusiastic about it.

    • Jessica says:

      It’s definitely one of those “wait and see” things. If I were to have another baby, I would plan to have the baby in the same room, at least for the initial months, especially if you’re breastfeeding. We used one of those Rock And Play sleepers… that thing was great! You may end up with the baby in your bed sometimes, and it helps to know beforehand how to co-sleep more safely.
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  16. Mandy says:

    All three of these posts have been great to read and we definitely need to not judge other moms/families on their choices! Everyone should do what works for their family. Our baby was in the NICU for twelve days, and oddly enough that made it very easy for me to have him in his own crib in his own room the very first night he came home. Keep in mind, however, that his room is very close to ours so we don’t even need a monitor to hear him stirring.

    So, even though he sleeps through the night more often than not (although heat waves and working on unswaddled arms has had an effect on this) we will likely be doing some crying it out soon. Why? Someone had some colic along the way and we started rocking him to stop the crying. And now I spend about two hours total a day rocking him down for naps, etc., so sleep training is coming as soon as we get the green light from our pediatrician . . . Or my back gives out.

    Do I worry how this will impact our relationship? Yes. But not as much as me losing my mind from walking in circles for two hours a day.

    Can’t wait to read this book – thanks ladies!

    • Jessica says:

      Don’t worry… It won’t impact your relationship. I can promise you that. My son was the same. He wasn’t content even to be rocked in a glider or to lie down next to me. For several months I had to rock him to sleep, which involved standing up and intensely rocking. On the plus side, my legs were in great shape! (For a little while, I also had to be singing!) It was life-changing once we did sleep training for naps. But it was hard, a lot harder than nighttime sleep. Once you can put him down in a crib though for sleep during the day, you feel like your life opens up!
      Jessica recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  17. Katia says:

    “Let’s recognize the connection between sleep loss and maternal mental health” – Amen!

    “Reactive co-sleepers” Here I go learning from you again. That was us with baby number 2. You’ve described our life from a-z. You’ve always represented the voice of reason to me and this post is no exception. There is a lot of common sense in what you say. Why should Americans isolate one attribute of a different culture (sleep practices in this case) and incorporate that into a lifestyle that may clash with it?

    I am totally with you on that, oh wise one!
    Katia recently posted…BlogHer VOTY 2013My Profile

  18. Jen says:

    I completely agree that we should let each mama make their own decisions! I feel lucky that I was not worried what other people thought, because I watched friends have a very difficult time with that exact problem. As a co-sleeping mama, the one thing I can say is that Gross-Loh is right about this. There is a huge difference between making the choice to co-sleep and being a reactive co-sleeper. HUGE. We actually started as reactive, but having read every single parenting book ON THE PLANET before my son was born. (because we were adopting so I had no need for pregnancy books, and a lot of time, so I filled the waiting time with parenting books) I felt confident, when we realized co-sleeping was the best option, that my son was safe. For me it was great for a baby who also had trouble soothing himself, I could sleep with my hand on his belly and that was enough sometimes. I never had to get out of bed for feedings, or to soothe his crying, and so I slept much better than I would have if I we hadn’t made this choice. We have a family bed. It’s our family time, with a husband who works 2 jobs, he feels like this is the only time he can be close to my son, and so for us, it’s the right decision.
    Jen recently posted…Twisted MixTape Tuesday 14My Profile

    • Isn’t the difference between “reactive” and “intentional” co-sleepers just a critical difference? I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but I think it makes all the difference in how you experience sleeping with your baby. I wonder if there’s a difference too in families whose kids starting sleeping in their beds as babies or later on as toddlers or preschoolers.
      Jessica Smock recently posted…Sleepless in Boston and Buffalo: Colic, Co-Sleeping, and CopingMy Profile

  19. Alyson says:

    With my first, I was sort of a reactive cosleeper, though mostly a mommy martyr. I was so nervous sleeping in bed with her that I usually just sat in the rocking chair for hours at a time and didn’t sleep (which worked OK because I’m a SAHM and my husband was unemployed for several of those months). When she was 1 year old, I did some sleep training, and now, at 3, she is a relatively good sleeper.

    My second child has been a better sleeper since the beginning. That made a world of difference in how I viewed the infant stage.

    I attribute my anxiety about cosleeping to various sleep/baby books and articles from experts that I read before my first baby was born. My mother coslept with me and my three siblings, and until I was pregnant, I thought nothing of it. I wish I could have been more relaxed about it.

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