We never planned to co-sleep with Myles. We had a crib next to our bed, about two feet away, all ready for him. The first night he was born, though, I couldn’t put him down. His little 5lb. 10oz. body just seemed TOO tiny and fragile in that big crib (or anywhere else we put him). So I slept in the recliner in our living room, with him in my arms.
And that’s where we stayed for his first three weeks.
I couldn’t bring myself to go to bed or to put him down. I had lots of people telling me I was making a mistake (less for safety reasons and more because I would have bad habits to break later on).
While I was still on maternity leave, I started taking naps during the day in bed with Myles snuggled beside me. It worked very well for us; he felt safe and was able to nurse on-demand while I was able to stay well-rested. I have yet to have a single day of motherhood where I felt sleep-deprived. (Though I’m sure that day will come!)
I guess that’s why, when I came back to bed after three weeks of recliner-sleeping, I brought Myles with me. Mike was not pleased at first. He worried about SIDS and worried about forming bad habits. So I put Myles in the crib one night — he cried, and I bawled. Too late on the bad-habit-forming, I guess.
I did some research and found the Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep study site. I felt like this was a reputable source, so Mike and I read through it. They give a great list of safe co-sleeping guidelines and their FAQ addresses a lot of great questions about co-sleeping.
Ultimately, I purchased a mesh bed rail and Myles and I continue to co-sleep. For us, bedtime is very stress-free and I do believe bed sharing has a lot to do with that. Myles falls asleep almost instantly and has slept in 6+ hour stretches from the time he was about 8 weeks old. He never cries at night, instead he just wiggles and nuzzles against me until I wake up enough to help him latch on to nurse. It’s a gentle rhythm of motherhood that I’ve grown to love very, very much.
Disclaimer: Co-sleeping/bed sharing is not for everyone or for every family. I am not a doctor and cannot recommend for or against it professionally; I am simply sharing my own experience and opinion. Please do lots of research before deciding what is right for your family, and be safe!