adios, bed-sharing.

as you might recall, I became a big, vocal supporter of bed-sharing (or cosleeping) when L was just two months old {read more about that here}. it was so much easier for me, as a breastfeeding mama who believed (and i still do!) wholeheartedly in nursing on demand, to have L right in bed with me during the night. i woke more rested, as did L, and i grew more and more confident in my approach to mothering with each night of close snuggles and relaxed nursing. the closeness was intoxicating and beneficial for our bond as mother and son – i feel that in my bones.


while i enjoyed my endless snuggles with L each and every night, Jord certainly took the brunt of the difficulties of a family bed; while i was the recipient of endless snuggles and closeness with our boy, Jord was always the one who was kicked, shoved to the edge of the bed, and alienated from both his wife and his son during the night. in short, while Jord understood and supported the benefits of cosleeping while i was nursing on demand, he had (very valid) concerns and objections.

thus, Jord and i have always had an ongoing dialogue about the benefits and struggles of bed-sharing as L has grown over the past nearly two (!!) years. at times, we have even made various attempts to transition L to his crib, using various tactics like cry-it-out, waiting for him to fall asleep in my arms and then laying him in the crib, utilizing a bedtime routine religiously, rocking him to sleep, and more. while our attempts to transition L into his crib worked with moderate success each time, no matter the time or the approach, moving L out of our bed always ended in failure.


now that i have some distance from the last time we attempted a transition (it’s been since the holidays), i can look back without a lot of self-judgment and think: why did our plans to move L to his crib continuously fail? here’s my answer (albeit difficult to swallow): quite frankly, i was never quite ready to stop cosleeping, so at the earliest sign of struggle, i’d relent and bring L back into my arms at night.

until now, that is. L has officially been sleeping in “Lionel’s bed” since march 28 with resounding success.


so, what gives? why is the transition working now?

as L has grown bigger and longer over the past three months in particular, i have slowly grown more and more comfortable with the idea of L sleeping alone. he grew big enough to require his own pillow in our bed, which was a wake-up call for me; the crook of my elbow was no longer comfortable for him or for me. and, eventually, as he weaned from nursing and as he grew even more, he began to pull away a bit from his reliance on Mama to fall asleep. in turn, he developed an attachment to comfort items like his Sesame Street pillow, his green stuffed monkey named Gus, and his blanket.

while this was difficult for me at first, i began to understand his new-found attachment to items like Gus the monkey was just another sign of his independence, which had permeated every single part of his daily life and his daily activities since he took off walking – our boy has always been very independent. his trust in his own way of doing things was finally taking root in his sleeping habits, too. this made me feel proud, and helped me to feel, again, like we were doing something right with this whole family bed thing, because we waited until he was ready to transition out of our bed.


to put it more simply: i am convinced that waiting until L was ready to be on his own is what made me ready, too.

i feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to cosleep with L for so long, and to have a husband who, despite his extremely valid concerns for his own capacity for restful sleep, was consistently supportive of my need to be close to our child, both while nursing and after i started my “big-girl job.”

fast-forward to today: after just a short period of time, L’s transition has been quite painless. sure, we have had a few setbacks, particularly a spring storm that stirred up some loud and quite robust winds, but nothing can take away L’s pride in himself when he wakes up in the morning and says “Lionel’s bed!” as we pick him up out of his crib.


one last thing: would i do it all again? knowing all i do, would i cosleep with L, or a future child, again? in my heart, i know the answer is yes, because for me, the benefits far outweighed the struggles. Jord might have a different answer, however, so i anticipate more and more discussions, should we ever find ourselves in that situation again. :)

have you ever coslept or bed-shared with your children? do you think you will? why or why not? did you have a difficult transition from a family bed to a crib/bed?

pssst: earlier in march, our family watched our nephew, Jaxsen, who is four months older than L, for a few days. Jaxsen is a devoted crib sleeper and goes to bed without a fuss, so we’re wondering if watching Jaxsen go to bed “like a big boy” (which is how we phrased it) influenced L to make his own transition. do you think there’s any truth to this idea?

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.

4 Responses to adios, bed-sharing.

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