Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's Up With Co-Sleeping?

Lately I've been shocked to hear just how many parents "co-sleep" with their young children and babies. Co-sleeping is when the parents and child/children sleep in the same bed. I don't necessarily think there is anything wrong with it, I just can't imagine how it could work! Then I realized I have my own co-sleeping situation... with Lenni LuLu, my dog.

I took this picture yesterday morning. That is my dog - the one and only Lenni LuLu - sleeping soundly on my husband's pillow. It's a daily occurrence. So how exactly did we get in this predicament? It started when I was pregnant with Paige, home on modified bed rest, and spending the majority of my days napping or resting in bed. Lenni decided she would be my nurse and never leave my side. Up until that point, Lenni was not allowed on the bed. Every night she would sleep in her kennel - sleeping in our bed was never even an option. Then, when Paige arrived, we started feeling guilty that Lenni wasn't getting enough attention. So her naps in bed soon turned into nights in the bed with us. And cuddled in a ball at the end of the bed soon turned into wedging herself in between us during the night. And sleeping on top of the covers soon turned into getting under the covers if she was chilly. ANd that soon modified into sleeping with her head on our pillows as soon as one of us would get up. For example - if I get up in the middle of the night to tend to Paige, I come back and my spot in bed is officially taken over by the fur ball. I have to shove her over and squeeze back in. Sometimes she even huffs like I'm inconveniencing her and messing up her sleep. And at these moments, as half my body hangs off the bed and I'm sharing my pillow with a snoring dog, I wonder HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS HAPPEN?!

And I think maybe that's what happens with parents co-sleeping with their child/children. Maybe not, but I can see it happening. It starts off slow - maybe you feel guilty if you aren't able to spend enough time with them during the day or have a busy week at work - so you let them cuddle in bed with you before they head to bed. And then one night they fall asleep in your bed, so you let them stay. Then, somewhere along the way, your bed becomes "our bed" and the child naturally migrates there every night. As long as everyone is happy with the situation, there is nothing wrong with it in my opinion. A little unconventional, yes. But so is letting your dog sleep in the bed, so I can't judge : )

Luckily Paige wants nothing to do with our bed. She has slept in it 2 times - both out of pure necessity and she was NOT happy about it. In both instances, our heat wasn't working properly and her bedroom was an icebox. We brought her into our bed, snuggled together under the blankets, and after about an hour of tossing and turning and huffing and puffing (her, not me), she finally dozed off. Paige loves her crib - she reaches for it when she's tired. She likes her own space to stretch out and roll around. The days of her falling asleep in our arms are LOOOOONG over. So I don't think co-sleeping will ever be an issue for us.

But now.. what do I do about my other bambino? No, not the one in my belly... the furry one that drools on my pillow. I think it's time we start using the old kennel again... sorry, pup!