Aili really likes to snuggle. At night. In my bed. And I let her do it. Often.
I know. I KNOW. I have heard it all. If I let her in my bed, she’ll never leave and it will be impossible to retrain her to sleep in her own bed. What if she got smothered? She’ll grow up weird!
I don’t believe any of that hooey. And here is why:
1. Co-sleeping is not a crime. Some sources tend to vilify co-sleeping with children and babies. Well, neither parent in this situation is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and Aili is robust enough that if she feels that she is not getting the proper amount of blanket coverage, she will thrash and kick until it is correct. I am not worried about rolling on her because, as a sober adult, I know she’s there. Even in my sleep, I can tell there is a child in the bed. Just like I know my husband is in the bed. Much to his dismay, I don’t smother him, either.
2. She will grow out of it. Children love to show their independence. Eventually her craving to be a Big Girl will be bigger than her craving to drool on my face in a deep sleep at 2 in the morning.
3. I like it, darn it. I work long days. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with the kids and when I do, it’s all of them together. When she comes to snuggle, it’s wonderful one-on-one time with my “baby”. She melts in to my arms, sighs contentedly, and I comb her hair with my fingers until she falls asleep. We both get some nice, physical closeness and it’s a nice way to drift off to sleep. I want her to always feel secure and loved. If it takes some blanket-sharing to help he know that i will always be there for her, then so be it!
4. It’s better than nursing. Aili is like a tiny, blonde crackhead when it comes to boobs. I am pretty sure she would nurse until adulthood if I let her. Even though we have been weaning her for 3 months (with varying levels of success), she still asks to nurse. A lot. So, telling her she has the alternative of snuggling is awesome. She doesn’t try to claw my shirt off if I tell her she can snuggle with me and that is worth every single kick in the kidneys she gives.
5. Co-sleeping is common pretty much everywhere on the planet….except in the US. So, honestly, are we gasping about this being a big scandal because there is something wrong with an occasional family bed or because we are trained to believe in ethnocentricity. Just because a practice is common in the west, that doesn’t mean it is the only or even the best way of doing something.
So, that is it. My three year old sometimes has a sleepover in my bed. The world has not stopped turning. She’s not trauma-riddled and scarred. Okay, she might not be the best candidate for a sleepover party in someone else’s house quite yet, but we have lots of time for that. And, she knows to potty before coming to my bed now! See? She can adapt quickly! Co-sleeping works!
(Please remember that co-sleeping should never happen with any adult under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While this occasional sleeping arrangement works for us, it is not a “one size fits all” thing. Decide what works best for your family. Even if you choose to never co-sleep, never deny your kids one last bedtime hug.)