I’m Sleeping with Myself Tonight

So since my blog home page has a picture which shows me sleeping in a bed next to my two boys (which is termed ‘co-sleeping’), I thought I should make sure to have a post that deals with this topic:

If you surf the internet, you will see that this is a hot topic with people on both sides of the issue. If you happen to let your child’s doctor know that you co-sleep, you will certainly get an earful about how dangerous it is. The doctor will tell you how there’s a chance you’ll kill your child. For loving them. Cradling them in your arms. Doing a paired-reversed spooning in a queen sized bed with your spouse, so that you create a comfortable oasis for your infant to sleep. Altogether, mother, father, child, listening to each other breathe in and out. Sometimes soothing, sometimes loud, but always together. Like a family. It’s called co-sleeping.

I know that doctors are supposed to be the experts. You should listen to them, but when it comes to your kids, I believe that we parents are the real experts. I’m not even close to joking. First off, from what I can find when looking for real evidence is that co-sleeping deaths are rare. Very rare. Also, most of the studies that tally the amount of deaths usually don’t make a specific distinction as to whether the death occurred in a bed, or a couch, or another piece of furniture. Couches and recliners are kind of death-traps for babies from time to time. But, if you were to just focus on instances where the child and parent were sleeping in a bed then the chance of death is further reduced. So don’t nap on the couch with your baby, basically. Got it.

Now, since this is my post, I will tell you that I co-slept with both of my sons throughout infancy. Past that, my boys have their own room and a bunkbed, but sometimes they still pile into my bed when they’ve seen a scary movie. My wife and I co-slept with them from the moment they were born, to when they were finished breastfeeding (which was either a year or 20 months) and they are both still alive! Thank God, right? Or is it just the fact that I’m not a fucking idiot? Sorry to say that, but most times kids die because parents are so frazzled, overworked, or just not giving a fuck to pay enough attention to what they’re doing while they sleep. And then an accident happens. I’m not like that. Most people aren’t either.

There’s plenty of ways to be safe, but a lot of people buy into this idea of a crib or cradle that sits beautifully in a nursery room, separate from the parents’ room. Best to start that kind of thing early, is what a lot of people teach you when you’re a new parent. I guess I’d be talking about Baby Boomers. Older people who’ve had their own kids. They’re the generation I’ve noticed who consider co-sleeping weird. They’ll tell you that you should just let a baby “cry it out” until the infant sleeps soundly in a dark room by itself.

These are the people who would put their newborn infant in a crib, alone, and consider this a normal way of doing things. I don’t know about you, but it seems a little cold and unfeeling to me. Not sure how I grew up with another way of looking at it, but this seems like a robotic way to treat a tender young baby. The “cry it out” method I mention involves ignoring a crying child in their crib so that the infant will realize that nobody will come to soothe them every time they cry. That seems a little barbaric to me, and there are actual studies done by researchers which indicate that, instead of making children more independent, this kind of treatment actually causes the reverse to happen, while also lowering these children’s overall IQ. I wonder why?

There are many reasons why I like co-sleeping. If my boys ever got sick, feverish, or had any trouble breathing during the night, I knew about it immediately. I could respond to them in real time instead of finding a mess in the morning. If they’d been sleeping in a crib, in a separate room, children could potentially suffer or develop more severe symptoms during the night while we parents are sleeping soundly in our own rooms. I mean, ask yourself, would a baby monitor always allow you to know if your child vomited? Some parents might listen to a couple of coughs on a baby monitor and think, “Oh he’s fine”. How would you feel to find your child in a pool of cold vomit in the morning because you decided the baby would be fine all night long? Some parents put the crib in the same room, and that’s okay, but my boys never played with that kind of shit. They always cried until they got into bed with us. My oldest son used to stroke the hair on my forearm every night to soothe himself to sleep. I don’t understand what is wrong with that.

Now, even though I’ve made such a clear case for co-sleeping, I will lay out some things that you should consider first. If you have a small bed that barely allows enough room for whoever is sleeping in it, as well as the child, then perhaps you shouldn’t co-sleep. If you are a smoker, don’t co-sleep (and more importantly, don’t smoke at all if you have a child, especially an infant – their lungs simply can’t take the off gassing of the CO2 that accumulates in your clothing, hair, and skin). If you are a deep sleeper, and you know that you move around a lot while sleeping, you should probably not co-sleep. If none of that applies to you, than go for it! If you can be aware of your child next to you while you sleep, it is not going to be a problem. There are so many benefits to it, and the fear and pressure that other people try to throw at you, is simply not justified. Another case to be made against co-sleeping is that it kills the chance for couples to have sex after birth, thus causing the relationship between the parents to suffer.

Really?

I mean, come on. In the first few weeks after giving birth, my wife could hardly poop, let alone have sex! If you’ve just had a baby, and you haven’t reevaluated what sex means (even cosmically), than you’re simply are not paying attention. There were many times, while taking care of my sons as infants, when I realized over and over how I would never think of sex the same way again. I’d seen things. You know? Add to that, thinking my orgasm produced this amazing, yet extremely needy and loud creature who completely changed my life! I guess what I’m saying is, whether you co-sleep or not, you’re not going to get laid very much in the first year after having a baby. You might not want to have sex either. So just deal with it. Just don’t take it out on your kid.

While listening to experts seems like a no-brainer. I contend that when it comes to your child, your home, and your parenting choices, you are the expert. You should listen to yourself more often. Do you think you’re an idiot or something? Are you not paying attention to what your kid is eating or not eating? When he’s pooped or not. I’m pretty sure you’re not an expert on all kids, but you’re the expert on YOUR kid. Whether it’s your first child or not, people love to tell you what to do with your child. Whether you ask their advice or not. You might want to give up control. Let others make decisions for you but, when you’re a parent, your child deserves for you to understand what they need. Sometimes your children will demand more of your time. They’ll cause you to have less sleep. It’s just what happens. Sorry, but I don’t have a magic pill for you.

Experts (like your child’s doctor) would like all children to be the same, but not all children are the same. In fact, every child is different. You simply cannot make all your decisions based on statistics that “experts” drown you in. As a parent, you are the one who is constantly there with your child. Of course you’re observing your baby constantly and can see for yourself how unique they are. If your child falls asleep in their crib with no problems, than great! There’s no problems then. Some kids are just like that. I guess you can worry about some other issue. But. If your child simply will not stop crying when you put them in a crib by themselves, then make a decision based on your own opinion. The statistics are in your favor that you won’t kill your baby if you do. If experts want to talk about numbers and all that shit then let’s talk. Just stop drowning all the humanity out of my family. Most times I co-slept because I had to work the next day and my kid wouldn’t shut up unless we put him in bed with us: problem solved.

You know, there are actually more problems with kids choking than being crushed by their parents. Wouldn’t you want to keep an eye on your child more? And what about fevers? Will a baby monitor let you know if your child has a high temperature? Of course not! Diarrhea, shortness of breath, and many other symptoms will be missed until morning if your child is in another room. Baby monitors are great, but most wouldn’t allow you to catch such things. And what if your baby monitor gets unplugged, loses charge, or you just forget to turn it on? Co-sleeping allows you to know the moment something happens to your child’s health, whether it causes them to make a sound or not. When doctors try to tell me co-sleeping is the dangerous thing that I should be scared of, they seem like a bunch of idiots. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.

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