Guest blogger Jessica Katz: When my daughter was born, we bought a co-sleeper. She hated it. She also hated the Moses basket and the swing. For a few short nights, we had her sleeping between us, all swaddled up. But I was paranoid. They say the rule for sleeping with your baby means getting rid of fluffy pillows and blankets. I need my comforter, and I feared her suffocating. I'm a light sleeper, so I knew I wouldn't squish her, yet what if my husband rolled over on her? Her crying wouldn't even wake him. But above all of that, I feared having a child in our bed each and every night for years to come.
I decided our bed was our bed. It's a place for my husband and me to be intimate, to relax and decompress and to escape from the world -- even the baby. Our bed is our sanctuary, and we are allowed one room not totally taken over by baby. There was a reason we bought my daughter a crib: so she would have her own bed.
Friends in favor of attachment parenting or cosleeping had told me horror story after horror story about how they couldn't get their toddler out of their bed; how their husbands now slept in guest rooms. I couldn't help but wonder, how do they have sex? So now their husbands were in another room and their baby was with them? What effect was that having on their marriage? Not a good one: Most people complained of distance and lack of intimacy, not to mention all that money wasted on a cute crib and its bedding.
At four weeks old, my daughter left the co-sleeper for the crib. I found that she needed to be in her own room because every moan and noise was waking me. With her in her own room, I could relax and sleep and be awakened only by crying, not by all of her moans and coos. I also found it allowed my husband and me time together. After the baby came, I felt like we were passing ships in the night. I felt so distanced from him. And someone sleeping between us would only further the wedge.
I also knew that getting my daughter used to her own bed at four weeks old was going to be easier than any other time. Every morning, we bring our daughter into our bed for twenty minutes to cuddle and play. But that is all she gets. And she is one of the best sleepers I know -- most likely because she gets to sprawl out in her own cozy bed.