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The Joys Of Co-sleeping. By an AP Single Mom

Ah, co-sleeping: the art of catching Z’s while simultaneously engaged in a one-sided boxing match with the cutest lightweight you know.

Co-sleeping has many actual, scientifically proven benefits, such as:
– a lower risk of SIDS
– better heart rate
– breathing patterns for infants
–  aids in milk production for newly lactating moms,
–  and maternal/paternal bonding out the wazoo.

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But is that why I chose to co-sleep? Heck no.

My decision to co-sleep (actually “bedshare” is the more accurate term for us, as you will soon read) with my son wasn’t scientifically based, nor was it part of some new age parenting agenda (make no mistake though, I am totally a homemade deodorant wearing, lavender sniffing, quinoa granola muching mama).

Like so many of my other parenting choices, I followed in the footsteps of my trendsetting mother, who was doing “attachment parenting” before it was even considered a parenting method.

She shared her bed with me for the first several years of my life, initially out of convenience (breastfeeding through the night is about 5 million times easier when baby is right next to you, something I know now), and then out of pure enjoyment. Bedsharing is still one of her fondest motherhood memories.

Before my son was born 6 months ago, I vehemently insisted that I NEEDED a $250 Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, which is essentially a bassinet/play yard with only three full sides, the fourth one lower, so you can have it adjacent to your bed, and I HAD to have it before he was born. I mean, I literally once slept through an electrical explosion directly outside of my bedroom window… how the heck would I know if I was squishing my tiny little nugget under my cellulite or something?!

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So, I got the Arm’s Reach Sleeper, set it up directly next to my bed, and promptly neglected it every night, ever since.
…Until about an hour ago when I laid him in there after he fell asleep in my arms, so I could take a shower without fearing he’d roll out of my bed.

He and I have slept side by side for the last 6 months and 4 days, and they truly have been the most precious sleeps of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not some Johnson & Johnson commericial over here featuring him dozing peacefully, and me, in a deep slumber, with a small smile playing around my placid lips.

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(painting by kmbergren.com)

Not even freaking close.
First of all, my fears of sleeping too soundly to hear him, went right out the window on our very first night home. If he lifts a finger, I’m up and aware of it. I have completely kissed uninterrupted sleep goodbye, for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, especially in the last couple of months, my sleeping son embodies a healthy combination of 1980′s break dancer, and Muhammed Ali.
Most mornings, and several times through the night, I am startled awake by a nice right hook square in the eye, or a roundhouse kick straight to the chest. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or commend him on his fine form, but note that his left hook could use some fine tuning.

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(photo credit: Babble)

But on the other hand…
I am also woken up every morning, without fail, to his big, gummy smile beaming at me. A smile which melts my heart and begins each of my days with more unbridled joy than I have ever known. I cherish every night I spend alongside my little mud wrestler.
Like all things in the blur of childhood, I know these co-sleeping days are numbered, short lived, and will fly by all too quickly, and I will miss them immensely once they do.
Every bleary eyed latch on in the middle of the night, every dreamy hand hold, the way his still new baby smell lingers in my nose as I drift off every night… these are moments I will carry and cherish forever.
It is 11:13pm right now.
Time for me to put on my shoulder pads and take my sleeping baby out of his adjacent bassinet, because for me, “Arm’s Reach” is just too far.

Stephanie
Mom Solo

Bio:
My name is Stephanie and I am a (nearly!) 25 year old single mama living in the northeast.

My son, Aiden, is six months old and he is intact and unvaccinated. We exclusively breast feed (on demand), co-sleep, baby wear and I never let him cry it out .
I label all of that “attached parenting”, but really, from day one it has simply been what feels organic to me.
I, myself, was raised in much the same manner and owe my approach to mothering largely to  my mother. I swore I would never become her, but I totally have, and I am a-ok with it!a
Most importantly, I believe that we mamas need a tribe.  We need a strong circle of women around us to turn to, relate to, learn from, laugh and cry with. And it is my mission in life to create that oneness and connection within and between the mothers of the world.

I am thrilled to share and learn, express and create, grow and connect with you all.
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Check out Stephanie’s fantastic Facebook page, click here:  Mom Solo

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Posted in: Attachment Parenting, baby, Birth, Breastfeeding, Children, General Health, Parenting

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