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Why My Baby Doesn't Sleep in My Bed

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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.

baby in crib
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.


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19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jerri November 15, 2010, 7:32 AM

I have to say I totaly agree. My Kids have never slept with us. They need their space and we need ours.

Anonymous November 15, 2010, 8:18 AM

My son refused to sleep in his crib or any other place besides on me. We ended up sleeping on the couch while daddy got to sleep in the bed. Now at 15 months old he has slept 2 nights in his crib. Lets cross our fingers he continues this! As for lacking intimacy in the relationship…that didnt happen. Its not like “bedtime” is the only time for sex. With a newborn if I was going to bed…I was going to bed. I needed sleep! There are plenty of other times during the day when I was still with energy to have sex. Though these last two nights where we ( husband and I ) actually slept in the same bed was nice Im just saying sharing the couch with my son the last 15 months didnt kill the relationship with my husband and I think its what my son needed at the time.

Jennifer November 15, 2010, 10:25 AM

We put our DD in the crib from the very beginning and haven’t had any problems.

Cori @ The Momoir Project November 15, 2010, 12:08 PM

You know, getting babies to sleep is just so hard. All moms have a different strategy and none is right or better. I personally took the path of least resistance and let my babies both sleep with me. It was an incredible and beautiful experience for me and them, but I will admit that it’s led to many problems. It’s still musical beds in my household with my kids, now 6 and 9. I worry about my intimacy with my husband - although there are absolutely other ways and times to have sex - and I worry about the effect it’s all having on my kids. But the cuddling is unparalleled.

Read The Momoir Project’s blog: www.themomoirproject.com

Sol November 15, 2010, 12:34 PM

Regardless of a family’s sleeping method distance and lack of intimacy is the norm for a lot of couples following the birth of a child. Children change the whole scope of the relationship.

There are many factors why couples have stress in their relationships after the introduction of a child, their sleeping arrangements do not have to be the reason why.

In my case actually having our baby with us in bed has helped my relationship with my partner. We still find plenty of time to be together.

Some how couples have intimate moments outside of their bed as you can see there are plenty of co-sleeping families with more than one child.

I must say that as far as getting kids out of the bed to sleep on their own among my group of peers the struggles are the same regardless of whether it is a crib to bed transition or family bed to single bed.

Each person does their own thing, what works best for their family. But don’t assume the reason those couples have problems with intimacy has to do with the whole bed thing alone.

Anonymous November 15, 2010, 1:01 PM

Both my boys (3 years and 10 months) slept in their own bed after about 4 weeks, and by 8 weeks, both slept 8-10 hours per night. They seem to be more comfortable in their own bed, and now the baby sleeps 11-12 hours each night. People have asked how I get my kids to sleep through the night, I’m still not sure. It may be the crib, or maybe because they are big for thier age.

Karen November 15, 2010, 2:13 PM

Puh-leeze. My babies all slept with me, and so far we’ve had no problem getting either the 5- or 2-year old into their own beds when the next baby came along. And considering we have managed to conceive 2 more since the oldest was born, we’re obviously able to have sex, as Sol pointed out being the case with many cosleeping families. If you people think sex can only happen at “bedtime”, or in your actual bed, you must have really boring sex lives. Maybe that’s the reason for your marital problems.

Also, how do you breastfeed with the baby in another room? Oh, wait - you probably don’t. Maybe that’s why you don’t have time to work on your marriage - you’re wasting your free time washing bottles and mixing formula instead of engaging in meaningful interaction with your spouse and child.

Mary November 15, 2010, 5:57 PM

My kids went right to the crib from the beginning. Other than the occasional bad dream or loud thunderstorm, that’s where they stayed. Not only is the crib safer, but it helps kids to learn that everyone needs their own space. Kids need to know that they will be OK if they’re by themselves, mommy & daddy do not have to be there every moment of every day (or night)

Anonymous November 15, 2010, 7:25 PM

I’ve had them all, one a full time “cribber”, one a half and half kid, on a full time “mommy bed”. They are all great well adjusted kids. Mommy and Daddy have sex wherever, whenever we can sneak it. It’s fun, mysterious, and satisfying. No way is the right way. What’s right is what works for your family. Don’t even go there with that “Let’s start a debate stuff.” That’s so 2009.

jennifer November 16, 2010, 5:24 AM

Just a reminder, don’t feed the trolls… ;)

Anonymous November 16, 2010, 6:57 AM

no reason to bash others parenting, thats the WORST. only thought for the trolls today :)

my baby slept in the same room with me, but not BY me, as she flopped WAAY too much for me to get comfortable. she slept with us in the same room til about 6 months and thats when we said, ok enough, your going to your crib. and all is well :)

Winifred Krise November 16, 2010, 9:27 AM

I enjoyed reading your post, it gave me new perspective on my understanding.

Kendra November 16, 2010, 10:44 AM

I totally agree with this post. My daughter never slept with us. And yes I did breastfeed. For the first few weeks she slept in a bassinet next to our bed then she slept in her crib. A friend of mine co-slept and they could not get their son to sleep anywhere else. The first step they had to take was to put a toddler bed in THEIR room.

Beatrice November 16, 2010, 11:27 AM

Glad that worked for you. It doesn’t work for us. All babies are different, all families and situations are different.
I do have to comment, however, that if you couldn’t anticipate that you and your spouse would be like “ships passing in the night” for a few WEEKS (you state your child was only 4 weeks old at the time you were feeling like this), well then, you must not have had much of an idea of what parenting is like, because your baby NEEDS you, a lot more than your spouse, for the first few MONTHS. Yeah, your husband is going to get less time with you, but it’s a short term thing. I’m guessing you didn’t breastfeed, because honestly, getting up every 2 hours to go feed your newborn isn’t really quality time with the ol’ hubs, either.
Also, to one of the pp’s— cribs are not safer. Sorry.

Amy November 16, 2010, 11:55 AM

Finally an article that is logical about co-sleeping! Adults belong in their bed together and babies belong in their own bed - period. And anyone who says their co-sleeper easily transitioned into their own bed a 1, 2, 3, etc is a liar. ALL of my co-sleeper friends regretted doing it with their first and NEVER did it again.

Amy R. November 16, 2010, 7:41 PM

We co-slept with our first, and are doing so with our second. I also nursed our first until 25 months - some probably consider that as peculiar as co-sleeping, but it’s what works for our family. I’m also a working outside of the home mom, so the night time bonding is extremely important to me.

KS November 16, 2010, 9:19 PM

We co slept, I nursed on demand. We practiced child lead parenting for the most part and I’m sure someone like you would be absolutely shocked at the positive results. We have four children. My marriage is incredibly strong. My children are all independent and able to sleep in their own beds as well as go down without a fuss every single day. They have surpassed their milestones and are well mannered polite kind children. Not to be the sanctimommy but meeting your children’s needs both physical and emotional has such wonderful positive impacts.

There was no lack of intimacy between my husband and I because we were more than happy to be intimate elsewhere. We were able to hold conversations in hushed tons over our sleeping baby. We held hands instead of had sex in the bed. We cradled each other while we cradled our baby. He was just as happy to wake up to the sound of a peaceful baby as I was. Parenting and finding was to still be husband and wife has brought us closer.

Disparaging other parents choices doesn’t enter into any of that and I don’t understand if your so comfortable with your choices why you feel the need to do that.

depjo5 November 18, 2010, 1:29 AM

Being in law enforcement, I have seen numerous infant deaths caused by infants sleeping in adult beds. Either from parents rolling over on them or by suffacating in the sheets/blankets. It is a personal choice but can be very dangerous.

SLK January 25, 2011, 6:19 PM

I had 3 children, all 3 of which were breast fed for 3-12 mos. The first 2 were placed in their own cribs and beds, having no problems with sleeping (the first, in fact, often slept through the night from about 2mos. of age on). My last had problems accepting the crib so I chose to bedshare.

With the last, I had problems getting him to sleep in his own bed for years. He was almost a teenager before I finally convinced him to sleep in his own room by himself. He had problems with bedwetting, being afraid of the dark, insomnia and was not comfortable with sleeping over at his friends’ homes either.

In reflection, would I co-share a bed again? No. It’s fine to co-share a room for a couple of weeks while mom gets her strength back or heals after a c-section, perhaps, but children and parents need a little bit of alone time. They need that place that is “theirs” where they can have a thought to themselves and relax. It’s good for the psyches of all involved.


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