Prior to having a child, I would have not have been on board with the concept of a family bed. Growing up, I never slept a night in my parents' bed. I am an extreme night owl and a hater of the mornings, so the concept of me sleeping next to a small, kicking, crying human is difficult to grasp. In fact co-sleeping with another human at all is not the easiest for me- I like my space (sorry, Zach...not much of a cuddler). Chances are if you google "co-sleeping", you'll find two very different sides of an argument that at the end of the day really shouldn't be a big deal. Every family has a different dynamic, therefore we can't judge one another's parenting decisions based solely on our own. That said, I'm not at all ashamed to admit that we have a family bed. And we love it. There's something special about rolling over and watching your child wake up in the morning; you see the excited look in their eyes and know that they feel the magic of it, too.
Let's start from the beginning. As soon as we found out we were having a boy, we got busy on Bear's nursery. Our master is the only bedroom downstairs, so we chose one of the three bedrooms upstairs for our little man. It was a huge labor of love and to this day, we're really proud of Bear's room (despite the fact that he's never slept a night in it). Fast forward a few months to Bear's big debut, the greatest day of our lives.
We came home from the hospital exhausted and completely drained, not to mention all the lovely physical issues I was recovering from, only to realize that there was no way we were going to go up and down the stairs 5,000 times a day back and forth to the nursery. I honestly wasn't physically able, nor did I want to take a tumble in the middle of the night rushing up for a feeding. It made the most sense for Bear to be in our room, and for the first several months he slept in a Nap Nanny between Zach and me in our king size bed. We also had a Pack N Play in our room, so as he got a little older we would transport him into that after he fell asleep. Around a year and a half, he started waking up every night around 2am saying "Mommy" until I'd pick him up and place him in bed with us. By age two, the Pack N Play was stuffed in the attic and Bear had his own spot in the middle of Bed de Fullwood (that he still maintains to this day).
This very wordy explanation all to say: let's stop judging one another for things like sleeping arrangements. And pacifiers. And breastfeeding. And forward-facing carseats.
I 100% understand the worry over safety issues with co-sleeping, and have done a great deal of research myself to become more knowledgeable on the topic. As a parent, you know your own sleeping habits best and you're capable of making a sound decision that fits your child's needs. Assess your sleeping situation and do what works best for your family, regardless of what Parents magazine or the know-it-all-playgroup-mom say you must do.
The truth is, when I look around our group of moms at any given play-date, it doesn't matter who's kid sleeps in their own bed or with their parents or outside with the dogs. We're all just struggling to survive on coffee and Amazon Prime addiction. We each love our kids with everything we have, and how we choose to sleep at night has no effect on that massive, all-consuming love.
One day Bear will decide he's too cool to sleep with Mommy and Daddy, and I'll miss these days of the three of us telling stories until we fall asleep. Our bed is pretty full, but so are our hearts. And that's all that really matters.