Or, as I like to say: Let sleeping kids lie ;)
In the world of responsive sleep, we often say "it's only a problem, if it's a problem for YOU". And that's because we've been socially conditioned to believe so many sleep training myths (like your baby should be taught to fall asleep independently for their sleep to improve) that we often find ourselves wanting to "fix" something that isn't really even a problem to begin with.
I was at a party recently, and an old friend of mine jokingly said: "Well, you must not be very good at your job; you can't even get your own kids out of your bed!" I was speechless.
Stunned. Hurt. And, it goes without saying, deeply offended. It also cemented my belief that social gatherings are possibly the worst thing in the world, but we can talk about my crippling social anxiety and introvert nature in another post.
The only response I could muster, was: "I haven't wanted to get them out of my bed. And that's kind of the point of what I do." Before turning on my heels and walking away, trying to suppress the urge to just load up all my shit (kids included) and leaving the party. I don't do well with confrontation, I avoid it at all costs and when an unavoidable conflict or confrontation pops up I will be affected by it for days and days and probably rehash it at 3AM, 6months down the line.
But, once the worst offense and hurt had worn off, it dawned on me that this comment is probably fair enough... (I also knew for a fact that no hurt or offense was intended).
This idea, or rather preoccupation, we have with forcing separation and pushing our children into independence is so deeply ingrained in us that OF COURSE willfully allowing your kids in your bed would seem like a "failure" to some. Of course (still) supporting them to sleep and responding to them overnight would seem "behind the curve".
In her mind, I must have tried.. and failed.
When in fact, in the last 18 months I haven't even once considered moving my baby out of my bed yet, much less out of my room. For 18months having him next to, and in, my bed has been the most effective sleep solution for our entire family. He's a very spirited baby, and there have been patches of sleep so rough that I honestly can't imagine how I would have coped if it weren't for the benefits of bedsharing.
I know it's not the best option for every family, and as such I've helped dozens of parents move their little ones, at different ages and stages, out of the family bed. However, it's been an amazing option for MY family and has allowed us all to get the most possible sleep. Not only has it been good for my rest and wellbeing as their mom, but it's been really good for my marriage as well - even if that sounds counter intuitive. Honestly, me being better rested helps me to be a better wife, and the fact that my husband is supportive of my choices obviously also plays a big part.
When the time is right, we'll make the shift. But for now, I will proudly co-sleep with my baby and happily allow my oldest into the big bed whenever he comes pitter patting to our room in the early hours of the morning. This is a short season in my life as their mother and I'll savor every little bit of it. I've already wasted enough of it trying to follow all the sleep "rules" and stressing about all the "right ways" I should be doing this.
Apart from the added rest and priceless snuggles and cuddles, if me sharing my choice to bedshare helps any other parents feel validated and less guilty or alone in their decisions to allow their littles into their bed, then that's enough for me.
If you feel ready to transition your little one out of your bed, but want to do so in a responsive and loving way, reach out for a consult or check out my Restful Sleeper Course (launching soon!) where I've dedicated a whole section to making these types of changes in a respectful way.