co-sleeping. and why we do it despite my preferences otherwise.

I’ve alluded to the fact that we co-sleep with our kiddos, specifically our newly adopted children. But I haven’t expounded much beyond that.

Until now.

In the past I’ve had a number of folks ask me how we manage so many little ones, especially at night. And with Tallula’s arrival, 8 months after Poppy’s arrival, we’re sandwiched between two kiddos. Literally.

So, seems like now is the perfect time to talk about co-sleeping. Because boy, are we co-sleeping.

First a little background. I’m a information-seeker by nature. So, years ago, when I was a new momma, I read all the books and did all the research. And I did co-sleep with some of my bio kiddos. Short term, I loved it. I was nursing, which equals tired, and co-sleeping seemed to be just the ticket. But long term, not so much. In fact, by co-sleeping, I felt like I actually created sleep issues for my kids. For one of them it was years before he could sleep through the night without waking at least a few times. And I am not fond of getting up at night any more than absolutely necessary.

Then we grew our family through adoption. And parenting adopted children can be counter-intuitive to parenting biological children. I can’t quite recall if it was on purpose or on accident, but we reconsidered co-sleeping. It seemed to be exactly what our kiddos needed. And now? We really wouldn’t do it any other way.

Here is why.



1. It’s good for them.

- The physical closeness has been a balm to the soul of our kiddos through adoption. Some of them have suffered neglect and lacked any physical contact. And some of them have been loved and that closeness is something they’ve come to know and cherish. Either way, co-sleeping works to satisfy that need for contact in a big way.

- Your little one needs physical contact and closeness to foster and encourage bonding. Getting to know you, your smell, your peculiarities during those hours you’re insulated from the rest of the world goes a long way in encouraging the process of not only becoming a family, but feeling like a family.

- During those first few days, weeks and months after coming home from China, your child is feeling completely overwhelmed and insecure (whether they act like it or not). Sleep is something that probably won’t come easily for them, and understandably so. I know if my husband is away, or even worse if I’m away without him, I sleep terribly. I wake up at every sound and then falling back to sleep can be impossible. This is how it has been for our kids when they come home from China – times 100. They’ve lost everything that is familiar to them. Sleep is elusive and good sleep is almost impossible. Co-sleeping has helped us immensely in encouraging a good night’s sleep for our kiddos – they wake up and are reminded, immediately, that they are not alone. They don’t have to wake up and cry, and wait for us to run down the hall. We’re already there.

- It builds trust between you and your child. By being there for them at night, it encourages them to let down their defenses (many kids have had to fend for themselves for way too long) and soon you’ll be able to see their real personality emerge. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that if you don’t co-sleep your child with never trust you. I’m just saying that co-sleeping can be a beautiful way to begin building that trust – with less effort on both of your parts.


2. It’s good for you.

- While you probably are not craving physical closeness like your newly adopted child, co-sleeping is the fastest way to a decent night sleep for not only your child, but for you. Note: I said decent, not good. But I’ll take decent over non-existent any day. And when you’re just home with your new little one, sleep can be hard to come by. So, if you’re just home from China, or about to travel, think of those first few weeks as the newborn period with a biological child… sleep when the baby sleeps (except don’t nap too long or you’ll never get over the jet lag).

- Unless you’re living the fairy-tale adoption that many of us dream of but few of us experience, you need time and opportunity to bond with your little one. In all of our reading about adoption and bonding, we – as mothers – focus on our child’s ability to bond with us and wonder, “Will it happen naturally? What can I do to foster attachment?”. But we rarely focus on our ability to bond with our new child. Attachment is a two-way street, and each direction is equally important. Of course, we are the grown-ups and we can rationally decide how we are going to act toward and around our child, but the response of our heart is sometimes beyond our control. Co-sleeping fosters a closeness that can speed along that process naturally.

- It has big payoffs during the daytime. Think of it as the ultimate in mothering multi-tasking… it’s like holding your baby for 10+ hours a day, without the back pain. With all of my kids, I’ve found that the days are much easier when my child has had me close by all night. Less crying, less whining and less need to be carried. Of course, I say less instead of no. But less is better when you’re trying to fold laundry or make dinner or love on another one of your kiddos. And when your little one is happier, you are happier.


3. It’s a good barometer of your relationship.

- Attachment is an ongoing process. It’s not something to be attained in the first few days or weeks or even months of meeting your new child. But sometimes, when the days are busy and full, it’s easy to overlook what might be missing in your relationship with your little one. If your child, who was once happy to lay close to you, now pushes you away, is combative or won’t look you in the eye, then there’s work to be done.

- If you don’t want to lay close to you child, out of exhaustion, depression or simply lack of bonding on your part, then you’ve got work to do. Sometimes it’s just a phase, but it’s best to be as pro-active as possible. There are attachment exercises and many other resources for families struggling with attachment issues. Co-sleeping won’t resolve all of your attachment issues, but it can help bring them to light so you can focus, and get the support and encouragement you need to improve your relationship with your little one.


Hopefully someone has found this helpful. I really prefer to be taught, rather than try to teach, so posts like this are not my forte. But I can say that right now, all our kiddos are sleeping through the night. They are all in their own beds (Poppy in a toddler bed in our room and Tallula in our bed) and, on the rare occasions that they do wake, they go back to sleep with a snuggle and kiss.

And doesn’t a good night’s sleep make us all better people?

So I want to encourage other mamas out there who are dreaming of a good night’s sleep… it will come. Co-sleeping with a toddler, or older child, can be daunting while you’re ensconced in it. Blows to the head and knees to the kidneys are not pleasant to endure. But it’s time well invested. The payoffs are long-lasting not only for your child, but for the mother-child relationship as well.

P.S. There are exceptions to this, of course. Sometimes co-sleeping just isn’t possible. Our Isabelle, who had almost never even been held, simply could not tolerate co-sleeping in her first few months home. Sensory-wise, it sent her through the roof. And I know there are other kids who simply refuse to allow that sort of closeness. But I’m just sharing what has worked for us. We’ve been able to co-sleep with all of our adopted kids, successfully, by following their lead both for when to begin and when to end. And it has resulted in kids who go to bed happily and sleep well. All night long. And that is why we co-sleep.


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Comments

  1. My kids all seem to have a need to sleep sideways across a bed, with their feet in their mom’s face. I agree with all the positives you’ve listed, but holy cow, it did not work for us. You mentioned a better night’s sleep, but for me, it’s practically no sleep at all if a child is in my bed. Thankfully our kids from China were great sleepers and we didn’t have bedtime issues. If we did, I would have persisted and maybe it would have worked out. But with pokey elbows, involuntary kicks (don’t even get my husband talking about that), and the middle-of-the-night head crashes, I think we would have had to buy a MUCH bigger bed!

    Love that darling Tallula!

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Can totally relate, Eileen! Our kids are all over the place.
      The move from a queen to a king size made a big difference :)

    • Eileen,
      I can totally relate to you. Co-sleeping did not work for us, either. (I’m an insomniac by nature, so I often have disrupted nights, followed by dreadfully long days.) Thankfully, both our kiddos are great sleepers practically from the moment they joined our families. Glad it works for you, Stefanie!
      Amy

  2. Thanks for this info. We have never co-slept before but with our next adoption we plan to.
    I have a question though. What about nap time? Surely there are days when you don’t lie down with them for their entire nap. Do they just nap in your bed? or is there a separate napping spot?

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Great question – I usually do lay with them to fall asleep at nap time for as long as necessary. Tallula nods off pretty quickly, then I get up. She usually wakes without fussing, so I don’t stay in there while she sleeps. Each of our kids are so unique, though. Really whatever works for that particular kiddo – that’s what we do!

      • We’re home 2 months and co sleeping. One of us, usually me, falls asleep with him and then moves him to his toddler bed in our room. When he wakes up, 3 or 4ish he comes right over to our bed and hops in and falls back to sleep. There is a chunk of time when he’s not in our bed and we’re sleeping peacefully.

        For nap time; I lay down with him, sometimes it takes 30 min for him to fall asleep and I actually feel rested afterwards – trying not to fall asleep. I pick him up and put him in his bed at this time and he sleeps an hour or so longer. That works for us for nap time.

        Sometimes I tell him I’ll be right back b/c I have to do/check something, and I do come right back so he can trust me. Also I’ve said that if he’s going to play I’m going to leave, and he gets a little panicky and settles down and sleeps. He loves the closeness as I do too, and it seems to be bonding us! He’s 4 yrs old, and a pro at cuddling!

  3. So glad you posted this because I have friends that think I am CRAZY for co-sleeping! We have four bio kids that never slept with us ….. but, we have one angel from China that has slept with us every night since adoption…..a little over two years ago.
    I had a pretty nursery all ready with new linens on the baby bed. Well, she would not have a thing to do with her crib. She has NEVER slept in it. She even crawled out of the crib in our hotel room in China at 18 months old.
    I really think she was so sick and tired of being in a crib for 18 months!
    I love the fact that when she wakes up every morning, the first thing she sees is us!
    I love the fact that when she falls asleep at night I get to stare at her with amazement.
    Really, I would not have it any other way.

  4. Emme is 6 and still co sleeps. Ideal, no but it’s what she needs. Baby Katy is. In her crib but as I type we’re about to take a good ole co sleep nap together. I know like the diapers my big girl will move on when she’s ready. Mothering her has humbled me and taught me a lot; enough to now be mom to x2

    • Our DD is 7 and I’m still sleeping with her. DH cannot sleep with her in the bed, so we camp out on the living room floor. She will not sleep in her bed with me on the floor next to her–she gets out of her bed and onto the floor with me, every time. There is no room on the floor in her tiny, tiny room for both of us, so the living room is where we have ended up. I know that it won’t be long before I’m not needed (if only for the fact that she will get old enough to think Mama is “square”) but I’m tired of not being in a real bed. But this is the only way we all get sleep. Even on a pallet in our room, she wakes up in a panic if I’m not “right there.”

      Sometimes I think I’m doing it all wrong and creating more problems, but it’s what she needs. She has been diagnosed as OCD, high-anxiety and hyper-vigilant. Please, if you have ideas, let me know!

  5. Fabulous post!! Tucking it away for (hopefully) future use.
    And as for the part about teaching in your posts… I learn something valuable every time I visit you here. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!!!

    Karrie

  6. Thank you for sharing what has worked in your family. We had no bio kids and Liliah slept like a champ in China and once home. But, I will say that I can see now that it would have helped her bond quicker with me as her mother. She was so not “needy” because she had learned to accept her surroundings. She will now ask us if it’s the weekend, because she knows she gets to get in bed with us! Waiting for the referral of our second daugh ter from China. I’m going to go the co-sleeping route this time. Liliah wants to share a room with her, but also says, she might need to sleep with you mommy! Anyways, thanks for sharing!

  7. When our 3 year old came home he was very used to sleeping in his crib at his foster home. At night he always wanted his crib so we put it in our bedroom. He could crawl in and out as he wanted. In the morning he would crawl out and come get into bed with us. Or if he woke in the night crying I could get him out easily and put him in our bed. It was really kind of the best of both worlds.

    When our other son came home at 12months from Guatemala he slept with us in our bed for about 6 months. He really needed that. Then he moved to the crib in our room, then to his room with his big brother.

  8. While you may not feel that these teaching/informational posts are your forte, I think they are! My best friend is waiting for her LOA to get their daughter from China, and these are exactly the kinds of things that will help her the most. Keep teaching us! You’re good at it and as a mom of so many, I know you have a lot to share.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this! My DD is 3 and came home at 8 mos and co-sleeping still works for us. Even though she’s sound asleep when I got to bed, within minutes her little feet wiggle over until they’re touching Mommy. Co-sleeping is a blessing for both of us…even it it does mean the odd kick in the ribs. :o)

  10. You are a great teacher about adoption and bonding. You’ve done it a lot, and know a lot. I, personally, would like to hear more. My daughter is 5 and 1/2. She’s been home 3 months. I do not co-sleep with her, but I do rock her to sleep. There are definitely benefits.
    I would like to know more about China special needs adoption too. The rules for China adoption are so strict, in terms of wealth, and weight, are China special needs that strict as well? How does that all work? What agency do you usually use? What about financing?
    Also, I love the picture of the sleeping baby. Sleeping baby pictures are my favorite.
    Love your blog.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Hey Jenn!
      The special needs program is similar to the non-special needs program, but it does have more flexibility. For example, to adopt non-special needs, you can only have 4 kiddos at home, but for special needs, there really is no limit (that ( know of!). I have known families to get income waivers, health waivers… so it would be worth a few calls to a few agencies to see if you qualify!
      There are several good agencies out there, but I recommend Lifeline, FTIA, Madison, BAAS (to name a few :))
      As far as financing, there are many granting agencies out there. And there is a tax credit of over $13000 right now. Many employers help reimburse for adoptions as well, and so do some states. So lots of ways to finance an adoption!

  11. Aleece says:

    I’d love to hear any how to handle co-sleeping with a newly adopted child but not necessarily with your other children. We have a 3 1/2 year old son (bio) who we did not co-sleep with and are waiting for our LOA for our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I can imagine if we go down the route of co-sleeping with our daughter it’s going to cause a lot of resentment with our son. Our bed is not big enough for both kids and 2 adults!

    Anyone have experience with this situation? We were thinking of keeping the kids together in our son’s room, but that doesn’t help the bonding on our side.

    • We had this exact same problem. My 3.5 year old would go bezerk if my newly adopted daughter slept with us and she didn’t. A few tricks – 1) lie to the 3.5 year old when they wake up and ask how long the other child has been in the room. 2) Try having the kiddos sleep together (to your point).

      FWIW, I do not co sleep. We tried it drove me crazy and DD was up 6-8 times a night. It drove me so crazy i started to resent my new DD (hate to say it but it is true). I believe Stephanie has many valid points but I am not a normal mama i guess…I needed my sleep in order to bond with my child during the day. She needed good sleep too (which she was not getting when she was co sleeping) to make it through the day. Honestly, I have never met an adoptive mama who agrees with me on this point though. Everyone actually makes the case Stephanie is making above!!

      We used a ‘get closer and closer to the door’ method as she feel asleep over 3 mos. She now falls asleep without us in the room and sleeps all night long. She wakes up once in a while at 4 and we sometimes move her to a mattress on the floor in our room.

      I have heard many ppl say the two kiddos sleeping in the same room does the trick. I think it would take a week of the kiddos being crazy playing together but perhaps eventually!!

      Good luck!

      • I agree with you, I needed my sleep in order to bond with my child during the day. I am a light sleeper and having a toddler in the bed I would never get any sleep. That makes for a very long and hard day.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      I never had one of my bio kids ask me that! But if I did, I would have explained about all the time I spent carrying, nursing, diapering, babying and loving on them when they were babies. I’d even show them pictures and video if it would help. And I’d explain that their new brother/sister hadn’t had any of that as a baby and that now it was their time to get lots of loving and carrying and babying, which might include snuggling at night. My kids have always really surprised me (in a good way!) and I bet yours will too :)

  12. Beautiful post! My daughter bedshared with us at the beginning, and still comes into bed with us for an hour or two each morning. I love it for all the reasons you mentioned.

  13. Good for you!!!

    Our kids slept with us when they were babies, it was easier to breastfeed a baby and sleep at the same time..hah.. ;) They both wanted to start sleeping in their own beds when they grew up and they sleep well.

    Our older boy started to come to sleep with us when he was 4 years old..he fall in sleep in his own bed but when I wake up in the morning there’s our 6 year old boy sleeping beside me and it’s kinda cute. :) Our younger boy is 4 now and he needs silence and own bed.

    I don’t have heart to say no to our cute boy when he wants to sleep with us..and most of the times I don’t even wake up when he arrives. :D I love our kids and I want them to feel safe. I think he stops that habit before he’s a teenager!? ;)

    PS. Our bed is 2mx2m ;)

    PPS. Sorry for my bad English.. :P

  14. carrie says:

    agreed!

  15. Angela says:

    We coslept with both our bio kids for a while, but our youngest from China came with hefty metal night time boots for his clubfoot correction. He slept in a playpen next to the bed, but i often wished he didnt have to wear those boots that (now) can chew up his wood crib. We do our best having lost that precious first month of endless cuddling.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      I so know what you’re talking about… we had 3 kiddos in a row with those nighttime braces. OUCH!

  16. We didn’t co-sleep w/ our son when we brought him home. Maybe we should have. He slept fine until we started casting and surgeries. After a year and a half of sleep problems, we brought him in our room to sleep in a sleeping bag on our floor. (I can’t sleep at all with anyone touching me, and I’m a boor if I don’t get my sleep.) After about 6 months of that, he was ready to go sleep in his own room, and has been sleeping well in his own room ever since. So thankful that we found something that would work for all of us!

    • NiHaoYall says:

      And that’s the key! Finding what works for your kiddo, and for you! Sounds like you made a great compromise :)

  17. Can I say, wow! Our 2 precious peanuts from China have always needed us in the night. At first a lot of people did not understand why we co-slept, but you have summed it up beautifully! We finally moved our little one in her room with her big sister. She’s been home almost 3 years and still wakes up many times each night. At this point, I end up sleeping at the foot of her bed! I wouldn’t do it any other way.

  18. Christine says:

    I’m so glad you posted this today! My husband and I have really benefited from co-sleeping with our daughter. She was adopted at 17 months, after living 14 months in an orphanage. Surprisingly, our first night together, she instinctively knew how to co-sleep with us, and made me think “hmm… did she co-sleep with her birth mother the first 3 months of her life?” In so many other countries and cultures, its just how they raise their kids. I do believe all that physical closeness and touching really helped her little soul heal and also banish some of her sensory issues that we noticed in the beginning. I might also add that studies have shown that co-sleeping babies and toddlers grow up to have better mental health, increased self-esteem and fewer behavior problems. Our daughter has been co-sleeping with us for 16 months now and she is just shy of 3 years old. We all get a great nights sleep and I wouldn’t trade waking up to that sweet smile for anything!

  19. OK, totally agree w/ the co-sleeping, but hubby needs his time too…ummm do you slip out of the room?

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Yep. We have to get creative ;)

    • This was my exact question only Chris posed it more decently that I might have :) This is the reason we never co slept, not even with bio children. Hmmmm. Definately something to think about and pray about. our next child will be almost 7 and is used to sleeping in a bed alone in a room with another child..will have to see :) Thanks for sharing and Chris- thanks for asking! :) I have always wondered how that worked but nobody ever mentions that! :)

  20. Fabulous, important, wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your experiences with others because co-sleeping can be such a taboo subject and something many missed the joys and benefits of as a result.

  21. Jennifer Robinson says:

    I have 3 bio children and 1 addopted She is 27 months. We shared our bed with every child and loved it!! When they were linfants I would nurse them to sleep in our bed. If my husband needed some private time I would transfer the sleeping baby into their own crib for a while. As they got older I would consistently use the crib for naps so it wasn’t foreign . They eventually would all start out in their bed but would end up in our bed some point during the night if they awoke. This continued until they were about 6 yrs. Today they all sleep in their own rooms without any problems. So now we are enjoying every moment with our 2 yr old… Knowing it wont be long before she prefers her own bed too!!,

  22. Stefanie,
    Thank you for this positive post. I have read recently on another person’s blog who criticized parents who are struggling with bonding with their child. You were so loving and not condeming in this post. Thank you for that and giving us good and positive ideas to help with parents with bonding.

  23. Love this shot of your Tallula! So beautiful. Thanks for this post, too. Kerry as adopted almost 16 months and had sleep issues from the get-go and it took a few weeks to figure out what worked for us. At first I tried rocking her to sleep but she fought that, so I “tricked” her into pre-bedtime holding/cuddling by just sitting with her in my lap and looking at/reading books, then putting her in her crib and staying by the bed til she fell asleep. After several nights standing by her bed for up to an hour and a half waiting for her to fall asleep only to have her wake up one hour later screaming we decided to try co-sleeping. By this point I could care less what anyone thought, I could not put this child, who was happy as a clam during the day, through another night of waking in such a terror that we couldn’t even “reach” her or calm her down for sometimes a half hour. And it worked. We all slept better and it is so wonderful for bonding. It seemed to help her learn how to cuddle and accept prolonged physical contact, too. Now, almost 3 years later she still ends up in bed with me most nights. It just feels like the right thing for us and the benefits have far outweighed the negatives. Thanks again Stefanie. Feels so good to come out of the co-sleeping closet =)

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Thanks for sharing about your little one… sounds like co-sleeping was definitely the answer for y’all, too :)

  24. Stefanie,

    I always say “Co-Sleeping” is one of America’s best kept secrets! I can’t believe the number of people that have admitted to me that they co-sleep with their children also. It seems like people are ashamed or embarrassed, especially if they have biological children. I LOVE co-sleeping with my son’s and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  25. We coslept with all three of our bio kids, but after spending three and a half years in a crib, our adopted daughter simply cannot cosleep. She doesn’t want anyone touching her while she is sleeping. That doesn’t mean she wants to be alone though. At first she slept in a bed in our room. That worked for a while, but then she wanted to move to her room–but not without some protection. We have two beds in her bedroom, and my husband usually sleeps in the other one. She loves having him in there. The key is just finding what works. Thanks, Stefanie, for great advice! I love hearing what works for others.

  26. I also just have to ask about the pillow or blanket Tallula is all snuggled up with. That fabric looks super-cute!

  27. I just watched this video and thought of your family
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKoV1HGGe28&sns=fb
    only you are true believers … I thought I would share it.

    I love reading your blog and seeing your pictures!

  28. Morning Stef – your #1 point 3 hit’s it right on the head – whatever brings comfort to the child – even if the child doesn’t realize they need comfort! We called it ‘filling their tank’ – seemed like if they slept with us they did much better independently the next day.

    And yeah – we had one that wanted to sleep with her feet on me and her head on my bride – ok – if that works for her it’s good with us!

    Oh – and Christy Lillie – a little resentment between a parent and child doesn’t make you a “bad Mom” – it makes you HUMAN!! It’s a normal and dare I say it – healthy – feeling! Acting out of that resentment – that’s a whole different smoke! You’re fine – k?

    hugs – aus and co.

  29. Hillary Glauser-Patton says:

    Stefanie,

    Thanks for this! We haven’t co-slept a lot with Ella Kate, probably because we really didn’t think it was our preference and she slept ok in her crib–or so we thought in terms of the fact that she rarely woke up at all for the first year and a half and slept 10 hours straight most of the time. We were not necessarily thinking about if she was missing any bonding opportunities with us and she seemed to be doing well at that. Lately, however, we’ve hit a rough patch of sleeping, which has made me think more deeply about this issues (and I wish I would have earlier). Plus, in 4 weeks, we’ll take off to bring Caroline home (She will be 31 months at that time). So now my head is really spinning about the best way to handle sleep with these gals. I was so happy to see this post from you.

    One question we have is about the time of bedtime–right now Ella Kate goes to bed at 8:00. I really can’t afford (in terms of getting things done, etc.) to go to bed at 8:00 every night. If I am laying with her and I get up, she tends to wake up and shout “Mama” and cry and scream until I come back. Repeat cycle. Of course, who knows what Caroline will be like. How do you think a situation like this plays into co-sleeping?

    THANKS!, Hillary

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Does she nap during the day? We usually have only our youngest still napping during the day, which allows them to stay up much later in the evenings. Most nights our youngest just stays up with us (extra time with them helps them feel special, too) and then they either fall asleep on the couch with us, or when we go up to bed.
      If I had to lay down with a little one at 8, I’d never get back up ;)

      • Hillary Glauser-Patton says:

        Me either, that’s my problem. She does nap during the day. Like 2 hours. If I even try to keep her up, she falls asleep in the car (and will sleep for 2 hours there, if I let her), etc. and is visibly tired and cranky if I try to keep her up. So, I’ve felt like she still needs a nap. Hope you all feel better soon!!!

  30. Funny you should post this, because I was just thinking the other day….I don’t care what the books/parenting articles say, I know I will not be on my death bed and regret co-sleeping with my littles. It’s a very short precious time in their lives. I co-slept with my bio boys, I co-slept with my adopted now 6 yr old, I tried to co-sleep with my adopted (now 8, was 4.5 at adoption), but she was too kicky (is that a word?), and NOW I get to co-sleep with my bio (oops God’s blessing) baby (10 months). At this point, I am single mom to 5, so I don’t have to contend with a husband who doesn’t like it or it getting in the way of the marital intimacy. I LOVE it for me. I probably get less sleep, but sleep is so last year…. :-)
    ~R

  31. Barometer is the perfect word for our experiences. Disclaimer – we don’t fully co-sleep. Because of space issues, we have our son on a mattress on the floor in his sister’s room. We lay down with him until he is asleep. If he wakes up in the night, one of us lays back down with him and stays the rest of the night. We did it with our daughter too. It works for us. Anyway, my point is that these are exactly the times that my daughter revealed her attachment issues when we did this with her. It was a time when our cheerful-in-the-daylight daughter would fight, slap and kick at me once the lights were out. We were able to work through a lot of our attachment issues through my unwillingness to leave her alone at night until we were both secure in our relationship. It was amazing to watch her gradually tear down that wall and learn to trust me. When little brother came home, she wanted me to sleep with her again, and I did. After one night she wanted me out of her bed again, but I think she was just giving me a little test to make sure I was still there for her. As she watches me crawl in bed with him at nap time she often asks – did you do this with me? And I say, “Yes, I always napped with you too.” And she smiles. I am so thankful for the co-sleeping, even if it is only part-time. It has already made a difference with our son.

  32. Thanks for sharing!!!! We are about to travel for our little one! It’s nice to see something that works from someone been there done that! And I love your sharing/teaching posts!

  33. Betty Ko says:

    Excellent post, Stefanie. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. You provided very compelling arguments as to the benefits of co-sleeping and why it has helped foster a sense of security and bonding for your children. It is evident that you are doing your best to foster a nurturing and loving environment for your children. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Excellent post! Thank you. We are on the same page…co-sleeping is one of the best gifts we could have given our daughters. It has made the world of difference!

  35. This is a very good argument for cosleeping. I have a 7 month old (bio child) and she’s our first child. We haven’t really done cosleeping because I’ve been SUPER scared of SIDS. I am BFing, so when she wakes up at night I have to get up, change her and then nurse her back to sleep (also, I haven’t figured out how to nurse laying down). We have a queen size bed too so it’s kind of hard to fit us all in the bed. However, lately she has gone through a sleep regression. She wakes up a few times a night. I’m still worried about SIDS so she still sleeps in her crib most of the night but when she wakes up between 4 & 6 am, I do move her into our bed for the remainder of the night and she will sleep a bit better.

  36. so great to hear how you guys handle it in your house. it’s a touchy subject that always brings up a lot of strong feelings both ways but you addressed it so well. we’ve done a variety of “kinds” of co-sleeping over the years, and by far found that the seasons when we allowed the kids to lead what they needed were the seasons that the best bonding and attaching and trusting were built. as opposed to me forcing my version or method of the “way” to do it.

    it became my act of obedience, my act of worship, my interpretation in that season of my life of the “preferring another in love” over myself…. :)

  37. We have co-slept with Shauna since pretty much a month or so after coming home… it was me waking up all the time to put her back to sleep then going to work… it got old… I think though that it has been good sleeping with her… though she knows when she is 3 (next month) she will be in her big girl bed… I will stay with her for a while on a mattress on the floor but we will get through it… she does nap on her bed though… I am for it, if you can do it…

  38. Tracy H says:

    Amen to that. We didn’t co-sleep with our bio son, he didn’t need it. But our daughter (Shanghai China), it was a must. She had to be touching her daddy and me at all times, she would wake up, but settle down immediately once she felt us with her. Her preferred sleeping position was either on my chest (skin to skin), or curled around my head. We took our ques from her to let us know when she would be ready for her own bed (I figured it had to be before she graduated from high school, right?) She’s been in her own bed for about 2 years now (she just turned 9), but still needs us to lay down for a few minutes and have her back rubbed. I actually miss those times now, that closeness.

    Stefanie, I applaud your mothering skills, your courage/faith and your love of your children. . I wish I had half your drive/energy/and faith that this is the path for you and your husband.

    God’s blessing to you and your absolutely beautiful family.

  39. Hi! I just found your blog via a friend’s blog and just love it! :)

    In response to this post, I could not agree with you more! Prior to adopting our daughter from China, I never thought I would be co-sleeping with our daughter. I remember when they mentioned it in our parenting classes, I thought, that would never work for me! However, it has been the best thing we did for our bonding and relationship. Many friends give me a strange look when they find out, but I proudly state it has been tremendous for us as a family and although our daughter was almost 2 when we brought her home, she has not had any attachment or bonding issues whatsoever. We are so thankful and blessed. Thanks for sharing on this topic! God Bless! :)

  40. How did I miss this post? I love it. We co-slept with C. for 4 months, and she only moved into a bedroom of her own about 3 months ago. I don’t regret a moment of it, and we fully intend to do it again!

  41. dancingwithdad says:

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog…love you what you are doing. I also love your kids names. Do you have a post where you tell the story of their names? Would love to read it!

  42. We just go home last week with our bundle from China and I am a first time mom. The first night she was in her room just fine, but the rest however she refuses. We have her in a pack and play in our room right now (Which she is to big for). She is a violent sleeper, moving all night long. Do you have any thoughts about making the transition into her room at some point. I had her in our bed last night and woke with bruises this morning from all her moving around during the night. Not to mention, there was no sleep for us.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Can totally relate. Sleep was rough for us the first few months with all of ours, but we stuck with it in order to provide them with a sense of safety and security during what must be a terrifying transition. And it paid of in a huge way. Honestly, our kids all sleep in their own beds all night every night. No tears, no fear, no night waking over the long haul makes a few months of kicks to the head totally worth it :)

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