All about sleeping with a toddler and attachment parenting

I recently read the article “I should have let you sleep with me”. It was a beautiful reminder that our kids will not be kids for too long and that what certain society deemed as the norm might not be suitable for everyone. In this case co-sleeping.

And now I regret it. I regret not feeling your sweet breath as you cuddle close and your warm little hands wrapped around me. I regret putting you back to bed, giving a hurried kiss, and shutting the door behind me. I regret only thinking of getting back to sleep.

So that night, I offered Aurora to sleep on our bed. Aurora sleeps in her bed right next to us. It is attached to ours but slightly lower than our bed, she likes to get really close to me and when she does, she sort of sits up to sleep. I still remember her face after I asked her if she wanted to come sleep with me. She was smiling from ear to ear and couldn’t contain her excitement. I didn’t know that it would mean so much to her since she was already sleeping very close to us.

Aurora is currently two and a half years old (32 months to be exact) and I have been adopting the philosophy of attachment parenting since she was born. It was not a decision that I had made beforehand. I didn’t know what it was until she was older. I read an article about it and I was like “Oh that’s just like how I am with Aurora!”. If you’re not familiar with attachment parenting, it is a practice that aims close bonds with mother and child. Named by William Sears, he believes maximal maternal empathy and continuous contact is beneficial for the baby. So this includes the 7 Baby B’s:

  • Birth bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby wearing
  • Bedding close to baby
  • Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry
  • Beware of baby trainers
  • Balance

I did all of the above with Aurora and I find it extremely comfortable knowing that I’m meeting her every need. Of course this goes without saying that parents who do not adopt this method are not wrong. There is no right or wrong in parenting and I always say “whatever floats your boat.” If it feels wrong to you don’t do it, if it feels right then please do! Don’t let what other parents do or don’t do affect your decision in how you raise your precious one.  Of course it is not easy and I’m not going to lie that what others say or do hasn’t made me think once or twice about how I raise Aurora. But I always keep in mind, if it doesn’t feel right then maybe it is not for me.

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Look at her expression

The year 2015, when I was in Australia getting ready for Aurora’s delivery, David and I had a neo-natal class and we were talking about sleeping arrangements. One of the parents said “I would never let my baby sleep in my room, he’s on his own from day one.” But for me, I was determined to make breastfeeding work and having to get up to another room every two hours (and that’s if it was two hours. Aurora demanded to be fed every 15 minutes at the start) was not an option. I need my sleep and I don’t want to waste time getting up at like 4am, breastfeed her, try to put her back to sleep, go back in my room then wake up again at 6am etc etc. It would be so exhausting. So you know, each to their own.

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Aurora’s first day

During the first 6 months, I was using Chicco Next 2 Me. It was quite a life saver. I was able to just grab her in the middle of the night, breastfed her while still laying down, then put her back in her crib right next to me. Sometimes I don’t bother putting her back but the extension of the crib gives me a peace of mind that she will not fall out of the bed.

There is a reason why Aurora is not on our bed and just beside us, and that it is only one. I’m an extremely sensitive sleeper. I’m so sensitive that when I had premature rupture of membranes (my water broke) on my bed, I did not drip a single drop of amniotic fluid because I was awoken by that minor sensation and quickly dashed to the toilet. The slightest sound or motion will wake me. So when Aurora is on our bed, she twists and turns and I will just be too cranky to function the next day. I guess that’s the life of a parent. But she’s right next to me and watching her sleep so peacefully is one of the greatest joys in life.

Anyway, I’m getting ready to fly to South Korea tonight with my dear friend Priscilia and her son, Lewis (Aurora’s best friend) for a mom and bub trip 10 days, so there will be plenty of co-sleeping with my baby.  Lesson of the day, enjoy the small moments with your little ones because soon they will be embarrassed to be kissed and cuddled by you. Then the teenage hormones will start to kick in, and it will be years (when they’re in their 30s or 40s) that they will start to feel thankful for your love again. Enjoy it while it lasts!

 

Follow me on Instagram: @nickagunawan

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