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"Rose sleeps with me at night in our bed, and she does so well she's like a co-sleeping model of success. She doesn't sleep straight through the night, and she's not supposed to; she's four months old. The key though is that when she DOES wake up to nurse, she goes right back to sleep and doesn't keep me up for hours in the middle of the night. I never have to get her to back to sleep by sitting in a chair rocking her all night, and we sleep right up until about eight o'clock in the morning.
She goes to bed with me at the same time each night, between ten and eleven, and even snoozes for a while after I put the kids to bed at seven. So my evenings are relatively peaceful. If she is awake, she clearly wants to go to bed, and fusses and carries on until I comply with her wishes.
I wish I had known all this with my first baby. Things could have been so much easier and smoother. Instead, I tried to force him to sleep in a crib, and there were even times I let him cry and cry when the right thing to do was to go to him and hold him. Now I know better, and I would tell anyone that co-sleeping will save you a lot of trouble and stress if it goes well. I still feel badly about those nights I tried to make my son cry it out, because the only thing it accomplished was creating my deranged level of exhaustion.
There are things we all learn with each baby we have. Things like co-sleeping, nursing, swaddling, and holding your baby instead of forcing her to cry herself to sleep can make things so much easier because it creates comfort for your child. When they feel loved and safe, your job is more rewarding. You may feel like a better mother... I know I do, this time around, because I learned so much.
Not every baby is like Rose, of course, and in the beginning she did have a few rough nights, but nothing compared to the experience of my first baby. Babies are incapable of manipulating you but they CAN show you how happy they are, they can show you how wonderful it feels to have love lavished on them.
So, if any of you are struggling at night with your babies not sleeping well, give co-sleeping a try. You may be surprised how well it works. There are drawbacks--you can't sprawl and you can't toss around and you can't get your groove on with your partner while your baby is in the bed with you. But you might find that you are slowly getting caught up on sleep and when you are a new mother, that's worth a million bucks."
It's always so refreshing to me to see people embrace their natural instincts and to see them celebrate their rewards! Go co-sleeping!