When we got married, my husband and I talked about our ideal parenting styles. He was an advocate of co-sleeping and I was staunchly in favor of preserving our bedroom as a sacred space for us as a couple. I knew that in the first few months after my son was born that we would have to share the bedroom with him until he was a bit older but I imagined him in his own room by 3 or 4 months of age – maybe six months at the latest. I also imaged he would sleep in the co-sleeper – a sort of side car attached to the side of the bed. Instead my son would sleep for hours in my arms and a few minutes in the safety of the co-sleeper bassinet. I was sleep deprived and going crazy with no more than half an hour of sleep at a time. My mother in law would come over and hold him for a few hours so he would sleep and I could sleep but she wasn’t always available. Eventually out of desperation, I would hold him while he slept until one day I fell asleep in the bed holding him. We both woke up and he was still ok. I have to admit I was a bit shocked. I had been led to believe that he would suffocate without the perfect set of sleeping circumstances (Since my husband’s family had a history of SIDs cases, I had bought a crib with a special mattress, a sleep sensor pad, and anything else that had ensured safe sleeping). I eventually worked out a method of sleeping with him in the bed with me and soon we were both sleeping for hours on end. Contrary to all advice, he slept with a pillow and a down blanket snuggled up to me.
At eight months, my son is still in the bed but now he is an efficient crawler. The other night I woke up to him heading rapidly to the foot of the bed. I grabbed an ankle and yanked him back into the center. I realized that I would need to take drastic action – and soon. I could either force him into his own bed at this point or create a family sleeping space with the bed safely on the floor and the surrounding area baby proof. We of course opted for the latter. We disassembled the bedframe and put it along with the boxspring into the attic. We cleared the furniture out of an area of the room and then used the dressers to create a wall. We then needed a baby gate in between the dressers but ours was too small so we took a bedrail and tied it to the feet of the dressers to secure it in place. I then gathered up some toys (only the types that don’t make noise) and put them in the area just at the foot of the bed. Our hope is that when the baby tries to get off the bed, we won’t have to worry about him hurting himself. Also, when he wakes up at an impossibly early hour, we can let him play happily on the floor while we can lay comfortably in our bed (in the past, we have taken him to play in his room and just laid on the floor with a pillow and blanket – not the most comfy option). Hoping for the best!