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Co-Sleeping Essay Winners

We want to thank everyone again for the great response to the Essay contest. We're adding the essay winners by category each week. Spread the word about the survey, and the heartfelt essays. Let's normalize the family bed!





















The following winning essays are included in the co-sleeping/bed-sharing book “Are You Co-Sleeping? Me Too!”


"Are You Co-sleeping?Me Too" gives parents and parents-to-be the reassurance and confidence they need to snuggle up with their baby at night. As these real-life stories document, co-sleeping and bedsharing are not only safe but also more popular that you might guess - especially with babies!" Sarah J Buckley, MD, author, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering


1. Oppression or negativity they received…

Joy H-entry reference-

When I had my third daughter in October 2009 I chose to have a midwife deliver her at the hospital. Everything was perfect until night loomed over us and I was alone in my room with her and unable to sleep. I couldn't put her down. I couldn't leave her in the little bassinet. So I snuggled my newborn to my chest, finally able to drift to sleep. At one point I heard the nurse knock on the door but kept my eyes closed. And then I felt her taking the baby from my arms as she began to scold me! "You cannot sleep with your baby!" This was my third child, second to bed-share. And yet this woman made me feel inadequate and small. I didn't dare speak up for fear she would call CPS claiming I was endangering the life of my child. I kept my baby on my chest regardless of her attitude and was counting down the hours until I was out of that hospital! My daughter is now 5-months-old and still in our bed. I believe there is a "fourth trimester" when a baby is born and still needs a close connection to their mother before slowly being weaned to independence and self soothing!

Ian D -entry reference -

I don't think about co-sleeping much. It's just something that we do. After a few weeks of sleepless nights we figured out that our daughter didn't like the idea of sleeping on her own in an empty cot. Shame we didn't figure it out straight away. Not many people agree with us. Friends and family are convinced that we are crazy. After a while though you find out that a lot of them ended up co-sleeping to various degrees. Why are they ashamed of it? I think it's great. You don't have to get up in the middle of the night to comfort your baby when she is teething. No need for Mum to stay awake half the night breast-feeding, just manoeuver baby to the boob and she will happily suck away until full. First thing in the morning when you are dreading the idea of going to work you can play with baby instead from the comfort of a warm bed. Bed time becomes fun instead of something to fear. She even wants to go to bed, well, sometimes. But at least if it is one of those difficult evenings when the baby energy levels seem never ending all you have to do is go to bed, turn off the lights and 20 minutes later she will be asleep. OK, sex is a bit tricky but I guess that is why they invented the sofa!

2. How bed-sharing enriched their parenting experience…

Acacia M.-entry reference-
Sunlight has already been streaming through the windows for an hour when I open my eyes. It is a rare moment that I wake up before he does and catch the chance to gaze upon his peacefully sleeping body.

He is three now. We are months past night time nursing and waking. By now, the routine of our sleep is like a well worn comforter. It provides perfect warmth, plenty of rest and security. During the day, I can barely stop his play long enough for kisses, hugs and cuddles. I no longer have a baby, I have a little boy. Still, our mornings remain the same.

When he wakes up, he smiles and says, "It's morning time, mom!" He wiggles a little closer as I smile back, “Good morning, buggy.” We snuggle up and exchange I-love-you’s. Then he slides a hand underneath my shirt to pull it up and lays his head on my chest and I stroke his cheeks. “I love your na-nas. They make me happy.”

Pride floods in as I think about how much the simple acts of co-sleeping and breastfeeding have developed his security and happiness. The world beyond our bed is on pause and I want to stay snuggled there forever. I let the feeling seep into my skin and flow down into my heart to find a permanent home. Somewhere it can not be replaced, neither upon waking nor growing up. But somewhere I can always go to feel it again.

3. How bed-sharing helped breastfeeding…

Dionna F -entry reference-

Our son, Kieran, was born three weeks early and spent almost a week in the NICU. Despite a bad latch and the sleepiness that often plagues early babies, we exclusively breastfed for ten months and still nurse today at 27 months. I credit the beginning of our successful breastfeeding relationship to co-sleeping.

In the NICU, my husband and I rarely left our son’s side while he was tethered to the warmer. Once at home, Kieran slept snuggled up on my chest, skin to skin in our family bed. He barely needed to stir when it was time to nurse – I was alert at the first sound of his hungry snuffles and snorts. We mastered the art of breastfeeding by the dim nightlight, my husband snoozing quietly beside us.

Our family bed has been a parenting dream. Sharing sleep with our son lets us all sleep longer and more soundly. We have never had to drag ourselves to another room to tend to a lonely baby. Kieran has never feared sleep or nighttime. Illness and teething do not cause unnecessary drama – I simply sit up and nurse or comfort as needed.

Better even than the convenience of co-sleeping are the emotional rewards. Kieran’s first “I love you” was a groggy whisper snuggled between us. He wakes every day with a smile, and our mornings are filled with cuddles and laughter.

And breastfeeding? I don’t even have to wake up anymore – we've perfected the art of nursing and sleeping.

4. How they got better sleep...

Lauren W. -entry reference-

Having shared a bed with my boy since his birth, I never got to experience the alternative to co-sleeping until last week. My husband's head-cold-induced snoring kicked me out of bed, and I had finally drifted off on the couch downstairs when my toddler woke up, crying and summoning me back to our bedroom.

I groggily disentangled myself from the covers I'd purloined, wincing at the cold air that hit my pajamaed body. I was so weary climbing the stairs that I seriously thought I might drop right there.

It was then it hit me: This is what it's like _not_ to co-sleep. This is what most parents I know do every night. No wonder they're all so tired! No wonder they wish more than anything for their children to sleep through the night.

I snuggled back in with my baby, who eagerly slid in to nurse. I kicked my husband (gently!) until he rolled over, and we all drifted back into peaceful sleep.

Bed sharing has been the way our family gets the sleep we need. Well, provided no one has a head cold!"

5. A Dad’s perspective, written by a Dad…

Tom F -entry reference-

Brian J-entry reference-

6. How it saved their child’s life…

Emily N -entry reference-

7. How they intended to use a crib, and chose not to…

Melodie T -entry reference-

Additional chapter winners

8. Different cultures…

Danielle R -entry reference-

9. General I love it…

Paige S -entry reference-

10. Transitioning…

Cristy C -entry reference-

11. Working moms…

Karissa L -entry reference-

And the grand prize winner of a Humanity Family Sleeper is-

Paige S -entry reference-

Thank you all for this opportunity to help normalize co-sleeping and bed-sharing. We will have the book finished by mid April and will re-contact you about the release of the one-of-a-kind book, "Are You Co-Sleeping? Me Too!" 

Please enjoy the winning essay below-

Paige S.-entry reference-

My head has that floating feeling that accompanies the land between asleep and awake. The room is bathed in the soft green light of the cool-mist humidifier at the foot of the bed. Next to me, curled on her side facing me is my daughter. We aren't touching but she's close enough to feel her breath on my face. Beyond her is the steady breathing of my husband. He is also on his side facing me - like guardian parenthesis standing sentinel around our baby.

She twists her head a little and squirms letting out a deep sigh. It is time to nurse. Of course, she's too asleep to know it herself yet. But I know. I pull her close and she latches on effortlessly, not even waking as she begins to suckle. It feels like coming home. There is an overwhelming sense of rightness.

Others would ask - is it hunger or comfort? Shouldn't she sleep through the night? Will she ever learn to sleep alone? None of the questions matter to me. She is my baby and it is her job to take and mine to give. I give with joy.

Her suck is already becoming slower as she drifts deeper into slumber. I can feel sleep pulling me down too. The whole moment was so brief but so powerful. Precious. I fall asleep with a smile on my face as my breathing settles in to match the rest of my slumbering family.


















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Many babies who die from accurately diagnosed SIDS die in these exact situations.