Sheryl Jesin

An Accidental Co-Sleeper


As a mother of a two year old son, I love co-sleeping, and I am an advocate of all of the wonderful things that it does for us and our son.  However, I was not always an avid co-sleeper.  In fact, we stumbled upon it accidentally, out of necessity, and thanks to a wonderful nurse!

Dylan was on a cold winter’s day 2 years ago at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto.  I vividly remember the first night that Dylan, Jake and I spent together.  Dylan was quite sleepy and spent lots of time snoozing in the clear plastic aquarium-like crib in our hospital room.  I spent most of the night awake, staring at Dylan through the plastic, constantly nudging Jake and asking him to check if Dylan was still breathing.  Needless to say, between staring at Dylan while he was sleeping, and feeding him (or attempting to feed him!) while he was awake, I didn’t get much sleep.

Dylan asleep in his aquarium crib

Dylan asleep in his aquarium crib

The second night was even more tiring than the first.  Dylan’s sleepiness had come to an end and he spent hours and hours breastfeeding.  As soon as I took him off my breast and attempted to put him in his crib, he’d start wailing.  I was beyond exhausted and was feeling extremely frustrated and overwhelmed.  Jake and I did not know what to do!  We needed to get some sleep but didn’t know how.

Jake decided to call our nurse into our room.  We explained to her our predicament – that Dylan seemed to want to breastfeed all night long and that he was unhappy in his plastic crib!  She could see that we all needed some rest.  She swaddled Dylan up super tight, in the way the only nurses know how, and told Jake and I to get into bed.  Then she said that she was going to put Dylan in between us in the bed.  At first I wasn’t sure about this idea – weren’t babies supposed to sleep in cribs? I could not believe that the nurse was actually suggesting that we all sleep together in that small hospital bed.  I questioned her idea, but she convinced me that it was worth a try.

So the nurse placed Dylan’s sweet, bundled body in between myself and Jake in bed.  It was as if Dylan could sense our bodies next to him and our arms around him, and he drifted off into peaceful slumber.  Jake and I also slept well with Dylan in between us.  I could sense him and his tiny breathing body next to me, and I could relax enough to get some much needed sleep.

So I must thank our nurse at the hospital for giving us our first taste of co-sleeping.  She planted a seed in my mind and  it grew and grew as the first few days and weeks went by.  I will continue in another post about the adventures in co-sleeping that transpired once we got home from the hospital.

4 thoughts on “An Accidental Co-Sleeper

  1. Wow! Cool nurse! I’m sure no US nurse would do that, for fear of being sued! We didn’t co-sleep until Baby was about a week old, but I had a c-section so I unfortunately had to take pain meds a few days and didn’t think it was safe to co-sleep while on them.

  2. what a great nurse!! you hardly ever hear of that happening! we did it with our son out of necessity as well. My friends still make fun of me because I swore up and down before I had kids that no kid of mine would sleep in my bed. And how that came back to bite me!! now I am a huge co-sleeping advocate. lol. funny how things happen.

  3. @Maman a Droit – once we got home we didn’t co-sleep until Dylan was about a week old…while I could do it in the hospital under the watch of a nurse, it took me a week to be comfortable with it at home!

    @Alexandra – our nurse really was something special! I also never thought I’d be a co-sleeper. I didn’t even know that it was within the realm of sleeping possibilities. I thought ALL babies slept in cribs!

  4. Sounds like a familiar story. Although the nurses didnt put her in my bed with me. but when they came into check, they also didnt scold me. i was so frightened of crib death, that i couldnt sleep when she was in her bassinet. so i brought her into the bed with me, i tried again to do the bassinet at home, but again, it felt better when she was in bed with me. my friends dont handle this well. they think that I will never get her out of my bed. but 1. i dont want her out of my bed. and 2. when she is ready, she will do this.
    my only concern, is the quality of sleep she is getting some nights. When I am restless, she is restless and wants to nurse all night long. i question how much good sleep she gets in this case. tonight I am awake at 200 and am out in the living room on the PC. she still sleeps and that makes me happy, cause it shoudlnt be two of us suffering through my anxieties.
    thank you for sharing

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