When you look deeply into the award-winning photos of the napping dog and child duo #TheoandBeau you see love, trust and a shared intimacy that’s building an unbreakable bond.
I believe it is also a look at the beauty of co-sleeping.
Yes, it may be a child and dog co-sleeping and that’s not the typical make-up of a family bed, but it’s the same bonding.
Co-sleeping is not for every family.
Similarly, not every dog should nap with a baby.
But when it works, it’s a gift to be treasured.
Before I had children, I never would have considered the notion of letting my baby share my bed. But my first born baby changed my plans.
While I was pregnant, I made up a typical nursery down the hall with a crib and a painted mural on the wall. But she never slept in that room. Not even once.
When Julia was born, doctors found a small hole in her heart and they said she should sleep in a crib next to my bed so I could monitor her during the night. On the drive home from the hospital, we stopped at a store to pick-up a smaller cradle that fit in my bedroom.
She slept in that little crib with the bars pushed right up to my bed for the next five months. And then I gave in. I could no longer cope with her cries and fingers reaching through the bars to grab hold of me and pull me close.
It was a brutally difficult decision because I was a rule follower and a worrier. I was told that co-sleeping was dangerous and that my baby was better in a crib.
But my heart knew I had to listen to my baby.
Being an incredibly nervous new mother scared to go against authority, I did everything I could to create the ultimate safe co-sleeping environment.
I threw out my queen size pillow-top comfy bed and went out and bought the firmest (most uncomfortable) king size mattress and put it directly on the floor.
I removed all top-sheets and covers leaving only a pillow for my head. And my baby and I began to co-sleep.
It was the best parenting decision I’ve ever made.
Later when I had my second baby, I worried about how to transition my first out to her own bed. But instead I slept between the two and that uncomfy mattress on the floor became a family bed.
As my girls grew and I’d snuggle them to sleep and get back up to work, I’d later come into the room to see the two of them sleeping soundly but reaching out to hold on to the other. Sometimes I’d find them cuddled up with limbs tangled together. My heart melted everytime. (I wish I’d taken more photos.)
Many people can’t understand co-sleeping. I couldn’t before I had children. And as I said, I know a shared bed really is NOT for every family. There are definitely cons along with the pros.