For the first nine months I struggled to get her to sleep. I spent hours rocking and nursing her, gently laying her down in her crib and tiptoeing out of the room.... only to be back again in 30 minutes or less. I tried everything and read every book on sleep I could find.
During this time I was attending La Leche League meetings and hearing other moms talk about their sleep struggles. They sometimes mentioned co-sleeping. At first I thought even the word sounded odd, that it wasn't really something I would do, that it was kind of unnecessary.
I was exhausted.
Eventually I stopped reading all of the "How To Get Your Baby To Sleep" books and started listening to my baby. Let the Baby Drive was a great book that really helped me relax about it all.
When Lucy was about nine months old, we turned our bed around and pushed it up against a wall in our room. I clearly remember the day we did this, thinking "what on earth are we doing?". Lucy slept closest to the wall, with me next to her, and Ross on the other side of me. For the first time in a very long time I felt rested. I didn't have to get up and sit in a rocking chair for hours on end, I could just nurse Lucy while laying in bed! She was perfectly safe, we kept the blankets and pillows away from her ...and we all slept.
Our sleep struggles were not exactly over, Lucy still hated to go to sleep at night and woke frequently. It was a battle that we fought for several years. We've had various sleeping arrangements since then. When Lucy needed more of her own sleep space (and I needed to not be kicked in the head) we pulled a crib alongside the bed and dropped the side down so she was still close to us. She eventually moved into a big girl bed, and I honestly do not even remember exactly when that happened.
Co-sleeping was a great way for us to meet the challenges of our difficult sleeper.
(Julia in her little toddler bed.)
Julia and Esther both slept with us from the minute they were born. I loved snuggling them as newborns. I've since learned so much about the benefits of cosleeping - how it regulates an infant's breathing, body temperature, and more. Waking up to a happy smiling baby giving me kisses in the morning is the best! Esther has the cutest little habit, ever since she was just a few months old, she always flops her hand out to the side just until she is touching me.
I nurse my babies to sleep at night and for naps. We snuggle and cuddle and rock and hug around here. and its okay. Lucy and Julia both sleep in their own beds, but come in our room at night and sleep on the floor if they are scared. Esther sleeps with us at night and naps on the floor on a pillow (and I nap beside her some days!). It works for us.
Here is a link to some articles on co-sleeping if this is something you want to explore further.