We’ve had several sleeping arrangements in our home since the birth of our first son, Jack. Sleeping was a huge source of stress for us, as it is with most new parents. And right when Jack started to mostly sleep through the night we had another baby! Since the birth of Exley many people have asked how we can possibly still bed share with all these people. But we do! And we love it! Let me show you how we got here.
(Co-sleeping means you sleep close to your baby. Maybe the baby is in bed with you; maybe she is in a bassinette or maybe in a crib, a co-sleeper or basket in the same room. Bed sharing refers to the specific type of co-sleeping where the baby and you are in the same bed. There are many types of co-sleeping. Bed-sharing is a type of co-sleeping.)
When Jack was first born we were bombarded with all of the fear mongering over bed sharing. “Never put a baby in an adult bed, they’ll die.” We heard this loud and clear and I was terrified to sleep. Ever. I only ever placed Jack to sleep in the bassinette. If I ever ended up holding him or lying next to him I forced myself to stay awake, sometimes even forced my husband to stay awake to watch us just in case I fell asleep by accident. I was scared. Scared to death. (Here is the full story)
The thing that made me start to look into the research about bed sharing was that it seemed Jack slept so much better when he was next to me. Nursing to be exact. It was at this time when I started to learn about how human beings sleep naturally. Turns out human beings are wired to sleep near each other as protection against predators. We can’t escape evolution. So imagine my relief when I realized Jack was normal and it was also safe to share a sleep space with him. After all of the terrible breastfeeding information I had received I wasn’t surprised to learn that the sleep information was crap too. But I still felt nervous about it, I mean how could I not considering the fear that professionals are working to put into people? I decided to sidecar the crib to our bed. This way I could lie with Jack and then slide him onto his own sleep surface when he was done nursing.
Little did I know at the time that Jack wasn’t just nursing to eat and then falling back to sleep. He was actually comfort nursing his way through the whole night. When I tried to slide him into the crib space he woke up and fussed for my boob. And even when he did stay asleep he couldn’t care less about his space versus our space. He naturally gravitated closer to me during the night. The crib ended up just being a place to let my butt spill over into so we had more room. He also started to crawl around more and I had a fear that he would fall out of bed. This is when the mattresses hit the floor. Now we really were just trying to make more room for all of us to share the same bed.
When I turned up pregnant with Exley we knew we wanted to continue to bed share as it has been a positive experience for us. It has been the least stressful arrangement for our home. We would need even more space. We finally made the ultimate family bed by getting a twin mattress to make a ton of space for all of the toddler sleep antics one could predict. Now Exley goes to sleep for the night in the bassinette. I nurse Jack to sleep on the mattress. Jack doesn’t want Exley in the room while he is nursing to sleep, which works for now since Exley still fits in the bassinette, but soon Jack will need to get over it. Then when Exley wakes for the first time of the night I bring him into bed next to me and basically nurse him all night. From far left it goes my husband, Jack, me and Exley.
Some safe co-sleeping guidelines. Please see a complete list here.
- Formula fed babies should sleep on a separate surface from mom
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink or use drugs
- Some medications can be dangerous
- Firm mattress, no fluffy blankets or pillows
- No spaces between walls
***This post exists to share my experience. This is not advocating for bed sharing. Each family will choose which method of sleep works best for them.
Do your research.
If you must ask about sex click here (for funnsies).
Abby Theuring, MSW