I never had any intentions of bed sharing.
A month before Nugget’s arrival:
Nursery painted, decorated, and furnished
Clothes washed, folded, organized by size, and put away
Crib assembled, with sheets on mattress
We were in excellent shape. The house was clean and we were fully prepared for our new addition…
And then she arrived. My sweet baby girl.
During my first three weeks home with Nugget, I slept sitting up on the recliner/couch, feet propped up, with one eye open. I was recovering from my c-section, had no desire to deal with the stairs, and was in complete and utter awe of my newborn. Truly, I just could not get enough of her! Although I was exhausted and should have been sleeping, I held her or just stared at her. When I did decide to sleep, Nugget slept in the changing mattress inside the changing station part of a pack and play 2 feet away from me.
During our fourth week home, I decided to venture upstairs, to the bedrooms.
It felt strange to me, putting this teeny tiny baby in a crib, alone, while I was nestled up against Hubs in a room next door. Even the dog was with us in our room! (I didn’t realize at the time that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends baby sleep in the same room as parents for at least 6 months.)
I didn’t sleep well and was always relieved when I heard Nugget’s cry. As soon as she let out her little mew, I would race out of bed and head next door to her room. Then I would nurse her in the glider, put her back in the crib, and creep back next door. But something about this felt…weird. I didn’t like being separated from her. As as result, I got very little to no sleep because I kept listening for her.
After a few days of this, I ended up falling asleep in the glider while holding Nugget. (This is a big no-no and is considered very unsafe.) “This would not do,” I thought to myself. The sleep deprivation was getting real and something needed to be done…fast. I had read about side nursing and decided to try it. Lucky for me, we had a full sized bed in the room, next to the crib. I climbed into bed, nestled Nugget against me and started to nurse. Blessedly, we both fell asleep. It was wonderful! Why hadn’t I done this from the start?!
Still…I felt empty. I missed sleeping next to Hubs and asked him if it would be ok if Nugget and I came to our bed. He was a little nervous and tentative at first, but agreed that it would be nice for all of us to be together.
Thus began our journey into bed sharing.
I realized a few things:
1. There are so many facets of parenting that are controversial.
And apparently, bed sharing is one of them! (Honestly, I had no idea.) I remember going to visit my relatives in Thailand and entire family units would share one bed. When I asked my dad what he and my mom did when we were born, his response was, “You slept with us, of course!” This made me so happy. For the most part, our friends and family have accepted the fact that we bed share and are even quite accommodating when we visit and spend the night. I’ve only been asked once, “How long do you plan on bed sharing?” (In all honesty, it’s no one’s business how or where we sleep!)
2. You have to do your research.
As with all things, there are safe ways and unsafe ways to do things. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Many of the “safe sleep” rules seem obvious (don’t bed share if you’ve been drinking, smoke, or are under medication, keep pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals away from baby, make sure bed is a flat, firm surface). For more information, check out La Leche League International’s safe sleep 7 Educate yourself before you make any decisions.
3. Do what feels right for you and your family.
I hadn’t read any parenting books or sleep training books and I’m not a professional sleep consultant or expert in anything. I’m a new mom…going by my instinct. It feels wrong being separated from Nugget. I feel so much more at peace and content when she is sleeping right next to me. It feels right having the whole family together at night. This might drive some people nuts but for us, it WORKS. And, quite frankly, I love it.
4. Bed sharing + breastfeeding = AMAZING
WHAT. A. LIFESAVER. Thanks to bed sharing, Nugget rarely cries at night and finds her way to her milk on her own, often without even waking me up. We both get to sleep. It’s LOVELY. More than half the time, I nap with her (being 29 weeks pregnant as of this post) and I find we both nap longer when we are together. The snuggles are just awesome.
Much like the majority of parenthood, I’ve discovered that what I had planned on doing and what I ended up doing are completely different…and that’s perfectly okay.
Intrigued? Check out my 5 Items For Bed Sharing I Never Knew I Needed.
Wishing you and your littles lots of sleepy dust,