Co-sleeping for sanity

Welcome to the September Carnival of Breastfeeding where this month’s topic is something that weighs heavily on every parent’s mind and eyelids – SLEEP.

Ava in bed - 4 mos. old - Oct. 2004 Julian in bed - 3 days old - Nov. 2006

During Ava’s first few months of life, she slept in a co-sleeper beside our bed. Being first time parents, we were too nervous to have her in bed with us, plus our queen-size bed seemed a little too small for three of us. Because I had to remember to put her back in the co-sleeper after each time she nursed, I’d force myself to stay awake and not nod off while she was at the breast, even though I really wanted to. This, as you can imagine, lead to some serious sleep deprivation on my part.

I recall a few occasions where I woke up with a start in the middle of the night and, in my half-conscious stupor, had no idea where Ava was! My first thought was that she’d fallen off the bed. I’d quickly sit up and survey the room (we had a small night light to assist in nighttime parenting). On the floor? No! Whew! But not on the bed either. Hmmm. Ah-ha! Safe and sound and sleeping peacefully in her co-sleeper. Of course.

The second time around, with Julian, I wised up and he came directly into bed (a king-sized bed we’d purchased just months before his birth) with my husband Jody and me. He was born at the foot of that bed and he spent his first night sleeping in it. :) Not having to worry about moving him back and forth from the co-sleeper to the bed made my nights so much more restful. He would stir to eat often (heck, he still does), but I would latch him on and we’d both fall back to sleep together. Ahhh. No more middle of the night startled waking to find “missing” babies. :)

Having Julian in bed with us has truly been a lifesaver for me. There’s no way I could care for a baby and a 3-year-old if I wasn’t getting some half-way decent shut-eye. I think as long as some basic safety (common sense) guidelines are followed, co-sleeping can be a very safe and very helpful (think sanity-saving) practice when breastfeeding. :)

Please take a moment to read some of the other carnival participants’ take on sleep: