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:

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33 thoughts on “Co-sleeping for sanity

  1. I love having Gray in bed with me for so many reasons, but I will say that the past two nights he’s wanted to nurse ALL.NIGHT.LONG (he’s almost 2!) and I am ready for a full night’s sleep!

    But I still love it nonetheless!

    Steph

  2. Ah, yes, amen for co-sleeping! It’s the only way I get any sleep at all with babes in the house. Whether they are in bed with me or in the sidecar co-sleeper, I love having a baby that close. LOL about the missing baby… that’s happened here, too! So glad to have found your blog through the carnival!

  3. I also had a co-sleeper because I was nervous–but also because my husband was not home during those early months and is a very sound sleeper. I had that same startle awake, where’s she?, experience.

    Now we find that my baby is just too active and too easily stimulated by being in the bed with us. She literally climbs the walls (and us). Next time we may try to find a way for us to co-sleep safely from the beginning.

  4. I had the opposite, we had my daughter (first baby) in bed with us from the start but then we could never get her out even now that she’s almost three. I recently had another baby and he sleeps in a cosleeper and will sleep in a crib when he’s about four months old. I find it easier having him in his own bed because I don’t worry and therefore can sleep deeper.

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  7. Thanks for posting this!!! When my DS#2 was born..I breastfeed..and I quickly learned how to nurse laying down it was sooo nice that when he woke up I never had to leave the bed I just layed there nursed and went right back to sleep. It was heaven!!

  8. I’m so glad you wrote about this, as I’m new to co-sleeping with Indi. I’m loving it though and you are right…what a lifesaver. Just this morning I began writing an update to her and I am still in the middle of writing about the benefits of cosleeping and my adoration for it. It is so divine.
    xoxo

  9. I found co-sleeping to be a sanity saver, too! It helped me get more sleep, definitely. I would start my kids out the night in the bassinet next to the bed and move them in during their first feeding. Our queen bed worked just fine for us. It was especially great when I started back to work, since I got the first feeding of the day in around 5 am and could still get a little rest.

  10. I soo agree! I never thought co-sleeping was for us, until I held A in my arms and never wanted to put her down!!! So, we co-slept from the first night, eventho the hospital was agianst it! lol

    It is just so simple to have her sleep beside me and latch her on in my sleep, rather than stumbling around to soothe her back to sleep. We’re both much happier and well-rested!

    At almost 20 months, co-sleeping is going great and I cant imagine doing it any other way for future babies!~J

  11. I co slept with both the boys for the first couple months of their lives. Right there in the middle of daddy and me. I have to tell you that I never got good sleep, but I did like the ease of feeding the baby during those first couple months.

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  13. THANKS FOR YOUR POST. I HAVE BREASTFED, CO-SLEPT AND HAVE THE BABY IN OUR BED SINCE HIS BIRTH 9 MONTHS AGO. IT MADE THINGS SO MUCH EASIER FOR ALL OF US.

  14. Both my kids slept in my bed until they were about 7 or 8 months. It really did help with nursing them and sleeping while doing it. I don’t think i could’ve done it any other way!

  15. Although we don’t “officially” co-sleep Lydia always ends up in bed with me when I go an get her the first time she wakes. I’m just too lazy to take her back. Bfing lying down was the best thing I learnt ever ;)

    Unfortunately I don’t sleep as well when the kids are with us though; they are so wriggly and I’m a light sleeper that some nights I mostly doze. So while I’m happy to have her there for convenience, I am also happy when she is asleep in her own bed too! :-)

  16. It’s so amazing how different moms’ experiences can be. With both Foo & Luna I was terrified to sleep with them as tiny infants. There were two occassions with Foo that I fell asleep with her in my arms in bed after a middle of the night feeding. I had the terrified waking up experience you had when your little one wasn’t in your bed.

    Once I was over the mind-numbing sleep deprivation of the first few months, both girls slept with me some nights. It just depended on their needs on a given night.

    I read your link to the “common sense” tips. I was definitely too sleep deprived at first to co-sleep safely. But I was still able to nurse Foo for 5 1/2 months and am still nursing Luna at 16 months.

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  18. We’ve coslept since the halfway through the first night after we came home from hospital. Babypixie wouldn’t settle, so hubby brought her into our bed, now 10 months & a giant futon bed later, we’re getting as much sleep as we can (still plenty of night feeds) and hubby can sleep though the night, except for the occasional kick in the face from herself (why do they always sleep sideways??) We love it!

  19. Are all four of you now happily sleeping in the king bed?
    I was amazed how much room our toddler took up in bed. My husband and I would sleep at the very edges of the bed as my son tossed and turned all night. Sometimes we looked like a human “H”. The queen bed is now in his room, next to his toddler bed. Guess how much he sleeps in there. Almost never. :)

  20. We are just going through this. We are not against co-sleeping by any means but Becca always preferred her own space. My little man is completely different ultimately finding his way into our bed every night :)

    I do miss my own space but I know he will not be this tiny forever and I will miss thes e moments if I do not hold them close to my heart :)

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  23. I co-slept with all three of my children and couldn’t have survived without it (I had three children under five at one point). I still sort of co-sleep with my twenty month old as his cot is right next to the bed and he and I sleep much better for it.

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  25. I just found your site today and love this post! I was just posting about how much I love co-sleeping with our 14-month old triplets. I wouldn’t do it any other way!!!

  26. My daughter will be two next week, showing no signs of weaning or moving out of the family bed anytime soon – which is just the way we like it.

    Both my partner and I love sleeping with her, and I really can’t imagine life any other way.

    When people ask how often she wakes in the night, my answer is always, “Hell if I know, because I don’t have to wake up!”

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