Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feeling Rested

Look who sat in a cart for the first time today!
 Okay... We finally made a decision about our sleeping arrangement. We are officially now a bed sharing family.

 We do still put Ayden down in his crib for his initial stretch of sleep but after that, he comes to bed with us. This way, he still has his bedtime routine, still associates his crib with sleep and David and I get a couple of baby free hours to relax and decompress.

Despite my efforts to encourage longer stretches of sleep for Ayden, it just wasn't happening. One morning last week, when I finally broke down and brought Ayden into our bed around 4am, David woke and saw the effect these MONTHS of wakeful nights was having on me. He decided that enough was enough. The next night he suggested that I bring Ayden into bed with us and the rest is history. When I asked, "What about you?" he said, "I'll deal. I've been getting good sleep for months and now it's time you did too." Did we give up? Maybe, but as David said enough was enough. Are we creating a bigger battle that we may have to fight later down the road? Perhaps. Only time will tell.

Since we made this decision, we've had a few awesome nights (even a 4 hour stretch in there somewhere) and a few not-so-awesome nights but we have made a decision and are sticking to it. Whether we like it or not, we have a baby that requires frequent nighttime parenting and the only way we can meet his needs, without over-exhausting me, is to have him in our room.

I, personally, grew up in a bed sharing family. My mother extended breastfed us and my sisters and I each slept in bed with our parents from day one until after we were weaned. Once it was time for us to move to our own beds it was definitely a transition but all three of us made it through and ended up being great independent sleepers. David was always in his own bed and was in his own room by 6 weeks old. I'm not sure what methods his parents used to be successful with this but we tried an it just did not work for us.

How are we feeling after living with this new arrangement for a while? I think David is more tired but I am feeling better than I have felt since Ayden was born (still tired but not a zombie). I suppose you could say that we met in the middle. Instead of one rested and one exhausted, we are both just tired.

Ayden doesn't pacify on me all night anymore and I am able to change positions frequently so having him in our bed is also more comfortable for me now than it was early on.

As for Ayden himself, he doesn't really seem to be sleeping better per say, as overall he still wakes just as frequently. But, because we are so close, I usually wake just as he begins to stir and have him latched on before he's even fully awake most of the time. David has even said that there have been a couple of times where he heard Ayden starting to wake and just put his hand on his back and that was enough to send him back to dreamland without my even waking up.

For now our plan is to continue with this arrangement while Ayden is still breastfeeding. Once he is close to weaning, and old enough to actually understand a little of what is going on, we shall reassess. In the meantime, David can get in a few extra snuggles and have more time overall with Ayden and I don't have to get out of bed every 2 hours all night long. We all win.

Extra snuggles are good since Ayden crawled to the door and waited for Daddy to come back in this morning...
 This may not work for all families but it is finally working for us. We can proudly say that we are now Attachment Parenting 100% and it feels good to be commited to something.

You better believe that we will be doing it this way from day one with the next baby YEARS from now. No waffling back and forth or fighting what feels most natural. When it comes down to it, that would be my advice to new parents. Go into parenting with ideas of how you want to do things but also keep your mind open to small adjustments along the way. Realize that you may surprise yourself because your ideas may change the instant your baby is in your arms. Know that there isn't a specific "right" catch all way to do things and if what you are trying doesn't feel natural, it probably won't work. Ayden sleeping in his own bed was, and still is, our ultimate goal but starting that way just didn't fit with the type of parents that we are. Therefore we wasted months trying to fight a losing battle. When we feel ready for it to happen, we will make it happen and in the meantime, we shall spend our nights snuggling.



  1. I also bed share and I went into parenting thinking I would NEVER do it. Well when I had such a fussy, milk intolerant baby, I had to do something and she would sleep through the night if she was with me. I look at it this way your baby will only be little once and you will finally get sleep. My daughter Abella was also born in January and we are also going the attachment parenting route. For us it felt 100% natural. I love reading your blog and watching your videos.

  2. You have to do what works-- and what gives you the most sleep! As of now our plans don't include bed-sharing but like I said we will do what works! :) (Though I'm not sure HOW because we don't have much in the way of extra room in our bed! ;))

  3. It's so important to do what feels right; to do what is best for your family. My husband asked if it was okay for our son to sleep with his amber teething necklace on and I told him, do what you think is best. If you are worried about it, take it off, as a father you have just as much say in things as I do. He really appreciated that he had input. As for other people that question our AP lifestyle, I tell them that we know what's best and we are all happy and healthy and safe doing things our way

  4. my daughter is 7 months old.. and I'm in the same place that you are! and we decided to keep putting her in her crib.. but she comes to bed with us when she wakes up normally around 3. its working for us too!

  5. My husband was iffy about bed sharing with our first but I adamant about breastfeeding when ever our son wanted and though his cot was in our room I would often fall asleep nursing so he'd be in our bed in any case. Once we realised he was wanting to feed at least a few times a night we made the decision to bed share mindfully - lowered our bed height and adjusted the bedding. Once we finished nursing he actually did ok in his cot and bed in his own room. At 5 he's now a great independent sleeper. When his sister came along we bed shared from the beginning - put her in the cot for the first stretch as you did. She's now 2 and now the best sleeper - tends to go to bed well but end up in ours at some point but we all sleep pretty well this way and at 2 she's still young and wants cuddles in the night so we're going with it. Good on you for doing what feels right.