I’ve previously written about how we break the rules when it comes to sleep. Living with your first baby is all survival mode so I’m all about doing what works for you, what you’re comfortable with, and doing it as safely as you possibly can. So while it’s recommended that all babies sleep on their back, on a firm surface, with no additional pillows/blankets/toys, in their parents room, **gasp for air** in their own crib, until they are one year old… we’ve opted to follow all of those, except “in their own crib”. (And by “we” I mean my daughter.) Yep, bed sharing is a thing in the BonBon house.
Temen starts in her pack’n’play (after what can be a long journey nursing her to sleep — just another rule we break). She stays there, happily, until about 4-6 hours later when she decides she wants to be with us. That’s when she comes to bed with us. We initially fought it, but after tons of research, sleep deprivation, and a very stubborn baby, we decided to just go ahead with what felt best – bed sharing. It’s considered part-time bed sharing because she starts in her own space and then spends about half of the night (if that) with us.
Bed Sharing Tip 1) Plan it out.
Full Disclosure: Bed sharing with a newborn can be a little scary at first. But, what is even more terrifying is accidentally falling asleep with your baby. It goes a little like this: You’ve done your research so you know that bed sharing is a no-no. You know that half of all SIDS cases are associated with sharing a sleep surface, so you’ve sworn to never do such a thing. But, you’re a new mom, you’re tired, your baby won’t sleep, and your baby just wants to eat for what seems like forever. You take the baby out of her bassinet/crib/pack’n’play for a night feeding, and, oops you fall asleep. When you wake up, you are horrified to find your baby in your arms. Is she moving? Is she okay? How did you let this happen?
Yeah… it sucks, and it’s dangerous. When this happened to me, I knew I needed to do something about it. If we were going to bed share, everyone needed to know it was happening, and it needed to be planned. Planning for bed sharing is a hell of a lot safer than
2) Research the cuddle curl.
When we first started bed sharing, she could easily sleep in the crook of my arm, not move, and I wouldn’t have to worry about her. We were in the cuddle curl, I wasn’t moving anywhere, she was basically a giant potato and also not moving anywhere, it was magical. The cuddle curl worked just fine for us, and we didn’t need a co-sleeper. Now that Temen is five months old, she’s more mobile. She’s not crawling to the bottom of the bed or anything like that, but she is able to roll over, and because of that, I don’t like her sleeping in the cuddle curl for too long unless I’m a bit more awake/alert. So… We need some help.
3) Invest in a co-sleeper when needed.
As she got older, Temen started sleeping with us in her Boppy Lounger. I KNOW – It is NOT recommended that babies sleep in this. There are giant warning labels on the Boppy Lounger that say it’s not for sleeping. (Which, by the way, is such bullshit. Babies sleep in those things, everyone knows it.) We used the Boppy Lounger (cautiously) because she didn’t move, it helped her reflux and daycare congestion, and we were asleep next to her to make sure she didn’t fall off. We felt comfortable using it every now and then, especially when she was sick. But before you knew it, she grew out of it. Her little legs hung off the end and we would put a pillow underneath them so she didn’t feel like she was falling off. It worked until it didn’t, and with her physically growing out of it, she started to learn how to roll around more. It was time for something new.
In comes the DockATot, my
one second third fourth true love. This thing is everything I hoped it would be and more. Our part-time bed sharing now goes like this:
between 7:00PM and 9:00PM she goes down to sleep in her pack’n’play
between 1:00AM and 3:00AM she wakes up to come into our bed, goes in DockATot between us
between 6:00AM and 7:00AM she gets hungry, wants to be held and will sleep in my arms
With the DockATot, Temen can sleep safely and peacefully in between me and Ryan. Everyone has their space with the DockATot, and she can safely turn to the side without me worrying about her rebreathing or suffocating. Ryan and I can move all we want on our respective sides without disturbing her, and we don’t have to worry about her rolling out of the DockATot. At night, I like to hold her hand, hold my arm around her, or just lay my hand on her belly. I can do all these things with the DockATot without getting in her space too much. The sides come up around the edges of her mattress, kind of hugging her, so she seems to sleep more soundly. It’s supposed to mimic the womb, I don’t know if I believe that, but I definitely know she appreciates being held and it does mimic that.
The cool thing about the DockATot it how easy it is to move it around the house. When she refuses to nap, and I refuse to spend all day in bed nursing her to sleep, I bring the DockATot downstairs and will lay with her on the couch. It’s easy enough to breastfeed while she’s in it, so I can nurse her to sleep while I catch up on some TV, and then continue on with my day. And I don’t even need to tell you how ideal this thing is for diaper changes!
There are of course other recommendations when it comes to bed sharing that you can find here. Bed sharing is not recommended for everyone, but ultimately it’s up to you and your family to do what you think is right. For more information about possible benefits of bed sharing, visit this review done by Dr. James McKenna.