Actually, it’s the big one saying move over….. The little ones are bed hogs…..
When our daughter was born, it’s safe to say I was oblivious to the idea of bed sharing. I knew bub was meant to sleep by mum til they were around 6m but when she was 10 days old she wouldn’t settle in her bassinet in our room (it was actually a pram bassinet as we were missing a vital screw/bolt for our actual bassinet!) so I popped her in the cot/crib in her room for a moment and she fell asleep. We breastfed and bum changed in there overnight (in the cheapest, shittest cloth nappies that leaked every damned time) and once she fell asleep in there a few times i was “ok, done!” (With the movement and sound monitor so I could have a few scares when it malfunctioned and beeped pointlessly!).
Miss4 started waking for a feed only once (4-5am) from 7 weeks of age and I thought I was set. I didn’t congratulate myself so much as just felt eternally grateful we had somehow got ourselves “a sleeper” when some mamas in my mothers group were losing their minds from sleep deprivation.
Around 6-7m of age we went interstate to see my grandparents. This coincided with 2 teeth ripping through and Miss4 realizing that I could disappear at any time; hello separation anxiety! Goodbye sleep!
She went from waking once a night to 1-2 hourly waking a, and after 2-3 months of thinking it was something I was doing, I read a book. It had awesome info on communicating with baby (we did implement that and I do credit it somewhat for how clever and verbal Miss4 is) but it also had “cry interpretation” and some f**king unrealistic nap schedules.
I read it, re-read it, tried to ignore my clever sister saying “um, that’s still controlled crying, it’s just smarter controlled crying!?” And day one went ok, time for your 17 minute nap, sang twinkle twinkle then walked out. For 30 seconds of her disbelieving cry til I dashed back in and said “we are not doing this. I’m so sorry!”. We did try to do the whacky nap schedule, but obviously it was f**king nuts to wake a baby after 17 minutes 😒 so she still slept like crap, and I realised pretty quickly how insane it all was, and how much pressure I was putting on myself.
We tried the cot in our room (too hard to get her in and out while she was asleep, shuffling on my knees over the bed!), single bed by her cot in her room (squeaky bed, pain in the ass), til we set up a queen bed and went with “her waking is made worse by me stressing and trying to FIX it so I will just ACCEPT it and get on with my coffee…. I mean life”. In trying to “fix” it I also read a LOT about how normal night waking is (til 3 years of age) and how biologically we are designed to sleep by our babies/kids; check out this link by Dr James McKenna who is an infant sleep researcher (not just some random blogger) for more info http://neuroanthropology.net/2008/12/21/cosleeping-and-biological-imperatives-why-human-babies-do-not-and-should-not-sleep-alone/ (and again, this is saying biology/anthropology says we are designed to sleep by our babes, NOT “you’re a shit parent if you don’t bedshare”.)
We continued to bed share through night weaning (blissfully easy and tearless and gentle) at 2.5y, weaning 100% when she was almost 3.5y and I had NIPPLES OF FIRE in mid pregnancy. Miss4 has been very articulate since she was about 2y so she is very clear she doesn’t want to sleep alone. For us, that’s ok. She sleeps like a log while Mr.1 parties all night.
Mr.1 came along and we had an Arms Reach Cosleeper in with me and Miss4. I love the idea but the reality was it was painful to manouvre around it post c-section and I just never felt enamoured of it.
We then went to cot side-car as you can kind of see in this pic of my two cackle-heads
Miss4 suddenly loved the cot so she slept in that (she is very tall so it was a squeeze but she was adamant and it made no difference to me!) and Mr.1 slept on the other side of me by the wall.
Once he could crawl, we swapped to this, which he promptly crawled right off onto his face 3 times in the first day.
Now, I KNOW this isn’t for everyone. Many women say “I need to sleep by my partner” which is fine. My hubby is very supportive of the setup and has said he while he misses me at night a bit, it works best as he gets more sleep and isn’t interrupted by Mr.1 waking at all.
To be honest, it was a challenge for me to start as we have it ingrained in us that we HAVE to sleep by our partner (why?), baby MUST have their own bed and own room (this is a recent thing; I have heard that the aristocracy would show their wealth by having baby in another room to show how wealthy they were (lah di dah we can afford another room!), the lower classes soon followed suit once lifestyle and income allowed) when science suggests we are designed to sleep by our little ones (I also love this article; bed sharing with an older “baby” is not harmful and how is it your business anyway!?) http://evolutionaryparenting.com/bedsharing-beyond-infancy-the-question-of-independence/)
Anyway I soon got past any inhibitions, any comments/naysayers (how does how WE sleep effect YOU???) and here we are, blissful and content (sleep deprived but less so than I would be if I didn’t have my babes right by me) and happy. It’s not forever, and waking to these two monkeys cuddling is pure love ❤️ even when they have me fenced in and unable to roll over off my numb arm….