Thursday, December 15, 2011

3 Babies Later: The Evolution of Our Family Bed

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Baby Number One
Our sweet Maddie came into the world surrounded by surprise and drama. Born just a day shy of 33 weeks, she was lacking womb time...and boy did she show this! We were in for a real shock when we brought her home. Not only were we new parents, but we were also parents to a preemie who was high needs.

She never slept. She cried a lot. And we were newbies, scared and unaware that we could say no to "mainstream" parenting advice.

One day, when she had been home for about a week, out of sheer desperation for sleep, I picked her out of the bassinet and laid her on my chest in our bed. Within moments she was asleep. And I was left wondering, "what do I do now?" So I gently laid her next to me, curled my arm around her in a protective circle and fell asleep.

From that day on, she slept in bed with us. And we all slept reasonably well. Now that we were officially a bed-sharing family, I began to do more reading and research to make myself feel comfortable and secure with that choice. What I found was a wonderful community of like-minded parents and authors who were the ones to introduce me to the world of Attachment Parenting and how to co-sleep and bed-share safely.

I found it quite surprising that I seemed to wake up before she did, just in time to nurse her. I remember when she started sleeping for longer stretches I would till wake up frequently and wonder if/when she would wake up! At some point we started noticing that it wasn't working out as well anymore.

Maddie slept well in our bed until she was about 6 months. Then she began squirming and not settling well and fussing, and I started to not sleep so well either. So we tried laying her down in her crib and she was happy. So, we knew she was ready. It felt good to have met her needs and to see her reach the ready-to-be-in-crib milestone on her own terms.

Baby Number Two
Having witnessed the benefits and simplicity of co-sleeping and bed-sharing first-hand, we did not even hesitate to welcome little baby Isaac into our room, and into our bed. The little monkey was also a crier. But his cry was different. I knew there was something going on with him. He wanted to sleep. He even wanted to fall asleep on his own, without needing too much assistance. But he just couldn't. So we suffered and he suffered until we figured out what was going on. Once we finally did, and he and I did not eat wheat anymore, the little happy baby he was, finally came to be! He began sleeping in his crib beside our bed at around 5 months, beginning the night there and then coming into our bed after his first late night wake-up. At around 9 months, he was ready to move into his own room. No fussing, no crying. Though he did still have his fair share of nighttime wake-ups, at least he would go back to sleep with a bit of rocking and singing. But again, we were so happy to see that his needs were met and that he learned to associate positive feelings with sleep. Now at 2 years old he sleeps wonderfully in his own bed {and has been for a good while}. He sleeps all night! Isaac, the little boy who I thought would never sleep through the night and who may need me to lull him to sleep forever, has shown me that meeting his needs to be close to us resulted in happiness for him and for us.

Baby Number Three
And now we have our sweet baby Elsa. She is an easy-going kiddo. Maybe it's because I have done this before, but I can read her cues so well, so she barely cries. I barely wake up when she wants to nurse, so I maximize my sleep time. And that's a good thing when I have 2 other kiddos to tend to beginning at 6:30am! I don't think I would be functional if I had to get out of bed, go get Elsa, nurse her, settle her back down. That's at least 30 minutes of potential sleep time, add it up with multiple wake ups and I would end up a total zombie!

She is now sleeping in our bed and in due time {probably soon, as she's starting to show signs--waking up when we come to bed, or when we move around in the bed} we will start putting her to sleep in her crib beside our bed. And down the road, when she is ready {and we have the room!} she will start sleeping in her own room.

But all in due time. For the duration of these short, sweet-baby-days having my babies close for sleepy time works for us. I love snuggling them and smelling them and really getting to know them. And I love that we all get to sleep {because I love sleep}!

******* Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival
Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!


  1. Such a great post on cosleeping! I love how you discuss cosleeping with each baby. Like you, I stumbled upon cosleeping and Attachment Parenting in the early weeks of new motherhood and it was the best thing that could have happened for me.

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  2. Oh, I love this post! I also wrote a bit about how our sleeping arrangements evolved based on our family's needs. It's nice to have a glimpse of what might be in store for us when our family grows! :)

  3. This is such a great carnival and I'm loving all the wonderful safe co-sleeping posts... This one especially!! It's interesting to see how it has evolved for you, and developed for each babe you've welcomed... with the principles still staying the same. Beautiful! :) <3

  4. Lovely post! I, too, liked that you posted your cosleeping journey with each baby! Beautiful!


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