Sleeping Arrangements

When you have a baby, the first questions people ask you are "How is he sleeping? Is he sleeping through the night?" I find this very strange, especially coming from people who have children. Have they forgotten how little sleep they got in the beginning? I'm sure they mean well and are just trying to make conversation, but the question really irks me. Hormones? Probably. But it's as if they make the question a reflection of your parenting skills. Like it's a bad thing that my 2 month old isn't getting 8 solid hours. He doesn't work as an air traffic controller, so I don't really see why it matters.

I usually avoid the question and respond with, "He's sleeping like a baby!" Which is vague and super annoying to the asker. But also completely true. Breastfed newborns sleep for short increments because breast milk is digested very quickly, and they wake up because they're hungry. Flynn is almost 3 months old, and the longest stretch he's ever slept for is 5 hours. And he woke up SCREAMING because he was starving and I felt really bad for being so selfish. Since we brought him home from the hospital, I had been setting the alarm on my iPhone and waking him up every 2-3 hours at night to feed him. Then people were telling me to "never wake a sleeping baby" so I tried it. Yes, I got more sleep, but it started having a negative affect on his weight gain. So now I'm back to waking him up when he sleeps too long. Gotta put some meat on this kids bones to make Mr. Pediatrician happy. (Although, I'm pretty sure Flynn will always be weight-challenged if he has my genes. Could be worse.)

The other sleep-related topic that people want to know about is where he's sleeping. This is a touchy one, and depending on who is asking, I lie omit information. In fact, one of my midwives TOLD me to lie about it - ha! And the reason for that is because from night one until just last night, Flynn was sleeping in our bed. Judging from internet message boards, some people think co-sleeping is a form of child abuse (seriously, it's a big mommy wars topic). But I trusted my instincts which were screaming, do not let this baby further than an arms length away from you! We took safety precautions, made sure he wasn't near any pillows or blankets, bought a firm mattress, and I even placed a rolled up towel between Tim and the baby so he wouldn't be able to accidentally roll over on him. There was zero chance I'd ever roll over on him. It's a mom-awareness thing, that's all I can say. Any movement or sound he made, I was immediately awake. If he was TOO quiet, I'd wake up as well. 

Co-sleeping was fantastic for the first few months because he was nursing so frequently at night, and as soon as he woke up, I was there to feed him. He never had to reach the point of crying out of hunger. (Night nursing alone presents it's own challenges... aka... you can't see a damn thing. Thank goodness for the flashlight app!) But I really don't feel like going through the whole safety precaution/nursing spiel to most people, so I just say matter-of-factly, "We have a bassinet in our room." Which is technically true! It's right next to my side of the bed. However, Flynn wasn't sleeping in it. See how I avoided the question? I am sly like a fox.

I don't think our bed has been made since this photo was taken.
Last night, however, I decided to try out the bassinet (part of our souped up pack n' play, it also makes nature sounds & vibrates... baller). And it was great! I had more room to stretch out in bed, and when I woke up around 1am to pump, I didn't wake up Flynn. He slept sound as a pound. Well, except for waking up around 2am to eat, and then again at 5am... and then he never really went back to sleep. Sigh. You win, baby, you always do.

I really enjoy/ed having Flynn in bed with us... and who knows, he may end up there from time to time in the future. I laugh when people say, "You'll never get him out of your bed!" That's like saying you'll never get a kid out of diapers if he starts off in diapers. It's called potty training... and clearly it works since you don't see too many adults walking around peeing their pants. You can adjust your kids to anything new. It just takes time and patience.

Co-sleeping helped me sleep better and helped Flynn sleep better early on. He was in my belly for 39 weeks and 4 days, listening to the sound of my heartbeat and breathing... so clearly, those same sounds are still comforting to him. Plus, I never worried about him being cold at night since he had his mama's body heat!

I sometimes wonder why I rushed into buying a crib... or decorating Flynn's room. The only time he's ever in there is to get his diaper changed! Oh well. I had to do something with my nesting instincts.


  1. Nancy McNelis1/27/2012 4:49 PM

    Meg, I just have to comment that we too have been co-sleeping with Declan since he was born. It was the best decision we ever made. Not only was breast feeding easier but we have developed such a bond with him. Of course he is pushing 5 years old and is still with us (hoping one day he will actually want to sleep in his own bed...) but we love it! Whatever you decide you have to do it for yourself and Tim. Don't worry about what people say. Enjoy your time with Flynn. He is an adorable little guy and you can see how happy he is to have great parents! :)

  2. People are so judgmental about baby things. I think everything you're doing is great because you're going with YOUR instinct. I've always planned on co-sleeping for the first few months - I took a lot of psych and anthropology classes and guess what? In so many other cultures that is the norm and it's great for the baby and works out for you too. Good for you!


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