With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d do a little post on bed sharing for parents who are traveling without a pack-n-play but aren’t sure how to go about bed sharing.
Before Rue was born, I wasn’t sure bed sharing was something I would ever do. To be honest, I couldn’t wrap my brain around how you do it safely. I move a lot and it takes me forever to fall asleep so I couldn’t imagine sleeping next to a tiny baby without waking her up and/or crushing her at some point.
I felt naive asking my friends “how do you bed share?” so I read everything I could and just learned by doing it. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be.
I’m not into mom shaming and this is not a debate. I’m pro-do-whatever-the-hell-you-need-to-do-to-keep-your-kid-alive-without-killing-yourself. All the way.
We bed share and this is why:
My kid has always been very “high needs”. She’s the kind of baby who screams the entire time she’s in the car, cries when you go to the bathroom, takes a very long time to fall asleep, and needs constant stimulation. When she’s happy, she’s seriously the happiest baby ever. But when she’s not, well…you know where I’m going with this.
By the end of the night, I need a good night’s rest.
On top of that, Rue wakes up every couple of hours to nurse at night. She’s teething, going through growth spurts and wonder weeks left and right, and she moves a lot at night. So now that she’s not in her swaddle anymore, she’s always waking herself up. If I don’t pop a boob in her mouth right away, she’s wide awake screaming bloody murder.
Thus, we bed share.
Rue has no problem going down for naps in her crib during the day and she’s in our bed a couple hours before we get in. Sometimes if I’m feeling touched out, I put her down in her crib and bring her into bed with me in the middle of the night. It never fails. 1:00 am rolls around (I’m finally in my first REM cycle) and she’s up for the third time. Barely awake, I bring her to bed with me, stick a boob in her mouth, and we all fall back asleep.
Or should I say, we both fall back asleep? Mr. Rodriguez has been asleep this whole time…
This is the only way I can get sleep, so it’s what works for me. (Plus, there’s something heart-wrenchingly adorable about a sleeping baby reaching for your breast in the middle of the night.)
Major props to all the parents out there who get up over and over and over again until the sun comes up. I sincerely don’t know how you do it!
To all the parents of babies who sleep through the night: screw you. Seriously. I hate you. (Enter sarcastic emoji here. I love you. I love everyone.)
And now for the “How-To” portion of this post:
Here’s a great graphic to help you get started:
The only other things I would recommend are:
Put your bed on the floor instead of on the bed frame so that if your baby ever were to roll off, she wouldn’t have far to go.
If you can, put baby on the wall side next to mommy so she doesn’t roll off. Daddy can sleep on the end.
Here’s a little sketch of our set up:
Bed sharing isn’t just for breastfed babies! Anyone can do it if it’s what works best for them!!
So for all those out there curious about bed sharing, but afraid of doing it because they can’t see how it would work, I hope this helps you. If you feel comfortable giving it a try at Aunt Mary’s house this week while you’re visiting for Thanksgiving, please do! I’m sure your family will be pleasantly surprised when your baby sleeps soundly enough for the whole house to get a good night’s rest. 🙂
As with all things related to parenting, the most important thing is that you do what’s right for you and your baby! Parenting is hard. Don’t be afraid to take some short cuts as long as everyone is safe & happy!!
Happy travels and be safe y’all!
L, M, & R