As Moms we always wonder if we are doing this parenting thing the right way. The truth is there is no one right way, what works for one family may not work for yours and that goes both ways. I do think it is important to have other moms you can talk to, get opinions from and even bounce ideas off of. I am lucky enough to have that not only in real life but in the blogging world as well. This group of moms will get together every week and talk about a parenting topic. Once we've spent a little time "talking" we will bring the conversation to you. I would love it if you left your thoughts as well.
This week's moms joining me include Mariah from Formula Mom, Gena from Life with Captain Fussybuckets, Ghada from Mama Goes BAM, Darcy from Tales From the Nursery, Leila from The Go To Mommy, Emily from Nap Time is My Time, Lena from Way2GoodLife, Ashley from Maryland Momma's Rambles & Reviews, Tamara from Mommyland, and Ashleigh from Living Off Love and Coffee.
The Mommy Mindset: Where Should Baby Sleep?Mariah: There are many books and many articles on the internet that give advice about where your child should sleep. Each one seems to have its own collection of reasons to back up their argument. When I was pregnant, I read everything I could but the past 13 months have proven that I just go with my gut and what works for us. That means that W sleeps with us in our bed at least part of almost every night. He has had a few nights where he did the whole night in his crib in our room but usually he ends up in our bed. We've never rolled over onto him or anything like that. I have had the delight of waking up in a big wet spot and getting kicked through the night. Despite all of that, it works for us. It's just what developed when I was struggling to breastfeed and also having new mommy worries. I just W close to me and I still do! Where does your child sleep and how did the arrangement come to be?
Gena: My one year old sleeps in his crib all of the time and believe me, I WISH he would sleep with us sometimes! It would really help to be able to pull him into bed. But that was a bad habit that we developed with #1 and I've said sleeping with him is like sleeping with a rabid octopus. He is NEVER still! He is three and does come to our bed (after starting out in his bed and then coming to his couch on our floor) a few days a week. It's so sweet to see him sleeping there, but I can rarely sleep when he's beside me because he's so active in his sleep. I really do admire co-sleepers, though and they do get a lot of flack. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get some sleep! Do you pull W into bed because he won't go back to sleep in his crib?
Mariah: Gena, I will be honest and admit that part of the reason W is with us most of the night is because neither J nor I wanted to be up all night. We quickly learned that when W woke up and wouldn't go back down, it was easier to bring him into the bed and he went right to sleep. I do not believe in letting baby cry it out, so to make it easier to go to work in the morning, we do pull him into bed. I also like laying with him on nights when he is having trouble going to sleep. As a working mom, I value the little moments like those so much.
Ashley: My son sleeps in his crib almost all the time. On the occasion, if he wakes up super early on a weekend, I'll put him in bed with me because he falls right back to sleep. He is only 9 months, so if he has trouble falling asleep, I usually rock him. However, on occasion I have let him fall asleep in the bed next to me, but always move him over to his crib. However, since we only have the one bedroom, his crib is right next to the bed. This makes it very easy to move him to his crib and be close to him too.
Gena: I don't blame you AT all! If Baby is asleep, then you can go to sleep!
Mariah: Ashley, W's bed has always been in our room. When he was small, it was his pack 'n play and now it is his crib (because his bedroom needs to be painted). We do try and start him in the crib whenever possible. Teething always seems to rear its ugly head as soon as he starts sleeping through the night in his crib.
Ghada: With our first we would pull him into bed with us quite a lot at first because he was often in pain from reflux. Or I'd have just fed him and he'd chuck it up so I'd have to start all over! Like Mariah said, I needed my sleep to be ready for work in the morning. Having him in bed with us meant he generally slept well. Not an octopus, but a snuffler so that was okay. My midwife taught us a few tricks that worked - placing my bra on his bed to smell and feel as if I was there. Covering the bassinet with hubby's shirt and warming it with a water bottle before putting him down. These all tricked him into thinking he was still sleeping on us. His sleeping habits changed every couple of months -- from awesome to patchy. Happy to say we never rolled on him and he's a great sleeper at 4. He walks himself off to bed. For me it'd have been crazy to stick to one method as he changed all the time. He was even a headbanger around 2.5 to 3. But that's a whole different topic!
Ashleigh: Mariah, I do the same. I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted my son in a bassinet in our room so nursing would be easier. Eventually he ended up in bed with us once he was to big for the bassinet. He's young, 9 months, so he is still getting a lot of growing in and I know that most of it is done through sleep. Whatever works for him to sleep I am fine with. Currently he sleeps in his crib and comes into bed when he's throwing a teething fit.
Darcy: I literally fell into bedsharing. Before having my daughter I was TOTALLY against it. I planned to have the bassinet in our room for about 3 months then transfer to crib in the nursery. Well, after the first couple weeks, she would instantly wake up crying as soon as anyone tried to lay her down. She was swaddled, not swaddled, my shirt near by ... everything. She wanted to sleep ON everyone. I cried. I had nightmares about rolling on her. For several weeks I slept in a chair with her on me then began reading more about cosleeping in bed. Now that I know more about it and found it worked for us (she's sure happy snuggled up to mama!) I can see why it's more natural. It does get a bad rap like Gena said, but I think there are more of us than we realize!
Leila: Both kids started in our rooms in their own beds. My son did end up in our bed a few times because it's so much easier to nurse in bed when he wakes up every hour! As they have gotten older, we try to keep them in their own bed, but when my daughter doesn't have school my son sleeps with her. If they have bad dreams, they sleep with us (or me with them since they have queen size/full size beds). For a little while, our son got into a habit of falling asleep in my arms in the living room and then we moved him into his bed. I think its a matter of what is most comfortable for the parents and the kids. In our house, it varies based on everyone's mood, health, etc. I don't think there is a right or a wrong!
Ashley: Mariah, I feel you on the teething pain! Baby C is going through the same thing. I can usually get him to go back to sleep by giving him a pacifier and turning on his aquarium soother that is attached to the side of his crib. Sometimes I would love to snuggle with him in bed, but I worry about creating a "bad habit" for when he is older. I do love that his crib is close to my bed. Even if there was a second bedroom, I'm not sure I would be ready at this point (9 months) to put him in another room far away. I told myself though by 2 years old he is going to have to have his own room whether this momma likes it or not.
Valerie: My girls have almost always slept in their own bed. In the beginning they did end up in my bed occasionally but just because I was so tired. Now that they are 4 and 7 they are great sleepers and never climb in my bed. They do sleep together most of the time though. I'm not even sure why they have 2 beds .
Mariah: I've really learned that it's all about figuring out what works for you. Yes, that is the whole basis of this blog of mine. We can read up as much as we want but we all have different situations and different things that just feel right. I'm not too worried about bad habits. I think things will naturally progress. I doubt he will still be sleeping with us when he is 17! If he is, we will need another king sized bed to go next to our king because I'm pretty sure he's going to be one tall guy!
Tamara: I co-slept by choice, well half co-slept we had a side car so they were always with in arms reach without getting out of bed or even sitting up. To us it seemed more natural that way. When they were around 14 months or so is when we moved them out. No Mariah, he wont be sleeping with you when he is 17, at least mine isnt except when hubby is working graves and he is really sick. Then he comes and cuddles watches TV with me then falls asleep (and like a sleeping baby I have learned never wake a sick child) You will know when the time is right to make the switch completely.
Leila: Tamara, are you saying your 17 year old will sleep with you when sick!?!? I hope my babies will do that! Like I tell mine, regardless of how old they are, they will always be my babies!!!
Tamara: Yup, I was laying down this afternoon because my back was acting up he stayed home because he has strep and in he walked layed his head on my lap and said "Mommy make it all better," then he rolled over and we took a snooze.
Leila: Aw, too sweet!
Emily: When The Boy was an infant, he was in a bassinet in our room until 4 months, from there he moved to his room. I was still breast feeding him, and would occasionally bring him to our bed-mostly because I have a horrible time getting back to sleep and found this helped ME! A few weeks ago, we transitioned from crib to toddler bed...and The Boy creeps into our bed at some point each night. I love our semi co-sleeping arrangement as it gives him independence and lets me snuggle with him again. I miss those snuggle times since he self-weaned at 16 months old, but that's also a topic for another day!
Lena: I came to the sad conclusion that the bassinet is a waste of money when my son overgrew it in less than 2 months. It was comfortable for me to keep him close to my bed, but he looked quite uncomfortable, so we moved onto the huge crib. Fast forward 2 years and he is still in his crib. It's his little house, he climbs in there any time he want to hide. I guess, my vote is for the crib.
Leila: My daughter used a bassinet, but with my son he was not comfortable with it so we put the crib in our room right next the bed. Like I said before though, there were nights he would come into our bed because it's so much easier to nurse that way. And I love snuggling with my babies!
Emily: Last night, around 3 am The Boy came wondering in. He was crying hysterically asking "where is Daddy" (he's out of town for business), once I finally calmed him down I let him sleep in the big ol' bed with me. This morning, I'm telling my husband the story and he says "You gotta quit doing that!" I said "Ya, but I love snuggling with him." Sometimes, the men just don't get it!
Darcy: Yeah for us, it was the only way to get sleep. Like Mariah, I'm not comfortable with letting a baby cry it out especially not a newborn. So I followed Rissa's lead. And she has slept through the night since we started bedsharing (with dream feedings but no real waking up at night). It makes intimacy challenging but I love the snuggles.
Mariah: Just like so many issues that come along with parenthood, I think this is one where you have to go with the flow and figure out what works for your family. Some people think I'm crazy but then they tell me what they do and I think they're crazy so it's all a matter of doing what works! If baby's sleeping and we can get some rest, I'm all for it!
How did you decide where your kids would sleep?
What do you think works for you?